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Published September 18, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
These delicious, easy-to-make light and fluffy fried beignets covered in powdered sugar will make you feel like your right at Café du Monde in New Orleans.
Homemade from scratch isn’t hard, it just takes a little more time but, in the end, it’s beyond worth it and I’m going to show you why! If you’ve never had one then you’ve been missing out my friends. Don’t you dare buy some beignet mix, because I’m going to walk you through step by step how to make the most authentic New Orleans Style Beignets on the internet!
What Is a Beignet
Beignet translates from French to English as, donut or fritter. Really that’s all, it’s a simple yeast-based square-shaped dough that is fried up and served with powdered sugar on top. It is an extremely popular treat in New Orleans.
Beignet is pronounced as, ben-yei. Don’t let the difficult French word fool you when looking at it, because it’s much easier to pronounce than you may have thought. If you can’t get it, just call it a French donut! If you want to hear someone say it, watch my video below or click here.
Where Do Beignets Come From
Traditional beignets originated in France and are known as Boules De Berlin. Beignets in France are circles instead of squares and have a cake-like filling, not light and yeast-based as they are known here in the states. Both are delicious but do have some distinct differences.
A beignet as we know it was brought over from French colonists who settled in the New Orleans area and adapted its choux pastry dough recipe to the dough, we use now for these.
What Is The Difference Between a Donut and a Beignet
The biggest difference between a donut and a beignet is the shape and fillings. Donuts are oftentimes shaped in a circle and with a hole in the center. Since donuts are simply fritters, they are cut into simple shapes like squares or spooned directly into hot oil making them oblong in shape.
In addition, donuts can be stuffed with pastry cream or jellies, while beignets are much simpler using only the dough as the main ingredient to the beignet.
How to Make Beignets
- 1. Mix together the water, active yeast, and a bit of sugar.
- 2. Wait 7-10 minutes until it forms a raft on top.
- 3.: Whisk in the rest of the sugar, whisk eggs, milk, and melted butter until combined.
- 4. Transfer the bowl to a standing mixer with the hook attachment.
- 5. Add in salt and flour
- 6. Mix until the dough is smooth and pulled away from the bowl.
- 7. Cover the dough and rest for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
- 8. Preheat some oil until it reaches 350°.
- 9. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is about a ½” to ¾” thick.
- 10. Cut small squares or rectangles out of the dough.
- 11. Fry the dough squares in batches in the oil until golden brown, about 1 ½ – 2 minutes per side.
- 12. Drain the beignets on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or paper towels.
- 13. Dust heavily with powdered sugar.
What Do They Taste Like
Beignets simply taste like light fluffy donuts with a hint of sweetness from the powdered sugar on top, depending on how much you use of course. Now, if you’re looking for the Italian version of these, then check out my Zeppoles recipe which tastes incredibly similar but is a bit firmer!
What to Serve Them With
Classically they are served for breakfast with café au lait, which is equal parts hot strong coffee mixed with hot steamed milk. Often times chicory was used in the coffee to make it more bitter in taste to counteract the sweetness from the powdered sugar on the beignet. They’d also be incredible if you dipped them in chocolate sauce.
I personally like to eat them with strong black coffee, simple and plain!
These are seriously amazing, and honestly, if you can’t get to New Orleans then bring this authentic recipe right to your house!
Recipe Chef Notes + Tips
How to Reheat – You can absolutely heat this quickly in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds or at 350° in the oven for 3-5 minutes or just until warm.
Storing and Freezing: Unfortunately, after being cooked, they do not store well in the refrigerator. However, if you must cover them in keeping them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. They do not freeze well and are not recommended. With all this being said, the dough will keep in the refrigerator overnight if you do not have time to make them the day of.
Café Du Monde is the most traditional place in the United States to eat them at.
There are several different opinions on the history of the beignet, who started it, when it was created and how it made its way to the states, but none have been verified. Regardless, they’re delicious.
If you are looking for a simpler recipe between donuts and beignets, then definitely go with beignets.
You do not need a stand mixer, you can absolutely do this by hand in a large bowl, just be prepared to knead it with your hands until it is smooth.
When resting the dough, you can cover it with plastic wrap or a light towel, which is what I did.
I used canola oil, but the most traditional oil used is cottonseed oil. Make sure to use neutral-flavored oil.
More Amazing Treats
The Best Authentic New Orleans Beignets Recipe
- Stand mixer
- 1 cup warm water, 105° to 110°
- 2 teaspoons active yeast
- 1/3 cups of sugar + 1 tablespoon
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg + 1 yolk
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
- neutral oil for frying
- powdered sugar
- Add the warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar to a standing mixer bowl and whisk until combined. Let sit for 7-10 minutes until it forms a raft on top.
- Next, pour in the remaining sugar, milk, eggs, and melted butter and whisk until combined.
- Attach the bowl the stand mixer with the hook attachment and add in the salt and flour and mix on medium speed until smooth and the dough has pulled away from the inside of the bowl, about 2-3 minutes.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel and let sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a large clean surface dusted with flour and roll out until it is ½” to ¾” thick and cut into 1 ½” to 2” squares or rectangles.
- Add 5-6 of the beignets to a pot with hot oil or a deep fryer set to 350° and cook for 1 1 1/2-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.
- Cook in batches until the beignets have all been fried and set on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or paper towels and drain.
- Coat heavily in powdered sugar and serve.
- Café Du Monde is the most traditional place in the United States to eat a beignet at.
- You can absolutely make the dough by hand in a large bowl, just be prepared to knead it with your hands until it is smooth.
- You can cover with plastic wrap or a light towel, which is what I did.
- I used canola oil, but the most traditional oil used is cottonseed oil. Make sure to use a neutral flavored oil.