Beignet (/ˈbɛnj/ BEN-yay, also US: /bnˈj, bɛnˈj/ bayn-YAY, ben-YAY,[1][2][3][4] French: [bɛɲɛ]; lit.'bump') is a type of deep-fried pastry of French origin. It is commonly made from pâte à choux, but can also be made using rice flour (rice beignets) or yeast-leavened batters.[5][6] Beignets can be served in a variety of preparations, the most common being dusted with confectioner’s sugar.[6] The pastry is popular in French, Italian, and American cuisines.[5]

Beignets from Café du Monde in New Orleans
Place of originFrance
Main ingredientsDough, powdered sugar
VariationsRice, Yeast, Pâte à Choux



A traditional way beignets are prepared is using choux pastry dough. Otherwise known as the French-style beignet, this type of dough is typically made using butter, milk or water, sugar, flour, and salt.[5] [7] Choux pastry is versatile and is prepared differently by culture.[5] The pâte à choux method is also the style of beignets that were introduced to New Orleans by French immigrants in the 1700s.[6]

Variations often include banana or plantain – popular fruits in the port city – or berries.[8][9] Other variations include savory fillings such as meat and cheese fillings.[5]

Beignets can also be made with yeast pastry,[10] which might be referred to as boules de Berlin in French, referring to Berliner doughnuts, which lack the typical doughnut hole in the center, filled with fruit or jam.

In Corsica, beignets made with chestnut flour (beignets de farine de châtaigne) are known as fritelli.

In Canadian French, doughnuts are referred to alternately as beigne or beignet.

In former French colonial empire in West Africa, a beignet is a small ball of fried dough, in Senegal sometimes made with millet flour rather than wheat, equivalent to a Puff-puff.[11]


Beignets from Haute-Savoie

Variations of fried dough can be found across cuisines internationally; however, the origin of the term beignet is specifically French. They were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists,[10] from "the old mother country",[12] also brought by Acadians,[13] and became a large part of home-style Creole cooking.

Deep-fried yeast dough has been part of culinary tradition since at least the Middle Ages. The Spanish refer to this type of creation as “buelos”, which likely shares etymology with the Celtic word for deep-fried yeast dough, “bigne”.[10]


Preparing beignets in Café du Monde (New Orleans)

Louisiana-style beignets are generally square or rectangular shaped, and are made from leavened dough rather than choux pastry. In New Orleans, they are often consumed as a breakfast item served with powdered sugar on top.[5] They are meant to be eaten immediately after frying and are served at several cafes in the New Orleans region.[6]

In the United States, beignets have been popular within New Orleans Creole cuisine and may also be served as a dessert.

It is one of only two official state donuts—the only other one being the Boston cream doughnut, the state donut of Massachusetts.[14][15]


Beignets before frying

Ingredients used to prepare beignets typically include:

Piping choux pastry dough for beignets

Preparation varies by type. For yeast-leavened beignets, the ingredients are combined and a dough has formed, it is rolled out and then sliced into squares which are deep-fried for two to three minutes. The result is a puffy, golden brown pastry.[10]

For choux pastry beignets, the chilled dough is piped or scooped before being fried in hot oil.[16]

See also



  1. ^ "beignet". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Beignet". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  3. ^ "beignet"[dead link] (US) and "beignet". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2020-03-22.
  4. ^ "beignet". Dictionary. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Davidson, Alan (1999). Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 70. ISBN 9780192115799.
  6. ^ a b c d Goldstein, Darra (May 1, 2015). The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. Oxford University Press. pp. 226, 478, 654. ISBN 9780199313617.
  7. ^ "Pâte à Choux Recipe". Food & Wine. Retrieved 2024-04-11.
  8. ^ McKnight, Laura (November 16, 2007). "Beignets: More than Just a Doughnut". Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  9. ^ "Of Interest to Women: Banana Served In Appetizing Forms". The Philadelphia Inquirer. January 1, 1907.
  10. ^ a b c d "Beignet History and Recipe". 21 April 2015. Archived from the original on November 9, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Senecuisine (2018-05-10). "Beignets dougoub (beignets de mil soufflés)". Senecuisine - cuisine sénégalaise (in French). Retrieved 2024-04-23.
  12. ^ Schneider, Wendi (1989). The Picayune's Creole Cook Book. New York: Random House. p. 385.
  13. ^ "Beignets". Café du Monde. Archived from the original on August 24, 2018.
  14. ^ Anderson, L. V. (2014-08-24). "The United Sweets of America". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  15. ^ "Beignet State Doughnut | State Symbols USA". 3 June 2014. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  16. ^ "Impress Your Guests With This Simple French Beignets Pastry Recipe". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-05-02.

Further reading