What Does Catfish Taste Like? Fact Will Make You Surprised

You know, not everyone is an adventurous eater. For everything, especially food, I always want to have an idea of what I am about to eat before putting it in my mouth.

So at a friend’s birthday party last year, when I was offered fried catfish, I was hesitant. I have never eaten it before. At that time, a lot of questions came out to my mind:

What does catfish taste like?

Is it safe to eat?

Is it good?

Too busy with these thoughts, I did not have time to eat this dish, but everyone said it was very delicious. That made me curious and then, I decided to learn about catfish.

Now, It often appears on my main meals.

What Does Catfish Taste Like?

what does catfish taste like

Well, it is always a bit difficult to accurately describe a flavor because each person’s taste is different. I find the catfish’s taste appealing, and I can eat it often without getting bored.

One of the characteristics of catfish is muddy taste. Catfish is bottom feeders; they live on murky or muddy bottoms, so it is easy to understand why many people feel they taste like dirt.

Its muddy taste can be mild or very strong depending mainly on their habitat, more specifically the quality of water they live in. Therefore, wild catfish living on muddy streams or the seafloor often have a stronger taste.

Meanwhile, farm-raised catfishes that are living in large cement tanks with no dirt on the bottom offer a milder and cleaner flavor.

However, even for wild catfish, you can completely remove its muddy taste before cooking; so, I find it quite delicious. About how to get the dirty and fishy taste out of catfish, we will discuss more in the next section of this article.

Besides, the taste of catfish is also very different depending on the type of fish you choose to cook. The three most popular types of catfish you can find in supermarkets are Channel, Flathead, and Blue.

According to many eaters, Flathead fish has the best flavor because, unlike other types, it is a real predator and only eats live food and thus does not carry too strong muddy taste. Meanwhile, Channel catfish have a sweet and mild flavor like salmon (but you cannot use it to make sushi like salmon); Bluefish tastes fatter.

I like all there. I can do anything with catfish, but I especially love to eat dried dishes. Throw them in the deep fryer and prepare some salads, chips, and a glass of wine – That is too perfect for a delicious and nutritious meal, right?

Other Facts About Catfish That You May Want To Know

What Type of Fish Is Catfish? 

there are many kinds of catfish

There are so many types of fish, and now you want to know which one is catfish?

Many people cannot distinguish catfish from others because they look quite similar at first sight. However,  appearance is actually one that helps us identify catfish most easily.

A unique feature of catfish is that it has mucus-covered skin instead of scales like other fishes. Its surface is very smooth with different colors. Catfish has a serrated spine in the pectoral and dorsal fins. These spines can be very dangerous because they have a venom that can cause swelling when it punctures your skin.

One more thing, all kinds of catfish, from Channel, Stonecat, Bullheads, to Horned Pouts, etc.have fleshly filaments growing around the mouth. Remembering these features, you can quickly identify which is a catfish.

Is Catfish Safe To Eat?

catfish is good for health

Yes, you can eat catfish. However, it is best to eat farm-raised catfish because of its mild taste. In case you cook wild catfish, make sure it lives in clean and unpolluted water since it will eat everything in it. Also, be careful when skinning catfish because their spines can hurt you.

Is Catfish Good?

catfish is good

Another question you may have when learning about catfish is its nutritional value. Catfish is not only delicious but also one of the healthy foods you should eat because it contains many nutrients that are good for your health.

Catfish provides a rich source of protein which is an essential nutrient for the growth of tissues in the body. It also has a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids that can prevent Alzheimer and improve our mental health.

However, according to food experts, you should only eat catfish monthly; children and pregnant women should not eat it. There have been several reports of mercury traces in some catfish species due to water pollution.

So, once again, make sure your catfish live in an unpolluted environment before eating it.

Catfish Cooking Tips

some tips to cook catfish

As mentioned above, catfish have distinct fishy and muddy flavors, so knowing how to remove those tastes plays a vital role to have a tasty dish.

The simplest way I usually apply is to use milk. After cleaning and skinning catfish, I soaked it in some milk and then rinsed it off. Milk will help you absorb the muddiness and fishiness from your fish and make it milder.

After that, you can cook this food in any way you want. I especially love eating fried catfish because of its crispy texture and delicious taste.

