This beignet recipe is the closest you'll get to New Orleans beignets. These soft pillowy doughnuts are easy to make at home!
Beignets are snowy pillows of sugar and dough that are claimed as Louisiana's state doughnut. You'll find they are similar to my Zeppoles doughnuts! Don't wait to try beignets in New Orleans, you can easily make these delights at home with this tried and true beignet recipe!
Here it is, just in time for Mardi Gras (aka Fat Tuesday). What is that snowy, pillowy puff of deliciousness you ask? You're looking at Louisiana's state doughnut, the beignet! They are just as scrumptious as they look, too.
You won't believe me when I tell you that this is one of the easiest doughs I've ever worked with. You do not need a stand mixer (although that's what I use) and you can keep the dough in the fridge after the 2 hour rise, then roll it out and fry the doughnuts in the morning. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you either have a big appetite, or a lot of friends and family to share these with, because this recipe yields a TON. (Which is good, because you won't have any problem chowing down on a few at a time.)
Beignet main ingredients
A beignet is made of the following ingredients:
- evaporated milk
- bread flour
- vegetable shortening
- powdered sugar
- vegetable oil, for frying
Beignets are very popular in Louisiana, especially during the Mardi Gras season. Many of you have heard of Cafe du Monde, which is a well-known place in NOLA that serves beignets. You can find their beignet mix on grocery store shelves, as well. But, let me encourage you to make these completely homemade instead as it is probably much easier than you think. You can eat them for breakfast or dessert!
Kids will love to make these with you, as long as you keep them away from the hot oil! 😉 I like to use my Dutch oven to fry these in order to avoid splattering.
Get them involved by letting them shake the paper bag filled with powdered sugar and a few warm doughnuts at a time. Then, of course, let them eat a bunch and watch their faces get covered with white! It's priceless.
How long can you keep beignets fresh?
Beignets are best when they are fresh and hot. You can fry them up to 30 minutes ahead of time and keep them warm in a 200°F oven. Wait to shake them in the powdered sugar until just before serving/eating.
If you need to make the dough ahead of time, you can! You can make the dough the night before and store it (covered) in the fridge until morning. More details are given in the recipe card below.
Other recipes for Mardi Gras:
This recipe was originally published February 11, 2013 and updated with recipe tips on January 13, 2020.
New Orleans Beignets
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp) instant yeast
- 2 eggs , lightly beaten
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 7 cups bread flour
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening
- Nonstick spray
- Frying oil
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- Combine the water, granulated sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl).
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and evaporated milk. Add to the yeast mixture and stir on low with the paddle attachment (or wooden spoon) until incorporated. Stir in 3 cups of the flour then mix in the shortening on medium speed. With the mixer on low, add in the rest of the flour.
- Change to the dough hook and knead the dough until smooth and tacky, adding more flour (up to 2-3 Tbs) if necessary. Alternatively, you can knead the dough on a floured surface by hand until smooth. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, lightly greased with nonstick spray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 to 2 hours).
- **At this point (after the rise) you can either continue on or store the dough in the refrigerator overnight and complete the rest of the steps the next day.**
- Heat at least 1 inch of oil to between 350 to 380 degrees F in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. (If you chose to refrigerate the dough a day ahead, now is the time to remove it from the fridge.)
- As the oil is heating up, roll the dough out to a large ¼-inch thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 2-inch squares (pizza cutter works great). Once the oil reaches between 350°F to 380°F, place 3 to 5 squares at a time into the hot oild and fry until lightly golden, just a few seconds on each side. TIP: Once the dough pops to the top of the oil and puffs a little, flip them every 2-3 seconds to keep from browning too much on either side. Make sure you keep the oil between 350 to 380 degrees by turning the heat high and low as necessary.
- Transfer fried doughnuts to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil for a few seconds. Place about 2 cups of the powdered sugar on a large rimmed platter or baking dish. Transfer warm doughnuts to the platter and coat with powdered sugar. Repeat with remaining dough and sugar.
- Serve immediately. These are best consumed within the hour.
- You can keep fried beignets warm in a 200°F oven for up to 30 minutes and shake in the powdered sugar right before serving.
- It is necessary to use a candy thermometer for this recipe in order to regulate the temperature of the oil.
- Make ahead instructions: Prepare dough up until after the rise, then cover and store in the fridge. Remove from fridge 1 hour before rolling.
- Nutrition information is an estimate and based on serving size of 2 beignets.
- Source: Adapted from Paula Deen via The Food Network
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