Catfish. It’s a Southern staple. From grilled to blackened to fried, this fish is easy to find and easy to cook. Commonly found at restaurants ranging from BBQ joints to places far fancier, this humble fish deserves its place on many a Southern menu — including yours. Enter air fryer catfish!

When cooking catfish at home, frying it can be messy, and let’s face it, it’s not the healthiest preparation. But it’s so darn good. Over the past year at my home, we’ve tested different air fryer catfish recipes, and we’ve honed in on our family staple. We like this recipe so much that it shows up at least once a month on our family menu. It’s fast (cooks in 14 minutes), and it’s just another reason to love the air fryer. We typically enjoy ours with plenty of vegetables and for this recipe it’s paired with our Broccoli Salad with Craisins and Pecans. This makes a great side for classic Southern foods.

Air fryer catfish

This air fryer catfish recipe is amazing! This piece is huge, but you can easily cut them in half lengthwise.

Southern Catfish Cooked in an Air Fryer

For the cornmeal coating, we use Zatarain’s Fish Fri (yes, Zatarain’s spells fry as fri). It’s gluten-free and makes life easy on a weeknight. If you have your favorite homemade coating, it should work well with this recipe.

Air Fryer Catfish

Liza Graves
Catfish cooked in the air fryer is so delicious. Cooking it this way is healthier than traditional frying and far less messy. Cut the fillets into strips for a delicious and quick way to make catfish tacos, or cut them smaller for catfish nuggets. Experiment and find your own favorite way to cook catfish in the air fryer. It's a fun one to experiment with!
4.5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 6 mins
Cook Time 14 mins
Course Main Meal
Cuisine American/Southern


  • air fryer


  • 4 fillets catfish
  • 1 box Zatarain's Seasoned Fish Fri
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Nashville Hot Garlic Sauce or favorite hot sauce of choice


  • Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees.
  • Pour Zatarain's Fish Fri into a flat container large enough for the fish fillets to fit, one at a time. Or use a large plate.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, hot sauce and mustard together.
  • Take each fillet and dip into the egg mixture, both sides. (While we cook the large fillets of catfish, you can easily cut these into strips.)
  • Dredge catfish in the fish fry mix.
  • Spray some olive oil on the air fryer basket and then place the catfish in (placing in however many fillets your air fryer can hold, not overlapping). You can spray more oil across the top of the catfish if you prefer.
  • For large fillets, cook for 14 minutes. (If you have cut the large fillets into strips, this will reduce your cooking time, so test after 10 minutes as they will be cooked in 10-12 minutes).
Keyword Air Fryer Catfish
Tried this recipe?Rate it above to let us know how it was!

Make cornbread, green beans, okra, corn … slice up some tomatoes. Or, just make a green salad. We really like making this Broccoli Salad with Craisins and Pecans recipe to serve with ours.


Broccoli salad

Broccoli salad makes a great side with air fryer catfish. See our recipe HERE!


Find even more delicious recipes in our archives. Click HERE!