We took our favorite oven baked macaroni and cheese to another level by adding a crispy catfish breadcrumb topping! This catfish recipe is an easy weeknight dinner the whole family will enjoy.
Being from the Midwest originally, our family is new to trying catfish recipes. Within the last year we've had our fair share of delicious dishes (not just fried catfish!) and have kept our freezer stocked with catfish fillets. We've made tacos, soup, dips, and sandwiches. Last month, I decided to make this catfish macaroni and cheese in a sponsored partnership with The Catfish Institute.
I find my catfish filets, marked U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish, in the freezer section of our local grocery store. You can also find it fresh in the seafood department at most stores.
(full printable recipe at end of post)
This recipe has few simple ingredients and is very easy to make!
- U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish -- We prefer choosing catfish fillets where the packaging is marked U.S. Farm-Raised for the safest option with consistent flavor.
- Panko -- Other breadcrumbs or crackers (like Ritz!) can work, but we like the crispy crust resulted from the Panko brands.
- Pasta -- You can use any shape pasta. We're fans of the traditional elbow shape.
- Cheese -- Use your favorite flavor variety. Our choice is half sharp cheddar and half Monterey jack.
- Eggs, evaporated milk, butter -- These create the creamy milk mixture.
- Salt & pepper -- of course.
You can add your favorite spices to this recipe, like garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, hot sauce, etc.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for the full detailed recipe. The general steps are as follows:
- Shred the cheese; set aside. Preheat oven.
- Bake the catfish on a baking sheet; set aside
- While catfish is baking, prepare the pasta according to package directions; drain.
- Drizzle melted butter onto bottom of 9x13 baking pan.
- Layer pasta, cheese and butter.
- Mix eggs and milk, pour over pasta in pan.
- Flake the cooled catfish with a fork. Mix the fish flakes with the Panko and sprinkle evenly over the pasta.
- Bake casserole.
You can choose to fry the catfish instead of bake it. Or maybe you have leftover catfish to use up. This is a great way to put it to use!
- Rinse and dry catfish fillets with a paper towel before baking.
- Do not use a shallow dish. This recipe fills a 9x13 pan and maybe some in excess. If you have a large deep cast iron skillet, that will work, too.
- No need to grease the dish with nonstick spray since the bottom is covered with melted butter.
- If the top starts to burn before baking time is finished, cover loosely with foil.
- For even more flavor, try adding sauteed onions!
Made this Recipe?
Leave a star rating and tag me on Instagram @seededtable so I can see. I love hearing from you!
Baked Catfish Mac and Cheese
- 12 oz. U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish fillets (about 4 fillets)
- 1 ½ cups Panko
- 12 oz. large elbow macaroni pasta
- 8 oz. block sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 oz. block Monterey jack cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 14 oz. evaporated milk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
- Salt & pepper , to taste
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Shred the cheese; set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Lightly season catfish fillets with salt and pepper. Place on lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway. (Meanwhile, boil pasta to al dente according to package directions; drain.)
- Remove catfish from oven and set aside to cool, while leaving oven on at 375°F.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and spread evenly over bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Layer half of the cooked pasta into the dish, then half of the cheese. Dice 2 tablespoons of butter into tiny pieces and place evenly over top the cheese layer. Repeat the layers, starting with the remaining pasta, then the remaining cheese, and ending with another 2 tablespoons of butter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and milk with ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper (more or less to taste). Pour evenly over the casserole.
- Using a fork, flake the fish into small pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the flaked fish with the Panko and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Spread evenly over top the casserole. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.
- Bake casserole for 20 minutes, until top is golden and pasta is bubbly.
- This recipe was tested in a Pyrex glass baking dish. Baking times may vary if using a ceramic or metal pan.
- Serve as a meal or side dish.
- Can flavor catfish with Cajun seasonings before baking for a Cajun mac and cheese.
- Use same bowl to mix milk/eggs and then catfish with Panko. No need to dirty two bowls.
- Do not use pre-shredded cheese in the bags.
- Shred cheese while block is cold, then let set out while cooking fish and pasta so it isn't so cold when adding to the dish.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only and provided as a courtesy.