Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets

These Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets are easy to make and so flavorful! Great for a quick weeknight dinner or appetizer for your next game day party! 

Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets on a plate with a bowl of sauce in the middle.

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Air Fryer Catfish Nugget in a bowl of dipping sauce on a plate with more nuggets.

This recipe was photographed and updated 3/2024.

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Today I'm sharing my recipe for catfish nuggets in the air fryer! These nuggets are so quick and easy to make and SO tasty too! I prefer nuggets when I cook catfish. I feel they taste less fishy than a whole fillet and they're more kid friendly too!

This recipe would work great with any fish you have on hand. I always have cod or salmon in the freezer and the rest of the ingredients are staples, so we can have an easy meal ready any time. These catfish nuggets are great for busy weeknights. Serve it with your favorite side, or use them to make po boys or fish tacos. 

If you want to serve these as an appetizer, make the Sriracha Mayo from this recipe for a dipping sauce! They go perfectly together and will disappear fast.

This might sound crazy, but I love the leftover nuggets cold, straight from the fridge as a snack. It's not often we have leftovers, but when we do, they end up being a delicious snack.

If you love making air fryer appetizers, try these Air Fryer Pizza Wings or these Air Fryer Beef and Bean Taquitos!

Keep scrolling for the full printable recipe 💙

cooked nuggets in an air fryer basket.

You can add or substitute with these ingredients:

  • use cornmeal instead of breadcrumbs for a crispier nugget
  • use more garlic powder instead of garlic salt to reduce sodium
  • use salmon or cod instead of catfish
  • serve with lemon slices to squeeze on top

Recipe tips:

  • Fresh catfish isn't easily found in my area, so I usually order the frozen fillets from Walmart. If using frozen, make sure to thaw, drain excess liquid and pat dry with a paper towel before marinating.
  • If you're short on time, just season the catfish and skip refrigerating before using. It still turns out delicious!
  • Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. This is best reheated in the air fryer to help get them crispy again.
  • I did not preheat my air fryer before cooking and used a Ninja basket style air fryer. It tends to run hot compared to other air fryers, so adjust the time accordingly and use a meat thermometer to make sure the temp reaches 145 degrees F.

Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets in a plate with a bowl of sauce in the middle.
Yield 4 servings
Author Hot Eats and Cool Reads
Prep time
15 Min
Cook time
10 Min
Inactive time
30 Min
Total time
55 Min

Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets


  • 1 pound catfish fillets, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • breading:
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • olive oil spray


  1. In a bowl, combine catfish nuggets, 1 teaspoon creole seasoning and parsley until catfish is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Lightly beat an egg in a separate bowl. In another bowl, mix together the flour, breadcrumbs, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, ½ tablespoon creole seasoning and garlic salt until combined.
  3. Spray the air fryer crisper plate with olive oil.
  4. Place half the catfish pieces in the egg and coat evenly. Then add a few salmon pieces at a time to the breading mixture, evenly coat and place on the air fryer crisper plate.
  5. Lightly spray the top of the catfish with olive oil, then air fry at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Flip then cook for another 4-5 minutes until crispy and internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
  6. Repeat above steps with remaining catfish pieces.
  7. Serve catfish nuggets with sriracha mayo sauce for dipping.

Nutrition Facts




5.05 g

Sat. Fat

1.33 g


18.78 g


1.25 g

Net carbs

17.53 g


0.69 g


23.05 g


699.56 mg


112.27 mg

Hot Eats and Cool Reads is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you try from this blog/website. You may not always have the same results due to variations in ingredients, humidity, altitude, cooking temperatures, typos, errors, omissions, or individual cooking abilities. 

You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful. I am not a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. Each individual's dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual.

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Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets on a plate with a bowl of sauce in the middle.

Author photo collage with text that reads, Hey, I'm Sheena! Hope you found a recipe you love! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  1. Oh yum!!!! I would dive right into those. As an aside, I'm from Minnesota! I haven't lived there for quite a few years, but I grew up in Grand Rapids and spent some time in Duluth, and several years in St. Paul.

  2. Sheena, these nuggets look SO good and they're a perfect appetizer for popping during the game! I think my kiddos would love these, too. They adore finger foods!

  3. I was so excited when I saw the title of this post. I love fried catfish, but oven baked sounds even better! These really look perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. These sound delicious! Like you, I actually really like catfish.

  5. Love the recipe, but will try it on some cod. ;) I'm not a huge catfish fan.

  6. These catfish nuggets look so good! Love that you baked them.

  7. I am going to make this! I've been wanting to do an oven baked crunchy fish thing, and I really love that you used buttermilk.These look delish!

  8. I haven't had crunchy baked fish since my kids were little and it definitely wasn't healthy like these catfish nuggets! These look fantastic!

  9. I love panko as a breading. Perfect game day snack!

  10. My dad loves catfish - these are so cute! At first sight, I totally thought they were chicken nuggets! I'll suggest this to my parents as my dad is in the full swing of 'all things football' and this would be a great snack to keep him company during the games!

  11. This is so very southern! :) I love how simple & flavorful this recipe is too- yum!

  12. I had no idea you could get catfish nuggets! I'll have to look for that!

  13. Any way to make this low carb I wonder?! Nevertheless it looks delicious!


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