Oven-Baked Catfish in Lemon, Butter, and Wine Sauce

Helena Ricketts loves cooking from scratch and sharing her recipes with anyone who wants to try something new in the world of food.

Baked Catfish in Lemon, Butter and Wine Sauce

Baked Catfish in Lemon, Butter and Wine Sauce

Why Choose Catfish?

Catfish is one of the most popular freshwater fish to end up on the dinner table. When we think of catfish, normally we picture them battered and deep fried as nuggets or on a sandwich. This recipe is a lighter version that is normally reserved for other types of fish, such as tilapia or cod, but the catfish does very well baked in addition to when it's battered and fried.

This fish is highly nutritious. A 3-ounce serving of catfish is only 81 calories. It contains 14 grams of protein, 32% of the RDA of vitamin B12 and 106% of the RDA for vitamin D. Compared to other foods, catfish is low in fat, only packing in 4% of the recommended daily amount. You can't go wrong with choosing catfish.

One thing that you will want to consider is the source of the fish that you are putting on your dinner table. Farmed fish have been taught to eat a diet that doesn't necessarily exist within their natural habitat and that diet could include corn, specifically genetically modified corn. If that is something that you are concerned with, you may want to stick to catfish that are wild-caught or that you have caught out of a local waterway.

This recipe can also be used on multiple types of fish, so if you aren't a member of the catfish fan club but are crazy about another type of fish, give it a try. Something different on the dinner table is always a welcomed sight.

Baked catfish dinner with kale salad, kidney beans and homemade cornbread.

Baked catfish dinner with kale salad, kidney beans and homemade cornbread.

Baked Catfish Recipe

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

30 min

40 min

4, 4 ounce servings


  • 1 pound catfish, whole or fillets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon

How to Fillet a Catfish


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Arrange your catfish in a baking dish that is large enough that the fillets won't be touching each other. If you are using a whole fish, make sure there is plenty of room for them to lie flat. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Put a saucepan on a burner on your stove and add the butter, wine, garlic, lemon juice, and cilantro. Turn the heat on medium and simmer the sauce for a few minutes until it has reduced and thickened.
  4. Pour the sauce over the fish.
  5. Add a garnish of sliced lemons if you want. I do it for a couple of reasons: because I think it looks pretty, and because I like the way the lemon cooks in the oven with the fish—it actually tastes pretty good.
  6. Put the fish in the oven. If you are cooking fillets, you will want to set your timer for 20 minutes. If you are cooking a whole fish, set your timer for 30 minutes. The fish that I used for the photos in this recipe actually took 40 minutes. It was a one-pound whole catfish. You'll know for sure that your fish is done when it pulls away from the bone, or flakes, when you stick a fork in it.

Side Dish Ideas

Here are some of the side dishes that I have served with this fish recipe.

  • Make a kale salad that contains all of your favorites. Some of the things that I always add to our salads are tomatoes, carrots, onions, pine nuts, and dried cranberries.
  • Green beans are always a good choice to pair with baked fish.
  • Asparagus would be extremely lovely with this!
  • Bread-wise, you could make my easy Parmesan cheese and pine nut muffins or my homemade cornbread. They are a nice change from the regular, everyday yeast roll.

Almost anything will pair very well with this fish recipe as long as you think light. The lemon juice and wine are more powerful flavor-wise in the sauce than the butter, so it's a good idea to steer away from heavier, comfort food side dishes.

I sometimes serve this alone with just a green salad and a glass of wine. It's a fantastic summer evening meal for a candlelit outdoor dinner.

© 2015 Helena Ricketts


Toni Strickland on January 12, 2019:

How much lemon juice do you add to the reduction?

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on October 28, 2015:

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. We can ruin the taste of a fish or meat with too many ingredients. Your recipe for catfish is just right. Something I know my husband and I would love. Thank you for sharing.

Blessings to you.

Randomovic from Egypt on April 17, 2015:

never tasted cat fish but this looks yummy

Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on April 03, 2015:

Thank you! It is good and if you try it, please come back and let me know what you thought.

Alem Belton from New York on April 03, 2015:


Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on April 02, 2015:

Thanks @Shades-of-truth. I have never considered smoking catfish. I'll have to try that out because it sounds really good. I love catfish and trying new ways to prepare it.

Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on April 02, 2015:

Thanks @Rachel L Alba! It is really tasty.

Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on April 02, 2015:

It's really good. When you do try it, please come back and let me know what you thought about it.

Emily Tack from USA on April 02, 2015:

I love catfish! One of my favorite ways to eat it, is smoked. Every time my nephew comes down to FL from IL, he brings us some. The pieces are huge, and melt in the mouth.

Seems I can remember when catfish wasn't considered a good fish to eat, but I have always enjoyed it. Loved the video. I rarely watch one, but that one was great.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on April 02, 2015:

I never had catfish. It's probably not as popular here in NE PA. But, I would like to try it and I would definitely use your recipe, it looks great.

I voted up.

Have a Blessed Easter.

Kieron Walker from Saratoga Springs, NY on April 01, 2015:

I used to catch catfish in the little fishing hole in the back of my uncle's property. Of course, we always ended up deep frying them at the end of the day.

It's great to see an alternative way of cooking them! I'll definitely give this one a try sometime soon.

Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on March 27, 2015:

Thanks @Purrsngrrs! It really is. If you try it, come back and let me know what you think.

Uzair Mehmood from USA, TX on March 24, 2015:

Looks delicious!

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