How to cook catfish nuggets?

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Make these Baked Catfish Nuggets as a healthy and easy baked version of a Southern favorite. Made with just 5 ingredients in 30 minutes!

Baked Catfish Nuggets

Fact: Kids will eat anything you call “nugget.”

It’s weird, but true. At least at my house. That includes these Baked Catfish Nuggets which are super easy to make, with just 5 ingredients.

This recipe takes your traditional Southern comfort food cornmeal catfish and gives it a healthy twist by baking it in the oven. I love this method because it’s quicker and so much less messy (frying oil is always a pain to clean up!)

Plus, they’re healthy and gluten and dairy free. You can make them in just 30 minutes! Perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

If you’re looking for a fried version, we have that here too!

  • Fried Catfish Nuggets

What to Serve with Baked Catfish Nuggets

Being a sauce-girl, I think it’s first and most important to serve it with the perfect sauce. Mr. Gracious will insist that you serve catfish with ketchup, but I think he might be in the minority.

If you’re not weird like Mr. Gracious, you can try this amazing and totally easy Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe that will go with your Baked Catfish Nuggets perfectly.

Our go-to side dish for almost all fish dishes is this Creamy Southern Coleslaw. It’s creamy but simple and fresh and adds the perfect crunch to go with succulent fish.

Most people think “fish and chips,” so another easy way to go is a potato any way. Baked potato, mashed potatoes, potato wedges,… oh my! We like these Garlic Chive Baked Fries.

Corn on the cob is an easy fast way to go for a carb, if you’d rather skip the potato.

To finish off the meal, we like a nice big fresh fruit salad.

How to Make Baked Catfish Nuggets

Step 1: In a shallow dish, mix together cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and salt.

Step 2: Place a catfish nugget in the bowl. Coat entirely with cornmeal mixture. Remove to a lightly greased baking sheet (line with foil for less clean up!) Repeat for remaining catfish.

Step 3: Bake at 400° for 17-20 minutes, until catfish is cooked through, golden, and flaky.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: Baked Catfish Nuggets

Pro Tips

  • Can another fish be substituted? Absolutely. The easiest ones to use in place of catfish are tilapia or cod.
  • Why is there no egg in this recipe? I find that flour dredging and egg dipping in this recipe is unnecessary and just creates extra mess and extra work. The cornmeal mixture coats the fish really well without any dredging.
  • Want to fry your catfish nuggets? Find out here in this yummy fried catfish nuggets recipe.
  • What goes with baked catfish nuggets? Definitely some creamy southern coleslaw and a potato or grain of your choice. Try baked french fries, rice, or quinoa!

More Catfish Recipes You’ll Love

  • Fried Catfish Nuggets – try the fried version!
  • Lemon Pepper Baked Catfish – fresh and zesty!
  • Southern Fried Catfish – The Classic
  • Beer Battered Catfish – personal favorite!

Make these Baked Catfish Nuggets as a healthy and easy baked version of a Southern favorite. Made with just 5 ingredients in 30 minutes! Serve with your favorite sauce! 5 from 5 votes Pin Course: Main, Main Course, Main Dish Cuisine: American Keyword: Baked Catfish Nuggets, Catfish Nuggets Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Servings: 4 servings Calories: 191kcal Author: Michelle

  • 1 pound catfish nuggets
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • In a shallow dish, mix together cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and salt.
  • Place a catfish nugget in the cornmeal dish. Coat completely. Remove to a buttered and lined cookie tray. Repeat for remaining fish.
  • Bake at 400° for 17-20 minutes, until fish is cooked through, golden, and flaky.

Notes

  • This recipe is gluten free and dairy free! No substitutions necessary!
  • Can another fish be substituted? Absolutely, just make sure to cut it into “nugget-sized” pieces. The easiest ones to use in place of catfish are tilapia or cod.
  • Why is there no egg in this recipe? I find that flour dredging and egg dipping in this recipe is unnecessary and just creates extra mess and extra work. The cornmeal mixture coats the fish really well without any dredging.
  • Want to fry your catfish nuggets? Find out here in this yummy fried catfish nuggets recipe.
  • What goes with baked catfish nuggets? Definitely some creamy southern coleslaw and a potato or grain of your choice. Try baked french fries, rice, or quinoa!

