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Air Fryer Catfish

Make the crispiest fried catfish with a cornmeal crust in the air fryer! Skip the hot oil and make this Southern fish dish with buttermilk, hot sauce, and a little Cajun seasoning.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Marinade Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Calorie
Keyword: air fryer fish, fried catfish
Servings: 4
Calories: 454kcal
Cindy - Air Fryer Eats


  • Ziplock bag
  • Small bowl
  • Colander
  • Baking sheet
  • Air fryer


  • 2 pounds catfish filets
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 5 to 6 drops hot sauce
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Whisk buttermilk and hot sauce together. Cover the catfish filets completely and marinate in gallon ziplock bag in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, Cajun seasoning, and pepper while the fish marinates.
  • After marinating, let fish drain in colander.
  • Dredge the filets through the cornmeal mixture, coating each side evenly. Let the filets rest on a baking sheet for 10 minutes.
  • Put a single layer of filets in the air fryer basket and spray the tops lightly with oil. Cook in batches as needed.
  • Air fry the catfish filets at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes, then flip, spray again, and cook another 7 to 10 more minutes. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.



Pro Tip: This recipe can be made in the air fryer unit with a basket or the air fryer oven. If you are using the air fryer oven, use the middle rack and select the "Air Fry" function.
Pro Tip: This was made in a NINJA air fryer. Historically, Ninja air fryers run HOT. If you are NOT using a Ninja to air fry this recipe, you may need to ADD additional cook time to the recipe.


Calories: 454kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 1117mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1940IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 3mg
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Air Fryers can vary greatly. Please take the time to learn your specific air fryer. You may need to adjust times and temperatures based upon your air fryer. All though this website attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, the information should only be considered an estimate. Varying factors such as different product types, different brands, etc. can change nutritional information. It is your responsibility as a consumer to read all labels to make sure the ingredients fit your dietary needs as well as calculate your own nutritional information as a double check.