New Orleans Beignets

When I was researching recipes for Mardi Gras there was one thing that was a constant on every menu and every list that I found – beignets. Quite simply, a beignet is a pastry made from deep-fried dough, much like a doughnut, and then dusted with a liberal coating of powdered sugar. Beignets are actually the official state doughnut of Louisiana, which would explain their deep affiliation with New Orleans and the tie they have with Mardi Gras celebrations. I have never been to New Orleans but my mom was there once, and she came home raving about beignets, so much so that she bought a beignets mix upon her return so she could make them at home. This was a long time ago, so I’m not sure what happened, but those suckers did not turn out. I was thrilled at the idea of giving them another go, from scratch this time, especially since I had such great success with doughnuts last summer.

The dough for beignets is a sweetened yeast dough, made with bread flour, which gives the pastries a sturdy exterior – they hold their shape extremely well. The dough is mixed together (it takes less than 15 minutes!) and then chilled in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or up to an entire day. When you’re ready to make your beignets you simply roll out the dough and cut it into 2-inch squares, then drop them into your frying vessel. They only take a couple of minutes on each side to turn a beautiful golden brown and to magically puff in the middle, creating rotund little pastries. Once out of the oil and drained, they get a generous dusting of powdered sugar and are ready to eat.

These are absolutely delicious – a little like a doughnut, but a tad bit different. They are fluffy, sweet, and of course… fried. Yum. I’m excited to have another regional specialty under my belt, I love exploring the food world!

Four years ago: Chicken and Dumplings

New Orleans Beignets

Yield: Approximately 6 dozen beignets

Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (¼-ounce) envelope active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
1½ cups warm water (105° to 115°), divided
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening
6½ to 7 cups bread flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions:

1. Combine the yeast, ½ cup warm water, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Add milk, eggs, salt, and remaining granulated sugar.

2. Microwave remaining 1 cup water until hot (about 115°); stir in shortening until melted. Add to yeast mixture. Using the paddle attachment, beat at low speed, gradually adding 4 cups flour, until smooth. Switch to a dough hook and gradually add remaining 2½ to 3 cups flour, beating until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours.

3. When you're ready to fry the beignets, turn the dough out onto a floured surface; roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into 2½-inch squares.

4. Pour oil to depth of 2 to 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 360°. Fry dough, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack. Dust immediately with powdered sugar.

(Recipe adapted from Southern Living)

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70 Responses to “New Orleans Beignets”

  1. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on February 20, 2012 at 1:41 am

    I love that you are all over Mardi Gras and NOLA-inspired food…these look fabulous!

    Reply

  2. Nicky @ Pink Recipe Box on February 20, 2012 at 5:06 am

    I had never heard of beignets until I read your post. They sound just my thing – like doughnuts…but better! Love the continuing Mardi Gras theme, too.

    Reply

    • petite.cherie501 on February 26th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Ahhhhh, my fondest memory of New Orleans: so-hot-your-fingers-burn when you pick them up coated with mountains of powdered sugar you wear no matter how delicately you try. Washed down with mountains of almost-bitter, nice and strong black chicory coffee blend…….better than any restaurant in town. And I really dislike donuts! I, too, have purchased boxes of the mix but been disappointed. More a function, I’m sure, of my dislike and lack of confidence in frying (never fried a chicken—-and I’m waaay older than you.) Will definitely make these the next time the kids visit or I have breakfast company with my go-to pecan sticky caramel cinnamon rolls as backup. Thanks for the recipe!

      Reply

  3. Kiri W. on February 20, 2012 at 6:18 am

    I’ve never been to New Orleans, but really am intrigued with the cuisine down there. Looks delicious!

    Reply

  4. Im At Home Baking on February 20, 2012 at 6:48 am

    My brother went a few years ago and he loved eating these and so now my mother makes them from time to time. These look so delicious and I think I will have to finally give them a try.

    Reply

  5. Katrina on February 20, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Aww yeah! All that powdered sugar is a sure tasty treat!

