Dummy’s Guide: New Orleans Beignets from Scratch

March 3, 2011 | By | Comments (7)

Get in the Mardi Gras spirit with a classic New Orleans recipe. You’ll be surprised how easy, delicious, and inexpensive it is to make your own beignets from scratch. Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can.

Read: techy web editor who is notorious for not reading directions and substituting whatever’s on hand for missing ingredients. Knowing my vices I enlisted Southern Living Test Kitchen Professional Pam Lolley for direction and advice with her tried and true Beignet recipe.


See Southern Living’s New Orleans Beignet Recipe in 4 Easy Steps 

I did manage to pull off the entire recipe with only 3 mistakes, which is not that bad for only 4 easy steps.

Step 1: Make the Yeast Mixture
Combine yeast, 1⁄2 cup warm water, and 1 tsp. granulated sugar in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Add milk, eggs, salt, and remaining granulated sugar.

My Mistake: I tried to use the mixer to combine the yeast, water, and sugar in the bowl. It doesn’t even touch it…just use a spoon.

Step 2: Form the Beignet Dough
Microwave remaining 1 cup water until hot (about 115°); stir in shortening until melted. Add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed, gradually adding 4 cups flour, until smooth. Gradually add remaining 2 1⁄2 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.

My Mistake: I had a really hard time getting the shortening to melt into the water. Pam said I could nuke it for a little longer, just a little longer – not 45 seconds (whoops). When I took the shortening out the temp was well above 160°! Turns out if the temp of the water is above 115° it will boil (AND KILL) the yeast.



My Mistake: I wasn’t sure what to use to grease the bowl. As I was reaching for the cooking spray, Test Kitchen Professional Vanessa McNeil intervened. She showed me how easy it is to grease the bowl with vegetable oil (olive oil, canola, or any other non-flavored oil will work). Pour about 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil into the bowl and then pull the dough out of the mixing bowl by loosening around the sides. Once it’s in the greased bowl you can easily flip it over so that all sides are “oiled”. Then cover the bowl with a loose layer of plastic wrap refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Pam said the dough would keep for up to 1 week if you want to make it ahead or have leftovers.



Step 3: Roll and Cut the Dough
Turn dough out onto a floured surface; roll to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Cut into 2 1⁄2-inch squares.

My Mistake: Make your cuts a little wider than mine…my beignets ended up on the small side. Also, don’t do this at the end of a very busy work day or after a glass of wine.



Step 4: Fry Until Golden Brown
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.

My Mistake: I overcooked my dough a little, be sure to keep an eye on the color of your dough so you know when they are done. They are still delicious when they are overcooked though. Don’t be stingy with the powdered sugar – cover the beignets thoroughly.



Once you’ve mastered this beignet recipe (they are much easier the 2nd time), try your hand at more Classic New Orleans and Mardi Gras Recipes from Southern Living



  1. Mallory

    Love this post! I want to try making my own beignets now.

    March 4, 2011 at 7:23 am
  2. Rachael Taylor

    Thanks for the post. I love how you weren’t afraid to share your mistakes. Your “whoops” cut does look a little like you’d been drinking but who doesn’t appreciate an easy fix!

    March 4, 2011 at 10:47 am
  3. Holley Grainger

    I was lucky enough to sample these when Claire made them and they were AMAZING! She does an awesome job breaking down the different steps (and potential mistakes) in her post. Definitely try this recipe if you have never made beignets before.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:51 am
  4. Madoline

    I love how doable this post makes the always-delicious beignet. I don’t normally fry, but I’m thinking I need to make beignets the most worthy exception. Great job, Claire and Pam!

    March 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm
  5. Janice

    For anyone else who makes a “whoops” with overheating the shortening, or if you do it again in the future, Claire, DO NOT put hot Pyrex in cold ice water. Pyrex shatters when going straight from hot to cold… You lucked out that it didn’t.

    March 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm
  6. Claire

    @Janice the shortening wasn’t too hot for the Pyrex, just too hot for the yeast. I could touch the outside of the cup. So wasn’t hot enough to shatter. Always something to keep in mind though.
    @Rachel I wish I had been drinking, just a long day at work haha

    March 6, 2011 at 6:58 am
  7. Bradeen Kevin

    at nowhere on this post do I see the specific amounts you would need to make these successfully ? where are the ingredients listed in their entirety?

    July 19, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s