Blackened Catfish

Blackened Catfish

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Total: 16 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yields: 4 fillets

The perfect blackened catfish recipe calls for the best homemade blackening seasoning. This recipe combines loads of spices to produce about 1 cup of seasoning. However, this seasoning blend is so delicious you might want to double the amounts and save some for the next time you crave blackened catfish, shrimp, or even tofu. In addition, if you store the seasoning mixture in an airtight container, it makes for a great gift.

Just before serving, sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over the fish for a burst of color. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over the fish just before taking that first bite. Blackened catfish tastes great when served with white rice and your favorite sauteed or roasted vegetables.


  • For the Blackening Spice Mixture:
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • For the Catfish:
  • 4 (5 ounce) catfish fillets (skinless)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • For Garnish:
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • Lemon wedges

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Blackened Catfish ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  2. To prepare the blackening spice mixture, in a small bowl stir together the paprika, salt, granulated garlic, onion powder, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, and dried thyme.

    Blackened Catfish seasoning mixed up
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  3. Sprinkle the catfish fillets on both sides with kosher salt and let rest 20 minutes.

    Catfish seasoned with salt
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  4. Drizzle the catfish fillets with olive oil.

    Catfish fillets drizzled with oil
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  5. Sprinkle each of the fillets evenly with 1/4 cup blackening spice mixture, pressing to adhere.

    Seasoned catfish
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  6. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until very hot. Add butter to skillet, and swirl to coat.

    Butter melting in pan
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  7. Place fillets in the hot skillet and cook 2 minutes. Flip the fillets and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. The fish is done when it flakes apart under the gentle pressure from a fork.

    Blackened Catfish cooking in a pan
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  8. To serve, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!


  • The key to perfect blackened catfish is a screaming hot pan. The characteristic black crust that forms on the fish is the result of a combination of the browned milk solids from the butter and the charred spices in the seasoning blend. A hot pan will allow this crust to form quickly.
  • Remember to turn on the oven vent to high if you are cooking indoors and even open a window because the pan is likely to smoke.
  • Alternately, a cast-iron skillet can also be heated on an outdoor grill if you prefer to cook outside.