Side Dishes

16 Fantastic Side Dishes for Catfish

All the best ways to enjoy this traditional southern seafood!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
Learn more about me
Updated January 12, 2023

If you’re hosting a barbecue, this list of the best side dishes for catfish will come in handy! You can’t serve this classic Southern delicacy without a full spread of salads, fried foods, and sauces!

best side dishes for catfish

Catfish is a popular fried fish dish in the southern United States. This freshwater fish is native to the rivers of Mississippi, and it’s also farmed extensively throughout the region.

Catfish has a mildly sweet flavor and a dense, meaty texture, so it’s perfect for frying or barbecuing. Southerners typically prepare catfish by dredging it in cornmeal and pan-frying it to golden brown perfection.

Given its prominence in southern cuisine, fried catfish is usually served with a host of southern-style sides. Some of my favorites include hush puppies, coleslaw salad, and buttered peas!

Is your mouth watering yet, because mine is! Fire up the grill and enjoy a fried catfish filet with a few of these delicious side dishes!

best side dishes for catfish recipe

01. Corn Succotash

A fresh new take on a traditional summer salad!

This modern succotash recipe includes fresh ingredients like cherry tomatoes, basil, and cilantro. I like to use sweet corn in my succotash for its delicate, juicy flavor.

Lima beans are a staple of succotash and give it that delicious chewy texture. Not only is this salad healthy, but it’s so satisfying to eat!

02. Tomato Salad

Use up those garden tomatoes with this super simple recipe!

Red wine vinegar, garlic, and basil provide this side dish with a fresh summer flavor. Make sure you cut the tomatoes nice and thick so they can soak up all that marinade.

These tomatoes are delicious on their own, on a pizza, or in a salad!

03. French Fries

These perfectly crispy french fries taste just like the ones you get from a restaurant!

Baked fries might be healthier, but nothing can beat proper deep-fried french fries! These fries are made with russet potatoes with the skin left on for added flavor.

Deep fry your potatoes in peanut oil or any other oil with a high smoke point. You can add seasonings like cayenne pepper, or keep it simple with a bit of salt.

04. Coleslaw

Freshen up fried dishes with this tangy and creamy salad!

Coleslaw is a must-have for barbecues because it goes with just about everything! Green cabbage and carrots add crunch and keep this salad crisp and fresh.

If you like your salads on the sweeter side, try mixing in dried cranberries or sliced almonds!

As an alternative, you can also try a fresh potato salad.

05. Mashed Potatoes

This classic comfort food is an instant crowd-pleaser.

Loaded with butter and heavy cream, these mashed potatoes are super fluffy and creamy! The addition of sour cream adds a hint of tang that balances out the richness.

I like to stir in some chopped parsley for freshness and color. Chopped chives are another option if you enjoy a more savory flavor.

06. Macaroni and Cheese

Unsure what to bring to a potluck or party? You can’t go wrong with this super cheesy pasta!

Made with four kinds of cheese, this dish is every bit rich, gooey, and decadent. The addition of a crispy panko bread crumb topping creates a satisfying blend of creaminess and crunch.

Bake your macaroni in a casserole dish and it will be easy to take with you to gatherings!

07. Fried Okra

A fun bite-sized treat made for dipping and dunking!

In this recipe slices of okra are covered with flour and cornmeal and deep-fried until golden brown. The cornmeal creates a super crunchy coating that compliments the unique mushy texture of okra.

A creamy dip like ranch or tartar sauce is the perfect way to enjoy this delightful finger food!

08. Skillet Green Beans

These easy green beans will go with any meal!

A skillet is the best way to blister these green beans so they soak up all that garlic and olive oil flavor. A squeeze of lemon juice adds freshness and makes these beans perfect with summer dishes like fried fish.

Green beans are better when they have a little “snap”, so be sure to not overcook them!

09. Onion Rings

The perfect combination of sweet, savory, and crunchy!

These onion rings have an addictive umami flavor that makes it hard to eat just one! They’re coated with a flour batter and panko crumbs so they get nice and crispy when they’re fried.

I recommend using Vidalia onions for this recipe for their sweet and mellow flavor.

10. Hush Puppies

The classic side dish to serve with fried catfish!

These soft and pillowy hush puppies are a uniquely southern treat. They’re essentially deep-fried cornbread, with an extra cornmeal coating for crunchiness!

Once these hush puppies are fried, the cornbread inside becomes chewy and tender. And because cornbread is naturally sweet, the flavor perfectly compliments the subtle sweetness of fried catfish.

11. Tartar Sauce

Highlight those delicate seafood flavors with this tangy sauce.

The combination of lemon juice and mayonnaise cuts through the fat of fried catfish and elevates the subtle flavors. Most tartar recipes include chopped gherkins, which adds crunch and a hint of acidity to every bite.

This recipe is so simple, and uses ingredients you probably already have in your refrigerator!

12. Easy Green Peas with Mint

This sweet and healthy legume will add a pop of color to your plate!

Green peas have a beautiful mild sweet flavor that brightens any meal. Green onions and butter add fat and richness, while mint leaves give the dish a unique fresh taste.

You can make this dish with fresh or frozen peas. Both taste great, and heat up in minutes!

13. Baked Beans

Take a trip back to your childhood with these barbecue flavored baked beans.

These beans are filled with the nostalgic flavors of molasses, smoky bacon, and brown sugar. They’re slow-cooked for six hours minimum to help develop that rich depth of flavor.

Make a big batch of these beans and store some in the freezer. They reheat easily in the microwave so they’re perfect when you need a quick side.

14. Salt and Vinegar Chips

Bagged chips have nothing on this crunchy and satisfying homemade recipe!

Thinly sliced russet potatoes give these chips the perfect earthy flavor and delicate crunch. Apple cider vinegar gives the chips a depth of flavor that powdered vinegar seasoning just can’t compete with.

Add sea salt for a rustic finishing touch and these chips are ready for the snack table!

15. Potato Wedges

Golden brown on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside!

These thick-cut potato wedges are seasoned with a delicious blend of garlic powder and salt. You can also add onion powder.

They’re then cooked in the air fryer so you get that mouth-watering crispy texture without all the oil.

Serve with your favorite dip—I recommend a spicy mayonnaise or sweet ketchup!

16. Fried Green Tomatoes

These tangy fried tomatoes are a unique summer treat!

Unripe green tomatoes have a tart and earthy flavor that sets them apart from regular red tomatoes. Their firm texture makes them ideal for frying because they keep their shape and don’t get mushy.

A cornmeal coating locks in the moisture from the green tomatoes while they fry. The result is a delicious side dish that tastes fresh but still provides that irresistible fried food crunch.

16 Fantastic Side Dishes for Catfish


  1. Select your favorite catfish side dishes from this list.

  2. Take a trip to the grocery store or farmers market to get your ingredients.

  3. Fry or barbecue your catfish and prepare your sides.

  4. Serve a delicious meal of rich and tender catfish and southern-inspired side dishes!

best side dishes for catfish - Pinterest