Looking for a delicious, nutritious, and easy-to-prepare meal idea? Try Catfish Nuggets in the air fryer! Made with simple ingredients, this catfish nuggets recipe provides a good source of protein. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any leftover catfish you might have. So what are you waiting for? Start cooking!

dipping crispy fish nuggets in creamy sauce

Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets

Have you ever tried fried catfish nuggets? If not, you are missing out! Air fryer catfish nuggets are easy to make and taste amazing. Plus, it’s a healthier option than traditional fried catfish.

These crispy and delicious catfish nuggets are easy to make with just a few simple ingredients – and they cook up in no time at all in your air fryer.

It’s a great way to enjoy catfish in a new and different way, and even your kids will love them. Especially when you pair them with your favorite dipping sauces!

Be sure to try more of my easy Air Fryer Fish Recipes like AIR FRYER SWORDFISH, AIR FRYER BLACKENED FISH TACOS, AIR FRYER CEDAR PLANK SALMON, and AIR FRYER FISH AND CHIPS.

Why You’ll Love Fried Catfish Nuggets

  • Made from scratch
  • Ready in under 30 minutes
  • Works as a snack or meal
  • Fun alternative to chicken nuggets
  • Gluten-free and Keto-friendly options

What Are Catfish Nuggets?

Catfish nuggets are breaded pieces of catfish filet that are fried to crispy, golden perfection.

It’s the same idea as chicken nuggets, but with seafood instead of poultry!

Ingredients Needed for This Catfish Nuggets Recipe

bowls of ingredients for homemade catfish nuggets
  • Catfish: Use fresh catfish or thawed catfish. You can also use any freshwater fish, mild-tasting fish, or white fish with this catfish nuggets recipe.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour. For a keto-friendly recipe, use almond flour or coconut flour.
  • Potato Starch
  • Eggs: Use large, room temperature eggs
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: You can also use pork rinds for a keto-friendly recipe or gluten-free bread crumbs.
  • Seasonings and Spices: Garlic Paste, Lemon Juice, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper
  • Serving: Fresh lemon slices, homemade tartar sauce, hot sauce, or fresh dill

How To Air Fry Catfish Nuggets

dredging cubes of catfish in panko breadcrumbs

Step 1: Prepare the fish

Cut fish filets into 1” pieces, then dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place the catfish pieces onto a paper towel-lined plate.

Step 2: Make a dredging station

Add flour and potato starch in one bowl.

Combine whisked eggs, garlic paste, and lemon juice in the second bowl.

Mix panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, and black pepper in the third bowl. 

Step 3: Preheat the air fryer

If you don’t have a preheat option, simply run the air fryer for 5 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Then, spray your air fryer basket with olive oil spray or nonstick cooking spray.

breaded catfish pieces on foil in air fryer basket

Step 4: Bread the fish

Working in batches of 5-6 catfish nuggets at a time, toss the pieces in the flour bowl until evenly coated.

Then, dip them into the egg mixture, and lastly, roll the fish in the bread crumbs. Lightly press the bread crumbs into the fish to help adhere.

Repeat until all fish pieces are breaded. 

Step 5: Cook

Arrange nuggets in a single layer in the basket and spray them with oil. Air fry catfish nuggets for 5 minutes, then turn them over and lightly spray again.

Cook for another 5 minutes. Serve fried catfish nuggets with a side of tartar sauce or horseradish dip and lemon wedges.

catfish nuggets and lemon slices in wooden container

Pro Tips:

  • Avoid Crowding: Cook in batches so you don’t overload the basket. If the food is too close together, it will not cook evenly and will come out soggy. Space out the catfish nuggets and flip them halfway so that they crisp evenly on all sides.
  • Easy Cleanup: If you’d like, you can place a piece of foil in the basket before adding the nuggets. Just be sure to leave space around the sides so the air can still circulate.
  • Timing: No two air fryers are the same, so make sure that you watch your food as it cooks. It may be ready sooner or it may need more time.
  • Use a Thermometer: Seafood is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Remove a nugget from the air fryer, then insert the probe into the center for the most accurate reading.
  • Seasonings and Spices: Adding seasonings and spices to this catfish nuggets recipe is a great way to add flavor and complexity. From Cajun seasoning to Old Bay seasoning, there are lots of different flavors to choose from. Experiment until you find your favorite!

What to Serve with Fried Catfish Nuggets

Air fryer catfish nuggets are a great appetizer or party snack, but you can also serve them for a main course.

Here are some common side dishes that go well with breaded catfish:

Storage and Reheating

If you have any leftover air fryer catfish nuggets, let them cool to room temperature, then place them into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

To reheat, air fry catfish nuggets for 4-5 minutes at 350 degrees F using the air fryer setting.

What Sauce is Good with Fried Fish Nuggets?

I love to serve air fried fish nuggets with horseradish or tartar sauce, but hot sauce or a squeeze of fresh lemon are popular choices as well!

Kids will probably prefer ketchup or mustard — whatever they like with their chicken nuggets.

For something more flavorful, try mixing Cajun spices into mayonnaise or Greek yogurt with a little bit of lemon juice.

Is Air Fried Catfish Healthy?

Air fried catfish is a healthy, low-fat protein source that is ideal for people looking to incorporate more fish into their diets. Because it is air fried rather than deep fried, the fish retains more of its natural nutrients and vitamins while minimizing the amount of fat and calories consumed.

Additionally, fried catfish offers a range of flavor options, from lemon and herb seasonings to spicy chipotle rubs. Whether you are looking for a simple side dish or a more elaborate entrée option, air fried catfish is a versatile and healthy choice that is sure to please.

Should You Soak Catfish in Milk Before Frying?

Many recipes recommend soaking any type of fish in milk or buttermilk to help reduce the fishy taste and odor.

However, this step is optional and not at all necessary when making fried fish filets or nuggets!

How to Cook Frozen Catfish in Air Fryer

If you find breaded nuggets in the freezer section of your store, you can still use this recipe as a guide!

Place the frozen catfish nuggets into the air fryer basket, then set the cooking temperature to 400 degrees F for 12-14 minutes. If you want the breading to crisp up, be sure to spray the pieces with cooking spray. 

More Air Fryer Seafood Recipes

Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets

Catfish Nuggets in the Air Fryer

4.20 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings

Description

Make Catfish Nuggets in the air fryer for a quick and easy meal! Pair this simple catfish nuggets recipe with your favorite dips and sides.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound catfish, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch, or use cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cup panko, or Bread Crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Cut fish filets into 1” catfish pieces, and dry the catfish fillets with paper towels. Place the catfish pieces onto a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Prepare a dredging station. Add flour and potato starch in one bowl. Combine whisked eggs, garlic paste, and lemon juice in the second bowl. Mix panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, and black pepper in the third small bowl.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees f, for 5 minutes, spray your air fryer basket with olive oil spray, or nonstick cooking spray.
  • Working in batches of 5-6 fish nuggets at a time, place catfish in the flour bowl until evenly coated, then dip them into the egg mixture, and lastly, roll the fish in the bread crumbs. Lightly press the bread crumbs into the fish to help adhere. Repeat until all fish are breaded. 
  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange fish nuggets in a single layer in the basket and spray them with canola oil. Set the cooking time for 5 minutes, then turn them over and lightly spray them with canola oil, set the cook time for 5 more minutes. 
  • Serve fish nuggets with a side of horseradish dip and lemon wedges.

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 277kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 21gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 217mgPotassium: 413mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 175IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 3mg

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