King Cake Beignets

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Dessert, Breakfast American
By Ivy Odom, via Southern Living Serves: Makes ~36 Beignets
Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cooking Time: ~20 Minutes Total Time: 50 Minutes

King Cake decorated beignets are the perfect dessert hybrid for Mardi Gras. The beignets are airy and chewy; perfectly sweetened with the cream cheese frosting and bright sanding sugars.


  • Beignet Dough
  • 1 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water (105 to 115 degrees), divided
  • 4 tbsp. Granulated Sugar, divided
  • 1 Large Egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable Shortening
  • 3/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 3.5 cups Bread Flour, plus more for work surface
  • Vegetable Oil for frying
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 3 tbsp. Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. Whole Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp. Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • Green, Purple, and Yellow Sanding Sugars


Beignet Dough


Stir together the yeast, 1/4 cup of the warm water and 1/2 teaspoon of the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixture with the dough hook attachment. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.


Stir in egg, evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and remaining granulated sugar.


Stir together shortening and remaining warm water (reheat if needed to melt the shortening). Add to the yeast mixture and beat on low until combined.


Stir together cinnamon and bread flour. Gradually add cinnamon and flour blend to the yeast mixture, beat on low speed until a sticky dough forms.


Transfer to a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turn the dough to grease the top, cover and place in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting:


Combine cream cheese, butter, salt, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy.


Spoon frosting into a piping bag or a Ziplock and set aside.

Cutting and Frying Beignets


Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 12" x 12" square. Use a pizza wheel cutter to cut dough into 2" x 2" squares (you should get about 36 pieces).


Pour oil to a depth of 2" in a large Dutch oven. Over medium-high heat, heat oil to 360 degrees.


Carefully drop in 6 dough pieces at a time (work in about 6 batches), and fry for about 1.5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer to a wire rack placed in a sheet tray.


Once all beignets are done, cut a 1/16" -1/8" tip off the piping bag and drizzle frosting over beignets and sprinkle with the purple, green and yellow sanding sugars. Serve immediately.