How to Make Beignets
Yield: Makes about 36 beignets
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 40 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.
If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (@tessaarias), you know that I recently took a trip to New Orleans with my blogging BFF Ashley. As food bloggers, we were of course ridiculously excited about the food. As someone with a mega sweet tooth, I could not wait to try beignets from Cafe du Monde. I was worried they wouldn’t live up to all the hype but thankfully they did not disappoint. To me, The best food is usually the simplest. If you can’t make something simple taste good, then you’re doing it wrong.
I knew I had to attempt to recreate beginets at home and I was up for the challenge. I learned a lot and 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 scares you be sure to read through them!
How to Make Beignets – Recipe Tips
The dough comes together quite easily, 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. 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
This recipe uses vegetable oil because it’s something most people have 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.
Powdered Sugar and Serving
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! Also, the beginets are best served as fresh as possible. They start to harden and go stale even after just a few hours.
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 3 1/2 cups (15.75 ounces) bread flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Nonstick spray
- Oil, for deep-frying
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook combine the water, sugar, yeast, egg, evaporated milk, and half the flour. Mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and then the remaining flour and salt and increase the speed to medium. Knead until the dough is smooth and just tacky.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. Don’t skimp on the rising time! To make ahead: store the dough in the fridge for up to 4 days. Let come to room temperature before using.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 360°F. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes total (depending on their size). The beignets should float to the surface very quickly after being added to the oil. If they don’t, they oil is not hot enough.
After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels. Keep the freshly fried beignets warm in a 200° oven up to 30 minutes. Toss them into the bowl of confectioners’ sugar while still hot.
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