    Reply

  6. Amy @ CookingScraps on February 20, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Oh dear, these look delightful! Do you know of a good substitute for vegetable shortening though, could butter work here?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 20th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Amy, I’m honestly not sure, as I haven’t tried to substitute. Most times that is an okay substitute, but they do have different properties.

      Reply

  7. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on February 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

    These look so good, but I can’t handle fried foods! :( I wish you could bake them, but they probably wouldn’t taste the same.

    Reply

  8. Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie on February 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Yum! I went to NOLA in high school on a band trip, but didn’t get to try beignets. Hopefully, I’ll make it back there one day! Do you think that you could chill the dough for more than 24 hours?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 20th, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Hi Jennifer, Well, I honestly don’t know, but my guess is probably not since the recipe gives a pretty wide window that is capped at 24 hours. If you like 30 hours I think you’re fine, but I wouldn’t leave the dough for more than a day and a half or so.

      Reply

  9. jules p on February 20, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Oh these look amazing. And after reading the recipe it seems like I could actually make these. And I like that the recipe makes a lot.

    Reply

  10. Cat on February 20, 2012 at 9:44 am

    What differentiates a beignet from a doughnut? There is no second rise prior to frying. That’s what accounts for the difference in texture you cited.

    Reply

  11. Lori @ RecipeGirl on February 20, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I’ve never been to New Orleans yet either but we plan to go this summer! Someone was just telling me about Beignets the other day… that I have to try them. They look wonderful!

    Reply

  12. Mireia on February 20, 2012 at 10:07 am

    These look absolutely fantastic! I’m going to pin it right now!

    Reply

  13. Nikki @Pennies on a Platter on February 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Ben went to N’awlins ;) a few years ago and brought home a Beignet mix for me. I never had the chance to make them before the box’s expiration date, but would love to make them homemade, especially now that I only live 2 1/2 hours from the Mardi Gras festivities! We attended our first Mardi Gras parade yesterday and I made your King Cake to share with my relatives there. Big hit! :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 20th, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      So glad you and your family enjoyed the King Cake!

      Reply

  14. Jen on February 20, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I also would be interested in a substitute for the vegetable shortening since I don’t think I have any in the house, but would like to make these for tomorrow. I might just try butter and see how it works!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 20th, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Hi Jen, Let me know how it turns out with butter!

      Reply

      • Jen on February 21st, 2012 at 9:48 am

        Well, I made these last night/this morning (made the dough last night and fried them up early this morning for my husband to take to work.) I made them with butter since I did not have vegetable shortening and they came out great! I have never made them with shortening so I don’t know exactly how they compare, but they look like the ones in the photos. And my husband has only been at work for half an hour and I am already getting emails and Facebook messages from his co-workers saying how great they are, so I guess they were a success. :D Thanks for the recipe!

        Reply

  15. Sue/the view from great island on February 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

    The texture inside of that beignet looks positively creamy! Great post, you’ve inspired me to try.

    Reply

  16. Amber, RD on February 20, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I have never heard of beignets before, but they remind me of the little fried donuts you get at Chinese buffets. Those are my favorite thing about getting Chinese food and this version looks delicious and pretty easy. Can’t wait to try them!

    Reply

  17. Tracey on February 20, 2012 at 10:43 am

    These would be so dangerous to have in my house – I am powerless to resist doughnut-like treats! They look awesome :)

    Reply

  18. Sanjeeta KK on February 20, 2012 at 11:52 am

    So soft and pillowy bake!

    Reply

  19. Alicia @ Treble Tart on February 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    This excites me so much!! It’s been about 8 years since I’ve been to New Orleans (time to go back, me thinks); this beignet recipe brings back so many great memories! :)

    Reply

  20. Hallie on February 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Donyou think these could be baked? I am sure they would be much yummiest fried, but trying to stick to those new years resolutions!

    Reply

  21. Jessi A on February 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    So these don’t raise at all? How simple!!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 20th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      Nope! Well, they do raise a little, but in the refrigerator.

