If you have never seen the movie Chef, starring Jon Favreau and John Leguizamo, get thee to your nearest streaming service, order a few Cubanos, and finish off your meal with some Cafe Du Monde-inspired beignets. With these credentials, you’ll travel throughout the States along with The El Jefe food truck. The New Orleans scene in the movie at Cafe Du Monde leaves me craving beignets every time I see it because it takes me back to when I experienced my first visit to the classic eatery. Say what you will, tourist attraction or not; Cafe Du Monde creates a bit of New Orleans culinary magic that has you nostalgically shouting, “Those are the best!” When you see Jon Favreau engulfing his beignet on screen.

What is a beignet?

A beignet is fried choux pastry, which is a dough mainly made with butter, water, flour, and eggs. Choux pastry has a high moisture content, creating steam while baking or, in this case, frying. The water in the dough evaporates while the pastry is cooking and puffs up the pastry, producing a result that is light and airy. When using yeast, as this recipe does, make sure it is fresh. If the sugar, yeast, and water do not form a foamy layer after about 10 minutes, you will need to repeat this step using new yeast. Typically, beignets are fried in a deep fryer, but if you have a deep skillet or preferably a Dutch oven, you can fry the batter in those. Remember you want to use a vessel with high sides so the bubbling oil does not spill over. It’s also best to fry your beignets in batches, so they have enough room to float around and cook evenly on all sides.

Consider several guidelines when eating beignets. First, prepare to get covered in powdered sugar. This dessert is not for dainty eaters. If beignets are not doused in the equivalent of a powdered sugar blizzard, then beignets are naked. Second, beignets are best eaten hot out of the fryer. They are still delicious once cool, but something about hot beignets blanketed in powdered sugar, with the combination of a steamy inside, makes you immediately want to consume the delightful fritter as quickly as possible. Your sticky, sugar-covered fingers are just an added bonus to suck on after you finish. Last, don’t eat just one. You won’t want to, and you don’t have to, so definitely leave room for two or three. Some would argue that a beignet needs its counterpart, a cup of hot chicory coffee served au lait or black, as is tradition. What a delicious conundrum to have. However you choose to eat beignets, they are always a treat. And if you’re going to make them, why not use a recipe modeled after the iconic mainstay that hasn’t broken tradition since 1862? Enjoy your confections, and as they say in the Big Easy, “laissez les bons temps rouler”-let the good times roll!

Copycat Café Du Monde Beignets

  • Prep Time:3 hrs 30 mins
  • Cook Time:30 mins
  • Total Time:4 hrs
  • Servings:18
  • Medium


  • 1 package or 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar - divided
  • cup warm water
  • cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg or 2 medium eggs
  • 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • tsp kosher salt
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • Vegetable oil for greasing the bowl and deep-frying
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar plus more for dusting the beignets
Stefanie Trepper
  • Step 1

    Combine the yeast, two tablespoons of granulated sugar, and the warm water in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Let the mixture stand until it is foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Next, add the milk, egg, melted butter, salt, and the remaining two tablespoons of granulated sugar and mix with a fork to combine. Add the flour in two or three batches and mix until you have a sticky dough. If you have one, you can use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment at medium speed.

    Stefanie Trepper
  • Step 2

    Lightly grease a large bowl with vegetable oil. Add the dough and coat it in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. The dough should be very puffy and doubled in size.

    Stefanie Trepper
  • Step 3

    Heat three or four inches of oil, about two quarts, over medium heat to 350° in a heavy pot with high sides, such as a Dutch oven.

  • Step 4

    While the oil is heating, turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut it in half. Working one batch at a time, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick. Depending on how big you would like your beignets, cut the dough into 1 to 2-inch squares, set aside on a floured surface, and repeat with the remaining dough.

    Stefanie Trepper
  • Step 5

    Place the powdered sugar in a medium-sized bowl.In small batches of 2 to 3 beignets, fry the dough until it puffs and is golden on the bottom side, only 1 to 2 minutes per side. Next, flip the beignets and fry until golden on the second side. Transfer the beignets to a baking sheet with a cooling rack placed over it or on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

    Stefanie Trepper
  • Step 6

    When the beignets are cool enough to touch, roll them in powdered sugar. Before serving, dust with more confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

    Stefanie Trepper