Reprinted with permission from Bon Appetit, Y’all by Virginia Wills ©2008. Published by Ten Speed Press.


  • 4 cups peanut oil, for frying, more if needed
  • 2 cups white or yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup beer, plus more if needed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 onion, preferably Vidalia, very finely chopped


Step 1

In a large cast-iron Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over high heat until it reaches 375°F on a deep-fat thermometer.

Step 2

To make the batter, in a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. In a second bowl or large liquid measuring cup, combine the beer, eggs, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, using as few strokes as possible. (The mixture should resemble wet sand; add more beer, if needed.)

Step 3

Line a plate with paper towels and set by the cooktop. To fry the hushpuppies, scoop up batter using a medium ice cream scoop and drop it into the hot oil without crowding. Fry, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared plate. Adjust the heat to maintain the proper temperature and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve immediately.