What To Serve With Catfish: 31 Side Dish Ideas

Catfish has become a beloved seafood delicacy for its flavor and flaky texture.

To enjoy this delectable dish, select the ideal side dishes to complement it. You can create a harmonious and unforgettable feast by carefully selecting complementary flavors.

Catfish has enjoyed a long and storied existence and popularity throughout history.

For centuries catfish has been a beloved ingredient in many cultures. That is because of the versatility and affordability of catfish.

What To Serve With Catfish

Top Side Dishes For Fried Catfish

Let's look at some delicious side dishes to complement this delectable fish.

1. Classic Southern Sides

Southern cuisine offers some of the most beloved side dishes to go with fried catfish.


Coleslaw is a classic and delicious side dish to go with catfish. It provides a crunchy contrast to the tender, flaky fish.

This traditional slaw consists of the following:

  • Shredded cabbage
  • Carrots
  • A zesty dressing made with mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar.

Varied flavors and textures in one meal will leave your taste buds wanting more!

Coleslaw recipes:


Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies, a classic Southern delicacy, make an irresistible side dish for catfish.

These golden-brown balls of cornmeal batter are crisp on the outside and tender inside.

Infused with onion, garlic, and spices for flavor, hush puppies bring your catfish meal to new heights.

Hush Puppies recipes:

Hush Puppies

Collard Greens

Catfish with collard greens makes for a delicious, nutritious, and flavorful meal.

Slow-cooked Southern side dish with tender collard greens simmered in an aromatic broth with bacon or ham hocks, garlic, onion, and vinegar.

This gives the greens their robust earthy taste that balances out the mild flavor of catfish.

Collard greens recipes:

Collard Greens

2. Comfort Food Favorites

Sometimes, fried catfish is complete with some comfort food to go with it.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is the quintessential comfort food, perfectly complemented by catfish.

This creamy, cheesy dish combines tender elbow macaroni with a velvety cheese sauce.

The smooth, gooey cheese blend combined with soft pasta offers a pleasant contrast to the crispy exterior of fried catfish. This creates an intoxicating harmony of textures and tastes.

Macaroni and cheese recipes:

Macaroni and Cheese

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes make an excellent side dish with catfish, adding a warm and inviting element to your plate.

It is made by mixing boiled potatoes with cream, butter, and seasoning for a smooth and satisfying taste.

The mild, creamy taste of mashed potatoes pairs with delicate catfish.

Mashed potatoes recipes:

Mashed Potatoes


Cornbread, a Southern favorite, makes an irresistible accompaniment to catfish.

Made with cornmeal, flour, and enough sugar for sweetness, this golden loaf bakes perfectly to complement catfish.

Cornbread's warm and comforting taste blends with all other flavors in your catfish meal.

Cornbread recipes:


3. Healthy Alternatives

These side dishes provide delicious and nutritious alternatives for lighter, healthier options.

Grilled or Roasted Vegetables

Grilled or roasted vegetables make a tasty and healthy side dish with catfish.

Vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers, and zucchini are excellent options for grilling. They cook quickly and pair well with the mild flavor of catfish.

Vegetables like Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and carrots are great for roasting. Roasting them will add a caramelized sweetness to their flavor. This will provide a nice contrast to the savory catfish.

Both preparation methods offer an opportunity to experiment with different seasonings and spices.

Next time you serve catfish, add some grilled or roasted veggies to the side.

Grilled vegetable recipes:

Grilled or Roasted Vegetables

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad is a nutritious, delicious side dish that pairs well with catfish. You can combine this versatile grain with various vegetables, herbs, and dressings.

A quinoa salad can provide a healthy dose of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. It complements the mild taste of catfish. The crunchy texture of the quinoa adds a satisfying contrast to the soft texture of the fish.

You can customize quinoa salad with many flavors to suit your taste preferences, from Mediterranean-inspired to Mexican-inspired.

Next time you serve catfish, consider adding a quinoa salad to the side for a well-rounded and tasty meal.

