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Air Fryer Blackened Catfish Recipe

No need to pull out the skillet when you can make blackened catfish in the air fryer. It is the perfect cooking method for making the fish fillets turn out perfect every time.

Best of all, it takes only a few minutes to prepare. And only 20 minutes to cook!

It is an easy recipe that is low-carb, which makes it a fantastic protein choice for those who are on a Keto diet. However, it is also a popular recipe during the Easter season when several people give up meat on Fridays.

air fryer blackened catfish over grits

And of course, for those who follow a Pescatarian diet they can add this recipe to the dinner rotation as well. Who couldn’t use a quick and easy recipe that doesn’t require your attention while it cooks.

Instead, all that is required is to add a simple, homemade blackened seasoning to the fish and put it in the air fryer to cook. Then flip it at the half way point and let it continue to cook.

It is a much better alternative than pan frying the fish when you don’t have time to stand over a hot stove or you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

Is Air Fryer Blackened Catfish Healthy?

Catfish is low in calories and packed with lean protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. It’s particularly rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats and vitamin B12.

However, the most common method for cooking catfish is to coat it in breading and deep fry it. Although this might be delicious, deep frying adds far more calories and fat than other cooking methods.

Therefore, to retain good flavor and still keep the catfish healthy it is best to cook it without the breading or in oil. Instead, blackened seasoning is used to flavor the mild tasting white fish.

Although you have to be careful using blackened seasoning if you need to watch your sodium intake. Store-bought seasoning tends to include a high amount of salt.

Because of this reason, I prefer to make my own. This way I can control the salt content and make sure to keep this catfish healthy.

homemade blackened seasoning
It is much healthier to make your own blackened seasoning from ingredients out of your spice drawer.

How To Pick Out Catfish Fillets

Catfish has a sweet and mild flavor. The flesh is fairly firm and moist compared to other types of white fish. However, unlike most fish, farm raised catfish are more often preferred rather than wild caught.

This is because some wild catfish will have a subtle muddy taste. And imported wild caught catfish can contain harmful chemicals and antibiotics.

However you should always look for one of the sustainable seafood certification stickers when purchasing any type of fish. Look for Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) for farmed fish or Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for wild caught fish on the label of the package.

Now that you know what type of fish you should purchase, let’s talk about how the fish fillets should look. There should be no cracks or breaks between the muscles and collagen sheaths in the fillet. 

The flesh should be wet and shiny. Incorrectly stored or mishandled fish will be dry, chalky, or sticky.

Then examine the color of fresh catfish fillets as they should be white or have an off-white hue. And just like when purchasing any type of fish steer clear of fish that smell ‘fishy’.

What Type of Oil To Use To Make Catfish In The Air Fryer

The best oils to use in the air fryer when cooking at temperatures above 375°F (190°C) are high smoke point oils. This will ensure that the oil that won’t burn when being cooked at high temperatures.

Some examples of high smoke point oils include avocado oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, and light and regular olive oil. Although many of us use extra virgin olive oil in the kitchen, do not use it in the air fryer when cooking at or above 375°F.

catfish fillet
Raw catfish should white in color and not have a strong fish odor.

Various Ways To Serve Blackened Catfish

Once the catfish is ready to eat, choose how you want to served it.

Southern style: Serve catfish with a side of Cajun rice and beans, coleslaw, and hot sauce.

Tacos: Fish tacos are all the rage right now. Cut up the fillets and serve it on warm tortillas with shredded cabbage, shredded cheese and a hint of lime juice.

Po’boy sandwich: Place the filet inside a soft sub bun and top it with lettuce, tomato, and a spicy remoulade sauce.

Salad: Slice the blackened catfish and serve it on a bed of mixed greens with your favorite salad toppings. Then drizzle the salad with a honey-lime or avocado-plabano dressing.

Quesadilla: Layer the blackened catfish with shredded cheddar cheese and sautéed onions and peppers. Then grill them until the outside is crispy and the cheese melts.

Gumbo: Add chunks of blackened catfish to a traditional gumbo recipe for a smoky, spicy twist on the classic Louisiana dish.

Catfish Benedict: Replace the meat in your favorite Eggs Benedict recipe for a seafood twist on this classic breakfast dish.

These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless! Experiment with different sides, sauces, and preparations to find your favorite way to enjoy blackened catfish.

How To Reheat Blackened Catfish In An Air Fryer

  1. Place leftover fillets in the air fryer. 
  2. Air fry at 400°F (200°C) for 4 minutes, until warmed through.
fish taco
Don’t just think about serving fish alone as the main dish. You can get creative and make tacos and several other dishes to keep dinner interesting.

Air Fryer Blackened Catfish Recipe

*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 catfish fillets
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Homemade Blackened Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or use regular paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne powder use more for a spicier blend
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Optional Ingredient :

  • lemon wedges for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat Air Fryer at 400°F (200°C). Even if your brand of air fryer doesn’t have a preheat option, let the air fryer run for 4-5 minutes.

Pat the catfish fillet dry with paper towels on both sides. Then drizzle olive oil over the entire fillet. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dried Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the blackened seasoning over both sides of the catfish. You can use as much or as little as you like.

When the air fryer is preheated line the basket with parchment paper (optional). Or coat the basket with olive oil to prevent the fish from sticking to the basket.

Then place the fillet in the basket and spray the top of the fish with olive oil. Air fry at 400°F (200°C) for 10 minutes.

Then carefully flip the catfish and continue to air fry for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until it reaches the preferred level of doneness.

Serve with lemon wedges for drizzling if desired.

air fryer blackened catfish
You don’t have to use parchment paper. Just be sure to oil your air fryer basket very well before the fish goes in.

Recipe Notes

You don’t have to use parchment paper. However be sure that the air fryer basket has been coated in oil to prevent the fish from sticking.

*You can cook as many catfish fillets that you can fit in an even layer in the air fryer basket. Or work in batches if feeding a crowd.

You will most likely have extra blackened seasoning that you can save in an air tight container and use later.

Enjoy! Mary

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Air Fryer Blackened Catfish Recipe

air fryer blackened catfish

Blackened catfish cooked to perfection in an air fryer. Recipe includes how to make your own homemade blackened seasoning. An easy low-carb, Keto recipe that you will want to make over and over again.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-2 catfish fillets
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Homemade Blackened Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or use regular paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne powder use more for a spicier blend
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Optional

  • lemon wedges for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat Air Fryer at 400°F (200°C). Even if your brand of air fryer doesn't have a preheat option, let the air fryer run for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Pat the catfish fillet dry with paper towels on both sides. Then drizzle olive oil over the entire fillet. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dried Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the blackened seasoning over both sides of the catfish. You can use as much or as little as you like.
  4. Line the air fryer basket with parchment paper (optional). Or coat the basket with olive oil to prevent the fish from sticking to the basket. Then place the fillet in the basket and spray the tops of the fish with olive oil.
  5. Air fry at 400°F (200°C) for 10 minutes. Carefully flip the catfish and continue to air fry for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until it reaches the preferred level of doneness.
  6. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Notes

You don't have to use parchment paper. However be sure that the air fryer basket has been coated in oil to prevent the fish from sticking.

*You can cook as many catfish fillets that you can fit in an even layer in the air fryer basket. Or work in batches if feeding a crowd.

You will most likely have extra blackened seasoning that you can save in an air tight container and use later.

Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1/2 fillet

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 620mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 15g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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