Skip to Content

7 Tasty Catfish Substitutes: Jazz Up Dishes

So, we were thinking about spicing up dinner the other night and got stuck on a real fishy situation. Ever craved catfish, but couldn’t find any or just wanted to mix things up? We’ve got you covered.

Substituting catfish doesn’t have to be a big challenge with the right alternatives. In fact, there are plenty of options that taste just as good, if not better.

We’ve sampled and tested a bunch of fish and non-fish substitutes. Trust us, these swaps will make your dishes pop.

Think of this as our little guide to making your meals fantastically diverse without the catfish. Ready to give your recipes a twist? Let’s check out these tasty options.

7 Easy Substitutes for Catfish

Without further ado, let’s dive into these delicious alternatives to catfish.

SubstituteTasteTextureRatioSuitable Dishes
TilapiaMild, slightly sweetFirm, flaky1:1Baked, grilled, fried
CodMild, sweetFirm, flaky1:1Baked, grilled, fried
HalibutMild, sweetFirm, dense1:1Baked, grilled
HaddockMild, slightly sweetFirm, flaky1:1Baked, grilled, fried
PollockMild, slightly sweetFirm, flaky1:1Baked, grilled, fried
Striped BassMild, sweetFirm, flaky1:1Baked, grilled
FlounderMild, sweetDelicate, flaky1:1Baked, pan-fried

1 – Tilapia

First on our list is Tilapia, a great 1:1 substitute for catfish. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a firm, flaky texture similar to catfish. This makes it almost a perfect substitute in recipes.

Tilapia is widely available and budget-friendly. It’s strictly a freshwater fish, while catfish can be both freshwater and saltwater.

Tilapia’s texture is just a bit more delicate compared to catfish. It’s usually farmed, unlike catfish which might be wild-caught or farmed.

For more substitutes, check out our article at best tilapia substitutes.

2 – Cod

Have you ever wondered if Cod could take on the catfish throne? Spoiler: It absolutely can. Cod boasts a mild flavor and firm texture, making it a versatile choice for many recipes.

What sets Cod apart? It’s a saltwater fish, unlike catfish, which can live in both freshwater and saltwater. Cod’s texture is slightly denser, so it holds up great in hearty dishes. One tiny catch – Cod can be a bit pricier than your typical catfish.

If you’re curious about other substitutes, check out our best cod fish substitutes.

Now, who’s hungry? Next up – another tasty alternative!

3 – Halibut

One of our favorite fish substitutes is Halibut, a versatile white fish. Its firm texture and mild flavor make it a fantastic 1:1 swap for catfish in many dishes.

Halibut is a saltwater flatfish, unlike catfish, which adds a unique twist. It has a slightly sweeter flavor, which we absolutely love.

It is generally more expensive than catfish, so it’s a bit of a splurge. If you’re curious about more options, check out our article on halibut substitutes.

Next up, let’s see another alternative!

4 – Haddock

In terms of reliable fish substitutes, Haddock really shines. Haddock is a white fish with a flaky, mild flavor that works well when you’re out of catfish. We found it fits perfectly in fried fish dishes and fish tacos.

Haddock, a saltwater fish, contrasts catfish, which swims in both fresh and saltwater. Its texture is slightly more delicate than catfish, making it a creamy delight in every bite. It does come with a heftier price tag, so be prepared for a small splurge.

Check out our detailed guide on haddock substitutes if you’re curious about more options.

5 – Pollock

Next up, Pollock! This white fish is a real budget-friendly champ with its mild flavor and firm texture.

It’s perfect as a 1:1 swap for catfish in various recipes. Pollock comes from saltwater, giving it a bit of a different vibe compared to the versatile catfish.

We’ve noticed that Pollock has a slightly stronger flavor than catfish. It’s subtle but noticeable.

Pollock is often easier on the wallet, making it a top choice for those of us who love tasty dinners without breaking the bank.

6 – Striped Bass

While thinking about switching up our fish game, let’s talk about striped bass. This fish is pretty awesome. It’s got a firm texture and a mild, slightly sweet taste.

It can sub for catfish in tons of recipes. Unlike catfish, striped bass only swims in saltwater.

It carries a more pronounced flavor, giving your dish a bit of a kick. Be ready to spend a bit more, though, because striped bass can be pricier.

Curious for more details? Check our striped bass substitutes article.

7 – Flounder

The final contender in our lineup is the delicate and mild-flavored flounder. Flounder, a saltwater flatfish, makes a delightful catfish substitute. Its texture is tender and works well in dishes like fish tacos or baked fish.

Compared to catfish, flounder has a slightly more delicate texture. Just be ready for a bit of a splurge, as flounder often costs more.

Looking for more details? Check out our guide on flounder substitutes.