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Homemade Beignets

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Homemade Beignets are here just in time for Fat Tuesday! Frying up a batch of fresh beignets and serving them with a generous dusting of powdered sugar is enough to transport anyone to the heart of the French Quarter.

A large batch of beignets are placed on a wire cooling rack and have been dusted with powdered sugar.

No vacation to NOLA is ever complete without a trip to either Cafe du Monde or Cafe Beignet! But if you’re like me and unable to travel down to Bourbon Street for Mardi Gras this year, have no fear – you can make the BEST beignets ever in the comfort of your own home. Beads not included!

The key to a perfect beignet is to have a perfectly crunchy outside and a fluffy, soft, and slightly sweet inside. It’s like a donut, but somehow SO much better! Of course, you can’t serve these perfectly fried little pillows of goodness until they’re sprinkled with a hefty amount of sweet powdered sugar.

If you’ve never made beignets, don’t worry. I’ve simplified the steps here so they’re easy to follow and fairly hassle-free! I know that frying anything can make some people nervous, but trust me… The final product here is worth heating up all that vegetable oil. I promise!

Also, I have a feeling someone will say something about the amount of powdered sugar on these beignets. You do you! I know traditionally they are smothered in powdered sugar but for photography purposes, I went a little light-handed.

Three beignets are being fried in a large pot full of yellow vegetable oil.

What You’ll Need

  • Water – It should be warm, not hot.
  • Active Dry Yeast – This can be found in the baking aisle of your local grocery store.
  • Sugar – Just use plain white granulated sugar, nothing fancy!
  • Eggs – They’ll need to be room temperature, not cold.
  • Whole Milk – Try not to use skim, fat free, or any other type of milk.
  • Vanilla – For the best flavor, use pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
  • Flour – You’ll need all-purpose flour to give these beignets their structure.
  • Butter – Salted and melted!
  • Vegetable Oil – This will be used to fry the beignets.
  • Confectioners Sugar – Because what beignet is ever ready to eat without it?!
A white plate is topped with five ready to eat beignets.

How to Make Homemade Beignets

Be sure to check out the numbered instructions at the bottom of this post for more detailed instructions!

Whisk. Whisk the yeast and sugar into a bowl filled with warm water. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Then, whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla.

Knead. After the flour and butter have been mixed in, knead the mixture until you have a smooth dough.

Rise. Place the dough into a prepared bowl, cover it, then leave it in an undisturbed place at room temperature. Allow it to rise until it’s doubled in size.

Roll and Cut. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, then chop it into 2 1/2 inch squares.

Fry! Once your 2 inches of oil reaches about 370°F, deep fry your beignets! Be sure not to over crowd your pan. Fry them for about 1-2 minutes per side.

Enjoy! Drain the fried beignets on a plate lined with paper towels, then sprinkle them with an excessive amount of powdered sugar. Serve hot, and enjoy!

Powdered sugar is being sprinkled over a plate of beignets.

Common Questions:

Can homemade beignets be made ahead of time? The dough may be made ahead of time. You could put it into the fridge as soon as it is mixed. You don’t need to leave it in a warm place to proof, it will proof in the fridge if you leave it at least overnight. And you may leave it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Once you fry the beignets, they are best eaten right away. 

What other oils work well for deep frying? Some other choices would be soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, or peanut oil.  You must use an oil that is well suited to high heat.  

What could I use instead of whole milk? You are welcome to use whatever milk you have, or even canned evaporated milk. I just find I like the taste and texture best with whole milk.

Could I use a standing mixer to make the dough? Yes, use a dough paddle. Mix the dough until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. 

My beignets didn’t rise – did I do something wrong? First of all, check the expiration date on your yeast. If you notice that the yeast doesn’t froth up when you dissolve it in the warm water with sugar, then your yeast will not work. Also, be sure that the water you are dissolving the yeast in is warm but not too hot. 

A plate of beignets has been dusted with white powdered sugar.

Storage Instructions:

The beignets really are best fresh, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Or you may freeze them for 1-2 months. 

A beignet on top of a pile has been bitten into.

Make more of my NOLA inspired recipes for your Mardi Gras party!

Homemade Beignets

You can enjoy a perfectly fried, fluffy, sweet beignet without fighting the crowds on Bourbon Street!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill time:: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 20 beignets
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • ¾ cup warm water, not too hot
  • 2  ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, possibly a little more
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 48 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar

Instructions

  • Pour the warm water into a medium size bowl. Whisk in the yeast and sugar and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. It should become slightly foamy – or your yeast may be bad.
  • Whisk in eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  • Mix in ½ of the flour, then the melted butter, then the rest of the flour. Knead the mixture with your hands until the dough is smooth. If it is too sticky, you may want to add more flour, a Tablespoon at a time.
  • Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and leave it undisturbed in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
  • Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut into 2 ½ inch squares.
  • Heat oil in a large pot to 370 degrees. You should have at least 2 inches of oil for the deep frying.
  • Deep fry the beignets in batches, don’t crowd. They should pop up when you put them in the oil or the oil is not hot enough. Spoon the oil over the tops of the beignets as the bottoms are frying. Make sure to turn them over so they are golden (not brown) on both sides. It will only take 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Sprinkle generously with confectioners’ sugar and serve hot.

Recipe Notes

We used a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil. But basically you want it hot enough so that the beignets pop up as soon as you drop them in. They will get golden very quickly, make sure you turn them occasionally as they cook to get an even brown.
Also, we did some after the 2 hour rise, and some the next morning (after leaving the dough in the fridge overnight), and they all turned out pretty similar. We also did a batch where we put the dough into the fridge and let it proof overnight (instead of leaving it in a warm place for 2 hours) and again, pretty similar.

YOUR NOTES

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 beignet | Calories: 180 kcal | Carbohydrates: 35 g | Protein: 4 g | Fat: 3 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 21 mg | Sodium: 26 mg | Potassium: 55 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 15 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: deep fried, homemade dough
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