A Spicy Perspective

Cornmeal Fish Fry Seasoning Recipe

Cornmeal Fried Fish – A classic Southern recipe that doesn’t need any batter. Simply coat your favorite white fish in a flavorful cornmeal seasoning and fry golden in under 10 minutes!

Basket with two pieces of cornmeal fried fish and ramekin of tartar sauce.

Why We Love This Recipe

Nothing says “Southern” quite like a basket of cornmeal-crusted fried fish.

Crunchy on the outside, flaky and moist on the inside, fried catfish or cod (or grouper) is a guaranteed mouth party. And the secret to a perfect piece of fish is, of course, a perfect breading!

Our Cornmeal Fish Fry Seasoning recipe is loaded with bold seasonings, and not much else… There’s no need for eggs or buttermilk, or dunking the fish in sticky batter. This simple cornmeal-based fish fry seasoning thoroughly coats the fish for a delicious golden crust every time!

Top down view two pieces of cornmeal seasoning fish in a basket, with ramekin of tartar sauce.

Ingredients Needed

To make the Fish Fry Seasoning you need:

  • Yellow cornmeal
  • Flour (could be GF)
  • Celery salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Lemon pepper
  • Dried parsley
  • Cayenne pepper

For the Cornmeal Fried Fish:

  • White fish fillets – cod, grouper, or catfish
  • Cold water – or beer
  • High heat cooking oil – vegetable, peanut, or canola

Quickie Swap! Mix the cornmeal and flour with approximately 5 teaspoons of Cajun Seasoning.

Square baking pan with cornmeal

How to Make Southern Fried Fish with Cornmeal Seasoning

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F to act as a warmer. Set out two mixing bowls and a paper towel-lined sheet pan.

Set a large deep cast-iron skillet on the stovetop. Pour cooking oil into the skillet, filling up to 1 inch. Turn the heat to medium.

In one mixing bowl (or pan), combine the cornmeal, flour, herbs, and spices. Mix well.

Square baking pan with cornmeal and spices.

Mix well. 

In the second bowl, pour in very cold water (for a gluten free recipe) or a light crisp beer. Place the fish fillets in the cold water or beer.

When the oil in the skillet is hot, take one fillet out of the liquid at a time. Dredge the fillet in the Fish Fry Seasoning.

Get the Complete (Printable) Cornmeal Fish Fry Seasoning Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Hand dredging piece of fish in the cornmeal seasoning mixture.

Gently lower the cornmeal coated fillets one at a time into the hot oil. Repeat 2-4 times until the skillet is full. 

Fry the fish for 2-4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Thin fillets will only need 2 minutes per side, while thicker fillets will need up to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with a second batch, if needed.

Place the fried fillets on the prepared pan and place them in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining fish fillets.

Four pieces of cornmeal seasoning fried fish on a paper towel.

What to Serve with Fried Fish

Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauces, like homemade Remoulade Sauce or Tartar Sauce.

Pair crunchy fried fish fillets with nearly any Southern side dishes. A few of our favorites include:

Top view two pieces of fried fish in a basket with ramekin of sauce.

How to Make This a Gluten-Free Recipe

This can easily be made GF by using gluten-free baking mix instead of flour.

That’s it!

Close view two pieces of fried fish in a basket, one piece of fish in background being dunked in tartar sauce.

Storage and Reheating Suggestions

Cornmeal-crusted fish is best when enjoyed freshly fried. However, leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Seal in an airtight container, like a zipper bag, to keep the fish fresh and your fridge from smelling like, well, fried fish.

Reheat leftovers in a 350 degrees F oven for 10-15 minutes, flipping the fish over halfway through the time.

For the crunchiest fillets, I recommend air frying leftovers: Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F, then cook for 5-6 minutes until hot and crispy.

Hand holding piece of fried cornmeal fish to camera.

Here are More of Our Favorite Seasoning Recipes for You to Try:

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5 from 3 votes
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Cornmeal Fish Fry Seasoning

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
This classic Southern fried fish recipe doesn't need any buttermilk or batter. Simply coat your favorite white fish in a flavorful cornmeal seasoning and fry golden in under 10 minutes!
Servings: 6 pieces

Ingredients

For the Fish Fry Seasoning –

For the Cornmeal Fried Fish –

  • 1 ½ pounds cod grouper, catfish (about 6 fillets)
  • 12 ounces cold water or beer
  • High heat cooking oil vegetable, peanut, canola

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F to act as a warmer. Set out two mixing bowls and a paper towel lined sheet pan. Set a large deep cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Pour cooking oil into the skillet, filling up to 1 inch. Turn the heat to medium.
  • In one mixing bowl or shallow pan, combine the cornmeal, flour, herbs, and spices. Mix well.
  • In the second bowl, pour in very cold water or a light crisp beer. (Water for GF.) Place the fish fillets in the cold water.
  • When the oil in the skillet is hot, take one fillet out of the liquid at a time. Dredge the fillet in the Fish Fry Seasoning, and gently lower into the hot oil. Repeat 2-4 times until the skillet is full.
  • Fry the fish 2-4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Thin fillets will only need 2 minutes per side, while thicker fillets will need up to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with a second batch, if needed.
  • Place the fried fillets on the prepared pan and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining fish fillets.

Video

Notes

This can easily be made GF by using gluten free baking mix instead of flour. Quickie Swap! Mix the cornmeal and flour with approximately 5 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning.
Cornmeal crusted fish is best when enjoyed freshly fried. However, leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Seal in an airtight container, like a zipper bag, to keep the fish fresh and your fridge from smelling like, well, fried fish.
Reheat leftovers in a 350 degrees F oven for 10-15 minutes, flipping the fish over halfway through the time.
For the crunchiest fillets I recommend air frying leftovers: Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F, then cook for 5-6 minutes until hot and crispy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pc, Calories: 272kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 647mg, Potassium: 532mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 82IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Sommer Collier

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3 comments on “Cornmeal Fish Fry Seasoning Recipe”

  1. This is a great recipe! I love the gluten free adjustments because it made it perfect for me! No sacrifice of taste or flavor either.

  2. We use this all the time, it’s amazing! Thanks so much!

  3. I love how it turned out! Thanks for the gluten-free alternative!! This is a new staple at my kitchen!