Air Fry Catfish Nuggets

Air fry catfish nuggets are an excellent way to enjoy your catfish nuggets without the guilt of deep frying. With an air fryer and just 3 ingredients, you can prepare this delicious crunchy fish within 30 minutes and in the comfort of your home. All you need is some catfish, cooking spray oil, and fish fry breading, and you’ll have amazing results without the excessive fishy smell.

Ingredients for Air Fry Catfish Nuggets

To prepare the catfish in the air fryer, you’ll need these ingredients:

  1. Catfish fillet– Fresh catfish meat is easily recognized by its white or transparent pink color. It’s best cooked fresh after it’s bought but can be frozen until you’re ready to cook it.
  2. Fish fry breading– The breading seasoning is typically cornmeal mixed with garlic, salt, and other seasonings. You can decide to prepare yours with the spices of your choice or purchase your preferred brand.
  3. Cooking spray– Cooking spray gives your catfish nuggets golden brown and crispy results. Spray with a light coating over the breading before air frying.

Preparing Catfish Nuggets in the Air Fryer

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 405 kcal


  • Air fryer


  • 1 Pound catfish filets trimmed into 1-inch pieces.
  • ¾ Cup seasoned fish fry breading.
  • Cooking oil spray.


  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) for 6 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the catfish. Clean the fillets if need be and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Put the fish fry breading seasoning in a mixing bowl and roll the nuggets one at a time to coat with the breading fully. Spread the nuggets on a baking sheet and spray evenly with the oil. You can skip the oil spray if your seasoning contains cooking oil.
  • Transfer the nuggets into your air fryer and spread in an even layer. Avoid overcrowding the air fryer for even cooking. Consider cooking in batches if your air fryer is small for the nuggets.
  • Air fry for 10-15 minutes. Once fully cooked, remove from the air fryer and serve as desired.



Air Fry Catfish Nuggets Recipe Tricks

  • Pat dry the fillets completely before coating. Excess moisture hinders the crispiness of the breading seasoning and results in soggy fried catfish nuggets.
  • Avoid overcrowding the basket to achieve the irresistible crunchiness of fried fish. Arrange the fish nuggets in a single layer in the air fryer basket without overlapping to allow the hot air to move freely for even cooking. Air fry in batches if need be.
  • The exact time to air fry the nuggets may vary depending on their thickness. For thicker filets, you may need to cook for an extra minutes at a lower temperature (350-380). To ensure its doneness, we recommend using a meat thermometer. Catfish meat should attain 145 degrees F to be safe for consumption.
  • For a crunchy crust, ensure to tap off some of the breading so the nuggets won’t be excessively bready. Additionally, use spray oil instead of olive oil to avoid making them soggy.
  • For easy cleaning up, lay a piece of parchment paper on the air fryer so it won’t get greasy.
  • You can add your favorite seasonings if you like. For instance, you can add onion powder, old bay seasoning, hot sauce, and Cajun seasoning. 
  • For thicker breading, you can use an egg wash to make the fish fry seasoning stick easily on the nuggets

Air Fry Catfish Nuggets Serving Suggestion

Air-fried catfish nuggets are great served with a dip or on their own with a light lemon squeeze. Ideally, serve your catfish nuggets with tartar sauce or creamy coleslaw. You can also serve them with garlic mashed potatoes, slow-cooked green beans, fried okra, potato salad, and collard greens.

Nutrition Information

Per Serving

  • Calories: 405 kcal
  • Protein: 32g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.2g
  • Fat: 23.6g
  • Cholesterol:  143.4mg
  • Sodium: 495.6mg
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.8g
  • Vitamin A:  49.6IU
  • Niacin Equivalents: 9.9mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.3mg
  • Foliate: 53.1mcg
  • Calcium: 77.9mg
  • Iron: 2.5mg
  • Magnesium: 47.8mg
  • Potassium: 601.8mg
  • Thiamin: 0.1mg
  • Calories From Fat: 212.3 Kcal


Air fry catfish nuggets are an excellent dish for adults and children alike. Children who don’t like fish and its smell will definitely fall in love with them. Similarly, adults will enjoy the crunchy and juicy air-fried catfish without the loads of fat that come with the deep-fried option. Simply follow our simple recipe for tasty results. It will only take less than 30 minutes of your time.