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How to Bake Crispy Catfish Filets

A typical baked Catfish Filet

A typical Baked CATFISH FILET right out of the oven.

A typical Baked CATFISH FILET right out of the oven.

Recipe Description for Crispy Catfish

This is another of our old "Shoebox" recipes that we have been going through and "digitizing" for easy reference in the future..

By shoebox recipe, I am talking about those shoe boxes we have kept old recipes in for decades now that are either cut out of magazines or were hand written on pieces of paper and shared with us by friends of family over the years.

I decided long ago to try and organize these great recipes and put them in a digital format on my computer. Some of them are so good, like this one, that I will be sharing them with you in the future.

So let's talk a little about this Catfish recipe an Aunt of my wifes gave us!

Catfish are bottom feeders, so what!

Once upon a time, our ancestors had to go out and catch their own fresh Catfish, if they wanted to enjoy the great flavors.

I will admit that because the Catfish is a "bottom feeder" a lot of people refuse to eat this tasty white fish, even today.

So, I always recommend that when you go out and catch a few freshwater Catfish, you should know a little bit about the waters that they come from The places to avoid are waters that have been polluted at one time or another in the past. Typically your county Fish and Game Department can fill you in on where you can fish safely.

Why is this? Because the Catfish, being a "bottom feeder", will be more susceptible to having absorbed any of these pollutants into their flesh.

In defense of the lowly Catfish though; if they do contain pollutants, then the other non-bottom-feeders will in all probability have them in their flesh also.

And honestly, today,you will find that almost all Catfish sold in supermarkets are "farm grown", which means there are no problems with them containing pollutants.

Fishermen, Clean that Catfish naturally

An Old Trick from my childhood:

In the old days, when I was a Kid, we would catch our Catfish in the local river and then take them home and place them in the creek behind our house.

Once these catfish had lived in the clean waters of a fresh stream for a couple of weeks, we would then take them out and have them for a delicious dinner.

Did this actually get rid of those pollutants, I really don't know for sure, but it made sense to us, at the time.

But today, the majority of the Catfish available are raised on the big Catfish "farms" popping up across the country and you will now find fresh firm-fleshed Catfish in most supermarkets around the country that are grown on these farms.

Catfish has a unique flavor, and wild catfish has a nice firmness to its meat that you wouldn't find in a farm raised Catfish..

This was because most "farmed" fish Catfish invariably had a "softer" and less firm flesh than the Wild varieties. The problem was that the fish were raised in smaller tanks and couldn't swim around very much. But, the farmers have taken heed and now raise their product in larger tanks and the filets are now as firm as a wild catfish.

Anyway, this is old shoebox recipe of ours , worked well for decades on wild catfish and will do just as well with the newer farmed varieties and will provide you with a tasty meal, every time.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

20 min

25 min

4- 8-ounceFilets

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Ingredients for Crispy Catfish

  • 4 - 8-ounce Catfish, Filets
  • 3-oz Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 20-each Saltine Crackers
  • 1/4- cup Butter, melted
  • 1/4- cup Parsley, fresh, chopped
  • 1 large Egg, beaten
  • 1/2- tsp Salt
  • 1- tsp Black Pepper

Instructions for Crispy Catfish

  1. Place the Crackers, Cheese and Parsley into a blender and mix until everything is finely ground.
  2. Mix the melted Butter, Salt, Pepper and Egg together in a bowl.
  3. Pour the Cracker mixture into a large flat pan or bowl.
  4. Grease the grill top of a broiler pan well and preheat the Oven to 400F.
  5. Dip the Catfish filets into the Butter/Egg mixture and then coat each side with the Cracker mixture.
  6. Place the coated filets onto the grill grate and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the coating is a Golden Brown.
  7. Remove from the oven when done and serve Hot.

Catfish recipe NOTES

NOTE: This recipe also does well on an Outdoor grill. Just be sure to watch that the temperature stays steady and be careful not to overcook the filets.

