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+ servings
an air fried catfish filet on a plate with french fries

Gluten Free Air Fryer Catfish

Sandi Gaertner
Everyone will love this crispy delicious gluten free air fryer catfish. I also include stovetop frying directions for those who do not own an air fryer.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Soaking 30 mins
Course Gluten Free Dinner Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 250 kcal


  • 1 ½ pounds catfish fillets Usually 3-4 fillets
  • ¾ cup cornmeal * see note
  • ¼ cup gluten free flour * see note
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon creole seasoning * see note
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk * see note
  • 1 tablespoon light oil for spraying


  • Add buttermilk to a bowl and gently place the catfish fillets (or nuggets) into the milk. If you don't have buttermilk, it is easy to make by adding lemon juice to milk. Soak the fish for 30 minutes. This step is important to remove the fishy flavor from the catfish.
  • Mix up the cornmeal seasoning mix in a large bag. Place the cornmeal fish breading and seasoning ingredients into a large bag and shake to mix it up. When the catfish is done soaking in buttermilk, hold the catfish over the bowl to allow the extra milk to run off.
  • Place the catfish in the bag, one fillet at a time. Shake gently so the raw catfish fillet is coated in the catfish breading mixture. Preheat your air fryer to 375º F. 
  • Spray the bottom grill of the air fryer with a high heat oil like avocado or canola. (Do not use olive oil or another heat intolerant oil or your fish will turn out rancid.) Place a breaded catfish fillet in the air fryer. Make sure the fish isn't touching so the air can circulate around each piece of fish.
  • Spray the top of the gluten free breaded catfish with more oil. This will help the crust get nice and crispy!
  • Cook your catfish in the air fryer for 12-15 minutes. The actual cook time will vary depending on the size of your catfish fillets, and whether you use catfish nuggets or fillets. You will know the catfish is done cooking when it is crispy and the cornmeal breading is a golden color.
  • Note, many will recommend flipping your catfish over partway through the cooking cycle. I find this difficult without the catfish falling apart in the air fryer. It is up to you if you want to try this. I did not flip it and my catfish was still crispy and delicious on both sides.
  • Drizzle fresh lemon juice over the fish and enjoy!


  1. Make sure the bag of cornmeal you buy says gluten free. Bob's Red Mill and a few other brands label their cornmeal.
  2. To make your own buttermilk, add 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. It also adds some nice lemon flavor to the fish.
  3. Gluten free flour blend - you do not need to add Xanthan gum. You can also use brown rice flour.
  4. I like to use Zaitarains cajun seasoning because it is gluten free. Always read the labels on the spices you use.
  5. This fried catfish will keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Frying Catfish Stovetop:

To fry your catfish in oil on your stovetop, follow steps 1 and 2 above. In a dutch oven or cast-iron skillet, heat your oil. I recommend using either avocado or canola oil. It is very important to use an oil that can tolerate high heat.
Heat the oil to 350-375º F. Gently add a piece of breaded catfish. If you are using catfish filets, fry one filet at a time. If you are frying catfish nuggets, you can fry several together as long as they don't touch.
Cook in the hot oil for 3 minutes and flip it gently with tongs. Be careful of the hot oil splashing. Cook 3 minutes on the other side and move to a paper towel-lined plate. The paper towel will help absorb extra oil from frying. * If your catfish is thick, it may need to cook a little longer on each side.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 23gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 577mgPotassium: 547mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 426IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 69mgIron: 1mg
Keyword air fried catfish, air fryer catfish, cornmeal breading, gluten free fried catfish
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