Hush puppies are a beloved Southern staple and the perfect side for many of your favorite summer seafood dishes. Whether served alongside fried fish, at a summer barbecue, or on their own as a snack, hush puppies are a crowd-pleaser. But learning how to make light and fluffy hush puppies is paramount to achieving the perfect texture.

The art of making the perfect hush puppy requires using the right ingredients, heating your oil to the perfect temperature, and perhaps some trial and error. Achieving that coveted light and fluffy texture can be a challenge. At NC Seafood Restaurant in Raleigh, we’ve been serving up our Calabash-style seafood with a side of our famous hush puppies for over three decades–and we’re ready to dish out the secret: how to make light and fluffy hush puppies. 

With the right ingredients and technique, you’ll know how to make light and fluffy hush puppies that are just crispy enough on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, every single time.

Ingredients for Light and Fluffy Hush Puppies

Learning how to make light and fluffy hushpuppies requires starting with the right ingredients and just the right amount of each. It’s a science, and there’s quite a lot of precision that goes into making hushpuppies.

  1. Cornmeal: The foundation of any hush puppy recipe, cornmeal provides a distinct flavor and texture. Opt for finely ground cornmeal for the best results.
  2. Flour: All-purpose flour is typically used to bind the ingredients together and helps create that airy texture. For gluten-free hushpuppies, opt for Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free flour. We haven’t tried this and cannot guarantee results, but it tends to work well as a substitute in most dishes.
  3. Baking Powder: This leavening agent is essential for achieving lightness and fluffiness in hush puppies. It helps them rise while frying, resulting in a delicate interior.
  4. Salt and Pepper: To enhance the flavor, add a small pinch of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper to the batter.
  5. Onion: Finely chopped onion adds both flavor and texture to hush puppies. It’s a classic ingredient that gives them a savory kick.
  6. Egg: Acting as a binding agent, eggs help hold the batter together and contribute to the desired fluffiness. 
  7. Buttermilk: Buttermilk adds moisture and tenderness to the hush puppies while also providing a subtle tangy flavor. For dairy-free hushpuppies substitute dairy-based buttermilk with this dairy-free option: Combine 1 cup of dairy-free milk (we like Oatly full-fat oat milk) with 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Whisk the dairy-free milk and lemon juice together. Set aside for at least 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Vegetable Oil: For frying, choose a neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil or peanut oil.

How to Make Light and Fluffy Hush Puppies: The Recipe

Once you have all your ingredients, you’re only a few steps away from the best side (or snack) you could ask for. Here’s how to make light and fluffy hush puppies in no time: 

1. Prepare the Batter

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of cornmeal, 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion until evenly distributed.

2. Add Wet Ingredients

In a separate bowl, beat 1 egg and then mix in 3/4 cup of buttermilk (or dairy-free buttermilk alternative) until well combined.

3. Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in dense hush puppies.

4. Let the Batter Rest

Allow the batter to rest for about 10-15 minutes. This gives the baking powder time to activate and helps ensure light and fluffy hush puppies.

5. Heat the Oil

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil to 350°F (175°C). Make sure there’s enough oil to fully submerge the hush puppies.

6. Form and Fry

Using a spoon or scoop, carefully drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Fry in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.

7. Drain and Serve

Once cooked, remove the hush puppies from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

Pairing Suggestions

If you want to know how to make light and fluffy hush puppies really stand out on your table, consider pairing them with some of these other flavors. 

Fried Fish

Hush puppies are a classic accompaniment to fried fish. Serve them alongside crispy catfish or flaky cod for a delicious Southern feast.


Pair hush puppies with your favorite barbecue dishes, such as pulled pork or brisket. The combination of smoky meats and savory hush puppies is irresistible.

Slaw and Pickles

Balance the richness of hush puppies with tangy coleslaw and pickles. The contrast of flavors and textures creates a satisfying meal.

Hot Sauce or Honey

For an extra kick of flavor, serve hush puppies with hot sauce or drizzle them with honey for a touch of sweetness.

Tips on How to Make Light and Fluffy Hush Puppies Every Time 

While it’s not an exact science, there are some precautions you can take when you’re cooking that will help you get the right results every time. 

Choose the Right Ingredients

Just as with any other recipe, the secret to how to make light and fluffy hush puppies lies in starting with the right ingredients:

  • Use finely ground cornmeal for a smooth texture.
  • Opt for all-purpose flour (or your favorite gluten-free flour), which helps bind the ingredients together without weighing them down.
  • Ensure your baking powder is fresh to maximize its leavening power.
  • Select sweet onions for a milder flavor that compliments the hush puppies without overpowering them.
  • Use fresh eggs and buttermilk for optimal moisture and richness in the batter.

Maintain Proper Ratios

It’s important to pay attention to your balance of dry and wet ingredients. Avoid adding too much flour, as this can result in dense hush puppies. Too much liquid, on the other hand, can make the batter runny and difficult to fry.

Maintain the Right Oil Temperature

Heat the frying oil to the proper temperature, typically around 350°F (175°C). If the oil is too hot, the hush puppies may brown too quickly on the outside while remaining undercooked inside. Use a deep-fry thermometer to monitor the oil temperature and make adjustments as needed to maintain consistency.

Fry in Small Batches

Fry the hush puppies in small batches, which can help avoid overcrowding the frying pan or fryer. Cramming too many into the pan can lower the oil temperature and result in greasy hush puppies.

Serve Immediately

Hush puppies are best enjoyed fresh and hot out of the fryer–avoid letting them sit for too long before serving, as they may lose their crispness and become soggy.

Visit NC Seafood Restaurant for Our Light & Fluffy Hush Puppies 

When it comes to how to make light and fluffy hush puppies, it’s all about the ingredients and the technique. With this foolproof recipe and some creative pairing ideas, you’ll know how to make light and fluffy hush puppies that are sure to be a hit at every dinner table. 

If you need a little more convincing of our expertise, though, come see us at NC Seafood Restaurant today for a taste of our famously light and fluffy hush puppies served as a side with every Calabash-style seafood dish we cook up.

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