Hush puppies are a classic southern inspired side dish of deep-fried cornmeal dough balls. This easy recipe is loaded with flavor and fun for the whole family.

Plate full of hush puppies sprinkled with green onions with dipping sauce in the background.

It all started circa 1996 in Arkansas. My love for hush puppies.

For a number of years, my whole huge family would meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas for a family reunion.  

Each year, we would go to the Catfish Hole, where we were served an endless supply of hushpuppies alongside our fish fry. Bottomless hushpuppies? Don’t mind if I do.

Out here on the west side of the country, hush puppies are nowhere to be found. Only mythical whisperings are told by those who have spent time in Arkansas, North Carolina or South Carolina and have migrated to tell the tale.

So each year, I found myself more and more excited for our family reunions, not just because I enjoyed catching up with extended family, but also: hush puppies.

In case you aren’t familiar…

What Are Hush Puppies?:

Southern hush puppies are deep fried little balls of dough made with cornmeal that taste like fried cornbread or a cornmeal fritter. This southern-style classic is a real treat!

At a minimum, all we need is cornmeal, all-purpose flour, milk, eggs, baking powder and baking soda to make a simple batter for southern hush puppies. 

I also like adding goodies like onion, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper to enhance the flavor for the absolute best hush puppies.

Some people use a different ratio of cornmeal to flour depending on the texture they are going for. If you prefer a grittier texture, use more cornmeal and if you prefer a cakier texture, use more all-purpose flour.

Plate of hush puppies, freshly made and ready to eat

I can’t for the life of me figure out why hushpuppies aren’t a thing in the Western United States.  Do you know? I’d willingly trade a sweet potato fry for a hushpuppy. and. that’s. saying. something.

Why Do They Call it A Hush Puppy?:

Where did hush puppies get their name? The origin of hush puppies can be traced back to the Carolinas (or Southern United States), whereby small dollops of cornmeal batter were fried up in hot oil and fed to dogs in order to “hush the puppies.”

In other words, hush puppies were often used to placate household pets.

Hush puppies are sometimes referred to as red horse bread, named after the red horse fish from the rivers of South Carolina.

What are hush puppies made of? Let’s find out.

Ingredients for Hush Puppies:

Cornmeal: The main ingredient in southern hush puppies is corn meal. I recommend using a medium grind or fine grind, but coarse corn meal works too.

I tend to enjoy more cornmeal in my hushpuppy but if you don’t, simply scale down the cornmeal and amp up the flour. It never hurts to experiment.   

All-Purpose Flour: Combined with cornmeal, all-purpose flour brings a soft and light texture to ensure the inside of these perfect hush puppies is absolutely mouth-watering divine.

To make gluten-free hush huppies, simply use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend instead of regular all-purpose flour.

Buttermilk: Buttermilk serves a crucial role in homemade hush puppies recipes. It is the liquid that brings all the dry ingredients together, brings some rich and creamy flavor and also helps to leaven the dough for the best hush puppies.

Baking Soda and Baking Powder: The leavening agents here. Both baking powder and baking soda are used to generate a light and fluffy texture on the inside with an amazing crisp on the outside.

Green Onions: A classic hush puppies recipe includes finely chopped yellow onion, but I like using green onion instead. Either one work.

Cane Sugar: A little sugar adds sweetness to homemade hush puppies, which makes them taste even better.

Large Eggs: Some hush puppy recipes don’t include eggs but I find one or two eggs brings the best texture. 

Garlic Powder, Paprika, Sea Salt, Black Pepper: The seasonings used in hush puppy batter to add some flavor. You can skip the garlic powder and paprika if you’d like, but I think they make a nice addition.

Onion powder is great here too. Add cayenne pepper for a little kick if you’d like.

Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, or Avocado Oil: Pick your favorite high temperature cooking oil to fry the hush puppies. My preference is avocado oil.

These simple ingredients can be found at all grocery stores and you don’t have to own a deep fryer to prepare the recipe.

