Last updated on September 23rd, 2019
It’s just not a fish fry without a side of hush puppies. This easy, Southern hush puppy recipe produces crispy, fluffy and golden delicious results.
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It’s against the rules of Southern etiquette to serve fried fish without hush puppies. Walk into any establishment that boasts fried seafood on their menu and you can bet your first-born child it comes with a side of hush puppies. These crispy, fluffy balls of fried dough are favorite side dish all across the Southeast.
What are hush puppies made of?
A basic hush puppy recipe nothing more than fried cornmeal. Usually held together by a binder such as water or milk, they are fried in hot oil until puffy and golden brown.
How did hush puppies get their name?
Like the name implies, it all comes down to noisy canines. Two theories date back to the Civil War era. Slaves trying to escape to freedom carried small bits of fried cornmeal in their pockets, not only to eat along their journey, but to distract barking dogs that might lead to their capture. The second theory alludes that Confederate soldiers fed fried cornmeal to their dogs to keep them quiet.
How to Make Southern Hush Puppies
I always have bag of self-rising white cornmeal in my freezer because that’s what I use to make my cornbread. Self-rising cornmeal already contains baking powder and salt, so no need to add those items separately.
I add one tablespoon of granulated white sugar, one finely diced white onion and one lightly beaten egg to two cup of self-rising white cornmeal to a large mixing bowl. I also like to add one thinly sliced green onion (green parts only) for a little color. Gradually add some milk, a little at a time, until the batter resembles thick pancake batter. You need to be able to scoop the dough into hot oil and have it hold its round shape, not spread out all over like a fritter.
Heat several inches of vegetable oil, canola oil or shortening (such as Crisco) in a large skillet over medium high heat. I prefer to use cast iron when frying anything. The oil needs to be heated to around 375 degrees. You can test the temperature with a thermometer, or gently drop a small bit of batter into the hot oil. If the dough sizzles immediately, it’s ready. If not, give it a few more minutes and try again. Trying to fry hush puppies in oil that’s too cool won’t yield that light, crispy texture.
I use a small cookie scoop to spoon the batter into the hot oil. It’s the ideal shape and size for the perfect hush puppy. You’ll only want to fry a few at a time. Overcrowding the skillet will not only drop the temperature of the oil, but could also cause your hush puppies to stick together.
These cook up fast – about 2-3 minutes and they’re done! Strain the hush puppies from the hot oil and drain them on several layers of paper towels or newspaper. Serve hot.
How to store hush puppies
Once the homemade hush puppies have cooled completely, store them in a resealable plastic bag or container fitted with a lid that’s lined with a paper towel to absorb and excess oil. Hush puppies can be store in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Can you freeze Hush Puppies?
Absolutely! Place any leftover hush puppies on a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the sheet on a flat surface in the freezer and allow the hush puppies to freeze for a couple hours until solid. Then store the frozen hush puppies in a resealable plastic bag or freezer container with a lid for up to three months.
How to reheat hush puppies
Homemade hush puppies can be reheated to crispy perfection in just a few minutes in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the hush puppies on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven. If cooking from the fridge, toast the hush puppies for about 2-4 minutes until crisp. If reheating from frozen, give them about 7-10 minutes.
Serve Hush Puppies with:
- Fried Catfish
- Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken
- BBQ Pork Ribs with Apricot Bourbon Sauce
- Coca-Cola Chicken Drumsticks
- Maple Glazed Pork Loin Chops
- Coca-Cola Brisket
More Southern Sides You Might Enjoy:
Southern Hush Puppy Recipe
- Canola or vegetable oil for frying
- 2 cups self-rising white cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
- ½ cup finely diced white onion
- 2 green onions green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- ¾ cup milk
- Combine cornmeal, sugar, onions, and egg in a large mixing bowl.
- Gradually stir in the milk (you may not use all of ijust until the batter wet and the consistency of thick pancake batter.
- Heat several inches of oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high. Use a thermometer to measure when the oil reaches 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, spoon a small amount of batter into the hot oil. If it sizzles immediately, the oil is ready.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Carefully spoon heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Fry just a few hush puppies at a time and don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry hush puppies for 2-3 minutes until they are puffed and golden brown on all sides.
- Strain the hushpuppies from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve warm.