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Crisp-Crusted Catfish

We really enjoy a meal of crisp-fried catfish with a couple of hush puppies on the side at a fish fry, but my taste buds told me this recipe is a great alternative without all the calories and fat. 

People probably avoid eating baked catfish because they think it will end up “mushy” or “fishy.”  That’s definitely not the case with the farm-raised catfish baked using this recipe as it has the delicious crunch of batter-fried catfish on the outside, while being succulently tender on the inside with a flavor to die for.

This simple recipe is from Cooking Light Cookbook.  The catfish gets a double dose of flavor from the ranch dressing and Parmesan-cornmeal coating. 

Crisp-Crusted Catfish


2 tablespoons light ranch dressing
2 large egg whites
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 (6-ounce) farm-raised catfish fillets
Cooking spray
Lemon wedges


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine dressing and egg whites in a small bowl, and stir well with a whisk.
Combine cornmeal and next 4 ingredients in a shallow dish.
Dip fish in egg white mixture; dredge in cornmeal mixture.
Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Serve with lemon wedges or light tartar sauce.
4 servings
Per serving:   calories-313; fat-9 grams; carbohydrates-14.3 grams.


Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway! 


  1. These certainly don't look mushy at all. I for some reason don't tolerate catfish all that well, but my husband and son LOVE it. I'll have to try this for them and perhaps use your coating on another fish for myself. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Pam,

    This looks wonderful. i can't get J. to eat fish so I only get it when we go out for dinner. I liked the Hamburger Bake too.


  3. We love catfish, and just had it the other day grilled. Usually I just blacken and panfry. I will have to try it this looks perfect. Love the crisp outside crust!

  4. Cooking Light never steers is wrong! I must say I have never had catfish but back in the day I did catch one or two.

  5. I have never seen catfish in the shops here and I have not heard of anyone farming it. There are many salmon farms in Scotland but.... Diane

  6. I love the crispy fried catfish my grandmother used to make but don't like frying it in my own kitchen. This looks like the answer to that problem. Thanks, Pam.

  7. We love fried catfish, but this recipe would be so much healthier. The ranch would give it a great flavor!

  8. Catfish is one of my mom and dad's favorite meals! I am passing this recipe on to her. I am going to try it with tilapia. Thanks for another great recipe Pam!

    Have a great day!

  9. Great recipe! Love the addition of the Ranch dressing and Parmesan cheese. Sounds delicious! Thanks!

  10. A crispy, BAKED catfish...I'm in! It looks so good and I love crispy fried catfish, so... :D

  11. I've never tried to get crispy fish from the oven, but this sure does look good. We're having the low fat fried seafood for supper tonight.

  12. Love crisby catfish...that looks and sounds amazing.

  13. Read it out loud to hubby and he said he "might" like it. Is the Ranch dressing the dry or the bottled?

  14. I'm a catfish-eating southern girl at heart. I haven't met a recipe for it that I didn't like!

    You need to toss in a few photos of baby Matthew here and there!!


  15. This is looks delicious! We don't eat catfish, but do tilapia instead, but I'm sure this will taste so yummy! The idea of combining ranch dressing and Parmesan cheese makes me anticipate a tantalizing dish. I'll have to try this soon.

  16. Thanks for all your kind comments!

    Donnie, it's bottled Ranch dressing. Hope you try it and like it as much as we do!

    Bonnie, how sweet of you and I will. He has gone from 6 lbs, 6 oz. to 8 lbs, 9 oz. and is a cutie.

  17. I've never had catfish, but after seeing yours, I'd try in a second! it looks delicious!

  18. I have never had catfish, this looks delicious, though, so the next time i am in the Market i might just see if the fish monger has some to try!

  19. Thats a great idea for coating fish -cornmeal and parmesan, i'll have to try it.

  20. This is exactly what I feel like having for dinner right now! fish! :( I find most recipes from Cooking Light very, very good! Thanks for sharing Pam!

  21. For some unknown reason, I have always been afraid to try catfish. The way you prepared this makes me want to give it a try. It sounds yummy!

  22. This looks delicious. (and I am hungry)

    How is that grandbaby doing?


  23. oooO, love crusty fish, this looks perfect to me.

  24. This looks so good! We do not have Catfish in our markets, but I'll use Haddock. I like your use of Egg Whites. :)

  25. My brother-in-law loves catfish. I will have to make this for him. Thank you for sharing this loveliness tonight. I hope that tomorrow is full of happy moments, joyful conversation and plates of satisfying food

  26. Being southern,I love catfish. Your recipe looks very good!

  27. This sounds like a perfect coating - bet this fish was delish!

  28. This is such a healthy choice for a good nutritious meal Pam!

  29. This sounds like a delicious alternative to a fish fry. I can imagine it might be just as comforting as well.

  30. I love crispy baked fish! If done right, it really does make you forget it's not been deep fried!

  31. This looks delish!!! I do get tired of deep frying.. i bet this is perfect. :) Nicely done!

  32. Now you're talking! I love catfish, and especially when it's done with some texture to it, not all mushy. I'll like to try this one.


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