How to Cook a Whole Catfish

by Jake Wayne

Freshly caught catfish.

HildeAnna/iStock/Getty Images

There are few foods as satisfying as a pan-fried fish you just pulled out of the water, and catfish is no exception. In most ways, pan-frying a whole catfish is a lot like pan-frying other fish. However, since catfish live in the muddy bottoms of the water, some cooks prefer to use different or more intense spices to mask what many consider an unpleasant taste. Catfish can grow to tremendous sizes, so if your cat is bigger than your pan, you can use this same recipe with separate pieces of the fish.

Set your skillet on your fire or grill. Let it heat up while you prep the fish.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the catfish to taste.

Stuff the slit of the gutted catfish with orange slices, lemon slices and sprigs of dill. One layer of each will provide moisture and flavor.

Pour 1/8 inch of oil into the skillet.

Set the catfish in the skillet. Cook for four to five minutes, until the underside of the fish is brown and the flesh on that side begins to become flaky.

Turn the catfish over. Cook on the opposite side for another four to five minutes.

Remove and eat while still hot.


  • You will need to refill the oil in your pan if you cook more than one whole or section of catfish at a sitting. If the oil becomes too thin, it will start to burn and taint your catfish with a charred flavor.


Photo Credits

  • HildeAnna/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Jake Wayne has written professionally for more than 12 years, including assignments in business writing, national magazines and book-length projects. He has a psychology degree from the University of Oregon and black belts in three martial arts.