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Southern Hush Puppies

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These Southern Hush Puppies with jalapeno are crispy on the outside with a tender, moist interior and a must for any kind of fried fish.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Finished hush puppies on a plate with dipping sauce on the side.

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

Finished hush puppies on a plate with dipping sauce on the side.

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 They were originally made by fishermen as a treat to toss to the dogs to keep them quiet.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.

Finished hush puppies on a plate with dipping sauce on the side.

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

Ingredients needed for making southern hush puppies.

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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)
Editable Fish Fry Invitation (Digital Download)

from: Etsy

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).

COOK’S TIP 
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.

COOK’S TIP 
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.

Dipping Sauces

You don’t have to serve a dipping sauce, but it’s lots more fun if you do! Here are some that we enjoy.

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.
Finished hush puppies on a plate with dipping sauce on the side.

FAQs

Are corn fritters and hush puppies the same thing?

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.

Why do my hush puppies fall apart?

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.

Can they be cooked in the air fryer?

I don’t recommend air fry cooking for this recipe. It’s best when fried traditionally.

There’s no sugar in this recipe? Is that right?

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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Make your fish fry memorable with a unique, customized paper table runner!

Personalized Fish Fry Paper Table Runner
Personalized Fish Fry Paper Table Runner

from: Etsy

Recipe

Finished hush puppies on a plate with dipping sauce on the side.

Southern Hush Puppies

These Southern Hush Puppies with jalapeno are crispy on the outside with a tender, moist interior and a must for any kind of fried fish.
5 from 5 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Breads, Side Dishes
Cuisine: American, Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 119kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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

Serving: 2 | Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 433mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 86IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 1mg

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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  1. I never use flour in any of my cornbread and never have a problem with it coming apart. Unfortunately, in one sense, I’ve had to refrain from flour and cornmeal except on special holidays due to being intolerant of carbs but do fudge once in a while. When I cook beef liver, I add 1/4 cup flour to make a little gravy and when I fry fish or make a pone of cornbread of lacy (hoecake) bread, I try to just eat 1 slice of the pone or 1-4″ hoecake to keep my glycemic load under 500 per day. One of my late mother’s favorite treats was “Tater Biscuits”. I couldn’t make them as light and fluffy as she did, but we got by with my cooking. Cut several Irish potatoes crossways into 1/4-inch chips and fry in bacon grease or coconut oil and slice open a biscuit and put 4-6 slices of taters inside and that was my glycemic load for the day, but well worth it.