Catfish Nuggets Recipe

Sometimes you want a fancy, multi-course meal replete with soup and salad courses, palate cleansers, bread plates, with tiny little butter knives, fresh coffee — the works! At other times, you want the beautiful simplicity of catfish nuggets. These breaded bites of perfection are the ideal meal when you want a comfort food you can enjoy with "with a beer and fries or hushpuppies," the perfect pairing here, according to chef and recipe developer Christina Musgrave of Tasting with Tina.

You can also dip these delicious fish nuggets in tartar sauce, thousand island dressing, ketchup, or whatever your favorite sauce or condiment may be. You can roll them up into a wrap, use them in a fish taco, and on it goes. Just make sure you plan to enjoy them ASAP, because "these are going to be best eaten fresh," Musgrave says. "If you do have leftovers, I recommend using them the next day," she continues. "Store them in an air tight container and reheat in a pan with some olive oil until warm and crisp, or reheat [them] in the oven until crisp." You can't beat the simple delicacy that is fried fish — so let's deep dive right into this recipe!

Gather your ingredients to make catfish nuggets

To make a six-serving batch of these delightful nuggets, you'll need plenty of canola oil for frying (or another good frying oil), about 2 pounds of catfish nuggets (you can chop larger pieces of fish to size or purchase them pre-cut), eggs, milk, cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and lemon wedges, for serving. Don't have or don't care for catfish? "This will work for other types of fish as well," says Musgrave.

Prepare the breading and heat the oil

To start the recipe off, combine the two eggs and milk in a medium-sized bowl and whisk them together. Then, in another bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together and stir those until they are well mixed, then set those aside. Next, heat about an inch of the canola oil in a deep pan — the high walls will prevent spatter. Heat the oil to 350 F.

Batter the fish

Working in batches, coat the catfish the nuggets first in the milk and egg mixture, then dredge them in the cornmeal, spice, and flour mixture. To keep the process clean and efficient, Musgrave says, "Wash your hands as needed if you are using your hands. Or, to avoid a mess, place parchment paper on the countertop and add your bowls on top. Then use two sets of tongs to dip the catfish nuggets in egg and then in the breading to avoid getting your hands messy." Of course, it's okay if you get a little messy — just make sure that each nugget is evenly covered in the batter!

Fry the nuggets

Working in batches small enough so that no nuggets stick together, fry them for three minutes per side, until they are a rich golden brown. Repeat this frying until all of catfish nuggets are fried, adding oil to the pan when needed, and placing the cooked nuggets on plenty of paper towels to keep things clean. You may need to go through a few batches to get all of the nuggets fried, and this is okay, just be sure to keep the oil at a steady temperature.

Serve the nuggets with lemon wedges, and of course with any other condiments or dips or as part of any larger meal you'd like. There's nothing that quite pairs with nuggets like french fries, coleslaw, or onion rings, but you can let your taste buds be the guide when it comes to side dishes!

Catfish Nuggets Recipe
5 from 164 ratings
These catfish nuggets are fried to crispy perfection, and they're just begging to be dunked in tartar sauce.
Prep Time
Cook Time
catfish nuggets with lemon wedges
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 pounds catfish nuggets
Optional Ingredients
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Combine the eggs and milk and whisk them together, then set aside.
  2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 inch of canola oil in a deep pan, warming it to 350 F.
  4. Working in batches, coat the catfish nuggets in the milk and egg mixture, then dredge them in the cornmeal and flour mixture.
  5. Fry the breaded nuggets for 3 minutes per side until golden brown.
  6. Repeat until all catfish nuggets are fried, adding oil to the pan when needed. Serve with lemon wedges.
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