Try Blackened Catfish for a quick, healthy, and flavor-packed weeknight dinner. Different from Fried Catfish, this Catfish is coated with butter and Cajun spices, then pan-seared until charred and flaky. You won’t believe how easy it is to make this restaurant-quality dish at home.
The first time I had blackened catfish was in New Orleans. When I attempted to make it at home, I couldn’t believe how easy the recipe was to make!
What is Blackening?
Blackening is a Cajun and Creole technique in cooking that involves smothering a protein with cajun spices and butter until it creates more of a charred crust creating a wonderfully savory and smoked flavor.
Typical protein choices for blackening include pretty much all fish especially catfish and salmon, shrimp, and chicken, but you can use almost anything you desire!
- Cajun seasoning: Use store-bought or homemade Cajun seasoning. You can also try Creole seasoning or my favorite blackened seasoning blend.
- Olive oil, butter: I tend to use a mix of both olive oil and butter to prevent the butter from burning.
- Catfish fillets: Farmed catfish is mostly what you will find in the grocery store. If your grocery store doesn’t have it, you can replace with trout, snapper, perch, flounder, walleye, or bass.
- Lemon: I love the lemon here because the acidity really balances all of the fiery flavors in this dish.
How to Blacken Fish
Step 1: Dry the catfish
Make sure you thoroughly pat the catfish with a paper towel first. If they are wet, they won’t crisp up properly.
Step 2: Brush the catfish
Add the olive oil and melted butter together, then brush over the catfish. Make sure to coat them well!
Step 3: Add the spices
If you’re making your own Cajun, Creole, or blackened seasoning, combine it now. Dredge the catfish with the spice mixture, then allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes.
Step 4: Blacken the catfish
Preheat a cast-iron skillet with an extra tablespoon of olive oil. Once the skillet is very hot (and I mean hot), add the seasoned fillets. As soon as they start to sear, turn the heat to low-medium.
Step 5: Add the finishing touches
After approximately 3-4 minutes, carefully flip the catfish and cook on the other side until they are opaque and perfectly flaky. Serve your blackened catfish with additional lemon wedges and a squeeze on top.
What to Serve It With
These are some awesome side dishes to serve along with this:
Got leftovers? You can definitely store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.
If you would like to freeze, just understand that the texture will slightly change once thawed after cooking but just make sure to cool completely then freeze in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to a month.
If you froze leftovers, let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
Once thawed, heat it on the stovetop over medium-low until the catfish is just hot enough. If you overheat, you could dry it out.
- Cajun seasoning to taste
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp salted butter melted
- 4 fresh catfish filets
- 1 medium lemon
- Prep catfish filets by patting it dry first with a paper towel.
- Mix together olive oil and melted butter then using a brush, brush on catfish filets then coat with cajun seasoning.
- Allow the fish to sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Preheat a cast iron or heavy skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Once the skillet is very hot, add seasoned filets. As soon as it starts to sear, bring the heat to a low to medium heat.
- After approximately 3-4 minutes, carefully flip the catfish over. Cook on the other side until the fish filets are opaque and perfectly flaky.
- Serve with additional lemon wedges and squeeze on top.