Filed Under: Dessert | Donut

How to Make Beignets

By Tessa Arias
  |  
October 28th, 2021
5 from 2 votes
5 from 2 votes

How to Make Beignets, New Orleans French Quarter-Style. Surprisingly simple to make at home and absolute perfection! The best tips and tricks included!

Yield: 25 to 30 beignets

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Simple sweet perfection. Feel free to add any flavors you want! A little drizzle of honey, caramel, or chocolate takes these to a whole new level, although that wouldn’t be very authentic. Who cares about authenticity if it’s delicious?
Texture: Golden and slightly crisp on the outside, ultra soft, fluffy, and pillowy on the inside.
Ease: Surprisingly easy, just requires some patience and clean up. Don’t let the dough or deep frying scare you away! I’ve included so many tips below.
Appearance: This just looks like what you’d be welcomed to heaven with, right?!
Pros: Bring New Orleans right to your kitchen.
Cons: So bad, but so good.
Would I make this again? Oh yeah.

Way back in 2015 I was lucky enough to take a girls’ trip to New Orleans with my blogging BFF Ashley. As professional food bloggers, we were (of course) ridiculously excited about the food. As someone with a mega sweet tooth in particular, I could not wait to try famous beignets from Cafe du Monde.

Admittedly, I was worried they wouldn’t live up to all the hype. Would they just taste like pure sugar? Thankfully, they did not disappoint. In my view, the best food is usually the simplest. If you can’t make something simple taste good, then something has gone wrong.

I knew I had to attempt to recreate beignets at home. Through trials and experiments over the years, I’ve learned a lot. Having Cafe du Monde as a comparison, I think I found a winning recipe! I’ve included tons of tips and tricks below, so if making homemade beignets intimidates you, be sure to read through them!

How to Make Beignets

What are beignets?

The word is French and basically translates to donut or fritter. This recipe makes New Orleans-Style Beignets which are made from a simple yeast-raised dough that’s cut into squares, deep-fried, and generously coated in powdered sugar. What’s not to love?!

What’s the difference between a donut and a beignet?

They’re very similar with just a few stylistic differences. Most simply, beignets are shaped into squares instead of donut shapes, and they’re coated in powdered sugar instead of a glaze.

You’ll see this beignet recipe uses evaporated milk instead of whole milk (classic to most donut recipes) to yield an extra fluffy and tender texture. It also uses bread flour which has a higher protein content and therefore will develop a stronger network of gluten when the dough is kneaded. This helps create those big puffy squares so each bite is extra fluffy inside.

Ingredients for easy beignets:

  • Granulated sugar – just enough to sweeten, add moisture, and to help the beignets brown while frying.
  • Instant yeast – learn about the differences between active dry and instant yeast here.
  • Eggs – 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk for extra tenderness.
  • Fine sea salt – I prefer sea salt, but you can also use table salt.
  • Evaporated milk – this helps create a rich, tender, and fluffy texture and makes this beignet recipe more pantry friendly!
  • Vanilla extract – to enhance the sweet flavor and aroma.
  • Bread flour – the extra protein in bread flour helps to create more structure for ultra-thick and fluffy beignets.
  • Unsalted butter – make sure to use butter that is completely softened to room temperature.
  • Oil, for frying – This recipe uses vegetable or canola oil because most people have these on hand, but if you want to get really authentic, try and find cottonseed oil! It has a high smoke point of 420°F, and it’s what Cafe du Monde uses.
  • Confectioners’ sugar – it isn’t a beignet unless it’s covered in confectioners’ sugar, aka powdered sugar!

How to make the dough:

Beignet dough is super easy to make, especially if you’re using a stand mixer. If you don’t have one, you can always knead by hand.

Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the rising time. For most kitchens, it’ll take at least 2 hours to properly double in size, possibly even 3 to 4 hours. This is because this is an enriched dough. The extra fat and sugar in the dough recipe will slow down the rise time.

You can also allow the dough to rise overnight in the fridge. The rising time is important because it helps create a beignet that is light, puffy, and pillowy once fried.

Can you make beignets ahead of time?

Yes! You can make the dough ahead of time and fry later when you’re ready. Simply cover and store the dough after forming it in the fridge for up to 4 days. It’ll rise in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before using.

How to shape homemade beignets:

On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Use a pizza wheel, pastry cutter, or sharp knife to cut out squares of dough.

For small beignets, cut 1 1/2-inch squares. For larger beignets more like Cafe du Monde’s, cut out 3-inch squares. Adjust the frying time with the size of the squares.

Be sure to keep the rest of the dough covered while frying so it doesn’t dry out. Whatever you do, do not overwork the dough which will lead to tough beignets. Just be gentle!

How to fry beignets:

In order to create beignets that are airy and fluffy inside and perfectly browned without being greasy on the outside, we’re using oil that’s slightly hotter than normal. Cafe du Monde apparently uses ultra hot oil at 380°F, but this recipe calls for oil at 360°F so as to keep everything safe. Oil temperatures can fluctuate quickly so it’s important to keep an eye on it and adjust your stove heat frequently.

It’s important to be accurate here! I always always always use a deep-fry thermometer for both safety and convenience. Be sure to watch the temperature the entire time and adjust your stove as necessary to maintain it.

How much powdered sugar to use for beignets:

The key here is to take the amount of powdered sugar you think you’ll need and double it! You really can’t do too much powdered sugar here for a more traditional-style NOLA beignet!

How to serve beignets:

The beignets are best served as fresh as possible. They start to harden and go stale even after just a few hours.