Also, you can use vinegar, lemon, white wine, etc. to remove fishy muddy from catfish. So, if you do not know how to cook catfish, try my cooking tips, its dirty taste will only be an old story.

What kind of spice do we cook with catfish?

      If you are preparing your meal with catfish and wonder what kind of spice or side dish to eat together with catfish?. Please refer to my below list, and I will give you suggestions on what is the most suitable to make your meal more delicious.

Side Dishes That Complement Catfish

  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Hush Puppies
  • Greens: collard greens, mustard greens, or turnip greens
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Salt and Vinegar Chips
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Corn Bread
  • Coleslaw
  • Mashed Cauliflower
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Asparagus Fries
  • Fried Okra
  • Peach Cobbler
  • Homemade Ice Cream
  • Potatoes/ Potato salad
  • Green beans

Best flavors to pair with catfish

  • Cajun
  • Celery seed
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Onion

Sauces for Fried Fish

  • Tartar Sauce
  • Wingstop Ranch Sauce
  • Blues Seafood Sauce
  • Arby’s Horsey Sauce

Try Out With 3 Catfish Recipes Ideas

I have already prepared some recipes to cook with catfish, referring to my following instruction. You just do it and enjoy your achievement right now.

1. Best Baked Catfish

  • Total Time: 25 min.


  • Extra-virgin olive oil:1/4 cup
  • Cornmeal: 1 cup
  • Cajun seasoning: 1 tablespoon
  • Catfish fillets: 4 pieces
  • Spicy: Kosher salt, black pepper, a lemon


  1. Spread oil on the baking tray, turn on the oven, and heat up until 425° Celcius.
  2. Blending cornmeal and Cajun seasoning in a bowl to make a mixture.
  3. Mix the catfish fillets with pepper and salt, then put it into a bowl of pre-mixed dough. It would be best if you put on a coat before taking it out.
  4. Place the catfish fillets on the warmed tray with the remaining two tablespoons of oil. Then, we begin to bake it in about 15 minutes till the thickest piece of fish is easily peeled off when lightly twisted with a fork.
  5. After all, the dish is done, and it will be more delicious if it is served with a lemon-dipping sauce.

2. Zesty Baked Catfish

  • Total Time: 20 min.


  • Canola oil: 1 teaspoon
  • Lemon juice: 1 teaspoon
  • Catfish fillets: 2 pieces
  • Paprika + dried tarragon + dried basil + dried basil: each kind 1/2 teaspoon
  • Pepper:1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt:1/4 teaspoon
  • Cayenne pepper: 1/8 teaspoon


  1. Using lemon juice and canola oil to be a blend. Then, spread the mixture on the fish to reduce the fishy smell.
  2. Mixing all the remaining ingredients and dipping the fillets on the blending.
  3. Brushing a layer of oil onto the pan and putting the fillets in it to bake at 350° Celcius for about 10-15 minutes till it is done with yellow-brown color.

3. BLT Catfish Sandwiches

Total Time: 30 min.


  • Chili sauce: 2 tablespoons
  • Ketchup: 2 tablespoons
  • Hot pepper sauce: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Lemon juice: 4 tablespoons
  • Catfish fillets: 4 pieces
  • Lemon-pepper seasoning: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Whole wheat bread: 8 slices
  • Cooked bacon strips: 8 strips
  • Lettuce leaves: 4 leaves
  • Tomato: 4 thin slices
  • Red onion: 4 slices


  1. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and lemon juice over the fillets, then let the flavors infuse into the fish.
  2. Spread a layer of oil in the oven and warm it up before putting your fish on.
  3. Next, you bake the fillets at 350° Celcius for about 12 minutes until the fish flakes easily.
  4. Prepare for the sauce: Using a bowl to mix ketchup, chili sauce, pepper sauce, and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Then, you lay toast slices with catfish, lettuce leaves, cooked bacon strips, tomato, and red onion on it.
  5. In the last step, you spread the sauce over the remaining toast slices and enjoy it.

The Bottom Lines

So now, you have already known the answer to the question “What does catfish taste like?” Catfish is delicious and healthy food, and if you want to take the food to a new level, you can make an egg salad and prepare a glass of wine or taro milk tea to enjoy with it. I am sure you will like this meal!

If you have any questions and suggestions, please let me know in the comment section below. Million thanks!

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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