Every Southerner knows there is no better side to a plate of fried shrimp than a basket of hush puppies. In fact, you’ll even find them at some of our favorite barbecue joints. Serve these two-bite, deep-fried nuggets with reddish-brown spots (from the cornmeal) plain or smother them in butter or dunk them in cocktail sauce, comeback sauce, malt vinegar mignonette, or buttermilk ranch herb sauce.
Over the years, the Southern Living Test Kitchen has developed multiple twists on the traditional recipe, from crab cakes to shrimp and okra hush puppies. We even tested making an all-cornmeal version that was good – but nothing like the iconic way to make hush puppies. No matter what hush puppies are mde of, the truth is that the really good hush puppies are never soggy or greasy. And while Southerners all have their favorite tasty twists, nothing will ever beat the classic.
Hush puppies are made from a six-ingredient batter, which includes cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and sugar. They are dropped– and you want them to be fully submerged–by spoonfuls into a pot filled with piping hot oil to cook. When it comes to the pot, our Test Kitchen likes to fry them in either a 6-qt. Dutch oven or a deep cast-iron skillet. And when it comes to the spoon, use a soup spoon or a 1 tablespoon-measure ice cream scoop. Deep fry them on each side for about three minutes, flipping them over with a slotted spoon or frying utensil. Once golden brown, transport the nuggets to a paper towel. Make them by the dozen and serve them immediately.
1 1/2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
3/4 cup diced sweet onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
How to Make It
Pour oil to depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375°. Combine cornmeal and next 3 ingredients. Add egg and buttermilk; stir just until moistened. Let stand 10 minutes.
Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil, and fry, in 3 batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Keep warm in a 200° ove
TRY THESE TWISTS:
Bacon-and-Caramelized Onion Hush Puppies: Increase onion to 1 1/2 cups. Cook 5 bacon slices in a medium skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp; drain bacon on paper towels, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon. Sauté onion in hot drippings over medium-low heat 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Proceed with recipe as directed, stirring in onion and bacon with cornmeal mix.
Jalapeño-Pineapple Hush Puppies: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in 1/2 cup canned pineapple tidbits and 2 to 3 Tbsp. seeded and diced jalapeño pepper with cornmeal mix in Step Shrimp-and-Corn Hush Puppies: Prepare recipe as directed, reducing buttermilk to 3/4 cup and stirring 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked shrimp (about 3/4 lb. peeled) and 1 (8 1/4-oz.) can cream-style corn into batter.