Hush Puppies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
Our recipe for hush puppies is easy enough for anyone to make. The result? Golden brown, airy, savory hush puppies perfect for anytime snacks and sides.

Updated: Mar. 22, 2024

This top-rated hush puppies recipe is a true classic—one reviewer has been making them this way for over 60 years! Indeed, the recipe has been passed down over generations, as with many of our favorite vintage recipes.

Perfect hush puppies are golden brown and crispy on the outside with a soft inside. They have a light texture that makes them all too easy to eat (we don’t mind!).

To get these results, our hush puppy recipe starts with a simple batter made of mostly cornmeal and a bit of flour. Baking powder gives the batter a slight fizz and makes the dough puff up beautifully. The batter takes mere minutes to whisk up, and the bite-sized morsels cook quickly in hot oil, making this a relatively simple recipe that even deep-frying novices can get down.

When you’re in the mood for savory snack recipes or you want to beef up your collection of crowd-pleasing side dishes for Sunday dinners, give this tried-and-true classic a try.

Ingredients for Hush Puppies

Cornmeal Flour Baking powder and other ingredients placed on a grey surface.TMB Studio

  • Cornmeal: Cornmeal gives hush puppies their distinctive golden hue, corn-y flavor and grainy texture. We suggest using a fine- or medium-grain cornmeal; coarse cornmeal is too gritty. If you use self-rising cornmeal, omit the baking powder.
  • Flour: A bit of all-purpose flour helps to bind the hush puppies together. You may substitute a gluten-free flour mix instead if you like.
  • Baking powder: This is the rising agent that helps puff these puppies. Make sure your baking powder is fresh for the best results. P.S. If you every wondered if there’s a difference between baking powder and baking soda, there is.
  • Milk: Our recipe calls for 2% milk, which gives the batter a mild flavor. You can use full-fat or nonfat milk, or dairy-free milk alternatives, such as almond milk. Buttermilk would add a pleasant tang (and you can make an easy buttermilk substitute).
  • Egg: An egg also helps to bind the batter together. Bring it to room temperature for best results. (As a shortcut, place a cold egg in a bowl of hot water to warm it up quickly.) Some savvy cooks like to separate the egg, then whip the egg white and fold it into the batter for extra volume and lightness.

Directions

Step 1: Make the batter

Cornmeal, flour, baking powder mixed in a large bowl, placed on a a wooden tableTMB Studio

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.

Egg, milk and onion mixed in a large bowl with a spatulaTMB Studio

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and onion. Add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture, and stir just until combined.

Editor’s Tip: Try not to overmix the batter here. That will result in tough, not tender, hush puppies.

Step 2: Fry in batches

Frying the batter in a large pan on a wooden table.TMB Studio

In a cast-iron Dutch oven or an electric skillet, heat a frying oil to 365°F. When the oil is hot, carefully drop the batter by tablespoonfuls into the oil. Fry until golden brown, flipping with tongs to ensure crispness on both sides, 2 minutes to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Remove from the Dutch oven, and drain on paper towels. Repeat frying process with remaining batter. Serve warm.

Editor’s Tip: One of our best deep-frying tips is to not crowd your pot or pan. Give each hush puppy room to fry and flip. You will probably need to cook in two or three batches.

Hush Puppies served in a plate with sauce on a grey marble countertop.TMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Add spices: Jazz up plain hush puppies with spices like cayenne, paprika, onion or garlic powder, pepper, taco seasoning and more. Or go sweet by adding sugar to the batter.
  • Add aromatics: Along with, or instead of, minced onion, try adding bacon bits, minced herbs (think cilantro, parsley or dill), green onions or grated green pepper to the batter.
  • Serve with dip: Ketchup, mayonnaise, Sriracha mayo, aioli, barbecue sauce, ranch and any of our best dip recipes will taste great with hush puppies, especially if serving as a snack rather than a side dish.

How to Store Hush Puppies

As with most fried foods, hush puppies taste best when they’re freshly made. Still, they’re still pretty tasty as leftovers. Store your hush puppies in the refrigerator, sealed in an airtight container for up to two days. Reheat in a 350° oven for 15 to 20 minutes to crisp them back up.

Can you make hush puppies ahead of time?

Hush puppies taste best freshly cooked, but you can make the batter up to one day ahead, though it may lose a bit of volume as it sits. Keep the batter in the refrigerator, covered. Try to take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’re ready to fry so that it isn’t too cold when it hits the hot oil.

How to Freeze Hush Puppies

Hush puppies freeze well, and they make a handy quick side dish for the future. Let your cooked hush puppies cool completely, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen balls to a freezer-safe resealable bag, and store in the freezer for up to three months. Reheat them in a 350° oven for 15 to 20 minutes (or until warmed through) to crisp them back up.

Hush Puppies Tips

Hush Puppies served in a small plate with fries and sauce.TMB Studio

What’s the best oil to use for hush puppies?

We suggest peanut or vegetable oil for frying hush puppies. They’re two of the best oils for frying in general. They have a neutral flavor and, critically, a high smoke point, which means they can be safely heated to a higher temperature.

Why do my hush puppies fall apart?

The main reason hush puppies fall apart isn’t the batter, it’s the oil. To ensure your hush puppies stay intact, make sure the oil is heated to the correct temperature. Add 3 to 4 inches of oil to your skillet or Dutch oven, and using a thermometer, heat the oil to 365° to 375°. In between batches of frying, periodically check the temperature to make sure it remains between 350° and 375°. Putting too many hush puppies into the oil at once can make the oil temperature quickly drop, which will result in loose or pale hush puppies.

What do you serve with hush puppies?

Hush puppies are a classic pairing with many favorite southern food recipes, such as fried chicken. They’re one of the more traditional (and delicious) sides for fried fish. No need to stick to fried fare, however. Anything that tastes good with cornbread is going to pair well with hush puppies: chili recipes, soup recipes, chicken and dumplings, roast chicken recipes, juicy shrimp recipes and other seafood.

Watch how to Make Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies

Prep Time 25 min
Yield 2 dozen.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Oil for deep-fat frying

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk the egg, milk and onion; add to dry ingredients just until combined.
  2. In a cast-iron Dutch oven or an electric skillet, heat oil to 365°. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into oil. Fry until golden brown, 2 to 2-1/2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts

1 hush puppy: 55 calories, 3g fat (0 saturated fat), 9mg cholesterol, 86mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

A fish dinner isn’t complete without a side of hush puppies, and my mom is well-known for this recipe. It's the best! —Mary McGuire, Graham, NC