      Reply

      • Jessi A on February 21st, 2012 at 10:02 am

        Fabulous! THanks so much!

        Reply

  22. annie on February 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I visited New Orleans many years ago, and was lucky to eat beignets at Cafe du Monde. What an awesome experience, eating al fresco with the great Mississippi behind you, and one I would love to repeat. I will have to try these beignets for the family. Thanks Michelle.

    Reply

  23. CouponClippingCook on February 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    These look so delicious. and relatively few ingredients too.

    Reply

  24. Kerry on February 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Don’t forget the Cafe au lait! Oh such wonderful memories of my trip with my daughter. Food and travel, my two favorite things.

    Reply

  25. Ally on February 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    These look amazing! I’d love them with some cinnamon sugar too. Warm out of the deep fryer… please! :)
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  26. Ryan on February 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I really need to get over my fear of frying so I can make these, haha. They look so awesome!

    Reply

  27. Magda (@MagdasCauldron) on February 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    They look good. It impress me how many different deep-fried sweets there are in the world. And they are always so delicious. Have you heard about angel wings? Or chiacchiere? They are worth trying too :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 20th, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Yes! My grandma (she was Italian) always referred to angel wings as “bow ties”. But they were twisted fried dough dusted with powdered sugar. She always made them right around Easter – I could never get enough! My boyfriend’s family makes something similar, only for New Year’s. LOVE!

      Reply

  28. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on February 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I am SO going to pin these! So delicious!

    Reply

  29. Benthe on February 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    They look amazing :)

    Reply

  30. Mary @ Bake Break on February 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    These might have to be made in my house tomorrow! Delicious!

    Reply

  31. Erin @ Brownie Bites on February 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Would you just look at those little pillows of deliciousness? It seems like anytime one of my friends takes a trip to New Orleans, a photo of them appears somewhere of them eating beignets. Funny thing is I have never had one! I dunno if I want to wait until I take a trip to N.O or just make them myself!

    Lovely photos -as always!

    Reply

  32. Meg@thelegaltart on February 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Love beignets! A store near me just started making and selling them. Proving dangerous to my waistline. If I started making them at home it could mean .a new wardrobe

    Reply

  33. NerdyBaker on February 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I have been wanting to try beignets for awhile now, ever since my daughter fell in love with The Princess and the Frog. Yours, just look fantastic. I guess it is time to make them!

    Reply

  34. teddi on February 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    A few years ago my daughter, grandkids and I visited New Orleans (my 2nd visit). i took them to Cafe du Monde to try the New Orleans Beignets. They were “yummy.”
    Thank you for the recipe. I too, would like to know if there’s a way these can be baked instead of fried. Your help is appreciated.

    Reply

  35. :) on February 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    whats bread flour and if its hard to find would plain flour be a good substitute??? :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 20th, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Bread flour has more protein/gluten than regular all-purpose flour; it makes for a sturdier dough in some baked goods. It’s actually not hard to find at all – you can find it in any supermarket next to the all-purpose flours. As far as substituting, all-purpose flour can be used, but there will be some texture differences in the final product.

      Reply

  36. Mariah on February 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Girl, you are dangerous. They have something like this at The Olive Garden. You dip them in chocolate sauce. Yes, after they’ve been coated in sugar. It’s worth only eating an appetizer for a meal, in order to eat these for dessert.

    Reply

  37. Jen on February 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Bread flour has more protein in it than regular all-purpose flour. I think it’s supposed to make a firmer dough. AP flour can usually be substituted for bread flour but results may not be quite as good. Bread flour is widely available (in the U.S. anyway), just look in the baking aisle of your grocery store, it should be next to AP flour.

    Reply

  38. Beth on February 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    These look great! I wish I would have had the recipe over the weekend so I could have made them…Next year :) Happy Mardi Gras!

    Reply

  39. Jessica @ Hungrygems on February 20, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Light pillows of sweet airy dough. I had the pleasure of waltzing around New Orleans once with that white paper sack packed with powdered sugar and doughy nuggets. Yours look divine and I will dream of laying my head down on one of them with the powdered sugar dust exploding all over as my head hits the delicious pillow….

