Beignets {Happy Mardi Gras!}

So first of all, if you’re seeing this post, that means that you’re also able to see our new blog design!  If you’re using a reader, hop on over to to check out our shiny new look!  For all of you who have cursed us in weeks/months/years gone by about our sucktacular recipe index, you can find any recipe in just a few clicks.  We have to give a huuuuuuuuge shout-out to Susie at Zee Studio for her amazing work on our new look!

So you guys, I think I might have forgotten how to write a blog post.  To say it’s been a crazy couple of weeks would be a major understatement.  Thank you so much for your patience while we worked on this as well as some other massive behind-the-scenes projects (*cough* 2012 calendar with all brand-new recipes *cough cough*)! Believe it or not, our trip to Utah this week for the book launch will be a welcome break!

Before I moved to Louisiana, I had no idea how big of a deal Mardi Gras is here.  Um, yeah, my kids are out of school.  My friend Becky in New Orleans has a kid who’s out for 10 days.  10.  During the last few years, I’ve really come to love Mardi Gras (lots of fun, very little work on my part–totally my kind of holiday!), so the kids and I were pretty bummed when our parade got rained out on Saturday.  To make up for it, we watched The Princess and the Frog, made beignets (pronounced ben-yays, JUST in case you might be wondering), and I stopped just short of throwing beads and plastic cups at my kids and my cat.

I love this recipe because these babies are not just super, super delicious, but they are so easy, the dough can be made the night before and refrigerated, and they only require one short rise.  For the dough, you’ll need flour, salt, sugar, cooking oil, yeast, an egg, and milk. Yeah, the egg didn’t make it into the picture–wanna fight?

In a small saucepan, you want to heat the milk, sugar, salt, and oil until small bubbles form around the edges.  Remove the pan from heat.

While the milk is heating, place the yeast in some warm water with some sugar and let it stand for about 10 minutes until it’s bubbly.

When the milk has heated, add it to some flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix, scraping often, until the mixture is smooth.  Add the egg and mix until well-combined.  Add the yeast mixture and mix well.  Then you want to add enough flour to make a soft dough that slightly sticks to your finger.

At this point, you can do one of two things.  Option A is to spray a bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl, then spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray and place it over the bowl, then refrigerate the dough until you’re ready to use it (up to a day).  The other option is to turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface (I use my giant wood cutting board)…

then roll the dough into a large rectangle that’s about 1/4″ thick.  Using a pizza wheel or a small, sharp knife, cut the dough into rectangles that are about 3″x4″.  Totally approximate.  We’re talking fried pieces of sweet carbs here dusted in powdered sugar; there are bigger forces at play here than exact size!

Separate the pieces a little and then cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

When the dough has been rising for about 15 minutes, heat 2-3 inches of oil in a large skillet or saucepan to 325 degrees (use a candy thermometer) over medium-low heat.  It should take about 15 minutes to reach 325.  As far as the oil goes, I really recommend peanut oil for frying pastries because it has a high smoke point and is almost flavorless–while canola oil is great because it has a high smoke point and it’s good for your heart (um, am I talking about heart health in a post about deep-fried treats?), it can take on kind of a fishy taste, especially at high temperatures.  So unless allergies are a factor, peanut oil is the best way to go.

When the oil is hot, carefully place a few pieces of dough in the hot oil and fry for about 90 seconds-2 minutes on the first side, or until it puffs up and the bottom side is golden.  Flip the dough pieces and fry another 90 seconds or until the other side is golden.  Carefully remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Place some powdered sugar into a fine mesh strainer and generously dust the beignets with the powdered sugar.  By “dust,” I’m talking light piles of powdered sugar, not some pansy smattering of powdered sugar.  This is a messy operation.

Eat ’em immediately while they’re hot.

Although hey’re still pretty irresistable when they’re not hot…not that I’d know from any kind of firsthand experience! 🙂

woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Here I am again! lol I should just write an email. Wanted to give my two bits on Mardi Gras, as I noticed two of your bloggers commented about Mardi Gras and Lent. The celebration of Fat Tuesday, was originally a Catholic thing…years ago, Catholics gave up all dairy (milk, cheese, eggs, butter), and meat during the entire 40 days of Lent (excluding Sundays, as those aren’t considered part of Lent). Catholics are no longer asked to give these things up, but are encouraged to give up other things (or those things if they want)during Lent. Anyway, back in the day, the Tuesday before Lent was the day that Catholics would make sure and eat the things they had in the house that they were giving up for Lent~so as not to waste food. So, they would bake things (to use up their milk, eggs, butter, etc) so they wouldn’t have all that good stuff hanging around when they couldn’t have it! Unfortunately, over the years, Fat Tuesday turned into Mardi Gras and became more of a paganized type festival more then anything else. Just thought I’d pass that on, as so few people know what the real origin of Fat Tuesday really is! 🙂

  2. AND…can you use vegetable oil to fry them in instead of peanut or canola oil? :)) Sorry so many questions!

    1. You can, you just need to make sure the smoke point is high enough that you’re not going to burn the oil. The best oils for frying in terms of smoke point are canola and peanut, but canola can give an off taste to the food, which is why I recommend peanut.

  3. I forgot to ask this in my comment before but is a candy thermometer a must for this recipe?? I don’t have one and am wondering if it’s possible to make these without!

