How To Make the Very Best Southern Hush Puppies

updated Nov 14, 2023

Learn how to make easy, golden, deep-fried hush puppies to serve with fried fish or barbecue.

Serves4 to 6

Makes18-20 hush puppies

Prep5 minutes

Cook12 minutes to 16 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

At the North Carolina fish shack my family has frequented for 40 years, the daily catch changes — but the steady supply of golden, fried hush puppies remains constant. That rings true throughout the South: A basket of the steaming cornmeal fritters is a must-have accompaniment to any plate of fried fish or barbecue.

Thankfully, I don’t have to wait until next summer’s trip to the coast to enjoy fresh-fried hush puppies. The classic Southern side can absolutely be re-created at home, and after much trial and error, I’ve come up with the absolute best way to do so.

Here, I’ll show you how to churn out perfect, piping-hot hush puppies every time, complete with a crisp golden coating and a tender, moist cornbread interior. To make the very best southern hush puppies, try the perfect cornmeal-to-flour ratio, which is 1 1/2 cups cornmeal to 1/2 cup flour.

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

But First: How Did Hush Puppies Get Their Name?

While the exact origin of the term “hush puppy” is unclear, it may have roots in post-Civil War fish fries in the South. As the story goes, while everyone was gathered around the campfire cooking the day’s catch, dogs were enticed to quiet themselves with a treat of fried cornbread batter and the command “hush puppy!”

As the dish moved west toward the barbecue joints of North Carolina, barbecue restaurants began to serve the cornmeal fritters as a side. Today, you can expect to find hush puppies in every shape from finger to funnel cakes, but the most common presentation is a simple round orb.

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

The Perfect Cornmeal-to-Flour Ratio

How do I know this is the very best hush puppy recipe? It boasts the perfect cornmeal-to-flour ratio, giving it the toothsome, tender texture you expect from a great hush puppy. If made from just cornmeal, hush puppies will fall apart in the oil. If too much flour is used, the hush puppies become heavy, dense, and bread-like. After much experimentation, I landed on a 3:1 ratio: 1 1/2 cups cornmeal to 1/2 cup flour.

The type of cornmeal you use is equally as important. The options can be overwhelming, especially in the South, where the tradition of cornbread and cornmeal coatings is strong. For homemade hush puppies, opt for a fine- to medium-grind cornmeal, and spring for stone-ground. Mass-market cornmeal can give the fritters an unappealingly gritty texture. As for color, anything goes — both white and yellow are great.

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

How to Serve Hush Puppies

The best hush puppies are served hot enough to burn your fingertips. After the crispy browned balls of cornmeal are pulled from the bubbling oil, drain them on a paper towel-lined plate to remove any excess cooking grease.

From there, pile them in a basket destined for the middle of the table or add a few to your plate. They’re the perfect accompaniment to Southern classics like fried fish and barbecue, but don’t stop there. Split the hush puppies open, add a pat of salted butter, and serve with anything you’ve got on the menu.

How To Make the Best Southern Hush Puppies

Learn how to make easy, golden, deep-fried hush puppies to serve with fried fish or barbecue.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes to 16 minutes

Makes 18-20 hush puppies

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/2 cups

    fine- or medium-grind cornmeal

  • 1/2 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    granulated sugar (optional)

  • 1/2

    small yellow onion

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 cup


  • 4 cups

    peanut or vegetable oil, for deep frying

  • Salted butter, for serving


  • Large plate

  • Paper towels

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Mixing bowl

  • Whisk

  • Spatula

  • Box grater

  • Dutch oven

  • Instant-read or deep fry thermometer

  • Ice cream scoop

  • Slotted spoon or spider


Show Images
  1. Prepare plate for draining hush puppies. Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels.

  2. Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk 1 1/2 cups cornmeal, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, if using, together in a large bowl.

  3. Prepare the wet ingredients and add to the dry. Grate 1/2 small yellow onion on the large holes of a box grater (about 1/4 cup) and add to the bowl. Add 1 large egg and 1 cup buttermilk. 

  4. Mix and rest the batter. Stir until combined. Set aside for 15 minutes while the oil heats.

  5. Heat the oil and prepare a plate for draining the hush puppies. Add enough peanut or vegetable oil to a Dutch oven for a depth of 1 1/2 inches (about 4 cups). Heat over medium-high heat to 365ºF.

  6. Fry the hush puppies in batches. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop golf ball-sized rounds (about 2 tablespoons each) of the batter into the oil, about 5 at a time. Make sure not to crowd the pot which will cause the oil temperature to drop. Turn the hush puppies frequently with a slotted spoon or tongs until deeply browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes.

  7. Drain the hush puppies and serve. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat to maintain the oil temperature. Serve hot with salted butter.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Hush puppies are best eaten immediately after cooking. Store at room temperature for up to 1 day.

At Kitchn, we know how important it is to find recipes that are worth your time. That’s why every tutorial — like this one — features recipes that have been tried and tested by our team of developers and at-home cooks from across the country. Questions or feedback for us? Say hello: