Home Articles What Are Hush Puppies? (+ Southern Recipe)

What Are Hush Puppies? (+ Southern Recipe)

Hush puppies are a classic southern side served at any BBQ joint or summer picnic. But what are hush puppies, exactly? 

They’re golden nuggets of heaven! Specifically, they’re seasoned cornbread, rolled into a ball, and deep-fried to perfection. 

Deep Fried Hush Puppies

With a crunchy outside and warm and tender insides, they go great with things like a fish dinner or a hearty rack of BBQ ribs

So, let’s dive into what are hush puppies, and how they got their name.

Plus, you’ll learn an easy way to whip them up in a jiffy for your next summer BBQ. 

What Are Hush Puppies?

Classic hush puppies are small little cornbread nuggets rolled into a ball and deep-fried. 

They give Southern biscuits a run for their money with a crunchy outside and warm, tender insides. 

The neutral flavor of the cornmeal mixture is slightly sweet with a gentle kiss of spices from garlic, onion, and paprika. 

What’s fantastic about hush puppies is that you can get inventive with added seasoning.

Garlic, onion, and paprika are great but experiment with different flavors. 

It’s a recipe that’s easy to make your own. 

Hush Puppies on a Parchment Paper

Once deep fried, the outside of the cornbread meal turns the most glorious shade of golden brown, and the inside stays nice and tender. 

The flavors of hush puppies are super mild, which makes it the perfect pairing for spicy dishes like BBQ pulled pork. 

There’s nothing better than sopping up all that extra BBQ sauce with a crunchy, chewy hush puppy. 

They are the ultimate side dish for seafood dinners like fried fish, crab cakes, and shrimp.

Seriously, hush puppies go with just about anything. 

The next time you go to whip up fish and chips, try fish and hush puppies instead!

While they go great with seafood, they are also a great BBQ staple.

There’s nothing I love more than dipping a tasty hush puppy in a variety of BBQ sauces. 

Why Are They Called Hush Puppies? 

Ever wonder where hush puppies earned their name? A few theories are rolling around in the South, but one seems more likely. 

Many Southerners believe that the origins of hush puppies date back to the early 1800s. 

When hunters, outdoorsmen, and fishermen took the dogs out for a hunt, they needed something to keep them quiet. 

They cooked cornbread into little dog-treat-sized nuggets to keep the puppies quiet in the evening. Hence the name hush puppies! 

These little cornbread nuggets were small, affordable, and a great way to treat their hard-working hunting dogs. 

Those were some pretty spoiled dogs!

Another hush-puppy theory involves French nuns, believe it or not!

In the early 1700s, a group of Ursuline nuns settled into what is now known as New Orleans. 

Using local ingredients, they transformed classic Southern cornmeal into a dish they call croquettes de maise.

Later, when a cook in Atlanta made this French-inspired treat, she gave a plateful of croquettes to a nearby howling dog.

She said, “Hush, puppy.” And the name was born. 

Like any classic comfort food, the origins are a little murky. 

Hush Puppies

What To Serve With Hush Puppies?

Hush puppies go great with either seafood dishes or old-fashioned BBQs. 

The sweetness from the cornbread compliments the sweetness from the fish, and it’s a more flavorful bread side than biscuits. 

Hush puppies and fried fish put fish and chips to shame! Save those fries for burgers. 

My favorite way to eat hush puppies is with BBQ foods like ribs or pulled pork. 

The heavy barbeque sauces complement the flavors of the hush puppies beautifully. 

The tender sweetness from hush puppies is a great way to sop up all that extra BBQ sauce. 

My mouth waters just thinking about it. 

But you don’t have to stop at just fish and BBQ. 

Hush puppies are an excellent bread replacement for any meal.

Serve them up alongside soups, salads, or as an appetizer for your next holiday meal. 

I love to serve hush puppies as a simple appetizer with plenty of delicious dipping sauces.

Honey mustard, ranch, BBQ sauce, or even artichoke dip all work well. 

How to Make Hush Puppies 

What Are Hush Puppies? (+ Southern Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time





What are hush puppies? Learn all about this classic Southern treat, plus, get an easy recipe to make them at home.


  • 1 quart oil for frying, or as needed

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 1 cup self-rising flour

  • 1 cup self-rising cornmeal


  • Bring two inches of frying oil to a temperature of 365 degrees Fahrenheit over medium heat. 
  • Mix the onion, sugar, and eggs in a medium-sized bowl while the oil heats up. Blend until thoroughly combined and smooth. 
  • Once combined, stir in cornmeal. The batter should be stiff and lump-free. 
  • Drop rounded teaspoons into the oil and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Cook four at a time, ensuring that the pan is never overcrowded. 
  • Strain the excess oil by placing cooked hush puppies on a paper towel. Serve them hot, and dig in!
What Are Hush Puppies?

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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