Quinoa salad recipes:

Quinoa Salad

Green Salad with Vinaigrette

A perfect side dish to go with catfish. This simple and refreshing salad offers a healthy dose of vitamins and fiber. It complements the richness of the fried or baked catfish.

Make the green salad with greens like lettuce, spinach, or arugula. Top it with various vegetables like cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and avocado. A tangy vinaigrette made with olive oil, vinegar, and some herbs, will bring out the flavors of the salad. It also enhances the taste of the catfish.

This salad is quick and easy to prepare, making it an excellent option for a weekday dinner or a weekend lunch. It will be a crowd-pleaser with its bright colors and fresh flavors.

Green salad with vinaigrette recipes:

Green Salad with Vinaigrette

4. Starchy Sides

Starchy sides are an excellent way to complement catfish's delicate flavors and textures. Many starchy options exist, from rice pilaf to baked or roasted potatoes.

Not only do these provide a satisfying component of your meal, but they also enhance the taste.

Whether you prefer them savory or seasoned with herbs and spices, there's sure to be a starch that suits you.

Rice Pilaf

Rice pilaf is an ideal side dish with catfish. This versatile dish is prepared by cooking rice in broth, often with vegetables and herbs.

The robust flavors of the pilaf balance the delicate fish flavor.

This makes it perfect for an impressive dinner. Experiment with herbs and spices like saffron or turmeric to create a unique flavor.

Rice Pilaf recipes:

Rice Pilaf

Baked or Roasted Potatoes

Baked or roasted potatoes have long been a classic side dish when paired with catfish. They create a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. This mouthwatering combination makes for a satisfying and delicious meal.

To prepare the perfect potatoes:

  1. In olive oil, toss salt, pepper, and a mix of your favorite herbs, such as rosemary or thyme.
  2. Roast or bake them in the oven until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside yet soft and tender on the inside.

Not only are these two dishes easy to prepare, but they also complement each other. They provide a balanced mix of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates.

Next time you cook up some catfish, don't forget to add a side of perfectly baked or roasted potatoes.

Baked or roasted potatoes recipes:

Baked or Roasted Potatoes


Polenta originates from Italy. It is an irresistible side dish that pairs well with catfish. This cornmeal-based dish offers a unique texture and flavor profile to complement the catfish.

The creamy and smooth consistency contrasts with fried or baked catfish. Further enhance the flavor by infusing herbs, spices, or cheese for extra depth.

Polenta is gluten-free, making it an ideal option for those with dietary restrictions.

Serve polenta with vegetables for an extra layer of satisfaction.

Polenta recipes:


5. Vegetable Sides

Vegetable sides are an ideal way to enhance the flavors and textures of catfish.

From grilled asparagus to roasted Brussels sprouts, there are various vegetable options.

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled asparagus is an enticing and healthy side dish to go with catfish.

The smoky char from the grill adds depth to its natural flavor, creating a dish that's both tasty and visually pleasing.

Drizzle olive oil over the top, season with salt and pepper, then grill until tender.

Grilled asparagus recipes:

Grilled Asparagus

Steamed or Sauteed Green Beans

Steamed or sautéed green beans make a delightful accompaniment to catfish. These vibrant green veggies add a pop of color to your plate.

They bring a delightful crunch and fresh flavor, complementing the tender, flaky catfish. Steamed beans keep their nutritional value and maintain a subtle taste.

Sautéing them in olive oil and garlic adds an extra layer of savory goodness. Combining catfish and green beans is an excellent way to delight your taste buds and impress dinner guests.

Steamed or sauteed green beans recipes:

Steamed or Sauteed Green Beans

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts are an excellent accompaniment to catfish. Their caramelized outer leaves and tender centers contrast the fish's texture.

Drizzle olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast until crispy and golden brown in the oven.

For extra flavor, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar or grated Parmesan cheese before roasting.

