New Orleans Beignets

Mardi GrasRestaurant FavoriteNew OrleansDonut

Enjoy pillowy, sugary New Orleans-style Beignets right at home. Start the dough the night before, and let it rise slowly overnight for a sweet breakfast, or do it all in the morning. It's a trip to Cafe du Monde without the ticket price!

Photography Credit: Cindy Rahe

Have you ever had a beignet? These sweet, squares of fried dough buried in powdered sugar are a staple of New Orleans food culture, with tourists making the trek to the famous Café du Monde just for beignets and coffee.

My NOLA beignet experience has remained a lasting memory. I was lucky enough to be in great company, music played all around us, and as we approached the café, the humid air was thick with the smell of frying dough, sugar, and coffee. It was heaven.

While I can’t just jet off to New Orleans for a beignet experience anytime I’d like to, I can recreate something similar at home and share it with all of you!

Three Cafe Du Monde Beignets on a cream plate with a cup of espresso to the left. A partial view of a cake platter is on the right.

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WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A BEIGNET

When I was working on this recipe, I channeled my memory of those beignets. Each bite needed to begin in a cloud of sugar with a just-crisp golden edge that gave way to a pillowy, warm interior.

HOW ARE BEIGNETS DIFFERENT FROM DOUGHNUTS?

Beignets only have a single rise, unlike doughnuts, which have a second rise after they are cut out. Instead, beignets go from the initial rise to cutting and frying in pretty quick succession.

Once fried, they are coated, and I mean absolutely covered, in powdered sugar.

Powdered sugar donuts are on a cream plate and one is dipped in coffee. A platter of more donuts is behind and to the right.

HOW ARE BEIGNETS SERVED?

Sometimes beignets are served with a side of jam for dipping, but not always. They are usually served warm, covered in powdered sugar, with coffee on the side. I’m personally a fan of the classic combo of sugary, warm beignet and bitter coffee.

TIME SAVING BEIGNET TIPS

If you want to prepare the dough ahead of time, you can do a slow rise in the refrigerator overnight. Then you can roll it out and cut the beignets. Since the dough will be cold, let the cut beignets come to room temp for about 30 minutes before frying.

To reheat beignets: A quick 10 seconds in the microwave will perk them up just enough.

MORE RECIPES THAT GO WELL WITH COFFEE!

New Orleans Beignets Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Rest/Rise time: 1-2 hours
  • Yield: 12 beignets

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (415g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 to 2 quarts vegetable oil

For the topping:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Method

1 Start the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 3 cups of flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

2 Bloom the yeast: In a 4-cup measuring glass or medium bowl, combine the warm milk (it should be about 100°F), remaining tablespoon of sugar, and yeast, and allow it to sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

3 Make the dough: Beat the egg into the foamy milk mixture and add the mixture to the mixing bowl of flour. Mix by hand or using the paddle attachment with your stand mixer set to low or medium low, until you get a wet dough with shaggy dry bits throughout. This can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes depending on how you’re mixing.

Swap out the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Add the melted butter. Set the mixer to medium-low until the butter is incorporated, about 1 minute.

4 Knead the dough: Turn the mixer up to medium or medium-high (depending on the size and weight of your mixer) and knead on the hook for about 6 minutes. The dough should be tacky to the touch but not so wet that you can’t handle it.

5 Shape the dough and let it rise: Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic and allow it to rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of the room.

A ball of homemade beignet dough is in a white bowl on a counter. The best beignet dough is rising in a white bowl on a counter.

6 Set up your frying and dusting stations: Fill a large 4-quart pot with a few inches of vegetable oil (about 2 quarts). Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place it next to the pot of oil along with tongs.

Sift 3 cups of powdered sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl and set next to the rack and a sheet pan.

7 Cut the dough and heat the oil: Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it out into an oblong shape (about 10 inches by 14 inches and 1/4 inch thick). Cut the dough into 12 rough rectangles and cover with a flour-dusted tea towel to rest while you heat the oil.

Cafe Du Monde Beignet dough is rolled out and sprinkled with powdered sugar. A rolling pin and sugar shaker are to the left of the dough. The dough for overnight beignets are rolled and cut. A bench scraper is in the right upper corner.

8 Fry the beignets: Heat the frying oil to 325℉. Fry the beignets in batches until golden, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.

A dutch oven is on a stove and has five homemade beignets frying in oil. New Orleans Beignets are in a dutch oven on the stove being turned in the hot oil. One side is golden brown. A slotted spoon is being used to turn them.

9 Drain and coat the beignets in sugar: Use your tongs or a frying spider to lift the beignets out of the frying oil and place them on the baking rack.

Let some of the fat drain off for about a minute before covering in powdered sugar. You want to coat them with sugar while the beignets are still hot, but not straight out of the fryer dripping in oil. Drop the drained beignets into the bowl with the powdered sugar. Turn to coat. Repeat with the remaining beignets.

New Orleans Beignets that have been fried. One is in a bowl of powdered sugar and three more are behind it on a baking tray. A partial view of a dutch oven on a stove is to the right.

10 Serve: Serve warm with another generous dusting of powdered sugar and hot coffee on the side.

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Cindy Rahe

Cindy Rahe is the recipe maker and picture taker behind Hungry Girl por Vida. She loves to bake from scratch and make things that taste as good as they look. Cindy was born near Seoul but grew up in California and Nevada. She believes strongly in homemade birthday cakes, creamy coffee, and making room for dessert.

More from Cindy

4 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Miranda

    The made these last month and my husband is still taking about them and asking when I’ll make them again

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Cheri

    Great minds and timing. I am planning on frying up some Calas this weekend with my Grandmother’s recipe. Similar, same region, but more a batter than a dough.

  3. Anne

    Can you reliably cut this in half to just make 6 , if not can you freeze 1/2 the dough.

    Show Replies (1)
New Orleans Beignets