NOTE: Be aware that if you do use Saltine crackers in your recipe, then the breading will be more of a light color. If you want a more traditional brown color, use a different cracker, such as Ritz or such.

NOTE: When using fish that has been frozen, you must take the time to thaw the filets out thoroughly, to get rid of as much of the excess water as possible. Once thoroughly thawed, place the filets onto a paper towel, cover with another and press gently to remove even more water, before preparing.

NOTE: If you like a little spicy flavor in your fish, add a teaspoon or two of your favorite hot sauce, or even a little Cayenne Pepper to the Butter/Egg mixture when preparing.

Catfish Recipes

How to Clean a Catfish

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Don Bobbitt


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on June 24, 2020:

Val - Thanks somuch for the compliment on our old recipe. I hope you enjoy others that we have listed for our readers to enjoy.


Val White on June 23, 2020:

I made this immediately after finding it on pinterest, I saved it, then knowing I had all the ingredients, I made it. wish I had taken a pic but greed took over. but wishing I had made two, but the one filet was huge and enough. Thanks a million for this keeper of a recipe. It really was crispy, flavorful tender and firm on the inside brown and crispy on the outside still cut like butter with a fork. I look forward to more of you and your wife’s creations. I would never have tartar sauce with this, it’s too good and stands on its own.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 15, 2014:

vocalcoach- Yeas, I do buy farm raised catfish and other types of farmed fish, but there is one caveat. READ THE LABEL!

There are some producers that continue to add antibiotics and growth hormones along with other chemicals on their fish in attempts to get even higher yields and faster growing product.

I read the labels and sometimes, I just have to put the package back on the shelf.

And, I am very wary of farm raised "anything" from China. Even though we require them to follow standards, the FDA so poorly staffed in other countries, especially China, that they can literally get away with murder by signing a form with each shipment that states that their product complies with our standards with very little chance of being caught.

But, on the other hand, I do purchase farm raised Catfish, and other types, when I can find product appropriately labeled.

Thanks for the read,


Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 14, 2014:

Learning that the farmed meets with your approval, I will go ahead and buy some. Thanks for the clarification Don.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 14, 2014:

Bobbi Purvis- Thanks for the read, and from one Catfish lover to another, this recipe will not let you down.

Try it and make sure your grease is HOT before you add the Catfish, and it will cook to a golden brown.

Have a great day,


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 14, 2014:

vocalcoach- Wild Catfish is what I was raised eating, and honestly, that unique wild flavor just can't be found these days, easily.

But, on the good side, farm grown Catfish is much better than what was offered even ten years ago. Then, they were too tightly contained and could not move around enough to develop good muscle structure. The farmers have learned their lesson and now the Catfish filets are much more firm. The flavor? Well, typically it is milder than Wild Catfish, but many people prefer this also.

I love it both ways.

Thanks for the read,


Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on November 13, 2014:


Thanks so much for the recipe because I love Catfish. Until recently I always had fresh Catfish to eat. My husband would fry them for our family.

Now I get them at a market but they are still good. I mainly eat Salmon baked.

Thanks I will share this with my Twitter friends,

Bobbi Purvis

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 13, 2014:

Fish is my favorite food. I avoid eating meat. I've not tried catfish but if I can find some fresh I will follow your recipe. Yummy!

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on April 06, 2014:

blueheron. To make a Trot line, go to yourlocal fishing supply store. Get yourself a 100-150 foot roll of cotton line, you know a little larger than a kite line.

Also get yourself 20 or more tri-hooks and tie them to a 1-2 foot piece of cotton line and then spaced about 5-feet apart, tie them to the main line.

I find it esier to handle if I hook the hooks in the top edge of a 4-gallon bucket and drop the line into the bucket.

Catch yourself some bait fish like Shad.

Hook the Saht on each hook and the get into your boat and row up a good stream known to have Catfish.

Tie one end of the line to a bush at the waters edge and then row across the stream and and tie the other end.

