13 Perfect and Mouthwatering Side Dishes to Serve with Catfish

There is nothing better than a deliciously crispy and flavorful catfish on a plate, hot and ready to eat. 

The perfect catfish meal is incomplete without some fantastic side dishes to compliment the flavors and textures of the fish. 

Serving the right delicious sides to accompany your catfish can turn a good meal into a great one! So, what to serve with catfish?

Whether you’re having a family dinner, entertaining guests, or just cooking for yourself, we’ve compiled a list of some amazing and quick side dishes that are guaranteed to take your catfish meal to the next level.

These Sides are amazing to pair with catfish and taste delicious when served along with catfish on any occasion. So, let’s dig in.

What is catfish? What does catfish taste like?

Catfish are a type of fish that can be found in fresh and saltwater environments. 

It has a mild, sweet flavor with meat that is firm yet flaky. Catfish typically have a mild and slightly sweet taste. 


Its flesh is generally thick and tender when cooked properly, making it easy to prepare in different ways, such as baking, frying or grilling. 

Some people describe the taste as being similar to freshwater bass or tilapia.

13 Best Sides to serve with catfish

1. Cornbread

Corn bread

classic and perfect side dish to a catfish meal. Cornbread has a slightly sweet taste that is perfectly suited for the salty flavor of catfish.

2. Coleslaw

Whether you’re big on the traditional mayonnaise-based coleslaw or the vinegar-based ones, coleslaw is a great option to serve with catfish. 

It provides a crunchy texture that pairs nicely with the savory flavor of the fish.

3. Hushpuppies


The perfect pairing for catfish dinners. The crispy texture and fluffy interior of hushpuppies work well with the soft, flaky texture of catfish.

4. Black-eyed Peas

The earthy flavor of black-eyed peas mellows out the saltiness of catfish. Served either cold, room temperature or hot, they make a great side dish to add some protein and fiber to your meal.

5. Mac & Cheese

Mac and Cheese

Everyone loves mac & cheese, and it’s a fail-safe side dish that goes great with catfish. The creamy and cheesy texture of mac & cheese pairs perfectly with fried catfish.

6. Roasted or Grilled Vegetables

Nothing beats a good roasted or grilled vegetable on the side. Whether it’s some grilled asparagus with lemon or roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon bits, vegetables roasted or grilled until tender, make for a perfect side to catfish.

7. Okra

Often found in southern cooking, Okra is a great alternative to offer with your catfish meal.

fried okra

Fried okra makes for a perfect side or as a component in a salad for added flavor and texture.

Discover More: What to Serve with Fried Okra| 25 Delicious and Easy Side Dishes to Try

8. Baked Beans

Baked beans are a classic southern side dish that will provide some extra flavor to your catfish meal. 

They have the perfect balance of sweetness, spice, and tang, making them a winning choice to serve with catfish.

9. Mashed Sweet Potatoes

An excellent option for catfish, the sweet taste of mashed sweet potato complements the salty flavor of catfish. They are creamy, sweet, and easy to make.

10. Potato Salad

Potatoes are a versatile side dish ingredient that can be served in many forms.

Potato Salad

A potato salad infused with smoky bacon and hard-boiled eggs is a great way to add some variety to your catfish meal.

11. Fried green tomatoes

A Southern favorite, fried green tomatoes are a perfect accompaniment to catfish. 

The crunchy texture and the tartness of the tomato contrast nicely with the mild flavor of the fish.

12. Grits

Buttery grits are an ideal side to serve alongside your catfish. For an added kick, try incorporating sharp cheddar cheese or spicy sausage into your dish.

13. Biscuits

Whether you opt for store-bought biscuits or make your own from scratch, these fluffy delights pair nicely with fried catfish dishes. 


You can even experiment by topping the biscuits with pepper jelly or herb butter.

Explore More: 19 Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Biscuits and Gravy

What are the best flavors to go with catfish?

Catfish is a classic, versatile fish that can be cooked in a variety of ways. It goes particularly well with bold flavors like garlic, lemon, ginger, parsley, and chili peppers. 

