Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets

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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.

Catfish nuggets from the air fryer.

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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.

If you’re looking for more flavorful fish recipes, try these Fish Baja Tacos, Soy Ginger Garlic Fish and Air Fryer Pistachio Crusted Fish.

A pile of air fryer catfish nuggets on a white plate.

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 fillets, cornmeal, eggs and seasoning.
  • 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.

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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.

Making the batter for the fish bites and then dipping the fish in the batter.

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.

Breading the fish in the cornmeal mixture and placing in the air fryer.

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

Catfish has a mild and slightly sweet flavor with a flaky texture. It is often described as having a taste that is not too fishy. The flavor is complemented by the crispy coating in this great recipe, making it a delicious choice for both seafood lovers and those who are new to eating fish. This easy air fryer recipe makes this recipe a breeze. The fish nuggets are great with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice too.

Yes! If you prefer to use premade seasoning blends instead of the simple cajun seasoning, feel free to do so. It can add a burst of flavor and spices to your dish, giving it a unique and savory taste. Fish breading is always great with old bay seasoning.

The cooking time for these nuggets is about 5 minutes. However, if you prefer your catfish nuggets extra crispy, you can cook them for a minute or two longer. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t overcook or become too dry.

To store any leftover catfish nuggets, allow them to cool completely. Once cooled, place them in an airtight container refrigerate for up to 3 days.

A heaping platter of the air fryer 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

Catfish nuggets from the air fryer.
5 from 1 vote

Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets

Yield: 4 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
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.
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Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Catfish, cut into 1″ pieces
  • cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Cornmeal
  • cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper

Instructions

  • 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.

Expert Tips

  • 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.

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 669mg | Potassium: 570mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1014IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to www.itisakeeper.com/about-its-a-keeper/privacy-disclosure-policies/
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American

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