These deep-fried cornmeal hush puppies are crispy and perfect when cooking fried fish. Chopped onions are added for extra flavor to these hush puppies.
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Southern Hush Puppies
If you’re digging into fried shrimp or catfish at a seafood restaurant, odds are you’ll also get those round golden brown fried nuggets called hush puppies. Traditionally made from thick cornmeal batter, they’re shaped into balls, fingers, or even long squiggly strands and dropped into a deep fryer.
The perfect hush puppy is crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle. They’re iconic and delicious.
What is a Hushpuppy?
Whether you call them hushpuppies or hush puppies, they are a type of fritter made from cornmeal, eggs, and seasoning brought together into a thick batter with a liquid.
Hush puppies are famous in the South, where people serve them as an accompaniment to fried fish or smoked meat. But with their crunchy exterior and lightly airy interior, these cornmeal fritters are a versatile side dish worth trying.
Why This is the Best Recipe for Homemade Hush Puppies
On the hush puppy complexity scale, this recipe is somewhere in the middle. The recipe is not basic and bland, but it doesn’t go over the top with ingredients.
The hushpuppies taste lovely as they are, but you can easily tweak the recipe if you want to get a bit more creative.
Hush Puppies Origin
No one has any idea of their true origin. Which hasn’t stopped people coming up with some inventive and entertaining explanations.
Hush Up, Dogs!: Imagine a southern fisherman frying up his catch and his hound dawgs drooling and yapping away at the sight. To keep them quiet, the cook fried up strips of dough and tossed them to the “puppies” to hush them up.
It Was Back in the War: The story goes that confederate soldiers cooking their dinners around the campfire thought they heard the enemy coming. So, they threw their barking dogs some fried cornmeal and issued the soldierly command “hush puppies!”
Fried Salamanders: This bizarre legend has it that Cajuns in Southern Louisiana were fond of digging up mud puppies (salamanders) dipping them in a batter and deep-frying them. However, dining on salamanders was considered low class, so the eaters kept hush about it.
Is Any of This True?
It has to be asked, was fried cornmeal batter actually ever thrown to noisy dogs to hush them up? What is a fact is that southerners were munching on tasty balls of fried cornmeal batter decades before they were called hush puppies.
It seems that hush puppies might have originated with red horse bread. Red Horse was a common species of fish served at fish fries.
Red Horse Bread
Red Horse bread was part of the repertoire of a famous cook named Romeo Govan who ran a clubhouse where people came during fishing season. The bread was made by mixing cornmeal with egg, salt, and water. Gobs of this mixture were then dropped into the hot lard in which the fish had been fried.
One reporter wrote:
“This was a new bread to the writer, and so delicious, that I beg lovers of the finny tribe to try some.”
It must be noted that this history still doesn’t explain the change of name from red horse bread to hush puppy so you may prefer to entertain your children with the other stories.
What Are Hush Puppies Made Of?
To make homemade hush puppies, you’ll need these ingredients:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Ground red pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
How to Make Hush Puppies
There are only a few simple steps for making this delicious fried bread:
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Slowly pour the milk into the bowl while stirring. Depending on the cornmeal you are using, you may need more or less milk than what’s in the recipe. Make sure that the batter is scoopable but still thin enough so that the hush puppies won’t become too dense. Think Belgian waffle batter.
- Let the batter sit for about five minutes on the countertop, and then give it a good mix to ensure there aren’t any pockets of dry ingredients. It is okay if the batter tightens up slightly.
- Meanwhile, heat about four inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a deep heavy-bottom pot or a deep fryer if you have one. Using a home deep fryer makes everything so much easier and is worth purchasing if you deep fry once a week or more.
- Use a tablespoon or a food scoop to portion the batter and drop it into the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the oil.
- Fry for about 45 seconds, then use wooden chopsticks or a cooking spoon to flip the hush puppies over carefully. Continue to cook the hushpuppies until golden brown, another 45 seconds to a minute more.
- Use a skimmer or deep fryer basket to remove the hush puppies and spread them out on a wire rack to cool.
You can easily add your personal spin to this hush puppies recipe. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Replace some or all of the chopped onions with chopped green onions or corn kernels.
- Sweeten with a tablespoon of white sugar or tablespoon and a half of honey.
- Spice things up by adding a quarter cup of chopped jalapenos to the batter.
- Replace the milk with your favorite lager.
What to Serve Hush Puppies With
Here are some recipes to try:
- Beer Battered Chicken
- Beer Battered Shrimp
- Captain D’s Batter Dipped Fish
- KFC Fried Chicken
- Long John Silver’s Battered Cod
What to Dip Hush Puppies In
Dip them in any of these sauces for a delicious snack:
How To Store Hush Puppies
Keep leftover hush puppies in a plastic bag between layers of paper towels in the fridge for up to three days.
To store for longer, lay the room temperature hush puppies on a baking tray and pop the tray into the freezer until the hush puppies are fully frozen. Transfer them to an airtight container.
Hush puppies will last in the freezer for up to three months.
How to Reheat Hush Puppies
This recipe for hush puppies reheats from either frozen or thawed beautifully in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the hush puppies on a baking tray in a single layer.
- Bake in the oven for four to five minutes if thawed and six to seven minutes if frozen.
Another fantastic way to reheat your hush puppies is in an air fryer.
To reheat hush puppies in the air fryer:
- Preheat the air fryer to 325 degrees.
- Put the hush puppies in a single layer into the air fryer.
- Cook for three to four minutes for thawed hush puppies and five to six minutes for frozen hush puppies.
Great Cornmeal and Cornbread Recipes
- Black Eyed Pea Cornbread
- Boston Market Cornbread
- Captain D’s Hush Puppies
- Chicken Cornbread Casserole
- Cornmeal Mush
- Easy Cornbread Dressing
- Luby’s Jalapeno Cornbread
- Mexican Cornbread Casserole
- Mini Corn Dogs
- Tippin’s Cornbread
- vegetable oil for frying
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 9 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 cup milk
- Pour vegetable oil into a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot until the oil is 3 to 4 inches deep.
- Heat the oil to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, onion, salt, and ground red pepper.
- Add the milk and stir to combine.
- Drop heaping spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil. Fry only a few at a time for best results. If you add too many at once the oil temperature may drop and they make not cook well.
- Fry the hush puppies for 1 to 2 minutes, until they have browned.
- Remove them from the oil, and drain on a wire rack.