    1. Not a must, but SUPER helpful! 🙂 And they’re way cheap, like just a couple bucks. It’s just an easy, fail-safe way of making sure you’re on the right track, you know? The hard thing with oil is that there aren’t really many visual cues to help you know if it’s ready or not–it doesn’t boil or simmer, so if you don’t know the temp, it’s easy to over- or under-cook the beignets.

  4. Thanks for sharing! I was actually in NOLA over the weekend with my husband for a business trip. I’d never been before, and it was WILD (we were staying in the French Quarter, too). We caught a couple of the parades and went to Cafe’ Du Monde and I’m now a beignet addict. Thanks for sharing. . it’ll come in handy when our boxes of beignet mix run out. . 🙂

  5. Hey Sara and Kate! Cute new look! :)) (Although, I have to admit it’s going to take me a bit to get used to it, as I really did love the old one, too!) These Beignets looks YUMM-O! :)) Wish I could reach through the computer screen and grab one!;P

  6. Oh, those look so yummy…one of the things I LOVE about this blog is you make things look so easy to make!
    Was at Costco in Wa and DID NOT see your book….not sure if they are testing a market or something…will ask them about it next time I am in…we were there AFTER closing, so I did not think it was such a great time to ask…

    A friend of mine is adopting a boy from an Eastern European Country. The cost associated with that is staggering. To help raise the funds needed to bring him home, she is raffling off a Nikon Camera…
    Would you please consider sharing this on your blog?

  7. LOVE your new look!!! And I’m so going to make these this weekend. My hubby is dieting right now, but the weekends he takes a “free” day so I think these are just the things!! 🙂

  8. Fairly new reader, but LOVE the new look of the site. It’s so much more appealing and professional. Nice work! I’ll be back often!

  9. I love the new site, new cookbook, and this recipe. In my youth, I spent time in Louisiana and have missed beignets. Gonna have to get some peanut oil so I can make these puppies. Speaking of puppies, do you have a favorite hushpuppies recipe? I LOVE them and miss them immensely. You guys are wonderful and I’m giving a shout out to you guys and your new and improved website today.

  10. To Funny! My mom is Pennsylvania dutch and has been making these for me since I was a kid, except we always called them Doe-Does. Now I make them for my family. Esp on fat tuesday

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I enjoyed beignets and iced coffee at Cafe du Monde in 2004 and have been trying to find a good beignet since. This should be a treat. Gorgeous new blog, enjoyed the last version but I’m really liking the new features now. Keep up the great work!

  12. What a nice surprise to wake up to!! Your site looks awesome and the thing I’m most excited about is that I’m finally able to leave a comment!! For some reason my computer hated the old format. Congrats on everything!!

  13. I’ve loved all your Louisana recipes-it’s so fun to explore regional culture through food! I was just wondering which one of you is going to move to a new area so we can embrace foods from other regions? 😉

    Thanks for the great recipes!

  14. I’ve already said the site looks FANTABULOUS on Facebook (’cause well, it seriously does!) but these little sweet treats look totally delish!

    I am having fun re-introducing myself to your website/blog and with the ease of finding tips & tricks, recipes and all the different ways you have stuff sorted, it’s SO easy! I can’t wait to try these. They almost seem like a light and delicate donut pastry thing-a-ma-jig.

    Not so low-calorie though for a diet…. hrrmmmppphhh… *pouts* Will have to make them for the family and try not to indulge!

  15. These look delish… and how cute is the new design for your wesite!?! Love it!

  16. I love the new look!! It’s a cold, rainy day here in So. Utah, so I’m making some yummy soup for dinner and these will be just wonderful with some hot choc. for a FHE treat tonight!! Thanks. Oh…When I clicked the print button, nothing is happening. I can’t get it to print. 🙁 Do you know why??

    1. Jesica, it might not work with all browsers. If you have a different browser installed on your computer, try printint it out with that. Otherwise, you can use the print button at the bottom of the post and delete anything extra you don’t want or you can copy the recipe (the one that’s in the dotted lines) and paste it into a word processing document.

      1. Thank you so much for such a quick reply! It worked! My family will be so excited to try them!

  17. The new design was worth the wait. It’s lovely. Carnival is a big deal in Trinidad where I’m from as well. A month of festivities culminating in 2 big parade days. Best part like you mentioned work grinds to a halt for this giant party.

  18. AWESOME!…New site! Just love the colorful look and the easy navigation to great food ideas and clever seasonal food tips! Your new site and all your wonderful recipes are such an inspiration. I did the Easter eggs last year, using men’s old ties, and they were adorable. May do more again this year to WOW the grand kids. Keep up the good work!

  19. The site looks great! I love the new look. I love the fork, it’s so fun! And the recipe looks great too, thanks!

  20. Congrats on the new look! It is a huge improvement over your last design! Better hierarchy, better color scheme, and less graphic at the top (I really loathe blogs with huge graphics at the top of the page that make me scroll to get to the good content).

    Way to go you all – and Zee Studio! 🙂

  21. WHAT?!?!?! All this waiting and I thought for sure we would celebrate fat Tuesday LOL!!!

  22. First of all, I LOVE the look of the new site. Fabulous! And I can’t wait to try this recipe. No more trips to the O-Town bike shop Cafe to get them anymore. Yay!