Plate of southern style hush puppies with green onions and a bowl of sauce to the side.

In the last six weeks or so, Garrett’s family and I have whipped up three batches of puppies. One batch came from a mix I brought back from my last trip to North Carolina, one batch came from Heather Christo’s Goat Cheese Hush Puppy recipe (which was delicious!), and the most recent batch was a free-handed pretty classical approach to the puppy, which is what you see here.

This traditional hush puppy recipe is one of those southern favorites the whole family can’t help but love.

How to Make Hush Puppies:

Add all of the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, and cane sugar) to a large bowl and and whisk to combine.

Flour mixture for hush puppies being stirred together in a mixing bowl.

Add the wet ingredients (onion, buttermilk, and beaten egg) to the dry mixture and mix until combined.

Wet ingredients being mixed into the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

In a large saucepan or a heavy-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven or large cast iron skillet, heat about 3 – 4 cups of canola oil to 350 degrees.

Using your hands (or a small cookie scoop), form balls (about a tablespoon worth of dough works great). Carefully drop the dough balls in the hot oil with a heat resistant slotted spoon.

Hush puppies in a pot of oil being deep fried.

The oil should bubble around the hushpuppies and should naturally turn them in circles, evenly cooking them and creating a nice crispy outside. This only takes a minute or two or until golden brown and your desired level of crisp is reached.

Fry 3 to 6 at a time (depending on the size of your pot) in a single layer so that the hush puppies have plenty of space. The hot oil should be somewhere between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the best temperature range for deep frying.

You can use a thermometer to check the temperature. Otherwise, test the oil temperature by starting with one hush puppy and adjust the temperature up or down to get the correct temperature. This may take a few adjustments throughout the cooking process.

Move the cooked hush puppies to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet covered with paper towels and continue the process until all of the batter is used up.

Tongs turning over hush puppies to golden brown perfection.

Serve hush puppies at all your fish fries or alongside your main dish with tartar sauce and enjoy!

For the best results, serve hush puppies fresh off the fryer. Similar to other fried foods like Fresh fried, hush puppies lose their incredible texture after sitting in the refrigerator.

​Nevertheless, if you have leftover hush puppies, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For the best results, reheat them in the air fryer or in the oven to try to get the crisp back.

The best part about these wonderful hush puppies is they are fun and easy to make and everyone loves them!

You may need to double the recipe depending on how many people you’re feeding because you will likely need more hush puppies than you’d think.

The worst case scenario is you have leftover batter for more hush puppy adventures.

More Appetizer Recipes:

Hush puppies all day every day!

Plate full of hush puppies sprinkled with green onions with dipping sauce in the background.

Hush Puppies

5 from 4 votes
Hush Puppies are deep fried cornmeal batter that taste like fried cornbread. This southern-style classic is a real treat!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings: 30 hush puppies


  • 1 1/2 cup cornmeal fine grind or medium grind
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 3 stalks green onion finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk or cream
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 3 cups avocado oil for frying


  • In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
  • Add the onion, buttermilk and eggs to the dry mixture and mix until combined.
  • In a large thick-bottomed pot or saucepan, heat about 3 – 4 cups of high temperature cooking oil to 350 degrees.
  • Using your hands, form balls (about a tablespoon worth of dough works great) and carefully drop them in the hot oil with a heat resistant spoon. The oil should bubble around the hushpuppies and should naturally turn them in circles, evenly cooking them and creating a nice crispy outside. This only takes a minute or two or until golden brown/desired level of crisp. Fry 3 to 6 at a time so that the puppies have plenty of space.



Serve with burgers and eat leftovers with jam for breakfast the next day.


Serving: 1of 30 · Calories: 148kcal · Carbohydrates: 18g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 8g · Sugar: 10g
Author: Julia
Course: Side Dishes & Snacks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: appetizer, cornbread, cornmeal, healthy side dish, hushpuppies
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!
Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living,, etc.

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