Almost every big city has an iconic food. Philadelphia has the cheesesteak, New York has pizza, Milwaukee has beer-battered cheese curds—and New Orleans has beignets.
What Are Beignets?
Popularized by Cafe du Monde in the city’s French Quarter, beignets are square-shaped doughnuts covered in a coat of powdered sugar. They were first associated with Mardi Gras, but today beignets are enjoyed all year long. They’re typically served alongside a cup of coffee.
Luckily, you don’t have to travel all the way to NOLA to enjoy a fresh beignet. You can make them at home!
P.S. You’d rather do something that’s semi-homemade? Buy Cafe du Monde’s original beignet mix on Amazon.
How to Make Beignets
This overnight beignet recipe comes to us from reader Beth Dawson of Jackson, Louisiana. It makes 4 dozen doughnuts.
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 4-1/2 cups self-rising flour
- Oil for deep-fat frying
- Confectioners’ sugar
Step 1: Prep dough
When making beignet dough, start by dissolving the yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Then, add the milk, oil, sugar, egg and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth (a stand mixer dough hook works great for this task). Then, stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft, sticky dough. Do not knead. Instead, cover and refrigerate the dough overnight.
Editor’s Tip: Don’t have self-rising flour? You can make your own! As a substitute for each cup of self-rising flour, place 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour until you reach 1 full cup.
Step 2: Shape into squares
Once the beignet dough is well-chilled, punch it down. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll it into a 16×12-inch rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into a beignet’s signature 2-inch square.
Step 3: Fry and sugar
Now it’s time to fry the beignets! Start by heating up oil in an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer until it reaches 375°. Place dough squares in oil, a few at a time, until both sides of the dough are puffy and golden brown. Remove squares from oil and drain on paper towels. Then, roll the warm beignets in confectioners’ sugar.
And there you have it! A big batch of New Orleans beignets that would rival any bakery in the city. We love serving them as-is, or with a big bounty of fresh berries.