Easy Cajun Crayfish Stuffed Catfish Recipe

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crayfish and catfish dish

What’s Up, Hungry People

Crayfish? Crawfish? Crawdads? Mudbugs? However you refer to these tiny crustaceans, in the deep south bayous they are a staple of the cuisine. With Mardi Gras just around the corner, I find myself craving all things Cajun.

Catfish are also a common entree and are often caught by “noodling” in the rivers. Flathead catfish are pulled out of bayous and can weigh up to 125 pounds! I absolutely did not do any of that for this recipe though – I prefer noodling through the filets in the freezer aisle, thank you very much.

As my catfish baked to perfection, I whipped up a quick Cajun remoulade for dipping. This zesty sauce, when paired with a bed of aromatic jambalaya rice, provides the ultimate Cajun flavor explosion that’s just right for kicking off a festive Mardi Gras dinner or a laid-back fish fry.

As they say in New Orleans, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”—let the good times roll! This dish promises just that, with every bite infused with the spirit and spice of the South.

Here’s What You Need

  • Catfish fillets: Provides a mild, sweet flavor that complements the spicy stuffing.
  • Crayfish: Adds a rich, seafood essence to the stuffing.
  • Butter: Used for sautéing, adds richness and helps cook vegetables evenly.
  • Onion: Offers a foundational flavor base for the stuffing.
  • Celery: Contributes a mild, slightly peppery flavor.
  • Red bell pepper: Sweetness balances the heat of other ingredients.
  • Jalapeno: Brings heat and a fresh, green note to the dish.
  • Garlic: A key aromatic that deepens the savory flavors.
  • Lemon: Adds brightness and a touch of acidity to balance the richness.
  • Cajun spice blend: Provides the signature Southern spice.
  • Louisiana hot sauce: Introduces heat and vinegar tang to enhance depth.
  • White pepper: Offers a subtle, earthy heat different from black pepper.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: Gives body to the filling and a light, crispy texture when baked.
  • Egg yolk: Helps bind the stuffing ingredients together.
  • Cream cheese: Adds creaminess and helps meld the stuffing flavors.
  • Olive oil: Used for drizzling on fish for flavor and to aid cooking.
  • Salt and pepper: Seasoning staples to adjust overall flavor.
  • Jambalaya rice: Serves as a hearty, flavorful base for the dish.
  • Mayonnaise: The creamy base for the remoulade.
  • Parsley: Fresh, herbal brightness for the remoulade.
  • Capers: Brings a briny pop to the remoulade.
  • Whole grain mustard: Adds tang and texture to the remoulade.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Adds a slight umami depth to the remoulade.
  • Chives: Offer a mild onion-like flavor to the remoulade.

Let’s Cook

First things first, let’s get that oven fired up to 425°F. While that’s heating, grab a skillet and melt down some butter over high heat. Throw in your chopped onions and celery, and give them a good stir for about 2-3 minutes until they start to soften up. Now, toss in the red bell pepper and jalapeño. Keep everything moving in the pan for another couple of minutes until everything is tender. Quick tip: add the garlic last to avoid burning it, which can introduce a bitter flavor. Just stir it around until it becomes fragrant.

Spicing Things Up

Next up, let’s add the crayfish into the skillet. These little guys only need about 3-4 minutes to cook through. Now, reduce your stove to medium heat and get ready to jazz things up. Squeeze in the juice from half a lemon and sprinkle in your Cajun spices along with the Louisiana hot sauce and a dash of white pepper. Give it all a good mix to make sure those crayfish are fully dressed in those tasty spices.

Binding the Filling

Once your crayfish are all spiced up, it’s time to add the panko breadcrumbs. This will help soak up any extra moisture and give the filling a nice texture. Let it cook just until the panko sticks to everything. Take your skillet off the heat and let the mixture cool down a bit, about 15 minutes should do. This is the perfect time to stir in the cream cheese and egg yolk until everything’s nicely combined. Pop this in the fridge to chill for a bit—it’ll make the stuffing easier to handle.

Stuffing the Catfish

Now, let’s get to the fun part—stuffing those catfish fillets. Start by making a lengthwise cut down each fillet. Be careful not to cut all the way through; you’re creating a pocket here, not two separate pieces. If you’ve got the fillets ready, spoon the chilled filling generously inside each one. If there’s extra filling, don’t be shy—pile it on top of the fillets.

