A Simple Recipe for Blackened Catfish


Catfish is a perfect partner for the bold flavors of this spice blend, but any thin, white-flesh fillet such as trout, snapper or perch are worthy substitutions in a pinch. Don't skip the lemon; it adds brightness and acidity to balance the fiery fish and buttery sauce.

Blackened Catfish on a black plate with rice and lemon
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • ½ cup salt-free blackening or Cajun seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon sweet or smoked sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or garlic salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground dried thyme or rosemary

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

  • 4 (5 ounce) skinless catfish fillets

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh herb leaves (such as parsley, mint, or chervil)

  • Lemon wedges


  1. Stir blackening seasoning, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, thyme and cayenne together in a small bowl until well combined.

  2. Sprinkle fish with salt, and let stand 20 minutes. Drizzle with oil.

  3. Heat a large cast-iron or heavy saucepan over high. (And by "heat the pan," I mean get it screaming hot. Turn on your vent to high, and open some windows. You also can heat the pan on a grill outside.)

  4. Sprinkle fillets evenly with 1/4 cup blackening spice mixture, pressing to adhere. Add butter to skillet, and swirl to coat. Place fillets in hot skillet; cook 2 minutes. Flip fillets and cook 2 to 3 minutes. (The spices will have formed a highly colored crust in varying shades of sunset and midnight black. The fish is done when it flakes apart under the gentle pressure of your finger.)

  5. Remove fillets to serving plates, and sprinkle evenly with fresh herbs. Serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

251 Calories
18g Fat
22g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 1 fillet
Calories 251
% Daily Value *
Protein 22g 44%
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Sodium 502mg 22%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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