To celebrate Mardi Gras or any day, learn how to make beignets from scratch. This classic doughnut-like treat is the perfect pairing for a hot cup of coffee.

Beignets on a plate next to a coffee mug with liquid in it.

Beignets are light, yeast dough-based fritters that were brought to Louisiana by French. Similar to doughnuts in texture, just a hint less sweet and shaped like a square without a hole, Beignets are now one of the signature foods of New Orleans, Louisiana. There, they are particularly popular around Mardi Gras and are a signature menu item at one location in particular: Cafe du Monde.

You can purchase beignet mix from that cafe (or other retailers) and simply follow the instructions on the box, but I think you can definitely taste the difference when you opt to DIY. Plus it’s totally doable to master how to make beignets from scratch; I’ll walk you through it.

No need to wait until Mardi Gras to try your hand at homemade Beignets.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient and equipment notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Beignets Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for beignets.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient and equipment notes

  • Active dry yeast: Fleischmann’s, Red Star, Bob’s Red Mill, or Saf are all reliable brands. Just make sure the yeast is fresh and hasn’t expired. See “Recipe Tips and Variations” below for how to spot an expired batch of yeast.
  • Vegetable oil: Canola, cottonseed, or any neutral-flavored, high smoke point oil works well for frying Beignets.
  • Bench scraper:  A bench scraper is ideal for lifting and cutting portions of dough. It’s also handy to use it to quickly clear flour or food scraps off of a work surface.
  • Silicone mat: This is not mandatory, but I love a silicone pastry mat for rolling out dough; it makes the task cleaner and easier.
  • Wire rack: Once you remove the Beignets from the oil, transfer them to a wire rack over paper towels to drain as you complete the rest of the batch.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, butter, vanilla extract, and egg. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the buttermilk.
White liquid being poured into a silver mixing bowl filled with dough.
  1. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and appears shiny and smooth, about 10 minutes.
A silver mixing bowl filled with dough.
  1. Turn out the dough onto a dry surface and shape into a ball (At this point, you can place in a bowl, covered, in the fridge for up to 24 hours, if making the dough ahead of time).
A ball of dough in a clear glass bowl.
  1. Place into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees, see notes) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
A ball of dough in a clear glass bowl.
  1. Lightly oil a piece of parchment paper and set on a baking sheet. Punch down the dough and fold it up tightly. On a lightly oiled surface, roll out the dough to 12 x 12-inch square (⅓ inch thickness).
Dough rolled out on a countertop.
  1. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 2-inch squares, making a total of 36 pieces.
Beignet dough being sliced into squares.
  1. Place the squares on the same piece of parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until puffed, about 30 minutes.
Squares of beignet dough on a baking sheet.
  1. While the beignets are rising, heat the oil to 375 degrees in a large dutch oven or saucepot. Carefully drop the pieces of dough, a few at a time (no more than 4), in the hot oil. Deep fry until deep golden brown on both sides, 1-2 minutes per side, flipping over with chopsticks or tongs halfway through. Be sure to keep the temperature of the oil as constant as possible. 
Four beignets being fried in oil.
  1. Remove with a fine mesh strainer and place on a cooling rack set over paper towels to drain.
Beignets on a cooling rack.
  1. Once slightly cooled, dust liberally with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Beignets on a cooling rack with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 36 light and fluffy Beignets.
  • Storage: Store beignets in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
  • Make ahead: While Beignets are best fried fresh and eaten while still warm, you can make the yeast dough can be made ahead of time. Place the dough in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours after you form it into a ball in Step 3. The cold temperature will halt the yeast fermentation. When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and continue on where you left off.
Beignets on a serving platter with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

Recipe FAQs

What do beignets taste like?

Beignets are a donut, so they taste like a donut! But with a bit more yeast risen texture. The flavor on the inside is not as sweet as a traditional donut and they have larger holes in the center since they puff up more. But the mountain of powdered sugar that gets sprinkled on top makes them as sweet as can be!

Is my yeast expired?

