Timber 2 Table - Fried Catfish and Grits Breakfast Bowl

Here's a twist on a Southern shrimp classic that's become a breakfast favorite at our home

Fried Catfish and Grits Breakfast Bowl

20 Min

Prep Time

30 Min

Cook Time





Don't get me wrong. I love a good catfish fry for dinner, or even fried catfish on the water's edge as a shore lunch. But don't pigeonhole this versatile fish for late day meals. One of my favorite breakfasts is crispy fried catfish atop a bowl of creamy cheese grits. Top it with a fried egg or two and add a dash of hot sauce if your morning palate desires a bit of spice.

This combination of crispy fried catfish and creamy cheese grits make the perfect breakfast or brunch.

To make really good cheese grits, first start with exceptional grits. Don't buy the off the shelf instant grits at your local grocer. Instead, find a nice whole corn, preferably stone ground, old-fashioned white or yellow grit. My favorite comes from Weisenberger Mill, a family run, six generation mill here in central Kentucky. Yea, I know the instructions call for cooking with water only, but we want a creamier finished product. That's why we add a bit of half and half and butter to ours. That, along with some sharp cheddar cheese, ensures a deliciously creamy finished product that even non-grit eaters end up loving.

For the best results, start with high quality grits.

For the catfish, we use boneless fillets fried the old-fashioned way — in seasoned cornmeal. You can season the cornmeal to your desired taste, or just find a cornmeal-based fish breading you enjoy. For best results, fry in peanut oil or Crisco. I like to cook the fillets to a nice golden brown with extra crispy edges. If you are sleeping in on a weekend, this dish makes the perfect brunch.

Realtree Store


1-2 pounds catfish fillets

Cornmeal breading

1-2 eggs per serving, fried to desired doneness

Cheese Grits

1 cup stone ground grits

2 cups water

2 cups half and half

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cooking Instructions

Start with the grits. Add the water, salt, and half and half to a pan or small pot. Bring to a boil. Add the grits. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often.

When the grits are about ready, stir in the butter and cheese. Simmer 5 more minutes, then remove from heat to rest.

Add the cheese at the end of the cooking time for the grits.

While the grits simmer, heat ½ inch oil or shortening in a large skillet. Dredge the fillets in seasoned cornmeal.

Dredge the catfish in seasoned cornmeal.

Once the oil reaches 325-350 degrees, add the fish, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness, till the fish is flaky, golden brown, and crispy. Move to a paper towel lined tray while you continue to fry remaining fish.

Fry the fish to a crispy golden brown.

To plate, spoon cheese grits into a bowl. Top with 1-2 fried catfish fillets and a fried egg. I'm going out on a limb and trusting that y'all know how to fry an egg without instruction. Top with hot sauce, if desired.