Learn how to make beignets with this awesome recipe. These deep-fried pastries are covered in powdered sugar and absolutely delicious – one is never enough! Make them for Mardi Gras, or for a special sweet treat any time of year! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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How To Make Beignets At Home!
I’ve been wanting to visit New Orleans for many years now, specifically to experience Mardi Gras. I’ve not quite got there yet… However, the closest I have got is being at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter on Fat Tuesday 2019. Sadly, we had missed the Mardi Gras mini parade, but we did have lunch which included several scrummy beignets!
Mardi Gras, also called Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, in English, refers to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. – Wiki
Mardi Gras is also celebrated in other countries around the world, but NOLA is the place I think of when I hear the words Mardi Gras!
What is a beignet?
While the name sounds very fancy (it is French after all), a beignet is simply a rectangular-shaped doughnut, without a hole. They are not quite the same texture or flavour as a doughnut, but that is the best way to describe them to you if you have never eaten one before.
Beignets are light, soft, pillowy delights, and they taste their absolute best when hot and freshly cooked. They are covered with lots of powdered sugar – just remember not to breathe out as you take a bite because that sugar goes everywhere!
Just look at our box of beignets we had at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter – you can barely see the middle one it’s covered in so much sugar!
Beignets have a strong tie to Mardi Gras but they can be enjoyed at any time. They are a popular breakfast treat, as well as being a yummy dessert, or sweet snack.
Should you ever find yourself in New Orleans, Louisianna, Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter is the oldest and most iconic beignet shop. I kick myself now for not buying a box of Cafe du Monde beignet mix which was available for sale at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort.
However, that’s where this recipe comes in! No box mixes required!
Because beignets are made using a yeast dough, you need to make time for rising – which is why this recipe has a long prep time. The end results are worth it though!
Equipment & Ingredients To Make Beignets
The full ingredients list, quantities, and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but here is a brief outline so you know what to expect from the recipe.
I highly recommend always reading a recipe all the way through before starting.
Alongside store-cupboard staple ingredients like sugar, salt, eggs, whole milk, flour, butter, and vegetable oil you will need some more specific or specialized ingredients (which I’ve linked below to Amazon for your convenience).
- Active dry yeast
- Lemon Zest
- Ground Cinnamon
- Powdered Sugar (Icing Sugar) – for dusting
- Stand Mixer with a Dough Hook – however, you can make the dough by hand if you wish
- Large, sturdy cooking pot – for deep-frying or a
- Slotted Spoon
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Tips For Making Beignets
- Beignets are made from a yeast dough which needs time to rise – keep this in mind for when you want to make and serve them.
- Use a pizza cutter wheel to cut the dough into rectangular shapes – it’s quicker than using a knife!
- Beignets are deep-fried. If you have a deep-fryer at home you will be able to use that to cook them. If you don’t, you will need to use oil in a large saucepan.
- Fry the beignets in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan – this lowers the temperature of the oil and the food won’t cook properly.
- Keep the beignets moving by rolling them in the oil with a slotted spoon.
- Remove from oil with the slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil then transfer to a wire rack and dust generously with powdered (icing) sugar.
- Best served hot from the fryer!
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How to Deep-Fry Safely
If you have not deep-fried food before it can be quite daunting. However, follow my tips below so that you can deep-fry food at home safely and confidently.
If you find you want to do a lot of deep-frying, then it is worth investing in a dedicated deep-fryer, which is safer and more convenient to use.
- Use an oil with a high smoking point. Vegetable or groundnut/peanut oil is generally the best for deep-frying as they have a neutral taste, are economical to buy, and have a high smoke point. You do not want to be using an extra-virgin olive oil which is best for dressing food.
- Use a large, deep, wide, sturdy pan. I tend to use my old-fashioned pressure cooker saucepan as it fulfills all of those requirements. A Dutch oven is another good option.
- Do not overfill the pan. Never fill the pan more than two-thirds with oil as it may bubble up when you add food and spill over.
- NEVER throw water on an oil/grease fire. Keep a damp (not wet) tea towel nearby to help smother the flames. Alternatively, invest in a fire blanket.
- Keep a well-fitting lid close to hand. If you don’t have a lid for the pot you are using, you can use a baking sheet. Use this to cover the pan should it catch fire.
- Invest in a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen already, this is the perfect time to purchase one. You never know when you will need it.
- Use a thermometer. Oil for deep-frying should be somewhere between 180C and 200C/375F and 400F. A food thermometer will help you to keep an eye on the temperature.
- NEVER leave a pan of hot oil unattended. It can take just a minute or two for the oil to overheat and catch fire. It is not worth the risk.
- Never put wet food in the fryer. Excess liquid causes the oil to splutter which can cause injuries. Particularly wet foods should be patted dry with a paper towel before frying.
- Turn off the heat. If the oil starts smoking it has become too hot and may catch fire. Turn off the heat, move the pan to another ring on your stovetop/hob and allow to cool completely.
- Turn pan handles away from the front of the cooker. This is a good kitchen practice for any type of cooking. It will help you to avoid knocking the pan from the stovetop/hob.
- Child-free and pet-free zone. I feel like this doesn’t need explaining, but hot oil is dangerous stuff. Keep the kids and the animals shut out of the kitchen when deep-frying.
- How to dispose of the oil safely. Never pour the oil down the sink, unless you want blocked pipes! Leave to cool completely before pouring into a jug/pitcher and funneling it into its original (empty) bottle or another sealable container for disposal in the trash.
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What to do when deep-frying goes wrong
Now, if you’ve read through all of that and are panicking. Please don’t. Just be sensible and follow the tips I have provided for you.
However, if something does happen:
- Keep calm.
- Turn off the heat and smother the flames with a lid, large baking sheet, damp (not wet) tea towel, or a fire blanket.
- Use a fire extinguisher if you have one.
- DO NOT spray water on an oil/grease fire. This will cause the flames to spread.
- Call the emergency fire services on the number in your country of residence when it is safe to do so.
Make It A Mardi Gras Meal!
You’ve made the dessert, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!
- Appetizer: Cajun Crab Cakes
- Main Dish: Jambalaya
- Side Dish: Cayenne Buttered Corn on the Cob
- Beverage: Mardi Gras Rum Punch
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.
More Doughnut Recipes
Since beignets are essentially French doughnuts, here are some more doughnut recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog to try:
More Deep-Fried Recipes
Want to make more deep-fried treats? Check these recipes out next:
- How To Make Potato Latkes for Hanukkah
- Chicken and Vegetable Spring Rolls
- Cantonese Spring Rolls with Pork & Shrimp
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- 1 (¼ oz) envelope active dry yeast
- ¾ cup warm water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup whole milk
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2 quarts vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- powdered sugar; for dusting
- Mix the yeast, water, and sugar in a mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the salt, lemon zest, cinnamon, egg, milk, and 1½cups flour; mix on medium speed until combined.
- Add the butter; mix until incorporated.
- Add 1¾ cups flour, and mix until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in the remaining ¼ cup flour by hand until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about one hour. Remove the dough from the bowl. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to half-inch thickness.
- Cut out rectangles with a pizza cutter.
- Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a large, sturdy pot or deep fryer until it registers 180C/350F on a deep-fry thermometer.
- Fry the beignets in batches, rolling them around constantly with a slotted spoon, until golden brown all over. About 1 to 2 minutes.
- Transfer the beignets with the slotted spoon to a cooling rack that's set over a baking pan and dust generously with powdered sugar.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 206 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 17mg Sodium: 117mg Carbohydrates: 29g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 6g Protein: 5g