For heavier dishes, creamy sauces like Alfredo or Mornay can provide a richness that complements catfish’s firm texture, while lighter options such as white wine, capers, or vinegar will also work to bring out its subtle flavors. 

Spicy marinades are another great way to add zing to fried catfish fillets. 

Try mixing together olive oil, cajun spices, paprika, and onion powder for an unforgettable dish. 

Additionally, many types of fruit go nicely with catfish- try serving it with orange segments or even diced pineapple for a unique yet balanced flavor profile.

How do you jazz up catfish?

There are many creative ways to jazz up catfish. One way is to make a spicy breading with crushed red pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika. 

You can also include other herbs or spices like cumin, oregano or rosemary for more flavor. 

Another great idea is to marinate the fish in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic and garden fresh herbs such as thyme or basil before pan-frying it. 

If you’re looking for something sweeter, try brushing a honey glaze over the cooked catfish and sprinkling it with chopped nuts before serving. There’s no wrong way to dress up this tasty fish!

Learn More: What to Serve with Fish and Chips| Top 10 fish and chips accompaniments

How do you display catfish on a platter?

To display catfish on a platter, first, make sure that the catfish has been thoroughly cleaned and scaled. 

catfish on a platter

Soak the catfish in cold water for at least an hour to remove any excess slime. Pat dry with paper towels and place on a large plate or platter. 

It’s best to arrange the fish with its head towards one side of the plate and its tail towards the other side for a more aesthetically pleasing presentation. 

Garnish with lemon slices, fresh herbs, or edible flowers to add color and flavor accents to your dish. Finally, pour melted butter over the top of the fish before serving it hot.

Best rice dishes to eat with catfish

1. Fried Rice

Fried Rice is a classic dish that pairs perfectly with catfish, as the flavor of the fish is complemented by the savory grain. 

Fried Rice 

The key to making a great fried rice is to use high-quality ingredients, such as long-grain jasmine or basmati rice, as it will give the dish more texture and better flavors.

2. Risotto

Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish that makes an excellent accompaniment for catfish. 

Preparing risotto requires constant stirring while slowly adding chicken or vegetable broth until the desired consistency is achieved, resulting in a delicious meal that’s both hearty and flavorful.

3. Jasmine Rice with Ginger

Jasmine Rice with Ginger is an aromatic Asian-style jasmine rice cooked with fresh ginger root for a light yet flavorful side dish that goes excellently with catfish. 

The addition of garlic, scallions, and sesame oil will further increase the flavor profile of this simple yet delicious meal.

4. Coconut Rice

If you are looking for something a bit sweeter to pair with their catfish, coconut rice makes an excellent choice. 

Coconut Rice

Made from coconuts freshly shredded or grated into small pieces, this sweet and nutty dish can be served plain or with various vegetables or fruits added in for extra oomph.

5. Paella

Paella is a Spanish medley that combines saffron-infused rice along with various types of meat (including chicken), seafood (such as mussels and shrimp), peas, artichokes, and other assorted vegetables for a complete meal packed full of flavor and nutrition that pairs perfectly with catfish filets.

5 healthy Sides for Catfish

Catfish is an incredibly versatile fish, with its mild flavor allowing it to pair well with a variety of sides. Here are five healthy sides to enjoy with catfish:

1. Mediterranean-style salad 

A delicious Mediterranean-style salad of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese paired with a light vinaigrette dressing. 

This combination provides a satisfying crunch and a burst of flavor that complements the subtle taste of the catfish.

2. Roasted asparagus

Roasted asparagus with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper is a simple side dish that is both flavorful and healthy. 

Roasted Asparagus

The texture of the roasted asparagus contrasts nicely with the flaky texture of the cooked catfish.

3. Brown rice pilaf

Brown rice pilaf is a grain dish that has a nutty flavor and can be made in many different ways to fit any meal plan or dietary restrictions. 

Adding vegetables such as diced celery, carrots, or mushrooms can make it even more delicious while providing extra nutrition.

4. Zucchini noodles

Zucchini noodles, “zoodles,” can be quickly prepared in just minutes in a sauté pan for an easy weeknight dinner side dish. 

Zucchini Noodles

They are low-carb, gluten-free, and packed with nutritious vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and potassium.