Roasted Brussels sprouts recipes:

  1. Roasted Brussels sprouts with honey
  2. Balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts
  3. Oven roasted Brussels sprouts
Roasted Brussels Sprouts

6. Light And Refreshing Sides

Are you searching for light, refreshing side dishes to complement your catfish meal?

Look no further!

Cucumber salad, mango salsa, and tomato basil salad are delicious options. They're easy to make, so why not try them and impress your taste buds?

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber salad is a light and refreshing side dish that complements catfish. To prepare salad, slice and toss cucumbers in a tangy dressing. You can make the dressing from vinegar, sugar, and fresh dill.

The crunchy texture of the cucumber perfectly contrasts with the warm, tender catfish. This creates a harmonious balance of flavors.

Add sliced red onions or cherry tomatoes to the mix to add a touch of color and freshness. This delightful combination is sure to impress and please your taste buds.

Cucumber salad recipes:

Cucumber Salad

Mango Salsa

Mango salsa is a vibrant and flavorful side dish that pairs well with catfish. This tropical fruit-based condiment combines sweet, juicy mangoes with zesty elements.

The succulent, tangy salsa enhances the tender, flaky texture of the catfish.

This adds a refreshing and exotic twist to your meal. Whether grilled or fried catfish, mango salsa is a great way to elevate your dish.

Mango salsa recipes:

  1. Mango salsa recipe
  2. Fresh mango salsa
  3. Easy mango salsa
Mango Salsa

Tomato and Basil Salad

This refreshing, mouthwatering combination complements catfish's rich flavors. Imagine biting into juicy, ripe tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.

Add a drizzle of olive oil and tangy balsamic vinegar, and you have a symphony of flavors! And you know what? It's super easy to prepare, too!

Chop up a mix of colorful heirloom tomatoes, chop some basil leaves, and toss them together in a bowl.

Then, drizzle on a little extra virgin olive oil, a balsamic vinegar splash, and a sea salt pinch—season with pepper to taste.

Tomato and basil salad recipes:

Tomato and Basil Salad

7. Sauces And Dips

When it comes to catfish, there are plenty of delicious sauces and dips you can pair it with.

From tartar sauce to spicy mayonnaise, each spice has a distinct flavor profile.

Tartar Sauce

It's the perfect companion for crunchy, delectable fish. Imagine the creamy, homemade tartar sauce, which adds the right amount of zing to each catfish bite.

Trust me; it's a match made in heaven!

Whipping up a batch of this sauce is as easy as pie!

You only need these ingredients:

  • Quality mayonnaise: This is the base of your tartar sauce, so be sure to choose a rich and creamy mayonnaise.
  • Tangy pickles or gherkins: Chopped pickles add a delightful crunch and tang to the sauce. You can use dill or sweet pickles, depending on your preference.
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice: This adds a bright, citrusy flavor that cuts through the richness of the mayonnaise. It will give your tartar sauce a balanced taste.
  • A few simple seasonings: Customize your sauce with seasonings like salt, pepper, and a dash of onion or garlic powder.

Mix them, and you're all set! And why not get creative with it? Add a pinch of dill or a dash of hot sauce to give your tartar sauce a little extra flair.

If you have no time to prepare homemade tartar sauce, you can check which brands provide the best tartar sauce product. The possibilities are endless!

Tartar sauce recipes:

Tartar Sauce

Remoulade Sauce

Remoulade sauce is an excellent choice when pairing catfish with a side dish. Remoulade sauce has many flavors.

It is made with mayonnaise, mustard, capers, herbs, and spices. You can make the sauce with a mild or spicy kick, depending on your preference.

One of the great things about remoulade sauce is its versatility. For example, use it as a dipping sauce for fried catfish or a topping for grilled catfish.

The creamy texture of the sauce pairs well with the firm texture of catfish. This creates a satisfying combination of flavors and textures.

It is also healthier than other catfish side dishes like tartar sauce.

Remoulade sauce is made with low-fat mayonnaise or Greek yogurt. It is a light yet satisfying alternative.

