Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets are sure to impress, whether you’re a catfish fan or just looking to try a new fish recipe! They are quick to make, family friendly, and offer a delightful crunch with each bite.
Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets are a healthier alternative that doesn’t compromise on taste! Whether you’re hosting a game night or simply craving some delicious comfort food, this recipe is sure to satisfy. With its perfectly golden and crunchy exterior, pair with tender and succulent fish on the inside, catfish nuggets are bound to become your new go-to snack or appetizer.
Why We Love This Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets Recipe
Get ready to fall in love with this irresistible air fryer catfish nuggets recipe. Packed with flavor and quick to prepare, this recipe has all the elements that make it a standout choice.
- Quick and Easy: With a short cooking time, this recipe is perfect for busy weeknights when you need a quick and delicious dinner option.
- Family Friendly: The crispy and flavorful catfish nuggets are a hit with both kids and adults, making it a great choice for family meals. This easy and quick finger food is wonderful for families and/or parties.
- Makes Great Leftovers: If you have any leftovers, you can enjoy in various ways, such as in sandwiches, tacos, or salads.
Ingredient Notes to Make Catfish Nuggets in the AIr Fryer
- Catfish: Fresh or thawed frozen catfish works perfect for this recipe. It offers a mild and delicate flavor, complemented by the crispy coating.
- Buttermilk: The buttermilk acts as a marinade, tenderizing the catfish and adding a tangy flavor.
- Cornmeal: Coating the catfish with cornmeal gives it a crispy texture and adds a hint of sweetness. This acts as your bread crumbs.
See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.
Variations and Substitutions for this Crispy Air Fryer Recipe
Looking to put your own spin on the classic air fryer catfish nuggets? From trying different fish options to experimenting with premade fish coating, you can customize this recipe to suit your taste preferences and culinary creativity.
- Premade Fish Fry Coating: If you prefer a shortcut or want to try a different flavor profile, you can use a premade fish fry coating instead of the cornmeal coating.
- Favorite Fish: While catfish is traditionally for this recipe, you can experiment with other types of tender fish as well. Try using tilapia, cod, or haddock for a different taste and texture. They will all be crispy and delicious.
- Coating: These nuggets are better than deep fried version and can be coated with panko bread crumbs or other flour mixtures.
How to Make Air-Fried Catfish Nuggets
These are the basic steps for making fried catfish nuggets. Refer to the full, printable recipe card below for detailed instructions for this easy dinner.
Step 1: Prepare Air Fryer and Catfish
First, preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Then cut your catfish fillets into small pieces, about an inch in size. Set cubed catfish onto a plate and set aside.
Step 2: Prepare Coating Mixtures
Then in a shallow bowl, add the buttermilk and egg. Next, mix the ingredients together. In a separate shallow dish, add the cornmeal, flour, cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir together.
Step 3: Coat Catfish
Next, dip each nugget into the cornmeal breading mixture, then the egg mixture, and once more into the cornmeal mixture. Then make sure each nugget is fully coated and then repeat this process until all nuggets are done.
Step 4: Cook
Finally, place your breaded catfish pieces into your air fryer basket, mist them with a little oil spray, and arrange the nuggets in a single layer in the basket. Make sure to not overcrowd the basket. Cook for 5 minutes. Lastly, shake the basket or flip each nugget halfway through the cooking time. Repeat with each batch. Allow to rest on paper towels to absorb any grease. Serve with tartar sauce for dipping.
Recipe FAQs for Making the Best Catfish Nuggets
Expert Tips for Making This Air Fried Catfish Recipe
Achieving crispy, flavorful southern fried catfish is a breeze with these expert tips. From ensuring the right temperature and thickness of the fish to flipping them at the right time, these tips will help you master this recipe like a pro.
- Fish Temperature: To ensure that your catfish nuggets are perfect, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. The fish should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
- Thickness of Fish: You may need to adjust the cooking time depending on the thickness of your fish. Thicker pieces will require slightly more cooking time, while thinner pieces may cook faster.
- Remember to Flip: Halfway through the cooking process, flip the catfish to ensure even browning and crispy texture on both sides. This will help achieve a uniform and delicious result. And do not forget to use the cooking spray.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets
Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets
- 1 pound Catfish, cut into 1″ pieces
- ⅓ cup Buttermilk
- 1 Egg
- ½ cup Cornmeal
- ⅓ cup All-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- Set your airfryer to 390F and let it preheat.
- Slice the catfish into 1-inch pieces. Place on a plate and set aside.
- Mix the buttermilk and egg in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
- Mix together the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper in another shallow bowl until well combined.
- Coat every catfish nugget in the cornmeal mixture, followed by the egg-milk mixture, and once more in the cornmeal mixture.
- After breading all the catfish nuggets, proceed to add them to the preheated airfryer in multiple batches, depending on the size of your airfryer.
- Bake the nuggets for 5 minutes, making sure to shake or flip them halfway through.
- Fish Temperature: To ensure that your catfish nuggets are cooked to perfection, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. The fish should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
- Thickness of Fish: The cooking time may need to be adjusted based on the thickness of your fish. Thicker pieces will require slightly more cooking time, while thinner pieces may cook faster.
- Remember to Flip: Halfway through the cooking process, flip the catfish to ensure even browning and crispy texture on both sides. This will help achieve a uniform and delicious result.