Explore More: 35 Delicious Sides to serve with Zucchini Boats

5. Sautéed spinach

Sautéed spinach is a classic side dish that adds color to any plate while providing an ideal source of iron, calcium and vitamin C. 

Spinach can be cooked until tender in just minutes for a tasty accompaniment to your meal!

What sauce goes good with catfish

Catfish is a delicious meal that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. One of the best accompaniments to this southern favorite is a flavorful sauce. 

From creamy tartar sauces to hot and spicy remoulades, here are seven of the best sauces for catfish:

1. Tartar Sauce

The classic condiment for fried fish, tartar sauce typically contains mayonnaise, onion, capers, pickle relish, lemon juice, pepper and salt. 

Tartar sauce

It can add a creamy taste and texture to crispy-fried catfish fillets or nuggets.

2. Remoulade Sauce

A traditional French sauce made from mayonnaise, mustard, capers, anchovies and herbs like parsley and tarragon, remoulade packs a punch of flavor that pairs perfectly with catfish. It’s especially good when served with fried or grilled catfish.

3. Spicy Mayo

To make spicy mayo for your catfish dinner, simply combine equal parts mayo and Sriracha along with some freshly squeezed lime juice and garlic powder.

Spicy mayo

This easy-to-make condiment adds just the right amount of zing to grilled or fried catfish dishes.

4. Cocktail Sauce

If you’re looking for something with a little kick to pair with your fish dinner, then try the cocktail sauce. 

The combo of horseradish, ketchup or chili sauce and Worcestershire creates an acidic punch perfect for dipping fried catfish into it!

5. Rémoulade Verte Sauce

An alternative version of the classic French rémoulade sauce includes bright green herbs like parsley and chervil as well as shallots or scallions to give it a different flavor profile than its classic counterpart. (Recipe)

This herby blend goes particularly well on pan-seared catfish fillets as well as poached or steamed fish dishes.

6. Hoisin Chili Glaze

Mix hoisin sauce (a sweet Asian condiment made from fermented soybeans) with a bit of chili paste or sriracha for an easy-to-make yet delicious glaze that will bring out the sweetness in your fried catfish fillets or steaks even more!

7. Ginger Lime Sauce

Ginger Lime Sauce

A combination of ginger paste (or freshly grated ginger), lime juice and honey make up this simple but flavorful concoction that brings out the natural sweetness in grilled or blackened catfish fillets without overpowering them in sweetness or heat!

Fritter-like side with fried catfish

Fried catfish with a crispy, golden-brown coating is one of the most popular accompaniments to many meals. It is a Southern classic that can be served as an entrée or a side dish. 

The catfish is usually battered in a combination of cornmeal or flour, spices like paprika and cayenne pepper, and buttermilk for extra flavor and crunch. 

Fritter-like side with fried catfish

After being dipped in the batter, the fillets are then fried until they achieve an even, golden-brown color. 

The result is a delicious dish that pairs well with coleslaw, hushpuppies, and other sides. Catfish also taste great when served with tartar sauce or hot sauce as a dip.

Discover More: 18 Delicious Side Dishes to Complement Fried Shrimp

cajun catfish sides

Cajun catfish is a Southern-style dish featuring succulent catfish fillets that are lightly coated in a spicy, flavorful Cajun seasoning blend. 

The fillets are typically pan-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside, while the inside remains moist and flaky. 

Paired with any number of sides, this classic dish is sure to please even the pickiest eaters. 

Popular accompaniments include creamy coleslaw, cheesy grits, buttery garlic mashed potatoes, cornbread muffins and hushpuppies. 

cajun catfish sides

Each brings its own unique flavor to the table and helps create a mouthwatering medley of tastes and textures that will have everyone asking for seconds. 

Coleslaw is a cool and refreshing contrast to the heat of the fish; 

cheese grits offer a comforting texture that’s perfect for mopping up every last bit of seasoning; 

garlic mashed potatoes have an unbeatable garlicky taste; 

cornbread muffins are simple yet hearty, and hushpuppies bring some crunchy sweetness to complete the meal.

What vegetable goes best with catfish?