Remoulade sauce recipes:

Remoulade Sauce

Lemon Herb Butter

This flavorful butter adds a tangy and herbaceous twist to the mild flavor of catfish. It makes it a perfect complement.

To make lemon herb butter:

  1. Mix softened butter with fresh herbs like parsley and thyme.
  2. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

The lemon juice gives the butter a bright, citrusy flavor and pairs well with the catfish taste.

One of the great things about lemon herb butter is its versatility.

You can use it as a topping for grilled catfish or a dipping sauce for fried catfish.

Besides its delicious taste, lemon herb butter is also a healthy option.

Use fresh herbs and lemon juice. Avoid the added sugars and preservatives found in store-bought sauces.

Lemon herb butter recipes:

Lemon Herb Butter

Spicy Mayonnaise

Spicy mayonnaise has recently become a delectable side dish for catfish.

This creamy, tangy condiment has a fiery kick. It elevates the flavor of the catfish and adds a delightful contrast.

Blend mayonnaise, hot sauce, and garlic to create this delicious side. Then, add a hint of lemon juice for a burst of zest.

Depending on your heat tolerance, you can personalize the spice level to suit your taste buds.

Sauce pairs well with various catfish preparations, such as grilled, fried, or blackened.

Try this simple side, and you'll reach for it whenever you enjoy catfish.

Spicy mayonnaise recipes:

Spicy Mayonnaise

8. International Sides

Looking for an international twist on your catfish side dishes?

Look no further than Ratatouille, Jambalaya, and Thai Green Papaya Salad!


Ratatouille is a delicious and easy-to-make French-inspired catfish side dish. It is made with roasted vegetables—the ideal dinner choice if you want something nutritious yet quick to prepare.

If you're searching for a dish that will tantalize your taste buds, ratatouille is an ideal option.

Roasted vegetables, spices, and tomato sauce make an irresistible combination.

An excellent dish if you're searching for something different from traditional catfish recipes.

It's also an ideal option if you're searching for a nutritious, straightforward dinner.

Ratatouille recipes:



Jambalaya is a splendid side dish from Louisiana that complements any catfish meal.

This versatile dish is a delightful fusion of Spanish and French flavors. It features a hearty blend of rice, vegetables, and proteins.

Incorporate zesty Creole seasoning, fresh vegetables, and the perfect mix of meats.

One of the keys to a successful jambalaya dish is the delicate balance of spices. Each ingredient contributes to the flavor without overpowering the catfish.

Jambalaya is an excellent choice for those searching for an authentic and delicious accompaniment.

Jambalaya recipes:


Thai Green Papaya Salad

Thai green papaya salad, aka Som Tam, captures the soul of Southeast Asian cuisine.

This light and flavorful salad combine sweet, sour, spicy, and savory notes.

To make this culinary delight:

  1. Shred unripe green papaya into thin strips
  2. Toss it with fresh ingredients (tomatoes, green beans, and garlic)
  3. Dress it with zesty lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar, and bird's eye chilies.

Top it with crushed peanuts for a delightful crunch.

Enjoy this dish as an appetizer or side dish while reaping its health benefits.

Thai green papaya salad recipes:

Thai Green Papaya Salad

9. Legumes and Beans

Legumes and beans are an ideal choice!

Not only are these dishes tasty, but they are also packed with protein and fiber. This makes them healthy choices.

So why not try one of these flavorful legume dishes with your catfish?

Black-Eyed Peas

Experience Southern cuisine when you serve black-eyed peas as a side dish.

This nutritious and flavorful legume is an excellent source of protein and fiber. This makes it an ideal choice for a healthy and satisfying meal.

Simmer black-eyed peas in aromatic spices:

Finish by garnishing the dish with fresh herbs for extra depth and zest.

