Mom’s Fried Catfish with Hot Sauce

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My mother made catfish on Fridays as part of her weekly rotation of dishes. I was always amazed by the crispiness of her fish. She let it sit in cornmeal for about 5 minutes—a technique I use today.


  • 2 cups whole buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Hot Sauce (recipe follows, or use store-bought), plus more for serving
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1⁄2 pounds catfish fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable oil
  • Hot sauce, for serving

How to Make It

Active Time: 30 MIN
Total Time: 30 MIN
Serves: 4

Step 1    

Combine the buttermilk, Worcestershire sauce, Hot Sauce, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and black pepper in a large bowl or large ziplock plastic freezer bag. Add catfish pieces; cover or seal, and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.

Step 2    

Whisk together the cornmeal, cayenne, remaining 3 teaspoons salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper in a shallow dish or pie pan.

Step 3    

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium.

Step 4    

Remove the catfish from the buttermilk mixture, and dredge in the cornmeal. Let stand 5 minutes.

Step 5    

Fry the catfish (large pieces first), in batches, until golden brown 5 to 7 minutes per side. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve with hot sauce.


If using boneless catfish, this dish can be served as a sandwich with lettuce and Chive Aioli

Serve With

Other fried foods; braised green, breakfast, potato, egg, or bean dishes; green or tomato salads


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