Getty Images/bhofack2

Here's How Long to Fry Catfish for Golden-Brown Fillets

Fried catfish is a staple of soul food and Southern cuisine. This mild, tasty fish is the perfect main for a fish fry or backyard cookout. As with many of the best recipes, this one is quick and easy, ready to enjoy in under 30 minutes and far too delicious for how simple it is. Here's how long to fry catfish for golden brown deliciousness.

Southern fried catfish goes best with side dishes like coleslaw, hush puppies, collard greens and biscuits. The crispy, flavorful dish is hard to beat on a summer's day, especially when it was caught that morning. Plus, it's full of health benefits like vitamin A, potassium and calcium. Here's how to make the fried fish perfectly crispy and delectable.

How to Prep Your Southern Fried Catfish

Deep Fried Fish

Getty Images/4kodiak

The first step in frying catfish is prepping it, which is a simple process that you can personalize based on your flavor preferences. Most fried catfish recipes start by coating the fish in buttermilk or milk. Then, the fish is typically dredged in a combo of all-purpose flour, yellow cornmeal, and seasonings.

You can choose to season your catfish fillets based on the flavors you like best. Most recipes call for salt and black pepper, along with seasonings like Old Bay, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and lemon pepper.

As you season the fish, heat vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet. If you're deep frying the catfish, heat a deep fryer to the desired temperature, often around 365 degrees F. Then, the prep time is over and you're ready for the most important part!

How Long To Fry Catfish

The cook time depends on the recipe, but is typically about 5 minutes per side. Depending on the recipe and the size of the filet, it can take anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes per side to fry the catfish to perfection. If you're deep frying, it will take about 3 minutes total. Place the fish in the hot oil and cook on medium heat until golden brown on each side.

To check if it's done, use a fork to test its flakiness. The fish will flake easily when it's done and will be opaque throughout. It should have a moist texture inside and be slightly crisp on the outside.

Depending on the size of your skillet and the fillets, you might need to fry the fish in batches. This is important, because if you overcrowd the pan you'll sacrifice that perfect crispiness! Transfer the fried fish to paper towels to drain and place the remaining fillets on the pan.

Fried catfish is tasty enough to be enjoyed on its own, but it also goes great with tartar sauce and hot sauce. For a garnish, use lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

Here's a recipe from Allrecipes to try for yourself!

READ MORE: This Fried Black Drum Recipe is Perfect for a Fish Fry