Catfish is a southern staple that is delicious and versatile, as you can enjoy it fried, grilled, or even baked in an oven.
While the taste of plain catfish varies depending on the species and the habitat of the fish, it could also use some extra seasoning to give it an extra flavor kick!
So you’re probably wondering:
“what kind of seasoning can work on catfish?”
Luckily, there are plenty of catfish seasoning mixes and styles that can completely change the way you eat catfish!
In today’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most delicious ones!
Let’s dive right in!
1. Cajun Seasoning
Let’s start with one of the most iconic seasoning styles for catfish and also one of the easiest and quickest recipes!
In addition to giving the catfish the tangy, spicy flavor it lacks, it’s also used as a base for many other catfish seasoning styles, such as louisiana catfish seasoning!
In fact, Cajun spice is my favoring catfish seasoning for frying!
To prepare the Cajun seasoning, you’ll need a few readily available pantry spices, including:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried Oregano
- Smoked Paprika
- Red pepper flakes
- A drizzle of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
You’ll typically need equal amounts of all seasoning.
After combining together, drizzle and brush the seasoning over the catfish fillets before frying or baking.
2. Jollof Seasoning
Jollof seasoning is a special West African spice mix where catfish are commonly enjoyed, especially in Nigeria.
This unique seasoning has a wide variety of special ingredients, such as ginger, bay leaf, coriander, thyme, cinnamon, garlic, chili, bell peppers, nutmeg, onions, and some sugar.
You can buy Jollof seasoning mix directly or combine them yourself, it’s that easy!
I also like to add a dash of curry powder to this mix, which balances out the hints of cinnamon if you’re not into it.
3. Balsamic Vinegar
One of the easiest ways to enjoy fish of all kinds is to glaze them with balsamic vinegar.
The sour/acidic taste instantly makes catfish more enjoyable and gives the fillets a nice color after frying.
The glazing also contains a few ingredients to balance out the flavor and give sweet, fruity hints, such as honey and rosemary.
Sumac is one of the most underrated and intriguing spices out there.
The bright red spice hailing from the Middle East has a tart flavor that is similar to freshly squeezed limes.
The main difference here is that sumac’s tanginess comes with a subtle fruity note that lingers in the mouth, adding notable brightness to your catfish flavor.
Additionally, sumac is a healthy single-ingredient seasoning that was found to promote better blood sugar level balance, according to a 2014 study.
5. Blackening Seasoning
If you’re all about big and bold flavors, you should look no further than blackened catfish seasoning.
The blackening process involves applying a seasoning rub on a butter-dipped fish and then searing it on high heat.
Besides the spicy flavor, it develops a notable dark brown/black crust after cooking the fish on a grill or a skillet, hence the name!
As you can see in this video (0:15), you can simply use the previously mentioned cajun seasoning for this style, but you can also use Creole seasoning the same way.
6. Rosemary with Citrus Sauce
Rosemary and zesty citrus fruits are among the best seasoning for catfish for all the good reasons!
The peppery and piney flavor of rosemary perfectly checks out the sour flavor of the citrus sauce.
Keep in mind that citrus sauce also contains some brown sugar and pineapple.
This leaves fruity notes with a mild sweetness with every bite!
7. Pineapple Juice
Speaking of pineapple, in addition to its delicious raw flavor, the fruit is often combined with meats and poultry to give a unique flavor and even impact the texture of the tissues.
This is because pineapple contains Bromelain.
This is a naturally occurring enzyme that breaks down the connective tissue in fibrous meats, making them tender and juicy!
Keep in mind that the ingredients in the video are readjusted at 3:00.
Instead of chicken broth, you can also use vegetable broth or just water with 1 teaspoon of salt or MSG.
8. Shrimp-Stuffed Catfish
Regular herbs and spices can add special flavors to your recipes.
However, if you’re into bold and complex combinations to lift up the flavor, you should consider using shrimp as stuffing!
Although this recipe may look quite fancy, it actually takes less than an hour to prepare from scratch, and you can use other types of stuffing, such as crabmeat!
This catfish seasoning recipes will still require some condiments like peppers, garlic, and herbs to get the right level of tanginess.
You can also use seafood as stuffing simply to add a whole new layer of depth to the flavor!
9. Smoking with Herb Marinade
Smoking your catfish might be a time-consuming seasoning style, but it’s totally worth it, especially if you marinate your fish in aromatic herbs.
You can use any type of wood for smoking, but I highly recommend Alderwood or Applewood for the job.
These woods have a characteristic sweet aroma that is easily incorporated with catfish.
This brings out its lightly sweet flavor along with the smokiness!
Cashew is one of the healthiest and most delicious nuts out there with a remarkably sweet flavor.
But, did you know that they also make for a perfect seasoning for catfish?
This recipe uses a combination of curried condiments along with raw cashews to create a mildly spicy seasoning with a crunchy twist!
11. Hoisin-Ginger Sauce
Another amazing seasoning style that you can try with your catfish is the hoisin ginger sauce.
This Asian-style seasoning is excellent for those who like the sweet and sour flavor but with a smoky aroma!
The ginger also adds a unique tangy flavor with spicy undertones, but you can omit it if you don’t feel adventurous.
You can prepare the sauce at home if you have access to Asian ingredients, but I always find it more cost-effective to buy it directly when I don’t have the time.
12. Vietnamese Claypot Style
If you’re tired of regular catfish recipes and want a complete change of pace, you can try out Vietnamese cuisine, which devised a totally different way to enjoy catfish!
Introducing the Vietnamese Claypot style seasoning.
In this recipe, the catfish fillets are coated with a special sauce made of chiles, garlic, scallion, molasses, salt, and fish sauce!
13. White Wine Herb Sauce
Fish is best enjoyed with a glass of white wine because it’s more acidic, which is the same reason why lemon is a staple in fish seasoning in catfish and even swordfish flavorings.
If you want to take this concept one step further, you should consider the white wine herb sauce, which combines dry white wine with butter and Worcestershire sauce for a unique flavor!
14. Herb Butter
If you like to cook your catfish in thick steak style, you might want to try it out with a chunk of delicious and creamy herb butter on top!
I’ve used this as a go-to tuna steak seasoning many times.
This butter mix is very easy to make and they last for up to 2 months in the fridge!
You can use any herbs of your choice while making it, but make sure that you add some lemon zest to preserve it and give it a slightly sour taste.
15. Remoulade Sauce
If you enjoy fried spicy catfish, you should definitely consider this fried catfish seasoning.
The Remoulade sauce contains a variety of mouth tickling ingredients.
This includes dijon mustard, horseradish, relish, mayonnaise, Creole seasoning, and pickle juice!
The sauce is blended together and drizzled on top of buttermilk fried catfish or used as a dipping sauce, adding a mouthwatering savory flavor!
This wraps up our list of our favorite catfish seasoning and cooking styles to massively improve the flavor of your recipe.
Despite the fish’s sweet hints, the relatively muddy flavor of catfish requires some tweaking with herbs and spices to be balanced out.
15 Mouthwatering Catfish Seasoning Ideas
- Cajun Seasoning
- Jollof Seasoning
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Sumac Catfish
- Blackening Seasoning
- Rosemary with Citrus Sauce
- Pineapple Juice
- Shrimp-Stuffed Catfish
- Smoking with Herb Marinade
- Cashew Catfish
- Hoisin-Ginger Sauce
- Vietnamese Claypot Style
- White Wine Herb Sauce
- Herb Buttered Catfish
- Remoulade Sauce
- Choose your desired catfish seasoning recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create tasty seasonings for catfish and enjoy your meal!