Homemade Beignets

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Classic beignets are pillowy, sugary New Orleans-style fried Dough. You can enjoy these soft donuts right at home sprinkled with powder sugar or dipped in sauce.

This beignet recipe is easy to follow and tastes amazing! These soft clouds are delish dusted with powdered sugar, and the vanilla creme anglaise takes these to a whole new level! For more fried goodness try Homemade Donuts, Mickey Beignets, and Funnel Cakes.

Easy Beignets recipe - sprinkled with powder sugar

The Best Homemade Beignets

What is a beignet? The word beignet (pronounced ben-YAY) comes from the early Celtic word bigne meaning “to raise.” It is also French for “fritter.” Beignets, a New Orleans specialty, are fried, raised pieces of yeast dough, usually about 2 inches in diameter or 2 inches square.

The famous New Orleans beignets vary from the traditional French choux pastry beignet because they’re raised with yeast instead of steam.

These delightful fried squares are the official donut of Lousiana. They make a tasty treat for breakfast or dessert, but they are definitely best served hot!

Beignet dough in bowl

How to Make Beignets

ACTIVATE. Add 3/4 cup warm water to a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tsp yeast on top and stir to dissolve. Allow the yeast to activate (about 5 minutes).

MIX. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer), add the sugar, egg, salt, nutmeg, heavy cream and shortening. Mix to combine.

POUR. Pour in the activated yeast and mix.

MIX. Add the flour to the mix. Use the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until all of the ingredients are combined and dough is smooth but still slightly sticky.

RISE. Form a ball with the dough and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour.

HEAT. Use a deep sided heavy pot and add 3 inches of vegetable oil. Heat over medium high heat until oil reaches between 360°F – 370°F (cooler than this won’t cook the beignets fast enough and hotter than this will burn them quite easily).

ROLL & CUT. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares.

FRY. Working in batches fry the beignets until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side.

DRAIN & DUST. Use tongs to remove the beignets from the hot oil. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. While the beignets are still warm, dust them completely with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Vanilla Creme Anglaise

While the dough ball is rising, make your vanilla creme sauce.

SIMMER. Add the half and half to a small pot on medium heat. Bring it to a low simmer and then turn of the burner.

WHISK. Add your egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar to a heat proof bowl and whisk together.

WHISK. Then slowly pour in the hot half and half. Whisk constantly.

THICKEN. Once it has been combined pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Continue to whisk over low heat until it thickens a bit. (180°F) To check: dip the back of a spoon into the mixture. The creme should evenly coat it without dripping off.

STRAIN. Pour the custard through a mesh strainer to remove any lumps/skin that can form.

STIR & CHILL. Add vanilla and stir well. Cover the creme and place it in the fridge to chill.

SERVE. Serve along side the beignets.

Recipe Notes:

    • In cooking a dash is about 1/8 tsp
    • Be sure you let them rise sufficiently to yield a pillowy beignet
    • Don’t roll the dough too thin 
    • Don’t overwork the dough or it will toughen 
    • Keep a constant oil temperature. 
      • The beignets should float to the top fairly quickly. If they do not, then the oil is not hot enough.
      • Frying too many beignets at the same time can cause the oil temperature to drop too low. 

Beignet dough cut in squares

Change it Up!

Variations: This recipe creates the most delicious classic beignet. However, you can make small adjustments to change things up:

  • Shapes: the easiest and classic shape of a beignet is a square/rectangle. However you can also make other shapes. Roll out the dough and use a 2-3” cookie cutter to stamp out another shape. You can also make circles by using the top of a drinking glass. 
  • Flavor: For a chocolatey beignet add 2 tbsp cocoa powder into dough batter. For a pumpkin-y flavor add 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice into the dough batter

More toppings: You really need to pair this with the vanilla creme anglaise at least once. It is so delicious!!! Some other toppings you can pair with the beignets include:

Beignets frying in oil

Making Ahead, Storing + Reheating

These are best served freshly fried, but here are a few ways you can prep these AHEAD OF TIME.

  • Make the dough and store for a few hours: Cut out the dough shapes and place on lined trays. Cover with plastic and keep in the fridge, bring to room temperature, then fry.
  • Make the dough and store for 2-3 days: You can make the dough and store it covered in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Even though it is in the fridge it will slowly rise. Let the dough come to room temperature before rolling and cutting. Bring to room temperature before frying.
  • Fry and keep warm: You can fry these and keep them warm in a 200°F oven for up to 30 minutes before serving

Storing Leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. They may last longer, but will grow stale with time. You can also freeze them for 1-2 months. 

Reheat: Pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to reheat them quickly, or place in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes. Eat them before they cool off.

Homemade Beignets recipe on dish

For more fried treats:

Beignet Recipe

5 from 5 votes

Classic beignets are pillowy, sugary New Orleans-style fried Dough. You can enjoy these soft donuts right at home sprinkled with powder sugar or dipped in sauce

Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill 8 hours
Servings 18
Calories 610 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water 110°F/45°C
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg whisked
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp shortening
  • 3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 qt oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Vanilla Creme Anglaise

  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Add 3/4 cup warm water to a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tsp yeast on top and stir to dissolve. Allow the yeast to activate (about 5 minutes).

  2. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer), add the sugar, egg, salt, nutmeg, heavy cream and shortening. Mix to combine.

  3. Pour in the activated yeast and mix.

  4. Add the flour to the mix. Use the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until all of the ingredients are combined and dough is smooth but still slightly sticky.

  5. Form a ball with the dough and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour.

  6. Use a deep sided heavy pot and add 3 inches of vegetable oil. Heat over medium high heat until oil reaches between 360°F - 370°F (cooler than this won't cook the beignets fast enough and hotter than this will burn them quite easily).

  7. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares.

  8. Working in batches fry the beignets until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side.

  9. Use tongs to remove the beignets from the hot oil. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. While the beignets are still warm, dust them completely with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Vanilla Creme Anglaise

  1. While the dough ball is rising, make your vanilla creme sauce.

  2. Add the half and half to a small pot on medium heat. Bring it to a low simmer and then turn of the burner.

  3. Add your egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar to a heat proof bowl and whisk together.

  4. Then slowly pour in the hot half and half. Whisk constantly.

  5. Once it has been combined pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Continue to whisk over low heat until it thickens a bit. (180°F) To check: dip the back of a spoon into the mixture. The creme should evenly coat it without dripping off.

  6. Pour the custard through a mesh strainer to remove any lumps/skin that can form.

  7. Add vanilla and stir well. Cover the creme and place it in the fridge to chill. Serve along side the beignets.

Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative – from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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