Catfish is a popular and versatile fish that pairs well with a variety of vegetables. 

For example, the classic combination of cornmeal-breaded catfish and fried okra makes for an unforgettable dish. 

Additionally, green beans with toasted almonds are a great side dish to accompany catfish. 

To kick it up a notch, collard greens give this classic meal a Southern twist. 

vegetable goes best with catfish

Roasting root vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or parsnips alongside seasoned catfish brings out the natural sweetness of each ingredient. 

Finally, tomatoes or zucchini can be added to the mix for an extra layer of flavor. 

All in all, there are endless possibilities when it comes to pairing catfish with vegetables that will make your taste buds sing!

Best Desserts go with catfish

Catfish is a versatile fish that can be cooked in many different ways. One of the best pairings for this delicious seafood option is a sweet dessert. 

Here are five of the best desserts to go with catfish:

1. Apple Pie

Apple pie and catfish make an ideal combination of savory and sweet. 

The buttery crust complements the crunchy catfish, while the sweet and tart apple filling adds a nice balance to the taste.

2. Chocolate Cake

Rich and decadent chocolate cake pairs perfectly with flaky catfish. 

Chocolate Cake

The sweetness of the chocolate helps to contrast and enhance the flavor of the fish, making it a delightful treat for anyone who loves both seafood and sweets.

3. Vanilla Ice Cream

Cool down your hot catfish dinner with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream

The smooth, creamy vanilla pairs well with any type of fried catfish dish, whether you’re making it from scratch or using a store-bought version.

4. Lemon Meringue Pie

A classic Southern favorite, lemon meringue pie has all the flavors necessary to make it an excellent companion for fried catfish filets or nuggets. 

Lemon Meringue Pie

The light lemon tartness provides just enough acidity to cut through any richness present in your meal while also adding some natural sweetness as well.

5. Key Lime Pie

Key lime pie is another fantastic dessert that goes great with catfish dishes! 

This citrusy delight offers an acidic kick that helps to balance out all of the other flavors on your plate while still being refreshingly sweet at the same time! (Recipe)

Best Wine and Drinks pair with any catfish dishes

Catfish is a mild-flavored, firm white fish that pairs well with many different drinks and wines. Here are seven of the best drinks to pair with catfish dishes:

1. White Wine

A light and crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio will bring out the subtle flavors of catfish. 

white wine

The acidity and citrusy notes in these wines can help to cut through any dish that may include heavier ingredients, such as cream sauces or cheese.

2. Sparkling Wine

Whether it’s Prosecco or Champagne, sparkling wine can make for a bubbly accompaniment to any catfish dish. 

Its delicate sweetness will add complexity to the meal without overwhelming it.

3. Beer

Beers don’t have to be heavy in order to pair well with catfish dishes! 


Try a lighter beer like wheat ale or lager for balanced flavor and carbonation that won’t overpower the meal.

Learn More: Best Food to Pair with Beer| The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Pairing

4. Hard Cider

Sweet hard ciders are great complements for this mild-flavored fish as they offer some tartness and a unique texture that will give your palate something new to experience with each bite.

5. Rosé

If you’re looking for something a bit sweeter than white wine, rosé can be just the thing to bring out the flavors of your catfish dish even more! 

It has a slightly elevated sugar content, making it an ideal choice if you’re looking for something fruity and fragrant without being overly sweet.

6. Sangria

If you’re looking for something really special, sangria is a great way to dress up your meal! 


With red wine, brandy, fresh fruits, and herbs all mixed together — this Spanish libation is both refreshingly sweet and tart at the same time! 

Plus, there are so many variations on sangria that you can find one that works perfectly with your particular dish if needed!

7. Vodka/Tonic Cocktail

A classic vodka/tonic cocktail is a must-have when serving any seafood dish

The gin’s botanical notes pair wonderfully with the taste of seafood while also providing a much-needed boost of refreshment on any hot summer day!

7 best catfish dinner ideas you can try

1. Southern Fried Catfish

Nothing says traditional southern cuisine quite like fried catfish! 

To prepare, simply coat your catfish fillets in a mixture of cornmeal, flour, and seasonings such as garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper. 

