Catfish Recipe

Crispy Southern Catfish Recipe

This Crispy Southern Catfish Recipe is a classic Southern combination of saltine crackers and margarine. It’s the basis for this unusual recipe for catfish.


Rather than pan-frying, these fillets are doused in melted margarine, coated in the cracker crumbs, and grilled on the barbecue.

The crackers soak up the margarine and get crispy, the fish stays tender and moist, and you have loads of compliments coming your way!

It’s not complicated, but do keep an eye on the heat of your grill – too much heat will char the cracker.

If a grill is not available or the weather does not permit outdoor grilling, pan-fry the fillets in melted margarine or broil them until crispy.

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Crispy Southern Catfish Recipe
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Delicious from the grill or the frying pan! 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 210 kcal
  • 4 fillets ounces each fresh catfish
  • 1 cup saltine crackers finely crushed
  • ½ cup margarine or unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 cup milk whole or skim
  1. Soak the catfish fillets in the milk for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. Light a charcoal barbecue or heat a gas grill.
  3. Shake off the excess milk from the fish and discard the milk. Pat the fillets dry.
  4. Combine the crushed saltines with the seasoned salt, celery salt, black pepper and garlic. Dip the fillets first in the melted butter, then press them gently into the melted margarine.
  5. Grill the fish over medium heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, turning once, until the fish flakes easily with a fork. You can also lay the fillets on a piece of strong aluminum foil and lay the foil directly on the grill.

Good To Know About This Catfish Recipe

The smoke of the grill or barbecue adds a unique flavor to the fish. If your grill doesn’t have a cover, use the largest stainless steel bowl you can find to use as a cover, or just tent the fish with aluminum foil. Try to capture as much of the smoky essence that you can.

Food For Thought

For a spicier variation, combine Panko bread crumbs combined with seasoned bread crumbs, Cajun or blackening spices, and any other herbs or spices you may favor. Douse the fillets with hot pepper sauce before coating them and add a pinch of cayenne to the melted margarine.

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