How many carbs are in 3 pieces of fried catfish?

Quick Answer

The number of carbs in 3 pieces of fried catfish can vary depending on the size of the catfish pieces and how they are prepared. However, on average, 3 ounces (about 1 piece) of fried catfish contains about 5-8 grams of carbs. So for 3 pieces, estimated around 3 ounces each, you would get about 15-24 grams of carbs total. The carbs come mostly from the breading or batter used to fry the catfish. The catfish itself is very low in carbs when not breaded.

Detailed Answer

Catfish is a low-carb fish on its own. A 3 ounce piece of raw catfish only contains around 1 gram of carbs from natural glycogen stores in the fish [1]. However, when the catfish is breaded or battered and fried, the carb content increases significantly.

The breading or batter coating adds carbs from flour or cornmeal which are higher in carbs. Different recipes can use different combinations of flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, etc to affect the carb count.

According to the USDA, 3 ounces of fried catfish contains [2]:

  • Total carbs: 7.5g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Sugars: 0.7g
  • Net carbs: 7.1g

This is for a generic fried catfish recipe. The precise carb count can vary between about 5-8g for a 3 ounce piece depending on the specific recipe.

So for 3 pieces of catfish, estimated around 3 ounces each, you would get:

  • 9 ounces of fried catfish total
  • Around 15-24g total carbs

This estimate is based on the typical carb range for fried catfish. Of course, if the pieces are smaller or larger than 3 ounces each, the carb count would decrease or increase accordingly.

Factors Affecting Carb Count

There are a few factors that can affect the carb count in fried catfish:

  • Batter vs breading – Batters like beer batter tend to be higher in carbs than dry breading mixtures. The wet batter coating adds more carbs.
  • Ingredients – Cornmeal or corn flour will be higher in carbs than wheat flour. Breading with panko crumbs would be lower in carbs than one with breadcrumbs.
  • Portion size – Larger pieces of catfish mean more coating and higher carbs. Smaller portions would have less coating and fewer carbs.
  • Cooking method – Fried catfish tend to have more carbs from soaking up some of the oil. Catfish prepared by baking or broiling would have slightly less coating absorbed.

So the exact recipe and preparation method can alter the carb contents slightly. But most breaded, fried catfish recipes fall within the estimated 15-24g carb range for 3 pieces.

Nutrition Facts for Fried Catfish

Here are the full nutrition facts for a 3 ounce serving of fried catfish from the USDA [2]:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 147
Fat 7.95 g
Carbs 7.5 g
Fiber 0.4 g
Sugars 0.7 g
Protein 12.8 g

As you can see, a 3 ounce serving provides 147 calories, 8g of fat, 8g of carbs, and 13g of protein. This is for fried catfish made with a cornmeal type coating.

Different recipes and cooking methods would alter the nutrition profile slightly. But overall fried catfish is a high protein, moderate fat, low carb fish choice.

Carb Count of Catfish vs Other Fried Fish

How does the carb amount in fried catfish compare to other popular fried fish choices?

Here is a comparison of the carb content in 3 ounces of some commonly fried fish varieties [3]:

Fish Total Carbs
Catfish 7.5g
Cod 7.2g
Flounder 6.6g
Pollock 6.3g
Tilapia 6.3g

As you can see, fried catfish is moderately higher in carbs compared to white fish like cod, flounder, pollock, and tilapia when portion sizes are equal. Catfish has about 1-2 more grams of carbs due to differences in the coating.

However, all breaded and fried white fish and catfish prepared the same way will have fairly similar carb counts. They all gain carbs from the breading or batter during cooking.

So catfish, cod, flounder, and other fried fish are all decent lower carb options compared to fried shrimp or calamari which can have double the carbs per serving.

Tips to Reduce Carbs in Fried Catfish

If you are trying to reduce carbs, here are some tips for making lower carb fried catfish:

  • Use lighter breading – Choose lighter mixtures like panko crumbs, pork rinds, or almond flour instead of heavy breadcrumbs.
  • Skip the batter – Use a simple dusted breading without a wet batter which adds extra carbs.
  • Bake instead of fry – Baking uses less oil and absorbs less of the breading carbs.
  • Eat a smaller portion – Stick to a 3-4 ounce portion to limit carb intake.
  • Remove breading – Take off and discard some of the outer breading to reduce carbs if needed.

With a few simple tweaks, you can cut 2-3g of carbs per serving to make a lower carb version of crispy catfish.

Health Benefits of Catfish

Here are some of the main health benefits that catfish provides:

  • High in protein – Catfish contains about 12-16g of protein per 3 ounce serving to help build muscle, repair tissues, and keep you full.
  • Rich in selenium – Catfish has one of the highest selenium contents among fish. Selenium supports thyroid and immune system function.
  • Good source of vitamin B12 – A serving of catfish provides over half your daily vitamin B12 needs which aids DNA production and red blood cell formation.
  • Contains vitamin D – Farmed catfish tends to be higher in vitamin D than wild caught, providing this important nutrient for immune health and bone density.
  • Low mercury risk – Catfish tends to accumulate less mercury than many other fish, making it safer to consume regularly.

In addition to being low in carbs, catfish is highly nutritious and associated with many health benefits. The high quality protein, selenium, B vitamins, and other nutrients it supplies are great reasons to include it in your diet.

Low Carb Catfish Recipes

Here are some delicious catfish recipes that are lower in carbs:

Blackened Catfish

This easy blackened catfish uses just a small amount of breading mixture and is pan seared instead of deep fried. It provides amazing Cajun flavor with fewer carbs.

Pecan Crusted Catfish

Coating the catfish in chopped pecans gives you crunch and flavor without lots of starchy carbs. Serve over greens instead of rice or hushpuppies.

Baked Lemon Pepper Catfish

Skipping the breading and baking instead of frying slashes the carbs. Lemon pepper seasoning gives tons of flavor.

Cajun Baked Catfish

Reduce carbs even further by forgoing breading and using Cajun seasoning. Bake and serve with sautéed spinach instead of fries.

Broiled Catfish with Herbs

Broiling minimizes any coating while unlocking catfish’s natural flavors. Top with fresh herbs like dill, parsley or chives.

Low Carb Side Dishes for Catfish

To make a well-rounded lower carb catfish meal, pair it with these delicious low carb sides:

  • Baked asparagus spears
  • Sautéed zucchini
  • Coleslaw with creamy dressing
  • Green salad with vinaigrette
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Roasted brussels sprouts

Having a plate full of green veggies or salad instead of fries, hushpuppies, or mac and cheese lets you enjoy crispy catfish while keeping carbs in check.


In summary, the total amount of carbs in 3 pieces of fried catfish depends on the size and recipe, but averages around 15-24g total based on about 5-8g per 3 ounce serving. This comes mainly from the breading or batter coating used. Fried catfish has a similar carb count to other fried white fish. Eating a reasonable portion and choosing lighter cooking methods can reduce carbs. Pairing your catfish with low carb side dishes instead of breaded apps and fried sides helps complete a healthier lower carb meal. So you can definitely still enjoy delicious catfish even when limiting carbs.

Leave a Comment