Crispy and crunchy on the outside with a tender, moist spicy interior, these Southern Hush Puppies with jalapeno are an absolute must with any kind of fried fish. Give me a plate of fish with french fries, onion rings, and hush puppies and I’m in heaven with an ocean view!
The fish offered in seafood restaurants throughout southern coastal areas may change daily based on availability, but there are a few things that are always on the menu and those include golden, deep fried Southern Hush Puppies.
If you’re not familiar with this timeless classic of southern cuisine, let me introduce you! Hush Puppies are mouth-watering little nuggets of fried cornbread served on the side with any sort of fish or seafood. They’re quick and easy to make and are always the first thing to go at a down-home fish fry.
There are loads of stories on the internet about how hush puppies got their name and most of them are just wrong. They were originally made by fishermen as a treat to toss to the dogs to keep them quiet. Lucky for all of us, over time they worked their way up from doggie treats to tasty little bites of perfection.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s quick! Take about 5 minutes to mix the batter and another 10 to fry it up. That’s it!
- One of the most delicious things you’ll ever eat. Period.
- Kids love them with something simple to dip them in like ketchup.
- Adults love them with spicy dipping sauces.
About the Ingredients
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- Peanut Oil (I recommend peanut oil for frying because of its high smoking point. You can also use canola or vegetable oil if you like.)
- Cornmeal (Plain cornmeal, not cornmeal mix or self-rising cornmeal.)
- Jalapeno Pepper (Completely optional. If you don’t care for the spiciness, just leave it out. Be sure to seed and devein the jalapeno if using it.)
- Buttermilk (Gives a lovely, tangy background flavor.)
You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
Editable Fish Fry Invitation (Digital Download)
How to Make Southern Hush Puppies
STEP 1. Place a deep frying pan or Dutch oven on medium high heat and add the oil to a depth of about one inch. Heat until the oil reaches 350 to 375 degrees (or a tiny amount of the batter dropped into the hot oil immediately sizzles on contact).
For frying, you’ll need either a deep cast iron frying pan or a Dutch oven and enough oil to fill the pan to about a 1-inch depth. I specified four cups in the recipe as an estimate. Use the amount you need for your pan.
STEP 2. While the oil is heating, add the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper) to a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
STEP 3. Stir in the diced jalapeno pepper.
STEP 4. Add the eggs to the buttermilk and mix well to combine.
STEP 5. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir together.
Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened and be careful not to overmix the batter. The batter will be slightly lumpy.
STEP 6. When the oil has reached frying temperature, carefully drop the hush puppies in one at a time. Use a small cookie scoop or drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into the hot oil. Work in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan.
Fry for about 3 minutes, turning half way, until they are a nice golden brown all over.
STEP 7. Carefully remove from the oil using a slotted metal spoon or metal spider and set onto a paper towel lined tray. Place the finished hush puppies in a warm oven while you work on the next batch.
Repeat until all the batter is used.
Tips and Variations
- Add half a small yellow, finely diced, to the batter.
- Make beer batter hush puppies by replacing the buttermilk with one cup of beer.
- Make a tex-mex version by adding pepper jack cheese and swapping the jalapeno for diced Hatch chilies.
Well, yes and no. They’re both a small round of fried cornmeal. They both contain cornmeal and flour. The differences are subtle, but generally hush puppy dough is thicker and they’re shaped into round balls where fritter dough is thinner and poured into the hot oil to create a flattened disk shape.
If your recipe doesn’t contain enough flour, the dough will separate. Because cornmeal doesn’t have any gluten in it, there’s nothing to hold it together. That’s why there’s always some flour included in the recipe.
I don’t recommend air fry cooking for this recipe. It’s best when fried traditionally.
There’s no sugar in most southern cornbread recipes. If we want something sweet, we make cake. I’ve seen a few hush puppy recipes online that contained sugar in the batter. Those recipes were not published by southern cooks.
Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
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Personalized Fish Fry Paper Table Runner
Southern Hush Puppies
- 4 cups peanut oil (estimate only – see notes)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 jalapeno pepper deveined and seeds removed, finely diced
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Place a deep skillet or Dutch oven on medium high heat and add the oil to a depth of about one inch. Heat until the oil reaches 350 to 375 degrees (or a tiny amount of the batter dropped into the hot oil immediately sizzles on contact).
- While the oil is heating, add the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper) to a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
- Stir in the diced jalapeno pepper.
- Add the eggs to the buttermilk and mix well to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir together.Note: Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened and be careful not to overmix the batter. The batter will be slightly lumpy.
- When the oil has reached frying temperature, drop the hush puppies in one at a time. Once the oil has come to temperature using a small cookie scoop drop balls of the batter into the hot oil, carefully. Don’t overcrowd, you’ll be working in batches.
- Fry for about 3 minutes, turning half way, until they are a nice golden brown all over.
- Carefully remove from the oil using a metal slotted spoon or metal spider and drain on paper towel lined baking sheet. Place the hush puppies in a warm oven while you work on the next batch.
- Repeat until all the batter is used.
- For frying the hush puppies, you’ll need either a deep cast iron frying pan or a Dutch oven and enough oil to fill the pan to about a 1-inch depth. I specified four cups in the recipe as an estimate. Use the amount you need for your pan. I always recommend peanut oil for frying because of its high smoking point. You can also use canola or vegetable oil if you like.
- You’ll need plain cornmeal, not cornmeal mix or self-rising cornmeal.
- The jalapeno is completely optional. If you don’t care for spiciness in your hush puppies, just leave it out. If you’re using it, be sure to seed and devein.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
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