Beignets go perfectly with a cup of coffee or how they do in NOLA, a cafe au lait!

More Delicious Donut Recipes:

5 from 2 votes

How to make
How to Make Beignets

Yield: 25 to 30 beignets
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
How to Make Beignets, New Orleans French Quarter-Style. Surprisingly simple to make at home and absolute perfection! The best tips and tricks included!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (508 grams) bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, completely softened to room temperature
  • Vegetable oil or canola oil, for deep frying
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, sugar, yeast, egg + egg yolk, salt, evaporated milk, vanilla, and half the flour (254 grams). Mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and then the remaining flour and increase the speed to medium. Knead until soft, smooth, and slightly tacky but not unbearably sticky, about 2 to 3 minutes. If needed, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time to bring the dough together.

  2. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in volume. To make ahead: store the risen dough in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before proceeding with the next step.

  3. Punch down the dough and let it rise again for another 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat 3 to 4 inches of oil in a wide Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot set over medium-high heat to 350°F measured with a deep-fry thermometer. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl.

  5. While the oil is heating, roll the dough out on a floured work surface into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thickness, sprinkling with flour if your rolling pin sticks anywhere. Cut into 2 1/2-inch squares with a pastry wheel or pizza cutter.

  6. Deep fry three to four at a time, flipping every 20 seconds, until they become a golden color. Adjust the heat up and down as the oil temperature fluctuates to keep as consistent of a temperature of 350°F as possible.

  7. Remove the finished beignets with a slotted spoon or spider, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bowl of confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beignets, beignets recipe easy, how to make beignets

This post was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2021 with recipe improvements, more tips, and new photos. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Rachel — December 2, 2021 at 5:02 am

    So I’ve lived in New Orleams, not far from the FQ. Home of the Beignet….I never thought anyone could make a good and decent beignet until I tried Tessas. Holy sugar. These Beignets are amazing! You have to try this recipe! And make some dark chocolate dipping sauce and pour yourself some espresso. It will blow your mind. Such a fantastic recipe!

    • #
      Emily — December 2, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      So happy you loved them, Rachel! I 100% agree with you, my husband and I ate about 15 of them by the time I was done frying the last one haha 🙂 I’ll definitely try some chocolate sauce next time, thanks for the great idea!

  2. #
    Anette Hosier — July 14, 2020 at 6:32 am

    When you store the dough, do you leave it in a ball or should they be cut into squares then stored in the refrigerator?

  3. #
    Ian — May 23, 2020 at 3:23 am

    Hi! If I have already cut the beignet doughs into squares, can I place those in the fridge and then cook them the next day or a couple of days after? Thanks

  4. #
    Jacks — December 29, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Do you wait for dough to rise or after mixing put in fridge and it will rise over

  5. #
    Anna — November 10, 2017 at 9:22 am

    do you have a recipe for a filled ‘beignet type donut’ ?
    I am not sure what to call it, but I had an OLD family recipe that was basically a fried ravioli that was filled with a cannoli cream. all your recipes and processes are GREAT!!
    I wish I could follow on instagram- but I am too old to figure that out

    • #
      Tessa — November 12, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      I’m sorry, Anna, but I don’t! I’ve never had what you’re describing. It sounds delish though!

  6. #
    nyatllady — September 9, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Hello, The recipe looks good, its the same recipe as Paula Deen’s Beignets recipe but I already like yours better as you have cut the ingredients in half to the “T”. 36 beignets are just fine for us.

    I had them at the Café ‘Du Monde years ago and have been a Fan ever since.

    Will let you know how all turns out.

  7. #
    Ash — March 18, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Is the butter supposed to be melted? Or softened?

  8. #
    Lauren — March 13, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Can you Freeze these and refire them in the oven before serving them? I need to make a large quantity!

  9. #
    Veronica @ Big Blue House — July 2, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    New Orleans has some seriously good eats. We went with a big list of food spots we wanted to try… so big that we couldn’t fit every place into our week-long stay. But we went to Cafe du Monde every morning to start the day with beignets!! Thanks SO much for the recipe and detailed instructions – definitely going to give these a try!

  10. #
    Myrtice Stevens — June 22, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Made this, and it is super amazing. Hunger mouths out there, you guys definitely have to make it. Thanks to this detailed frying tips your beignets will be perfect. Trust me!

  11. #
    kearin @ the winsome baker — June 20, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    these look utterly fabulous!

  12. #
    Amanda Jonsson — June 20, 2015 at 10:24 am

    These look so good! I can’t wait to try them. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. #
    Cathy — June 19, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    My oldest Daughter and 2 of her besties were in New Orleans last week for 5 days. They went to that same Café du Monde and had some Beignets. She said it was like “Fried Heaven”. So good! I may have to try this recipe and see what she thinks. My husband works on a job site occasionally, twice already this year. Hopefully, the next time he’s down there and my work in Oklahoma slows down, I can join him for a few days and try some of the wonderful food of New Orleans. He always bring home tons of shrimp, crawfish and Boudan home.

  14. #
    Gaby — June 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Well these are mouthwatering!! Beautiful!!

  15. #
    Patty K — June 19, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I can totally imagine inhaling all that powdered sugar while taking a bite! Yum!

  16. #
    June @ How to Philosophize with Cake — June 19, 2015 at 4:17 am

    I’d sure love to go to the Cafe du Monde someday! It sounds like quite the experience. The beignets look great, so fluffy and sweet 🙂

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