New Orleans Beignets

Whip up a batch of these fluffy beignets, and you'll swear you're in the Big Easy.

On my first visit to New Orleans, I popped over to the historic Cafe du Monde to grab a paper bag of beignets and a takeaway cup of coffee. I walked to the water's edge to watch the sky at dusk over the Mississippi River, a couple buskers singing a few yards away.

Like any first-timer, I made the mistake of inhaling as I bit into the beignet, coughing powdered sugar all over myself. But it was worth it. The warm yeasted dough must've been fried minutes beforehand, and the sweet crispy outside gave way to an airy interior that smelled and tasted like heaven.

New Orleans Beignets
Micah A. Leal

Beignets are cut into squares, which means the corners become slightly crispier than the rest of the pastry—those fried corners alone make beignets a legitimate rival to any circular doughnut.

Years later, I tried this easy beignets recipe and was transported back to that May evening on the Mississippi. Made from a simple yeast mixture, evaporated milk, shortening, eggs, and flour, the dough only takes a few minutes to throw together, but the secret to the perfect homemade beignet is letting the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight. This time in the fridge allows the yeast to develop slowly, making a particularly fluffy and flavorful beignet.


  • 1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105° to 115°), divided

  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 cup evaporated milk

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

  • 7 cups bread flour

  • Vegetable oil

  • Sifted powdered sugar


  1. Yeast Mixture: In stand mixer bowl, mix together 1 packet of yeast with 1/2 cup warm water. Add granulated sugar, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes until foamy. Add eggs, salt, evaporated milk, and sugar.

  2. Dough: In a separate bowl, mix together shortening and hot water until melted. Add shortening mixture to yeast mixture along with 4 cups bread flour. Using hook attachment, mix until smooth. Gradually add 3 cups more bread flour, and beat until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, turning dough to grease entire surface. Once complete, cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.

  3. Beignets: Fill Dutch oven with 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil. Heat to 350°F to 360°F. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness, cut into 2 1/2-inch squares, and fry in oil until browned and puffy (2 minutes each side). Drain on paper towels. Immediately dust with powdered sugar.

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