No self-respecting plate of fried fish, bowl of gumbo or BBQ spread shows up without a golden fried hush puppy or 3 tucked in somewhere. This easy recipe for authentic, homemade Southern Hush Puppies makes it simple to serve piping hot baskets of hush puppies that are crisp on the outside, tender and fluffy on the inside and loaded with savory cornbread flavor.
What Are Hush Puppies?
Hush puppies are a classic southern fish fry side dish. Simply put, they are deep fried scoops of cornmeal batter loaded with onions, peppers and seasonings to create a heavenly, highly-flavored cornbread bite that’s crisp on the outside with soft, tender cornbread on the inside.
The “sweet or not sweet” cornbread debate often extends itself to hush puppies too. People have strong opinions about it!
And while I happen to love cornbread both ways, this southern fried hush puppies recipe isn’t sweet even though it does contain some sugar to balance the batter and ensure a nicely browned exterior.
If you are in the sweet camp, simple add an extra tablespoon of sugar to the batter to produce some lightly sweetened cornbread pups.
Why Is It Called A Hush Puppy?
Hush puppies and their quirky name are little bites of Southern legend. At least 4 tales surround their name. From escaping slaves throwing bits of fried dough to distract dogs to Confederate soldiers trying to stay hidden, fishermen trying to quietly fish and cooks trying to soothe hungry children.
One thing all these tall tales have in common is that delectable little bites of fried cornbread were served up to satisfy. And that… well, that quality is 100% accurate even if the tales aren’t.
I’ll walk through an overview of ingredients & steps in this section along with helpful tips!
Look for specifics at the end of the post in the recipe card.
- self rising cornmeal (contains baking powder and baking soda so they don’t have to be added separately; white or yellow cornmeal will work)
- all purpose flour
- yellow onion or sweet onion (gives southern hush puppies their special flavor)
- jalapeño (de- seeding and de-veining controls the spice level)
- large egg (binds it all together)
- buttermilk (adds moisture)
- all purpose creole seasoning (includes salt, garlic powder, onion powder + other seasonings)
- sugar (balances to batter and ensures a golden crisp exterior without making the hush puppies sweet)
- canola oil for frying (has a high smoke point making it perfect for frying)
Add whole kernel corn (fresh, frozen or canned), shredded cheddar cheese or bacon pieces to your hush puppies for even more delicious flavor!
How To Make Southern Hush Puppies
Prepare. Preheat oven to 200℉ for keeping hush puppies warm after frying. Ready a wire baking rack in a paper towel lined baking sheet.
Dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.
Wet Ingredients. Add buttermilk, beaten egg, diced onion, jalapeno to the dry ingredients and stir just enough to incorporate all of the ingredients. Let batter rest while heating the oil for frying.
Heat the oil. In a large dutch oven or large cast iron skillet, heat 3-4 cups of canola oil (enough to create 1- 1 ½ inches of depth) over high heat.
Scoop the batter. Use a cookie scoop to spoon out hush puppy batter. Drop into hot oil and let fry for 2-3 minutes, turning the hush puppies so they brown evenly on all sides.
Drain & keep warm. Transfer golden brown hush puppies from the oil to the prepared wire baking rack to drain any excess oil. Place wire rack and baking sheet in preheated oven to keep the hush puppies warm while frying the 2nd and 3rd batches.
The Secret to Making The Best Hush Puppies
Resting the batter. Don’t skip this step. The batter gets thick and fluffy as it sits, creating light and tender hush puppies. Not over mixing the batter also helps.
Frying at the right temperature. If the oil temperature is too high, the outside of the pups cook too quickly before the inside has had time to cook, resulting in gummy hush puppies. On the other hand, frying in oil that isn’t hot enough makes for greasy hush puppies – your pups will sit in the oil, soaking it in, instead of frying.
Not over crowding the skillet. Putting too many hush puppies in the hot oil at once will lower the oil’s temperature and throw off your perfect fry.
Using the right oil. Canola, avocado, and peanut oils are great for deep frying because they have a high smoke point, meaning they won’t burn. Olive oil should not be used for this recipe.
Draining. After frying, give your hush puppies a chance to shed any excess oil by allowing them to drain in a single layer instead of piling them on top of each other in a bowl or on a paper towel. I like using a wire rack in a baking sheet because it keeps the cornbread up and away from excess oil.
How To Serve Homemade Hush Puppies
For Your Fish Fry, serve those southern hush puppies family style in a tea towel lined basket or bowl in the middle of your table. Use the tea towel to keep your cornbread fritters covered and warm throughout the whole meal!
Hush Puppies aren’t just for fish frys though. You can serve them with these classic Louisiana recipes and shrimp recipes to create more delicious meals!
- Louisiana Red Beans & Rice
- Easy Louisiana Gumbo
- Classic Louisiana Shrimp Etouffee
- Easy Sheet Pan Pineapple Shrimp
- Best Louisiana Crab Cakes
More Fish Fry Recipes You’ll Love
- Homemade Cornmeal Fish Fry Mix
- Creamy Southern Coleslaw
- Louisiana Remoulade Sauce
- Tasty Homemade Tartar Sauce
- Easy Homemade Cocktail Sauce
- Southern Deviled Egg Potato Salad
If You Make This Recipe, I Can’t Wait To Hear About It!
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Southern Hush Puppies
- 1 ½ cups self rising cornmeal (yellow or white)
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon all purpose Creole seasoning
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 large jalapeno (de-seeded & de-veined), finely diced
- canola oil for frying (about 4 cups)
- Preheat oven to 200℉ for keeping hush puppies warm after frying. Ready a wire baking rack in a paper towel lined baking sheet.
- In a large measuring cup or bowl, mix dry ingredients together (cornmeal, flour, sugar, Creole seasoning).
- Add buttermilk, beaten egg, diced onion, jalapeno to the dry ingredients and mix just enough to incorporate all of the ingredients. Let batter rest while heating the oil for frying.
- In a large dutch oven or large cast iron skillet, heat 3-4 cups of canola oil (enough to create 1- 1 ½ inches of depth) over high heat. When oil is hot enough, it will sizzle when a tiny pinch of cornmeal is dropped in. If using a frying thermometer, heat oil to 365℉.
- Use a cookie scoop to scoop out hush puppy batter. Drop into hot oil (about 8-10 at a time) and let fry for 2-3 minutes, turning the hush puppies so they brown evenly on all sides. Adjust the heat while frying to maintain an even temperature. (I usually turn the heat to medium while frying the first batch.)
- Transfer golden brown hush puppies from the oil to the prepared wire baking rack to drain any excess oil. Place wire rack and baking sheet in preheated oven to keep the hush puppies warm while frying the 2nd and 3rd batches.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
- Don’t over mix the batter. It’s ok for it to be a little lumpy.
- Don’t skip resting the batter for light and tender hush puppies.
- Fry at the right temperature to avoid gummy or greasy hush puppies.
- Overcrowding the skillet drops the temperature of the oil.
- Use canola, avocado or peanut oil for this recipe.
- Drain your hush puppies in a single layer on a baking rack to keep them up and out of excess oil after frying.
- Store leftover hush puppies in an airtight container or zip top bag in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Cooked hush puppies can be frozen for 2-3 months.