Ready to Bake

Place your stuffed fillets on a baking sheet. Remember those lemon slices and thyme sprigs? Lay them around and under the fillets for an extra kick of flavor while they bake. Drizzle everything with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste. Slide the tray into your preheated oven and let it bake for 20 minutes. For that beautifully crispy top, switch your oven to broil for the last 5-10 minutes—just keep an eye on it to avoid burning.

Serving Your Dish

While your catfish is transforming in the oven, whip up that Cajun remoulade you prepared earlier from the fridge. Once the fish is done, take it out of the oven and carefully remove any lemon slices and thyme sprigs. Serve each fillet on a warm bed of jambalaya rice with a hearty dollop of the remoulade on the side.

Cajun Cooking Corner Tips

  • Prepping the Catfish: To stuff the catfish properly, ensure you don’t cut through the other side when slicing open the fillets. A gentle hand is needed to make deep enough pockets without piercing through the meat. This method helps hold the stuffing securely, maximizing the flavor in every bite.
  • Balancing Flavors: If you find the heat from the jalapeno and Louisiana hot sauce too intense, you can adjust the amount to suit your taste. Start with half the suggested quantity and add more gradually after tasting.
  • Serving Suggestions: For a truly festive table, complement your Cajun stuffed catfish with side dishes that can absorb the flavors, like cornbread or a fresh green salad. These sides help balance the richness and spice of the main dish.
  • Troubleshooting Stuffing: If your stuffing feels too dry after adding the panko breadcrumbs, a splash of chicken broth can moisten it without diluting the flavors. This ensures the filling stays succulent and flavorful, even after baking.
stuffed catfish recipe simple

As Mardi Gras approaches, there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than with a hearty dish like our cajun crayfish stuffed catfish. This recipe combines all the warmth and zest of the South with the unique, easy-to-love flavors of crayfish and catfish, turning any meal into a celebration. Preparing this dish is more than just cooking; it’s an opportunity to bring a piece of Louisiana into your kitchen.

cajun catfish fbthumb

Cajun Crayfish STUFFED Catfish Filets

The Starving Chef
This cajun crayfish stuffed catfish brings together spicy and savory flavors, creating a perfect blend for any Southern-style occasion.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Mardi Gras
Cuisine Mardi Gras, Seafood
Servings 4



  • 4 catfish filets thick cut
  • 16 oz crayfish shells removed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup onion chopped
  • ¼ cup celery chopped
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 lemon half juiced, half sliced into rings
  • 2 tablespoons cajun spice blend
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • ½ tablespoon white pepper
  • ¾ cup panko
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 sprigs thyme optional
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • cooked jambalaya rice for serving



  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). In a skillet over high heat, melt the butter. Sauté the onions and celery for 2-3 minutes until softened. Then add the red bell pepper and jalapeño. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until tender, then add the garlic and stir until fragrant.
  • Add the crayfish to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes until the crayfish are cooked through. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the juice of half a lemon and season with the Cajun spice blend, Louisiana hot sauce, and white pepper. Stir to coat the crayfish in spices.
  • Stir the panko breadcrumbs into the skillet. Cook for a few minutes until the panko has adhered to the crayfish and absorbed any excess moisture. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Add the cream cheese and egg yolk, and stir well to combine everything together. Chill until ready to stuff the fillets.
  • Make a cut lengthwise down the center of the catfish fillet, but do not cut all the way through. You may need to run the knife down the center a couple of times to achieve a smooth cut. Place the knife flat on the fillet and make a slice along the inside of the center cut—again, not cutting all the way to the edge of the fish—effectively creating a pocket on the inside of each side of the fillet.
  • Gently open the fillet and stuff generously with the crayfish filling. Pile the excess filling on top of the fillet. Place the fillets on a baking sheet lined with the cut lemon slices and a sprig or two of thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for 20 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Broil for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the top is crispy and golden brown.
  • While the fish cooks, mix together the remoulade ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.
  • When the fish is done cooking, carefully remove it from the pan. Discard the lemon and thyme sprigs. Serve the stuffed catfish on a bed of jambalaya rice and with a hearty dollop of remoulade. Enjoy!


Keyword cajun, crayfish, fish, stuffed
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