Far being the exclusive domain of Cajun and Creole cuisine, catfish is enjoyed by a wide range of cultures in numerous countries around the world. The popularity is well-founded because well-cooked catfish has a delicious, mild, and subtle flavor and a wonderfully moist texture. While it’s most commonly enjoyed deep fried or blackned cajun-style in the USA, sous vide is a great way to cook this fish at home.

Here’s how to prepare perfectly cooked sous vide catfish every time.

Temperature and cooking times for catfish

TemperatureTimeResult
125°F*30-60 minutesMedium, firm, moist, and flaky
130°F30-60 minutesWell done but still moist, flaky
*Please note that some of these temperatures are lower than what the FDA recommends. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness.

Catfish is a thin fish, so we don’t recommend cooking it for longer than 30 minutes. Certain tougher proteins benefit from some extra time in the sous vide water bath however fish should be removed as soon as possible. If the fish is left in the Suvie or sous vide bath for longer than an hour it will start to develop a dry, unpleasant texture.

Follow this link to find out more information about Suvie cooking times and temperatures

Ingredients

  • Catfish fillets
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil or butter

Equipment

  • Suvie or an immersion circulator
  • A large pot (if using an immersion circulator)
  • Freezer safe sealable plastic bags

Directions

Lightly Season the catfish on both sides with salt and pepper, place in a sealable freezer bag (remove air from the bag using the water displacement method).

Add 2 tbsp of olive oil or some butter and seal the bag. If you’re cooking more than one fillet try and keep them in a single layer in the bag. You can use two separate bags if necessary.

If you’re using an immersion circulator, pre-heat your water bath to the desired temperature. 

If you are using Suvie, place the bag in the protein pan and cover with water. Cook using the following settings:

My Cook > Multi-Zone Settings

Protein: 120-130 degrees, 30 minutes (or follow our Protein Cooking Guide)

Vegetable: 0 minutes

Starch: 0 minutes

Once the cook is finished, remove the fish from the water bath or pan. 

Remove the fish from the bag and gently pat dry with a paper towel.

Finishing

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil or butter in a skillet over high heat until the pan is very hot. Once the oil begins to smoke place the catfish fillets in the pan. Press the fish down to make sure that all the surface is in contact with the pan and sear for about 1 minute without flipping. Flip and sear the other side of the fish. Remove from pan once lightly browned.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipes to try

White Fish with Herb Butter over Spinach

Kerala Fish Curry

FAQs

Should I add oil during the sous vide process?

You don’t have to, but we strongly recommend it. Unlike steak or chicken, fish benefits from a little bit of fat during the sous vide process. 

Can I leave the catfish fillets in sous vide for longer than 30 minutes? 

As with all proteins, at low temperatures, catfish that is left in the sous vide bath for too long will develop a soft texture that some may find unpleasant. At higher temperatures, the fish will become overly dry. 

What’s the chalky white substance on the exterior of the fish?

You may notice a white film forms on the exterior of your fish after it has cooked. This is albumin, a water-soluble protein that coagulates when heated and is completely safe to eat. It’s the same protein you find in egg whites and milk. Simply rinse or carefully brush off the albumin with a paper towel to remove.

Note: Adding oil to the sous vide bag should help to inhibit the development of the albumin.

Where can I get vacuum sealed proteins?

If you don’t want to fuss with vacuum sealers and ziplock bags you can skip the store and order the Suvie Protein Box. Just put together your ideal combination of preseasoned, portioned, and vacuum-packed high-quality meat, poultry, or fish. We deliver it to you frozen in a carefully-packed box.

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