    Reply

  40. RisaG on February 20, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    OMG Beignets???? I made them once. I made the dough in my bread machine, rolled out the dough, cut them out and fried them. They were TDF. These look so good.

    Reply

  41. Vicki Pieranunzi on February 21, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Before I retired, a fellow teacher and his wife would make these for us every Shrove Tuesday. There was always a cherry in the center, though, apparently some custom for pre-Lent. Have you ever heard of that?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 21st, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Ooh no I haven’t heard of the cherry in the middle. I did some reading up on the background of beignets, but didn’t come across that. Sounds fun, though!

      Reply

      • Vicki on February 22nd, 2012 at 1:35 pm

        Now that I think of it, it could be a Polish thing that is very similar to this.

        Reply

  42. Jany@SuperCuteCookies on February 21, 2012 at 9:48 am

    They look amazing and so fluffy!

    Reply

  43. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on February 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Oh how I wish I had some of these beignets today!

    Reply

  44. The Beachy Baker on February 21, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I really want to make these! They look absolutely delicious. Anything that even remotely resembles fried dough to me is on my to bake list!

    Reply

  45. Jacqui on February 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    A little restaurant in Maine services them with cream anglaise as a dessert to die for

    Reply

  46. Nick P on March 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    these are the first beignets i’ve ever had (i just made them last night), and they are amazing! i’m used to heavily fatty funnel cake from the state fair, so fried doughs usually turn me off a little, but these were perfect. i have a question, though. the dough is really sticky, and i ended up having to use a lot of flour so i could roll it out and cut it. is there any easier way to roll it out without using an excess of flour or losing too much of the dough? or should they have a lot of flour? i made half a batch and used 3 1/4 c flour (so, the lower amount that you give in your recipe), and had to add probably an extra 1/4-1/2 c until the dough didn’t stick to the rolling pin anymore.

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 5th, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Nick, What you did is actually pretty right on. If you used a half recipe then the flour amount would be 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups, so I think you were good with just needing an extra few tablespoons for rolling out. I always generously flour the area I’m going to use to roll, flour the dough, and flour the rolling pin.

      Reply

  47. melissa b on March 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    These do not look anything like beignets, they don’t have the right consistency. Beignets puff up when fried in oil, so they should not be dense in the middle but should be almost empty.
    On a different note, I made the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes and made a batch slightly altered to become B52(my fave shot) cupcakes. I, of course had to quadruple the liquors in the ganache and frosting(NOLA girl needs to taste her liquor). They were such a hit. T.Y.

    Reply

  48. melissa b on March 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    just want to say, I hope my last comment wasn’t rude. I truly love looking through your recipes and will be making more of them, probably every week

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 19th, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Hi Melissa, Not at all! I welcome all feedback, positive and constructive. I have never had a beignet in New Orleans, so didn’t have anything to compare it to. Definitely yummy though :)

      Reply

      • Jenny on March 6th, 2013 at 6:09 pm

        I agree with melissa b :). I’m from the New Orleans area and beignets are usually much more airy/fluffy. When I was little my mom would cut up biscuit dough and fry it to make homemade beignets (the store-bought mix is so gross). The texture was somewhat similar. I know most tourists hit up Cafe du Monde, whose beignets are really airy, but I prefer Morning Call…their beignets are a little more dense. And their coffee is sooo good.

        Reply

  49. Estrella on April 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Oh Mylanta! I have made these twice! and L-O-V-E them. Honestly I have to say you really do make me look like I am some super star with all your recipes! So I made these for work and as a result you have at least 5 new followers.

    Reply

  50. GigiO on November 1, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Hi, I wanted to make these but only have instant yeast. what quantity do I use?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 1st, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      You would use the same quantity.

      Reply

  51. Vicki Pieranunzi on February 27, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    When was teaching a co-worker would make these for us every Shrove Tuesday. He had a cherry in the middle, supposedly some kind of tradition for that day. They were awesome. Thanks for the memory!

    Reply

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