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[/donotprint]
New Orleans Beignets
- ¼ ounce (7.09 g) envelope active dry yeast , (2¼ teaspoons)
- 1½ cups (375 ml) warm water, 105° to 115°, divided
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (256 ml) evaporated milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (51.25 g) vegetable shortening
- 6½ to 7 cups (780g to 840g cups) bread flour
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Hi just curious how might someone go about making these without a stand mixer? I wish I had one but the past year has made it so the kitchen aid I wanted and was planning to get got put off until I can return to work or start someplace new. Anyways I’m up for trying to do this by hand and if it’s not too much to ask would it be possible to get a set of “by hand” instructions for making the dough? And what differences would using a deep fryer instead of dutch oven be?
I have tried many recipes for beignets since going to Cafe du Monde and none of them came close. This recipe was excellent. They are the closest if not as good as the original. They are devoured as soon as they are done. They keep well in the fridge so I don’t have to make them all at once and we can enjoy fresh beignets over several days
Very sorry, but there is nothing about these, other than the powdered sugar, that resembles a beignet. I grew up in New. Orleans and have eaten 100’s of them. Yours look like cake doughnuts – they’re dense. A beignet is light and airy, almost hollow. I’m sure yours probably taste good, but they are not beignets.
I too grew up in Louisiana and these are my all time favorite recipe. They are absolutely light and airy and perfectly doughy too. Mais, we gon have to disagree, Scott.
These turned out perfect! I followed the recipe exactly and could not be happier! I did put the cooked beignets in a paper bag and shook them around in powdered sugar (and some in cinnamon sugar!) for less mess. Another great recipe. Love your site! Thanks so much!
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!
Hi, I wanted to make these but only have instant yeast. what quantity do I use?
You would use the same quantity.
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.
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
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 :)
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.
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.
Not true. Most are dense, in New Orleans anyway
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.
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.
A little restaurant in Maine services them with cream anglaise as a dessert to die for
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!
Oh how I wish I had some of these beignets today!
They look amazing and so fluffy!
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?
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!
Now that I think of it, it could be a Polish thing that is very similar to this.
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.
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….
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!
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.
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.
whats bread flour and if its hard to find would plain flour be a good substitute??? :)
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.
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.
Hi Teddi, I found a recipe oven-baked beignets here: http://www.eatliverun.com/oven-baked-beignets/
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!
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
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!
These might have to be made in my house tomorrow! Delicious!
They look amazing :)
I am SO going to pin these! So delicious!
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 :)
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!
I really need to get over my fear of frying so I can make these, haha. They look so awesome!
These look amazing! I’d love them with some cinnamon sugar too. Warm out of the deep fryer… please! :)
Don’t forget the Cafe au lait! Oh such wonderful memories of my trip with my daughter. Food and travel, my two favorite things.
These look so delicious. and relatively few ingredients too.
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.
So these don’t raise at all? How simple!!!
Nope! Well, they do raise a little, but in the refrigerator.
Fabulous! THanks so much!
Donyou think these could be baked? I am sure they would be much yummiest fried, but trying to stick to those new years resolutions!
Hi Hallie, I did find this recipe for oven-baked beignets you might want to try! http://www.eatliverun.com/oven-baked-beignets/
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! :)
So soft and pillowy bake!
These would be so dangerous to have in my house – I am powerless to resist doughnut-like treats! They look awesome :)
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!
The texture inside of that beignet looks positively creamy! Great post, you’ve inspired me to try.
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!
Hi Jen, Let me know how it turns out with butter!
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!
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! :)
So glad you and your family enjoyed the King Cake!
These look absolutely fantastic! I’m going to pin it right now!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Hi Jennifer, I found this recipe for oven-baked beignets you might want to check out: http://www.eatliverun.com/oven-baked-beignets/
Oh dear, these look delightful! Do you know of a good substitute for vegetable shortening though, could butter work here?
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.
Aww yeah! All that powdered sugar is a sure tasty treat!
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.
I’ve never been to New Orleans, but really am intrigued with the cuisine down there. Looks delicious!
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.
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!
I love that you are all over Mardi Gras and NOLA-inspired food…these look fabulous!