Air-Fried Beignets

These air-fried beignets are delicious on their own, but you can make a chocolate sauce or raspberry sauce to dress them up if you like. To make a super easy and quick raspberry sauce, stir ¼ cup of raspberry jam together with 1 tablespoon of warm water. Thin it just to the consistency you like for dipping. Et voilà!

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What is a Beignet?

Every cultural group, no matter how big or small, has its own version of fried dough. Pennsylvania has funnel cakes. Ontario has beaver tails. Newfoundland has toutons. And New Orleans has beignets – their version of a fritter or doughnut, dusted with powdered sugar and eaten with joy. Beignets are little pillows of heaven, but those little pillows can take a while to make and deep-frying them can make a mess, so make air-fried beignets instead! By air-frying your beignets, you can save yourself a lot of work and mess and lessen the guilt that might accompany each delicious bite. 

A bucket of beignets tipped over onto a table with a cup of coffee in the background and powdered sugar dusting down from above.

How to Make Air-Fried Beignets

Air-fried beignets start with a regular beignet dough – a soft egg and milk enhanced yeast dough. The dough needs to rise for a couple hours until it has doubled in bulk and then you’re ready to cut the beignets into your desired shape. Diamond shape is customary, but you could cut them into squares or circles or whatever shape you really like. Once the dough is ready to go, do make sure you pre-heat the air fryer first. In many instances, you don’t have to bother with pre-heating, but for beignets, you do really want the air fryer hot before you pop them inside. Brush them with melted butter generously and air-fry for just 5 minutes. They will puff up and brown.

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A bucket of air-fried beignets tipped over onto a table with powdered sugar dusting down from above.

What to Serve with Beignets

It is perfectly acceptable to eat a beignet straight out of the air fryer with just powdered sugar on it – encouraged, in fact – but if you’d like to serve something with the beignets, you could serve either a raspberry coulis (purée fresh raspberries with a little simple syrup if necessary and strain out the seeds) or a chocolate sauce. A good strong dark cup of coffee would be perfect too.

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A couple of beignets in front of a cup of espresso.

How Long do Beignets Keep?

To be perfectly honest, beignets are really only great the day they are made – within hours of making them actually. I know no-one likes to throw out food, so eat them up the day you make them or store them in an air-tight container until tomorrow. Re-heat them in the air fryer gently and forgive them for not being as delicious as they were yesterday. 

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Looking straight down on some powdered sugared air-fried beignets.

How to Make Beignets Ahead

Beignets can be made ahead of time – as long as you don’t bake them. In fact, if you make the dough and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, rather than on the counter for 2 hours, they will have more time to develop their flavor and be even tastier. So, the make ahead plan is to make the dough in the evening, rise it over night and then air-fry the beignets in the morning. Just give the dough 30 minutes or so to shake off the chill of the fridge before rolling them out and cutting them into squares or diamonds. 

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Air-Fried Beignets

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 5 m
  • Dough Rising Time: 2 h
  • Total Time: 2 h 25 m
  • Servings:
    24
    beignets

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup lukewarm water about 90ºF
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 generous teaspoon active dry yeast ½ envelope
  • 3½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • chocolate sauce or raspberry sauce to dip

Instructions

  1. Combine the lukewarm water, a pinch of the sugar and the yeast in a bowl and let it proof for 5 minutes. It should froth a little. If it doesn’t froth, your yeast is not active and you should start again with new yeast.
  2. Combine 3½ cups of the flour, salt, 2 tablespoons of butter and the remaining sugar in a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg, evaporated milk and yeast mixture to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon (or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer) until the dough comes together in a sticky ball. Add a little more flour if necessary to get the dough to form. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours or until it has doubled in bulk. Longer is better for flavor development and you can even let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight (just remember to bring it to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe).
  3. Roll the dough out to ½-inch thickness. Cut the dough into rectangular or diamond-shaped pieces. You can make the beignets any size you like, but this recipe will give you 24 (2-inch x 3-inch) rectangles.
  4. Pre-heat the air fryer to 350ºF.
  5. Brush the beignets on both sides with some of the melted butter and air-fry in batches at 350ºF for 5 minutes, turning them over halfway through if desired. (They will brown on all sides without being flipped, but flipping them will brown them more evenly.)
  6. As soon as the beignets are finished, transfer them to a plate or baking sheet and dust with the confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm with a chocolate or raspberry sauce.
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Comments (15)Post a Reply

    1. Hi Carol. Yes, you can freeze them. Freeze them on a flat baking sheet right after you’ve cut them. Once frozen, store in a zipper sealable plastic bag or air tight container and let them defrost for a few minutes before air-frying them.

    1. Hi Diane. You could make the choux paste on the stovetop and then pipe them onto parchment paper and air fry them. I haven’t tried it, but I think it could be done. They might not be as high because the fan from the air fryer will be blowing down on them all the time. The other disadvantage is that you won’t be able to make as many at one time as when you bake them in the oven (but that might be a good thing!).

  1. Absolutely Delicious! How could something so simple taste so good. I brushed some butter on each after they came out, threw some in a paper bag with powdered sugar then let Everyone grab their own. Everyone loved them. The entire batch was gone in less than 20 minutes. I cooked 6 minutes with the basket full.

    I am going to try making and freezing before cooking. Betty it works great!

  2. 5 stars
    Made these and froze half. They were so good! I’ll definitely be making these again. I went for the chocolate sauce and dusted some with cinnamon sugar. Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. Not what we hoping for. We’ve have only had beignets from a Louisiana style restaurant here in the city, those are so light & airy !! These came out more like a soft bread. Our recipe hunt will go on.
    However, all is not lost.
    W/ dinner tonight we’ll make a few adding some fresh garlic, chives & garlic butter to the mix. They will go well w/ the Caprese stuffed Portobello Mushroom caps & salad.

  4. 5 stars
    I have never had beignets before so I won’t really compare to the “real thing” but these are awesome!!! Super simple and delicious!

    My kids loved making them as well!

    1. You don’t HAVE to let it rest in the fridge after it has risen, but you CAN if you want to make them the following day instead of right away. If you do put it into the fridge, take it out and let it come to room temperature for an hour or so before proceeding with the recipe.

  5. Yummy! I have your book but now that I’m following keto, a low carb diet, I can’t eat this! Would it be possible to make this using keto friendly flours? Please?

    1. Hi BJ. I haven’t tested this recipe with any other flours, I’m afraid and am not familiar with substituting keto-friendly flours. I have seen a few links online using almond flour and xantham gum. A quick google search will give you some recipe ideas.

  6. 4 stars
    Our first attempt Turned out a little heavy, more like a fresh cake doughnut. They were delicious (especially dipped in guava sauce) but not as light, airy, crispy, or decadent as the real thing. It’s a good trade-off for the amount of fat and calories saved!

    1. Hi Georgia,
      You can try letting the dough rise longer next time, for about 2 ½ hours. After rolling out and cutting the dough you could also let it proof for an additional 30 minutes. This should result in lighter beignets.

  7. These were delicious, but in more of a dinner roll sort of way. I will use the technique for just that moving forward

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