Spicy Pan Seared Catfish

Enjoy the harvest

Spicy Pan Seared Catfish

Blackened Catfish Recipe

Enjoy the harvest

Spicy Pan Seared Catfish

If you like fish, chances are you like catfish. The following spicy pan seared catfish recipe is a great way to prepare spicy catfish fillets for a great change from the routine of fried catfish. The blackening technique, used in this recipe, is credited to chef Paul Prudhomme of New Orleans and has since been adapted for use with several kinds of meats and poultry. Fish seems to be the most popular for this process.

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • 4 catfish fillets
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 pound bacon
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon pepper


  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp your blackening seasoning
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

    Cut your fillets into sections that will fit in your skillet and will be easy to turn. Rinse your fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Using another paper towel or a brush completely cover the fillets with a light coat of olive oil. Apply the spice rub, liberally coating the entire fillet. The spices adhere nicely to the oil and will stay put while your fillet is cooking. You can use any firm fish fillet for this recipe.


    This is the fun part of any blackening recipe. You can mix the ingredients listed or make your own. The blackening process is obviously a spicy dish, therefore many people mistakenly think it has to be spicy hot. This spice rub is a little hot, but you can leave out ingredients such as cayenne pepper or chili powder. When my wife is dining with me the cayenne pepper is either left out all together or I mix it in after I coat her fillets because it seems she can detect a single speck of cayenne pepper if it’s on her fish. Keep that in mind and everyone can enjoy this recipe.


    The first time I saw the blackening process was in Alaska and it was used on some fresh Coho fillets. I watched a black cast iron skillet sit on a flame outside for a good five minutes before my friend plopped the fillet into the hot skillet. The spicy smoke rose into the cool night air smacking me in the face, leaving me gasping and my eyes watering. I loudly voiced my concern of the edibility of the salmon as I staggered back away from the inferno. Then when the fillet was turned the smoke came again and when it finally cleared, there was a perfectly burnt hunk of salmon I had caught on a streamer and a 6 wt. fly rod that morning. That was the best salmon I ever ate and I was sold on the blackening process forever.

    My friend prepared the salmon to perfection and the trick to a moist fillet is hot and fast, no more than two or three minutes per side. The hot skillet burns the spices while protecting the fillet inside, leaving a crispy spice crust on the outside and a moist flaky fillet on the inside. UM UM! If you do have a thick fillet, a minute or two more will be needed per side.

    A cast iron skillet works best for blackening. It more evenly distributes the heat and stays hot longer. This is important to really blacken the rub quickly. I like to use fresh bacon grease. You can use the bacon grease leftover from preparing the glaze. I just coat the bottom before I add the fillets so be sure to wipe the skillet before adding more fillets for the second cook to remove any burned bacon grease. The bacon appetizer gained by preparing this recipe is great and my kids love to sneak up and snatch a piece when I’m not looking. I usually fry up more bacon than I need for this reason.

Keep it simple and serve your blackened catfish recipe with tartar sauce, a cold drink and chips. You can also get a little fancy and serve it on a bed of rice with mixed vegetables and a glass of wine or a cold brew. Try it with the raspberry glaze to add a little more pizazz to the meal. 

Main Course
blackened catfish, blackened fish, spicy catfish recipe

Check Out How to Season Cast Iron for Cooking

About Ken McBroom 307 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.


  1. I love catfish anyway that it’s cooked,next is perch and walleye. I have a somewhat Blackman recipe that I’ve used on the catfish. Your sounds good, but I might be about one of the hot spices getting old and stomach can’t really handle the hot stuff anymore. That’s my liking but I’m gonna try it and I’ll let you know how it came out and thanks for the recipe looks good.

  2. Good morning, I seen your catfish recipe in the skillet and it looks delicious next to my list perch and walleye and was wondering if that will taste as good as the catfish if it comes out the way you make it night try and leave one of the hot spices out getting up there an age and my stomach can’t really handle it anymore so I’ll let you know how the recipe comes out and you have a good day

  3. I know what you mean about the spices when you blacken this it cooks a lot of the spicy burning 🔥 out of the spices. I like catfish about anyway too. Thanks for the comment and would love to hear how your blackened catfish turns out.

  4. I do this blackened recipe on crappie and love it. Not sure you can mess up perch or walleye 😆 no matter how you fix it.

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