Famous for being a doughnut without the hole, this popular sweet treat is one of the city’s most famous food staples that both locals and visitors savor all year long, available 24-hours a day in New Orleans at more than one coffee hotspot. The New Orleans beignet is great for breakfast, dessert or a midnight snack.
Beignets were first introduced to the city by the French-Creole colonists in the 18th century. The concept is simple – dough is fried then covered with mounds of powdered sugar – but the result is extraordinary. When served hot, they are absolute perfection, especially when accompanied by café au lait or chocolate milk.
Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter is the oldest and most iconic beignet shop, but several other cafes have become local favorites such as Cafe Beignet and Loretta's Authentic Pralines for their praline-filled beignets. See a full list of place to grab New Orleans beignets below. If you want to try them all, check out the Beignet Festival, which occurs every October, or view our Ultimate Guide to Beignets for more inspo.
Many stores including grocery stores sell the mix, you can make them all on your own!
In a small saucepan combine the water, butter, granulated sugar, and salt and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Remove the pan from heat and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook the paste over low heat, beating briskly, until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the dough cleanly leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. By hand or with an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the paste until it is smooth and glossy. Stir in the vanilla.
In a deep fryer or deep saucepan, heat 3 inches shortening to 370 degrees F or until very hot. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls into the shortening, and fry the beignets in batches, turning them, until golden brown (about 3 minutes). With a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle the beignets with the confectioners' sugar and serve hot.