Nutrition facts are for about 4 ounces catfish.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 341mg | Potassium: 518mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 920IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1.3mg Did you make this recipe?I love seeing your creations. Snap a quick photo and mention @TheGraciousWife or tag #thegraciouswife on Instagram! Leave a STAR rating below!

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Baked catfish are crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside!

They are perfectly seasoned and so fun to eat!

I was going to start this post off with a joke about how catfish are fish with an identity crisis, but that joke isn’t funny. To be honest, I’ve only thought of catfish in two ways: alive or frying in a cast iron skillet. I’ve pigeon holed catfish. I picture catfish as the kind of fish big burly guys catch when they are camping alone in the wilderness. They scale their catch and fry it up in their primitive cast iron skillets.

Catfish are way more than survival food for big burly men! They are actually extremely versatile. You can fry them, blacken them, grill them as is or in packets, you can crust them, and add them to any sort of soup or stew. They have the ability to absorb so much flavor. Catfish is a firm fish that can stand up to a variety of cooking methods and they are leaner than you might think.

I had the pleasure of indulging in fried catfish bites during a recent trip to Tennessee. Those little fish nuggets were out of this world. They were heavily seasoned and fried to a deep golden brown. After my very first bite I knew I’d have to try to make my own.

I am super happy with my own catfish recipe. For one thing, like my fish sticks, these are baked which makes munching on these a little easier on the waistline. The breading for these baked catfish is quite simple. I combined flour with paprika and chipotle powder (I like a little spice), garlic and onion. You can literally use whatever seasoning you like best. Dip your breaded fish in beaten eggs then dredge them in a mixture of the panko bread crumbs and cornmeal. The flour helps the egg stay in place while the egg helps the cornmeal stay in place. And you have to use both cornmeal and panko. I found this combination yields a perfect crust that is a crisp equivalent to any fried fish.

The catfish image that I’ve created in my head has been erased. These simple baked catfish bites completely change catfish for me!

Ingredients

For the fish

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh catfish cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup panko

For the sauce

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non stick spray and set aside.
  2. Cut catfish into bite sized pieces.
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, paprika, chipotle powder, pepper, salt and onion powder. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and water. In a third bowl, combine cornmeal and panko bread crumbs.
  4. Working in batches, toss catfish with flour. Dredge fish into eggs and then press into cornmeal mixture. Place coated fish on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake fish for 12 minutes, turn fish over and bake an additional 12 minute or until crispy.
  6. For the sauce: combine mayo through lemon juice in a bowl, stir.
Nutrition Information

Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 440 Total Fat 29g Saturated Fat 5g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 22g Cholesterol 114mg Sodium 422mg Carbohydrates 23g Fiber 2g Sugar 1g Protein 21g

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, but I may earn a small commission if you purchase through those links.

Jump to Recipe – 4.67 from 3 votes

That’s right, folks. You read that right. All you need are FOUR ingredients and only 20 MINUTES (!!!) for the easiest Southern Style Oven Fried Catfish ever! It’s inexpensive to make, slightly spicy, super crispy on the outside, and tender and flaky on the inside. It’s perfect in every way, especially in how easy it is to prepare.

In the South, catfish abounds. It’s easy to find in any grocery store and is relatively inexpensive. If you live somewhere else, you can use any other white fish for this- tilapia, haddock, cod… you name it!

We had this for dinner last night with a side of green beans (the microwave-in-the-bag kind… which I highly recommend for its convenience AND perfectly steamed taste!), a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and some homemade tartar sauce on the side (a simple mixture of mayonnaise and relish). Perfection.

But TODAY, I reheated a piece of leftover catfish, toasted a burger bun, got a crispy piece of green lettuce, slathered on some mayo and relish and had one of the best “fried” fish sandwiches ever for lunch. As the old saying goes, if you make a little bit of oven fried catfish, you will eat for a day. But if you make enough for leftovers, you will eat fried fish sandwiches all week.

