King Cake Beignets


These King Cake Beignets will make their way onto your Fat Tuesday menu for years to come.

Active Time:
50 mins
Chill Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 50 mins
3 dozen

King cake and beignets are two of Hey Y'all host Ivy Odom's favorite Mardi Gras treats. So naturally, for this year's Fat Tuesday celebration, she decided to combine the two into one heavenly dessert: King Cake Beignets. The unforgettable crossover features a fluffy fried dough that's decorated just like a classic king cake. "These pillowy-soft treats are drizzled in a cream cheese glaze and sprinkled with crunchy sanding sugars in purple, green, and gold," Odom writes. "The best part? You can make the dough ahead so you'll have more time to let the good times roll."

Deep frying can be tricky business, but the key to getting consistent results is to monitor the temperature of your oil throughout the process. Maintaining a temperature of 360°F ensures that your beignets cook to a lovely golden brown. If the oil is too hot, they'll brown on the outside before cooking on the inside; if it's too cold, they'll soak up all that oil and result in a greasy beignet. After frying your beignets, you'll want to let them cool slightly before decorating (if your beignets are still piping hot, the cream cheese icing will melt right off), but we recommend enjoying at least one of these beignets straight out of the fryer.

King Cake Beignets

Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

We have a feeling that these King Cake Beignets will make their way onto your Fat Tuesday menu for years to come. Preparing a complete Mardi Gras meal? We've got all the recipes you need.


  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (from 1 [¼-oz.] envelope)

  • ¾ cup warm water (105°F to 115°F), divided

  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • ½ cup evaporated milk

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3 ½ cups bread flour, divided, plus more for work surface

  • 1 ½ ounces cream cheese (about 3 Tbsp.), at room temperature

  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

  • ½ tablespoon whole milk

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar, sifted

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • Green, purple, and yellow sanding sugars


  1. Stir together yeast, ¼ cup of the warm water, and ½ teaspoon of the granulated sugar in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in egg, evaporated milk, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and remaining 3 tablespoons plus 2½ teaspoons granulated sugar.

  2. Stir together shortening and remaining ½ cup warm water in a bowl until melted. Add this to yeast mixture. Beat on low speed until just combined, 30 seconds.

  3. Stir together cinnamon and 2 cups of the flour in a medium bowl. Gradually add to yeast mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Gradually add remaining 1½ cups flour, beating on low speed until a sticky dough forms, 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl lightly greased with cooking spray; turn dough to grease top. Cover bowl; refrigerate until dough is thoroughly chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

  4. Place cream cheese, butter, whole milk, vanilla, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, 1 minute. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth, 1 minute. Spoon glaze into a piping bag or a ziplock plastic bag. Set aside.

  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll into a 12-inch square (about ¼ inch thick). Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut dough into 2-inch squares (you should have about 36 pieces).

  6. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven; heat over medium-high to 360°F, adjusting heat as needed to maintain temperature. Working in about 6 batches, carefully add dough pieces to hot oil. Fry until puffy and golden, about 1 ½ minutes per side. Remove beignets from oil using a slotted spoon; transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Let stand until just cool enough to handle, 1 to 2 minutes.

  7. Snip a 1/16- to 1/8-inch tip off 1 corner of the filled piping bag. Drizzle glaze over slightly cooled beignets; sprinkle with sanding sugars. Serve immediately.

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