The Biggest Mistake You're Making With Beignets

Beignets combine the holy trinity of dough, sugar, and hot oil to make little powdered puffs of heaven. They're like donuts, only French, which – like many things involving dough – makes them that much better. Lucky residents of New Orleans can have them any time they like, 7 days a week, and 24 hours a day, at the granddaddy of all beignet cafes: Cafe du Monde (via the Cafe du Monde website). This place is legendary for its hot, square donuts piled high with powdered sugar and washed down with cafe au lait – which is pretty much all they sell (okay, so they added iced coffee in 1988).

But if you don't live in that musical, swampy city so influenced by the French, you might want to try your hand at beignets yourself. Those who, like us, just don't feel like making dough from scratch, might reach for some beignet mix. The most recognizable brand is named for that very donut mecca itself – and their website even tells you how to not make a huge mess of things in the kitchen. And if you do work from scratch, the same still applies.

Mistakes to avoid for the perfect beignet

According to Cafe du Monde, the first mistake you might make is overmixing the dough. This is a big no-no for any baked item, but especially something (donuts) that are basically only good if they're as fluffy as little pillows (via Insider). According to the blog Nourished Endeavors, this is the most important thing to remember with donuts. Going much beyond just mixed and you're going to get lifeless tough donuts. This is because all that mixing creates too much gluten – something that's great for sturdy bread but not so much in beignets.

Some other things to watch out for: Cafe du Monde reminds us that rolling the dough too thin might also lead to flat donuts, and so will adding too many donuts to your hot oil at once. We're sensing a theme here. Because that big "poof" is so important, it's important to boost your chances. Rolling the dough out a little thicker will give you a head start, and so will adjusting the temperature of that oil. Even if your oil is hot enough, to begin with, putting too much dough in at once could lower the temperature, so it's good to limit how many donuts you fry at once.