Or something like that 🙂

However you choose to eat this oven fried catfish, whether on its own or on a toasted bun, it’s sure to become a favorite recipe fast. I fully intend on making this at least once a week until the end of time.

PLUS, you can feel good about it being way healthier than deep fried catfish! Made with a 100% cornmeal coating, it’s gluten free, and since it’s baked, it’s lower in fat (but still full of the heart healthy Omega 3 fats that abound in fish). The kids AND the adults in your family are sure to love it.

This is extremely easy to make and involves very few steps, but there are a few things to consider when making this in order to ensure the best outcome:

  1. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of oil and place the fish directly on it. No non-stick spray, no parchment paper or silicone mat. The oil will absorb into the batter, giving it a richer taste that’s more similar to traditional fried catfish, and will help crisp up the coating without drying it out. If you coat the fish well enough (see tip #3) and use a good baking sheet (I highly recommend a Nordic Ware Aluminium Half Bakers Sheet), you won’t have a problem with sticking.
  2. Use stone ground cornmeal. The texture is phenomenal.
  3. When dredging the catfish pieces in the egg and cornmeal mixtures, make sure you coat them extremely well. Pat the cornmeal mixture into the pieces of fish, ensuring that it’s adhered to it sufficiently and that every nook and cranny is covered.
  4. Bake at a very high temperature- 475 degrees- for only 14 minutes total. This will help ensure a golden, crispy outer layer and a flaky, tender interior.
  5. Flip halfway through roasting. The bottom of the fish will absorb some of the oil on the pan, and when flipped, it will crisp up perfectly on both sides.

The only seasoning you need for this recipe besides salt and pepper is creole seasoning- I recommend Tony Chachere’s. Or, you can always make your own!

Other easy fish recipes

  • Six-Minute Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks
  • New England Baked Haddock
  • Pan-Fried Sea Bass with Lemon Garlic Herb Sauce
  • 15-Minute Poached Salmon with Chive Butter
  • Paleo homemade fish sticks

Be sure to check out all my fish and seafood recipes here!

Recipe below. Enjoy!

Four Ingredient Oven Fried Catfish

Click the stars to rate! 4.67 from 3 votes All you need are four ingredients and 20 minutes for the easiest southern style oven fried catfish ever! Slightly spicy, super crispy on the outside, and tender and flaky on the inside. Gluten free, healthy, and great on its own or in a sandwich! Pin Prep Time6 mins Cook Time14 mins Total Time20 mins Course: Fish Cuisine: Southern Servings: 4 servings Calories: 411kcal Author: Elizabeth Lindemann

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola or vegetable oil
  • 1.5 lbs catfish filets cut into smaller pieces (about 3-4 inches wide)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more if needed
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
  • lemon slices and chopped fresh parsley, for serving optional
  • Preheat your oven to 475 F.
  • Grease a rimmed baking sheet with all of the olive oil (2 tablespoons).
  • In a shallow bowl, beat together the 2 eggs with kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon) and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon).
  • In another shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal (1 cup) and creole seasoning (1 tablespoon).
  • Coat each piece of catfish in the egg mixture, followed by the cornmeal mixture. Make sure you coat all sides and pat it in a bit so it’s very well coated.
  • Place on the greased baking sheet.
  • Bake at 475 for 7 minutes.
  • Flip the fish over, bake for another 7 minutes.
  • Serve with fresh lemon slices and parsley for garnish, if desired.
  • I recommend using a fish spatula to flip the fish. It’s thin and helps keep it intact and not fall apart. I use it for most things, not just fish!
  • Stone-ground cornmeal works best, but any will do.
  • The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.

Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 180mg | Sodium: 397mg | Potassium: 792mg | Fiber: 4g | Vitamin A: 725IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2.2mg Did you make this recipe?I’d LOVE to see your creation! Mention @bowlofdelicious or use the hashtag #bowlofdelicious

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