Black-eyed peas recipes:

  1. Loaded black-eyed peas, spinach, and vegetable soup
  2. Black-eyed pea pie
  3. Spiced chicken with black-eyed peas and rice
Black-Eyed Peas

Red Beans and Rice

Experience the classic Creole comfort food with red beans and rice—a mouthwatering side dish with your catfish.

A hearty combination of red beans cooked with smoked sausage pairs well with catfish.

For an authentic Cajun touch, cook both dishes using bell peppers, onion, and celery.

Red beans and rice recipes:

Red Beans and Rice

Lentil Salad

Vibrant lentil salad adds a lighter and refreshing spin to your catfish meal. It makes an eye-catching side dish.

Mix it with rich veggies like red onions, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Finish it with a zesty dressing made from lemon juice, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. This brings out the earthiness of lentils while counterbalancing the richness of catfish.

Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro for extra freshness.

Lentil salad recipes:

Lentil Salad

10. Pasta Sides

When it comes to pasta and catfish dishes, there are endless possibilities.

Try pairing your pasta and fish with a fresh green salad, roasted vegetables, garlic bread, or even creamy risotto!

Get creative and savor every delicious bite!

Linguine with Clam Sauce

Linguine with clam sauce is an exquisite side dish to go with catfish.

This pasta dish combines al dente linguine and succulent clams in a flavorful white wine and garlic sauce. It provides guests with an exquisite culinary fusion that will amaze them.

The delicate salty taste of the clams combined with the light, aromatic sauce create an exquisite contrast.

Linguine with clam sauce recipes:

Linguine with Clam Sauce

Orzo with Lemon and Herbs

Orzo with lemon and herbs is an exciting side dish with catfish.

This Mediterranean-inspired creation combines the following:

  • Tender orzo pasta with lemon juice
  • Fresh herbs
  • Olive oil for flavor

The zesty tang and aromatic herbs provide a welcome contrast to the mild yet tender catfish fillet.

Orzo with lemon and herbs recipes:

Orzo with Lemon and Herbs

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera is a colorful side dish to go with catfish.

They are made from sauteed vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini. They are mixed with al dente pasta in a light garlic-infused olive oil sauce.

The vegetables' vibrant flavors and crisp textures provide a delightful contrast to the tender catfish fillet. It creates a balanced meal that celebrates both land and sea.

Pasta Primavera recipes:

Pasta Primavera

Why Presentation Matters

Before presenting catfish dishes, let's first understand why presentation matters.

After all, how food looks can influence how people feel about it before they taste it. A beautifully presented dish may elicit anticipation, excitement, or even happiness. An unattractive one could do the opposite.

The presentation can significantly influence the perceived value of a dish. A poor presentation can make it appear cheap and unappealing.

An elegantly presented dish can give off an aura of being more valuable and unique.

An effective presentation can enhance the dining experience for diners. A beautifully presented dish will encourage them to become more engaged and involved. This makes it more memorable and pleasurable.

Elegant food presentation
Elegant food presentation example

10 Tips for Serving Catfish Dishes

Now we understand why presentation is so important. Let's dive into some specific instructions on presenting catfish dishes.

1. Select the Appropriate Plate

Choosing the correct plate is essential to creating an eye-catching presentation. A plate that's too small may make the food appear crowded and unappealing. One that is too big may make the portions seem small.

A medium-sized plate with a simple design and wide rim works best for most catfish dishes. Be sure to clean and dry the plate before beginning plating.

2. Consider color

Color plays an integral role in food presentation. When plating catfish dishes, use various colors to make them appear more eye-catching.

Add some visual interest with chopped fresh herbs or sliced vegetables.

Be mindful of the plate too. White makes vibrant ingredients pop, while dark plates create an understated elegance.

3. Consider texture

Texture can add an extra dimension to a dish's visual appeal.

When plating catfish dishes, consider incorporating different textures:

  • Some crispy fried onions on top of the creamy sauce for crunchiness
  • Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs over the fish for crunch.

Be sure that these additions complement the flavor rather than overpower it.