Then row back to the dock and sit back and drink a little brown whiskey for 4-5 hours.

Then go back and check your trot-line and harvest your catfish.

Oh Yeah!


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on April 06, 2014:

CraftytotheCore- Thanks for the comment. And, Yes, you will often find fast-growing white fish like Catfish and Tilapia on buffet lines.

They have a mild flavor and a low price, so everyone loves them.

Thanks Again,DON

Sharon Vile from Odessa, MO on April 05, 2014:

I can't catch a fish to save my life. Can you give us something in depth about trotlines?

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on April 05, 2014:

janshares - Reading your comment, made me think of a hard learned lesson of mine.

I was raised in the country, the Hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia to be exact. I learned a lot about cooking from relatives and local friends.

One thing that I did not learn was a little tidbit about frozen fish, and that is;

Never, Never, Never, ever, cook a frozen fish filet until it is totally thawed, and I don't mean use a microwave.

You probably already know this but if you place a partially frozen filet of fish in a hot oven, or even a totally frozen one in a microwave, the meat, which is essentially a solid will go through a stage as it thaws where the ice crystals will literally rip it apart. When this happens, parts of the filet will be of a mushy consistency, and the texture will seem odd to your tastes.

Anyway, Thanks for the comment,


Sharon Vile from Odessa, MO on April 04, 2014:

Mmmm! Catfish!

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on April 04, 2014:

Hi Don,

Just had to stop by and say that fried catfish looks so tasty and mouth-watering, it makes my "healthy" curry catfish recipe look boring, lol. I do love making oven-fried catfish. It's pretty good without too much fat. Thanks for the pic that drew me in, nice personal touches.Voted up!

CraftytotheCore on April 04, 2014:

I love catfish. I used to work in a city. There was a place that offered a lunch buffet with catfish. It was amazing.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on January 24, 2013:

faythef- Thanks for the read and the comment.

But, remember, to use that broiler pan with the grilltop to get the grease away from the fish so it will stay nice and crispy.

Thanks again,


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on January 23, 2013:

LaThing- Thanks so much for reading my Recipe and for your comments.

This is a great old, yet simple, recipe.

But Look Out! Back then, in my childhood, the philosophy was; The more Butter the Better!

Yet, I will say; it tastes so good!

Thanks again for your comment,


Faythe Payne from USA on January 23, 2013:

love catfish..will try this. thank you voting up.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on September 13, 2011:

Thanks for the response, Benjimester. Yeah, the Saltines are a cheap alternative, that is relatively low in fats and calories. Pick your favorite cracker and try it, they should all work well. Remember, the secret here is to get the fish and its breading up and above any grease or leeching water from the fish as it bakes, when using a grill in the baking pan. Thanks again for the comment.

Benji Mester from San Diego, California on September 12, 2011:

I love nicely crisped catfish. For my money, there's nothing better than that, as far as fish goes. I've never used saltines on fish before. I bet that's pretty good. Thanks for the recipe.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on September 10, 2011:

Thanks Support Med for the kind words. When you have things in your life that you cant change, you just have to "work around" them and move on. Crying over such, just clouds your eyes! Thanks again for your support.

Support Med. from Michigan on September 10, 2011:

Sounds like really good and tasty cat fish - will definitely give it a try! Thanks for sharing!

Just want to add: Love reading your profile summary! Although you and your wife have met with challenges, you two are definitely non-quitters and I admire your go -to stay positive attitude!!! Keep RVing!!! voted and rated.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on September 05, 2011:

Thanks Gus! I appreciate the good words.

Gustave Kilthau from USA on September 05, 2011:

Howdy Don - Gotta tell you that is a good recipe. About two weeks or so back I did almost the same thing, but for the microwave... Sprinkled on top of the catfish filets: powdered parmesan cheese, a bunch of bread crumbs, and topped those off with lots of creole seasoning. Microwaved at about 550 watts or so for 12 minutes. So, I know that your recipe is a fine one.

Gus :-)))

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