Hush Puppies are gently fried cornbread with a crunchy outside and soft, doughy inside. Serve with fish fry, fried shrimp or any BBQ!
What are hush puppies? Hush Puppies are basically fried cornbread. So why are they called hush puppies and not fried cornbread? The legend goes this batter was seen as leftovers from the rest of the meal while on cattle drives, hunts or working the ranch and fried up to feed to the dogs or “hush the puppies”. They’re my favorite bite to serve along fish fry, or shrimp recipes and boy do they go fast!!
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Many recipes use finely minced or grated onion or bell pepper. Generally speaking, I prefer to use onion powder. This is for two reasons. The first is that I am lazy and grating an onion when it is literally the only ingredient that is going to require a little TLC just isn’t in my cards. Those few minutes can be spent elsewhere. The second is that I don’t like little bits in my homemade hush puppies. I want them to be smooth, pillowy balls of gently fried dough. A crispy exterior with a soft interior.
I also don’t use paprika, cayenne or pepper. I like my hush puppy recipe to be slightly sweet to balance out the rest of my savory dish, usually a fish fry or battered shrimp.
How do you make Hush Puppies
- Mix together to batter and let it rest.
- Heat oil in a large pot.
- Drop tablespoons of batter into hot oil and fry until golden.
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Keep warm in the oven until all hush puppies are fried.
What do you dip Hush Puppies in
Dipping sauces are also controversial. Hush puppy enthusiasts would argue that a good hush puppy needs no sauce and while they are correct, I am a woman who loves sauce! Tartar sauce seems the most traditional, but you can also use a Chipotle Aioli for a little zing or Yum Yum Sauce, a seafood favorite from Japanese Steakhouses.
Refrigerating the dough is imperative. It won’t hold its shape well if you drop it into the oil at room temperature. One hour is the minimum, but I have made my batter up to 24 hours ahead and kept it chilled until ready to make.
Pan frying without using an actual fryer can be tricky. I do recommend using a thermometer to make sure you have the correct temperature, but even beyond that, using the right oil. Oils have different smoke points, points at which they begin to burn. For frying, you want to use an oil that has a high smoke point. For hush puppies, I like to use peanut or canola oil.
Frying at the right temperature is also important, but can be improvised easier. Too hot will cook the outside, but not the inside. Too cool and it starts to lose its shape. Oil temperatures will also change radically when you put the cold dough in, much like putting ice cubes in boiling water, it takes a minute or so to bounce back to the original temperature.
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Tools used to make this Hush Puppies recipe
Mixing Bowl: These mixing bowls are perfect for mixing and serving. I love the varied sizes so I always have to right size bowl for all my mixing needs.
Whisk: This is my favorite set of whisks. There’s a size for every job and the thicker handles give me a good grip.
Large Pot: This pot is a kitchen essential for everything from dinner to desserts. I use mine all the time and with proper care, it’ll last for years and years.
Cookie Scoop: Cookie scoops are my favorite way to portion dough and batter when I’m baking. This set has 3 different sizes so I get the right amount in each scoop.
Spider Strainer: This is my favorite kitchen tool for frying or blanching. This strainer makes it SO easy to get everything out of the pot in a just a couple swipes.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, yellow cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, Kosher salt, and onion powder.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs.
- Combine the two, folding until just mixed. Do not over mix the batter.
- Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour, but up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to “warm” setting.
- Pour 2 inches of canola oil into a high sided Dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot. Heat until 350 degrees.
- Pour oil to a depth of 2" in a 6-qt. Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°.
- Drop 1 tablespoon of batter into the oil. Continue, working in batches and being mindful to not crowd the pan.
- Fry until outsides are a crispy, golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Transfer to a baking sheet in the warm oven to keep heat until all are fried and ready to serve.
- Serve with Tartar Sauce.
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