Hush Puppies

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Crispy golden hush puppies make a delicious side dish to seafood or Southern BBQ.

Hush puppies, the crispy, bite-sized fritters made from a cornmeal-based batter, originated in the South and are typically served with seafood or BBQ. There are many unproven theories as to how they got their adorable name, but my favorite story is that back in the day, hunters and fishermen would fry cornmeal batter for their howling dogs to “hush the puppies” during cookouts and fish-fries.

Hush puppies can be quite dense, but I prefer them light and crispy. It’s important to use the right ratio of cornmeal to flour, as too much cornmeal can make the hush puppies gritty and heavy. I add buttermilk for a little tang, a hint of Cajun spice, and baking soda to help the crust brown and crisp up (in addition to leavening, baking soda helps with browning). I also incorporate melted butter into the batter, which makes the hush puppies moist and rich. The batter will be quite thin when first mixed, so be sure to allow it to rest and thicken up for 10 minutes before frying.

What You’ll Need To Make Hush Puppies

hush puppies ingredients

Key Equipment

  • A Dutch oven, or enameled cast iron pot, is ideal for frying because it conducts heat evenly and keeps the oil temperature even and consistent. In addition, its high sides prevent splatters, and its light-colored interior allows you to clearly see the color changes when frying.
  • A deep-fry/candy thermometer takes all the guesswork out of frying and enables you to maintain the perfect oil temperature throughout the cooking process. (If the oil gets too hot, the outside of the hush puppies will burn before the interior is cooked. Conversely, if the oil gets too cool, the hush puppies will take longer to cook and be greasy.)
  • A 1 tablespoon scooper makes for evenly sized hush puppies, and the wire scraper makes quick work of dropping the batter into the oil. (You can also use this scooper for scooping cookie batter.)

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a large bowl, add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, Cajun spice, and cayenne pepper.

flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in bowl

Whisk until combined.

whisked dry ingredients in mixing bowl

Add the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, and onion.

adding buttermilk, grated onion, eggs, and melted butter

Whisk until evenly combined. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes to thicken.

hush puppies batter

Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat to 350°F. (It’s very helpful to attach a deep-fry/candy thermometer to the pot to monitor the temperature throughout the cooking process, but if you don’t have one, if a cube of bread sizzles when you drop it in the oil, it’s the right temperature.)

Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set next to the stove.

When the oil is ready, drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the oil, without crowding.

frying hush puppies

Fry until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

golden brown hush puppies in dutch oven

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the hush puppies to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining batter. If the hush puppies are browning too quickly, lower the heat; it’s important that the oil maintains a temperature of around 350°F for even cooking.

hush puppies on paper towels

Serve warm. (Leftover hush puppies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.)

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Hush Puppies

Crispy golden hush puppies make a delicious side dish to seafood or Southern BBQ.

Servings: 30 hush puppies
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes, plus 10 minutes to rest the batter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Cajun spice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • ¼ cup grated yellow onion, from 1 small onion
  • About 2 quarts peanut or vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, Cajun spice, and cayenne pepper. Add the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, and onion and whisk until evenly combined. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes to thicken.
  2. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat to 350°F. (It's very helpful to attach a deep-fry/candy thermometer to the pot to monitor the temperature throughout the cooking process, but if you don't have one, if a cube of bread sizzles when you drop it in the oil, it's the right temperature.) Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set next to the stove.
  3. When the oil is ready, drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the oil, without crowding, and fry until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the hush puppies to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining batter. If the hush puppies are browning too quickly, lower the heat; it's important that the oil maintains a temperature of around 350°F for even cooking. Serve warm. (Leftover hush puppies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.)
  4. Note: If you’d like to make your own buttermilk, check out the easy method here. (Keep in mind that homemade buttermilk is not as thick as real buttermilk, so I'd suggest using just ⅔ cup to start and adding the remaining 2 tablespoons only if the batter seems too stiff.)

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (15 servings)
  • Serving size: 2 hush puppies
  • Calories: 141
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 114 mg
  • Cholesterol: 33 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Is it kosher salt or table salt what is called for in the recipe? Also, what brand of Cajun spice? Thanks SO much!!!

    • — Cam on July 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Cam, The salt in this recipe is table salt. BTW, when a recipe of mine says salt in the ingredient list, I am referring to regular/table salt. If it calls for something else like kosher salt, I will specify that in the recipe.
      And I use Emeril’s Cajun seasoning. Hope that helps and that you enjoy the hush puppies!

      • — Jenn on July 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • I may have written you earlier..
    I so appreciate this site!!!
    You are clear, in words and pictures.
    Thank you
    and not charging;-)

    • — Lucinda Cole on July 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on July 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • Is there a substitute for the flour, so I can make these gluten-free. By the way I am a huge fan of you and all your recipes.

    • — Dena Broeders on July 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Dena, I think gluten-free flour would work well here. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 7, 2022
      • Reply
      • I also plan to try with gluten free flour, since one of our kids has a gluten allergy. It’s been my (limited) experience that certain quick breads like cornbread, banana bread, pumpkin bread, etc. work pretty well with a one-for-one gluten free flour blend. It’s harder for me to taste the substitution in those. I used gluten free flour in Jen’s banana bread recipe and it worked very well. I’ve never fried any kind of dough before, never mind a gluten free dough, so it will be an interesting experiment. If it doesn’t turn out I’d never fault the recipe because it wasn’t developed with gluten free flour. I’m sure it’s awesome as written; everything I’ve made from this site has been excellent. Looking forward to trying this out!

        • — Anne on July 8, 2022
        • Reply
  • I’ve always hesitated from frying. What do you do with the oil after you are done? How do you dispose of it? Can you reuse it?

    • — Caroline Law on July 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Caroline, Here are some guidelines for what to do with the oil after you’ve used it to cook. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 7, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thank you so much for the link on how to handle used frying oil. I too have refrained from deep frying because no one ever did it in my family, and I don’t know how to. These instructions are clear and concise. I have my Le Creuset pot at the ready, and just received my deep fry thermometer from Amazon. Cannot wait to make the hush puppies (the frozen store bought variety just are not great)!!!

        • — PaulainVA on July 21, 2022
        • Reply

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