4. Play With Height and Depth

Incorporating height and depth into plating can add visual interest. This makes the dish appear more complex and sophisticated.

For instance, stack some sliced catfish on top of vegetables. You could also prop up a catfish fillet against a mound of mashed potatoes.

Be mindful not to make the dish too tall or unstable, which could topple over.

5. Don't Forget Sauces and Garnishes

Sauces and garnishes are the finishing touches that take a dish from good to great. Add flavorful sauces and visual appeal with sauces and garnishes.

Add lemon butter sauce over the top or chopped parsley for an herbaceous kick. Make sure they complement each other rather than overpower.

When plating seafood dishes, think about different components you can add:

  • Drizzle some lemon butter sauce over the top
  • Sprinkle chopped parsley on top for a fresh herbaceous flavor.

6. Plates with Odd Numbers

Odd numbers make for more appealing food presentations than even ones.

For example, arrange the components in odd numbers when plating catfish dishes. For instance, three fillets or five pieces of vegetables.

7. Use Symmetry or Asymmetry

Symmetry and asymmetry can create stunning visual effects.

Arrange catfish fillets symmetrically or create an asymmetric pattern with sauce and garnish. Make sure it looks intentional rather than messy or haphazard.

8. Maintain the Correct Temperature

The temperature of a dish can influence its presentation. So when serving catfish dishes, ensure they're at the ideal temperature - not too hot or cold.

If you want the dish to be hot, preheat the plate before plating it to keep the food warm.

If you want the dish to be cold, chill the plate before plating to maintain the ingredients' freshness.

9. Consider the Occasion

The setting or occasion can also influence how you want to present catfish dishes.

A casual family dinner might require a more rustic and hearty presentation. An elegant dinner party requires fine plating.

10. Practice and Experiment

Plate and presentation are an art that requires practice to master. Feel free to explore different techniques and styles.

Take pictures of your creations to see them from various angles and lighting sources.

You'll develop your style and gain more confidence in plating with practice.


What are some popular sides dishes to serve with catfish?

A: Popular side dishes for serving catfish include:

  • Fries
  • Grilled or steamed vegetables
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Potato salad
  • Baked beans
  • Rice Pilaf

Can I serve catfish with pasta?

A: Catfish pairs well with pasta dishes. Some include:

What are some healthy side dishes to serve with catfish?

A: Some healthy accompaniments for catfish:

  • Steamed or roasted vegetables
  • quinoa or brown rice
  • Mixed green salad
  • Cucumber and tomato salad with vinaigrette dressing

What are some traditional Southern sides for catfish?

A: Popular Southern sides for catfish include:

  • Hush puppies
  • Coleslaw
  • Collard greens
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Baked beans

Can I serve catfish with international side dishes?

Catfish is delicious when paired with these international dishes:

What sauces pair well with catfish?

A: Sauces like tartar sauce, remoulade, lemon butter, cocktail sauce, and spicy mayo.

What type of salad can I serve with catfish?

A: When serving catfish, you have several options for a salad:

  • Mixed green
  • Cucumber and tomato salad
  • Kale or spinach salads with a light dressing
  • Southern-style potato salad

These can all be great accompaniments.

Can I serve catfish with potatoes?

A: You can serve it alongside various potato dishes. Some of them:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Baked potatoes
  • Potato salad
  • French fries

What type of bread should I serve with catfish?

A: There are several options:

  • Cornbread
  • Garlic bread
  • Dinner rolls
  • Soft pretzels

Can I pair catfish with a grain-based side dish?

Catfish pairs well with:

  • Rice Pilaf
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous


Catfish is a versatile and delicious fish with endless pairing possibilities.

The combinations are endless, whether you choose heartier sides like mashed potatoes or grits or lighter options like coleslaw or a simple green salad.

Incorporating regional flavors and cultural influences can help create special meals that will wow you and your guests.

So get creative, explore different side dishes, and enjoy everything this delicious fish offers!

Unlimited Recipes
Unlimited Recipes

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