Dish of the Week: Hushpuppies

Serve the fried corn balls with a spicy remoulade, or creamed butter if you're naughty.
Serve the fried corn balls with a spicy remoulade, or creamed butter if you're naughty.
Photo by Meng He

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're sharing a Southern classic perfect for your Mardi Gras celebrations: the hushpuppy.

The term hush-puppy was first recorded in 1899, though the origin of the name is unclear. Some attribute it to the fried cornbread that Confederate soldiers used to quiet their barking dogs when Union troops were nearing. Other folklore says it was hunters, fishermen or cooks who would use the cornmeal mixture to "hush the puppies" during cook-outs or fish-fries.

Though the deep-fried balls of cornmeal have strong ties with the American South, the dish actually has its beginnings long before Europeans arrived in the New World, when Southeastern Native Americans used ground corn to make Indian boiled cornbread.

Today's hushpuppy is often served as a side dish alongside seafood or barbecue. The crisp and golden fried corn balls are typically made with a thick batter of cornmeal, wheat flour, eggs, milk or buttermilk, baking soda, and water, but can be found with diced onions, scallions, garlic, whole kernels of corn, and peppers mixed in as well.

This recipe, adapted from Emeril Lagasse's cookbook New New Orleans Cooking, uses jalapeños, creole seasoning and a hint of hot sauce, giving the sweet corn fritters a a spicy kick.

Jalapeño Hushpuppies

Ingredients yields about 1½ dozen

Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying 1½ cups yellow cornmeal 1/2 cup flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 tsp hot sauce 1/4 cup minced onions 2 fresh jalapeños, minced 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 cup milk Creole seasoning, to taste.


Pour about 3-4 inches of oil into a deep pot or fryer and heat to 365 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, hot sauce, onions and jalapeños. Stir in eggs and milk and mix until combined. Carefully spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of batter into the oil, about 5 to 7 at a time. Fry in batches, stirring constantly to ensure even browning, until each fritter is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Remove the hushpuppies from the oil and drain on a paper towel.

Dust with creole seasoning and serve immediately.

See more Dishes of the Week: Dish of the Week: Coq Au Vin Dish of the Week: Argentine Chimichurri Dish of the Week: Flourless Chocolate Cake Dish of the Week: New England Clam Chowder Dish of the Week: Beef Stroganoff

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