Golden brown crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside hush puppies are the perfect southern side dish. And making hush puppies is easier than you think. These mini fried balls of cornmeal dough can seriously make a fish dinner even more special.
Lightly sweetened with the tiniest bit of sugar but totally savory and dense, if you have never had a hush puppy dipped in malt vinegar or slathered with honey butter, this recipe is just for you.
Why this recipe works
Savory and Sweet: There is sugar in these, so they have a little sweet to them.
Perfect Southern side dish: Golden brown and the perfect amount of crispy crunch, these mix and go hush puppies are delightfully easy to prepare and can feed an entire crowd. Often served alongside a cat fish fry, hush puppies are a must have at any classic southern meal.
- Vegetable oil for frying hush puppies
- 1/2 cup flour
- white sugar
- baking soda
- minced white onion
- green onions
- vegetable oil
Let’s talk about timing: Time is minimal to mix up, maybe 10 minute by the time you cut the onions. Cooking is done often in batches, so that can take a little more time. One batch for me was about 5 hush puppies and I cooked them for 5-7 minutes each batch.
Dipping sauces: Growing up, the fast food restaurants I visited with fish always served hush puppies with malt vinegar. A side of melted honey butter, regular butter or even an aioli is a great fit depending on what they are being served with. Slather on the outside, cut and put in the middle (like a roll) or simply dip.
Dietary Changes: You can make these gluten free by altering the flour to a Gluten Free option like King Arthur’s Gluten Free.
SERVE ALONG SIDE: Air Fryer Salmon
How to make Hush Puppies
Make sure to check out the printable recipe card for full step by step instructions and ingredients.
Pre-mixing: To prep for the hush puppy batter, heat at least 2″ of vegetable oil until hot. Be careful not to overheat your oil or it will instantly burn your batter. I do a medium low to start and adjust as needed.
Step 1: In a mixing bowl, add cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix all ingredients well with a whisk or spoon.
Steps 2-3: Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add buttermilk, oil and egg and mix well.
Step 4: Stir in onions.
Step 5: Spray down a 2 tablespoon portion scoop with non-stick cooking spray.
Step 6: Drop dough into hot oil and fry for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. The batter will not be perfectly round and may spread a little when dropped into oil.
Where did the term hush puppies come from?
Like many old fashioned and retro recipes, hush puppies roots are not overly well known. Many say they started in the deep south, after the Civil War and became part of fish fries.
The dogs around the camp were often told “hush puppy” and given a treat of cornbread. Do dogs eat cornbread and does it make them actually hush?
Who knows if the legend is true!
Fried Cornmeal batter, made up of cornmeal, seasoning and flour.
As with all fried food, choose an oil that has a high heat tolerance and doesn’t affect the taste. I recommend canola or vegetable oil.
The first step is to make sure the oil is properly heated prior to adding in the batter. If you add batter to colder oil, the hush puppy may fall part. Additionally expect batter to spread just a bit when first dropped into the oil. The batter may not be perfectly round but its fine to use tongs to press it back and reshape in the oil.
Bread should always be the last thing that comes out of the frying pan or oven, but in the case of prepping, what I do is place a hand towel inside a bread basket or deep bowl, add in hush puppies and fold the top of the hand towel over the cornmeal. This traps the heat inside.
Typically you will make in batches, so use tongs to carefully place the finished fried dough on a paper towel to drain.
I know many bloggers say that they will last 3 days, but the truth is fried food doesn’t do well after the first day. I would rather you made new ones than tried to keep them. Nonetheless, you can try to wrap in a slightly damp paper towel and microwave some softness and freshness back in them for about 30 seconds until hot again.
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Fried Hush Puppies
- Vegetable oil for frying hush puppies
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup minced white onion
- 2 large green onions - diced
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- Heat at least 2" of vegetable oil until hot. Be careful not to over heat your oil or it will instantly burn your batter. I do a medium low to start and adjust as needed.
- In a mixing bowl, add cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
- Mix well.
- Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add buttermilk, oil and egg and mix batter well.
- Stir in both kinds of onions.
- Spray down a 2 tablespoon portion scoop with non-stick cooking spray.
- Scoop and then drop dough into hot oil and fry for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
- The batter may spread a bit when you drop it so I reshape with tongs as its cooking. Simply use your finger to dole out the batter from the scoop into the hot oil.
- Turn hush puppies frequently to evenly cook on all sides.
- When finished cooking, place hush puppies on paper towel for oil to drain and serve warm.
- You can make larger hush puppies but you may need to adjust the cooking time. Because the outside crisps quicker but the inside will need to be cooked longer, you may have to turn oil heat down to allow longer cooking without burning.
- You can substitute the buttermilk for whole cream, but cut in half to 1/4th whole cream and add a little at a time till batter is mixed. I find that whole cream can be a bit more watery so its easy to make the batter too loose.
- Any time you are frying something, getting the oil temperature right is important. While its tempting to turn the oil up super hot, start with a medium low where its frying but not burning and adjust as you do a few and see the temp.