Skip the French Quarter and make this New Orleans Beignet recipe in your own kitchen with these simple and easy instructions.
What is a Beignet?
The word beignet is French for “fritter” or “doughnut.” Traditional French beignets are a member of the French choux pastry family, which are raised in steam and have a hollow center. This method gives French beignets a light and pillowy texture.
In other words, a beignet is a delicious pillowy French doughnut that is typically found in New Orleans.
How to Make a New Orleans Beignet
Making Beignets is not complicated, but it does take a little bit of time. You can’t rush making a perfect batch of beignets though. There are a few recipes that I recommend waiting for and this is one of them.
Gather all of your ingredients and grab a mixer. Bloom your yeast in the mixing bowl and then mix in the milk, salt, and eggs. Mix in the vegetable shortening, rest of the water, and flour.
You should end up with a beautiful dough. Cover and allow it to double in size. You can place it in a warm spot and do this right away or just pop it in your fridge overnight if you are wanting a New Orleans Beignet for breakfast.
When you are ready to fry, heat your oil in a Dutch oven or fryer to 360 degrees F.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll into a rectangle about ¼ inch thickness. Then, with a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into about 40 rectangular pieces.
Fry the beignets in small batches about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove and drain on paper toweling.
Dust the beignets with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Dairy Free Beignet
Making beignets dairy free is a piece of cake. Simply replace the evaporated milk with full fat canned coconut milk. You will end up with the same amazing New Orleans beignet minus the dairy. Still light, pillowy and delicious. I actually like the dairy free version more.
There are two ways to freeze beignets.
The first way is to freeze the dough. This actually works very well. Once you have rolled your dough out and cut it, place the pieces to be frozen on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze them for an hour or so. Then remove and place them into a freezer safe bag. When ready to fry them, remove them from the freezer and allow them to thaw. Continue with the recipe as written.
If you want to go ahead and fry your beignets and then freeze, you can do that. I will warn you that a reheated beignet is not as good as a fresh fried beignet. That is why I told you how you can freeze the dough. Simply allow your beignets to cool completely and then pop them in a freezer safe bag. To reheat, you can use a microwave or my new favorite, an air fryer, until warm.
New Orleans Beignet Recipe
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water 105° to 115°, divided
- 8 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup evaporated milk or full fat canned coconut milk
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 cups bread flour
- 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Sifted powdered sugar for coating
- In a stand mixer bowl, stir together ½ cup water, sugar, and yeast. Allow the yeast to bloom for 5 minutes.
- Add the evaporated milk, eggs, and salt to the yeast mixture and beat just until combined.
- In a large measuring cup, stir vegetable shortening into the remaining warm water. Mix into yeast mixture.
- Add 4 cups bread flour to mixing bowl and blend until smooth. Slowly add remaining bread flour.
- Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, turning the dough to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap.
- The dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours or allowed to rise in a warm, draft-free location until it doubles in size.
- Heat vegetable oil in a fryer or dutch oven until 360 degrees.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently shape into a rectangle. Roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness.
- With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into about 40 rectangular pieces.
- Fry the beignets in small batches about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove and drain on paper toweling.
- Before serving, sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar.
- Makes about 40 beignets.