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Air Fryer Catfish Fillets

Air Fryer Catfish Fillets

What if I said that you could make fried catfish fillets using only about two teaspoons of oil? What if I said the catfish will be crispy outside and flaky and flavorful inside? You probably think I’m kidding but I’m not. You can make delicious fried catfish fillets in your Air Fryer.

Crispy Air Fryer Catfish Fillets

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Air Fryer Catfish Fillets

Key to Success #1 – Choose the Right Air Fryer

I have a Cozyna XL 5.8 qt Air Fryer.

With its larger size, I can fit two or three catfish fillets in the air fryer at once, depending on size.

You’ll want the catfish in a single layer so that it can brown evenly.

If you have a smaller air fryer, you might want to cut the catfish fillets into smaller pieces so that they’ll fit better.

(NOTE: The Air Fryer that I have is no longer sold but this Air Fryer is a Best Seller and has over 21,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.)

Key to Success #2 – Choose the Right Catfish Fillets

You can get fresh catfish fillets or you can use frozen fillets from your local grocer.

If using frozen catfish fillets, you can place the frozen fillets into a plastic zip-top bag and submerge them in a pan of cold water for a few hours to thaw them.

Safety first! Do not use hot or warm water to thaw frozen meat. It may seem counter-intuitive to use cold water but using warm water will not keep the meat at a safe temperature.
Crispy Golden Catfish Fillets

Key to Success #3 – Spice Things Up, If You Dare

I used a little Cajun seasoning in place of salt in my catfish coating this time.

I used a teaspoon of Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning but I could have used more.

Next time I’ll probably add more. We like things spicy.

Air Fryer Crispy Catfish Fillets
Air Fried Catfish Fillets

Crispy Air Fryer Catfish

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Air Fryer Catfish cooks up crispy on the outside and tender and flaky inside. It's just like fried catfish but healthier. And it cooks up in about 20 minutes. 


  • 5 catfish fillets, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt or seasoning of your choice
  • olive oil


  1. Preheat Air Fryer at 400 degrees.
  2. Trim catfish fillets and cut into nugget-sized pieces, if desired. Dry catfish thoroughly.
  3. Place cornmeal and salt into a zip-top bag. Add catfish fillets or nuggets and shake gently to coat.
  4. Spray/coat Air Fryer basket with olive oil. Place catfish in a single layer in the basket then spray fish well with olive oil. Cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. 
  5. Use tongs to gently flip each piece of fish then spray the other side with olive oil. Cook for another 10 minutes. 
  6. Cook additional 2-3 minutes to desired crispness. 


May use Cajun seasonings, such as Slap Ya Mama, in place of salt. Start with 1 tsp then add more to taste

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 685Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 236mgSodium: 1789mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 68g

Nutrition Information Provided For Educational and Informational Purposes Only.

Did you make this?

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Jim Lowe

Sunday 26th of July 2020

Hi Jennifer, This is Jim again. I tried your recipe with the whole catfish. They came out kind of dry. I don't know if that is because they wasn't deep fried but air fried or if I may have cooked them too long. I cooked them for 15 minutes on each side instead of 10 since they were whole catfish and not filet. I have two more that I will try at another time. For them I will cut the time down to maybe 12 minutes on each side and see how they come out.


Monday 27th of July 2020

Hi Jim, I'm sorry your fish didn't turn out the way you like it. I agree maybe cook it a little less next time. Also try adding a little more oil. I use a small spray bottle to spritz the oil on the fish and make sure the cornmeal is moistened.

Healthy Air Fryer Recipes | 50+ Ideas - FoodHacksandMore

Sunday 29th of December 2019

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Kim Key

Tuesday 6th of August 2019

We had these for dinner tonight, along with air fryer homemade french fries. The catfish was caught today and was delish!


Tuesday 6th of August 2019

Ohh! That sounds SO good. Who caught the catfish?

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