Once the filets are properly coated, fry them in a skillet with hot vegetable oil until they’re golden brown and flaky. Serve with homemade tartar sauce or lemon slices for an excellent dinner option.

2. Grilled Catfish

To get that delightful smoky flavor on your catfish fillets without all the mess of deep-frying, try grilling your fish! 

Grilled Catfish

All you need to do is season your catfish with salt, then brush it with some olive oil before placing it onto a greased grill grate over medium heat for about 4 minutes per side – and don’t forget to close the lid while cooking! 

You can serve this dish with a variety of sides, from grilled veggies to potato salad, for a tasty outdoor meal.

Find Out More: 19 Creative Side Dishes to Serve with Grilled Fish Tacos

3. Poached Catfish

A gentle cooking method that yields incredibly moist and tender fillets every time is poaching

This method involves slowly simmering catfish in liquid (such as broth or white wine) along with herbs and spices until fully cooked through – about 8 minutes per pound should do it. 

Serve poached catfish over boiled potatoes or rice for an easy yet flavorful dinner choice!

4. Oven-Baked Catfish

An easy way to get perfectly cooked catfish every time is by baking it in the oven! 

Start by seasoning your fillets generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika and other favorite herbs and spices, then place them onto foil-lined baking sheets. 

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets – just be sure to flip them halfway through cooking for even browning!

5. Batter-Fried Catfish

If you want an extra crunchy crust on your catfish dinner, then batter frying is the way to go! 

Batter-Fried Catfish

Simply mix together a batter consisting of egg whites, cornstarch, baking soda and seasonings, then dip each fillet into the mixture before shallow-frying in hot oil until golden brown – about 3 minutes per side should do it! 

Serve batter-fried catfish with coleslaw or mac & cheese for an unforgettable dining experience!

6. Broiled Catfish

For those who want restaurant-quality results but without all that added fat from deep-frying, try broiling your fish instead! 

Preheat your oven’s broiler setting, then brush each filet lightly with olive oil before seasoning it with salt and pepper (and any other desired spices). 

Place the fish onto a greased sheet pan, then slide it under the preheated broiler until it flakes easily when tested with a fork – usually, 4 minutes per side should do it!

7. Sautéed Catfish

Sautéed Catfish is a classic French cooking technique that creates succulent pan-seared results every time – perfect if you’re looking for something special to impress guests at dinnertime! 

Start by heating butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add seasoned pieces of catfish into the pan once hot enough; cook until golden brown on both sides – about 5 minutes per side should do the trick! 

Serve sautéed catfish over creamy mashed potatoes or even atop freshly made pasta for an exquisite dining experience no one will soon forget!

Wrap Up on what to serve with catfish

Serving catfish in the traditional southern style with hushpuppies, mac and cheese, or coleslaw is undoubtedly delicious. 

However, there are many other equally delicious and easy options to switch it up with. 

All the side dishes we suggested above are fantastic choices to complement your catfish meal, and they are quick and easy to prepare in a short amount of time. 

The perfect side dish is just as important as the perfect main dish, and with our help, you’ll never have to worry about picking the right side dish to serve with your catfish dinner!


How much catfish per person?

The serving size of catfish per person varies depending on the type and size of the catfish. 

For example, an average four-ounce fillet of farm-raised catfish contains about 140 calories and 28 grams of protein, which is enough to provide a single person with a substantial meal. 

If you are serving a larger group, it is recommended that you serve at least six ounces of cooked catfish per person. This could include a combination of fillets or smaller pieces such as small nuggets. 

Additionally, if the meal is more lightly portioned, such as when served with sides like rice or vegetables, then four ounces per person should be adequate.

What side dish goes with blackened catfish?

One popular side dish to serve with blackened catfish is classic creole rice. 

This hearty dish combines long-grain white rice, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, celery, garlic, and seasonings like cayenne pepper and thyme.
All of the vegetables are cooked together in a pot until they are soft and tender while releasing their flavors into the aromatic rice. 

Adding some freshly chopped parsley as a garnish gives it an extra fresh flavor. 

Not only does this side dish pair perfectly with the spicy blackened catfish, but it also adds delicious texture and nutrition to your plate.

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