You can tell with this yeast freshness test: In a 1-cup liquid measuring cup, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in ½ cup warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees). Stir in 2 ¼ teaspoons (or 1 packet) yeast. After 10 minutes, the yeast should have risen to or above the 1-cup marker on the measuring cup. Yeast should bubble and foam up within 5 to 10 minutes of activation. If it looks like nothing is happening after you add it to the, the yeast may be expired. Discard and try again with a fresh batch.

How do I proof bread dough or Beignet dough?

To create a warm environment ideal to proof dough, preheat your oven to its minimum temperature (170 degrees, 200 degrees), but shut it off once the temperature reaches 110 degrees. Place your dough (in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap), on a baking sheet and in the oven. The oven temperature will drop when you open the oven door, but enough residual heat will remain that your dough should steadily rise.

What are zeppole?

Zeppole are the Italian version of beignets: Soft squares of fried dough dusted with powdered sugar and served warm (delicious with chocolate sauce or raspberry sauce). Sound familiar? You may have seen them at the Olive Garden under the name “zeppoli” or “warm Italian doughnuts.”

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Beignets on a plate next to a coffee mug with liquid in it.

Beignets

To celebrate Mardi Gras or any day, learn how to make beignets from scratch. This classic doughnut-like treat is the perfect pairing for a hot cup of coffee.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Servings 36 beignets
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Creole, French
Calories 546

Ingredients 

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or 2 packets (see note 1)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 60 degrees
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil or canola oil, for deep frying (see note 2)
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions 

  • In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, butter, vanilla extract, and egg. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the buttermilk.
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and appears shiny and smooth, about 10 minutes.
  • Turn out the dough onto a dry surface and shape into a ball (At this point, you can place in a bowl, covered, in the fridge for up to 24 hours, if making the dough ahead of time).
  • Place into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees, see notes) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Lightly oil a piece of parchment paper and set on a baking sheet. Punch down the dough and fold it up tightly.
  • On a lightly oiled surface, roll out the dough to 12 x 12-inch square (⅓ inch thickness). Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 2-inch squares, making a total of 36 pieces. Place the squares on the same piece of parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until puffed, about 30 minutes.
  • While the beignets are rising, heat the oil to 375 degrees in a large dutch oven or saucepot. Carefully drop the pieces of dough, a few at a time (no more than 4), in the hot oil. Deep fry until deep golden brown on both sides, 1-2 minutes per side, flipping over with chopsticks or tongs halfway through. Be sure to keep the temperature of the oil as constant as possible. 
  • Remove with a fine mesh strainer and place on a cooling rack set over paper towels to drain. Once slightly cooled, dust liberally with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Active dry yeast: Fleischmann’s, Red Star, Bob’s Red Mill, or Saf are all reliable brands. Just make sure the yeast is fresh and hasn’t expired. See “Recipe Tips and Variations” below for how to spot an expired batch of yeast.
  2. Vegetable oil: Canola, cottonseed, or any neutral-flavored, high smoke point oil works well for frying Beignets.
  3. Bench scraper:  A bench scraper is ideal for lifting and cutting portions of dough. It’s also handy to use it to quickly clear flour or food scraps off of a work surface.
  4. Silicone mat: This is not mandatory, but I love a silicone pastry mat for rolling out dough; it makes the task cleaner and easier.
  5. Wire rack: Once you remove the Beignets from the oil, transfer them to a wire rack over paper towels to drain as you complete the rest of the batch.
  6. Yield: This recipe makes 36 light and fluffy Beignets.
  7. Storage: Store beignets in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1beignetCalories: 546kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 3gFat: 55gSaturated Fat: 44gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 69mgPotassium: 47mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 63IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

    1. Hi Anne, I don’t see why not! You can adjust the serving size down to 18 to get the measurements for half of the recipe. Hope you enjoy! – Meggan

  1. I would like to sell beignets at farmers market this Saturday. Usually I will fry at thins and bring at market. How to keep the beignets as much as possible not soggy and still crispy? Thanks.

    1. Hi Arlene, I would make sure to drain them well and store in a very airtight container. These are best served fresh and warm, so I would recommend also warming them up right before serving, if possible. I hope the Farmer’s Market goes well! – Meggan