Inside: This short cut way to make beignets brings this New Orleans classic treat home without any of the oily mess, or time involved in making the dough from scratch. So you can get on with enjoying these fluffy pillows of golden brown goodness dusted in powdered sugar even faster! ➡
Beignets and coffee go together like peas and carrots down in NOLA. Or really even better than those vegetables, because we’re talking a warm, pillowy pastry enclosed in a slightly crunchy golden outside with a dusting of powdered sugar. Pair this state donut of Louisiana with a warm rich cup of cafe au lait and you have a few minutes of scrumptious Big Easy bliss.
Every single time I visit New Orleans I make it a point to visit Cafe du Monde or Morning Call for this saucer of heaven that’s usually our afternoon pick me up during a fun but tiring trip there.
When my kids were small, we used to make our own easy beignets by frying canned biscuits up in the Fry Daddy (remember those?) But the deep fryer and my desire to eat deep-fried foods are now long gone, along with my precious little babies.
So when we got an air fryer, I was curious how it would fry up my old short cut beignets with the canned biscuits.
The result? The air fryer beignets were faster, even easier, and as delicious as making them in the deep fryer!
This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you purchase something through any link, I may receive a small commission, at no extra charge to you. I only recommend products that I love or would purchase for myself. See my full disclosure here.
What is a beignet?
Beignets (pronounced both ben-yays and bain-yays) are square fried pastries covered in a blanket of powdered sugar that are a local and tourist favorite in New Orleans. This breakfast delight was brought to the Crescent City in the 18th century by the French colonists and has remained a must-have NOLA experience ever since. If you’ve never had them, the best simple description of traditional beignets is a square fresh fried powdered doughnut (although our biscuit shortcut will make rounder puffs instead of squares).
What you need to make biscuit beignets.
You’ll only need three things to make this quick shortcut version:
- Large canned biscuits, 8 count “Grands” size (I’ve used flaky layered biscuits here)
- Powdered confectioner’s sugar
- Vegetable oil to grease the bottom of the air fryer or parchment paper to line it
How to make beignets in the air fryer.
My original shortcut biscuit beignets recipe was already an easy way to have this taste of NOLA at home. But the air fryer method makes it unbelievably simple. I don’t have to clean up oil. And the only scent that fills the kitchen is the wonderful smell of baked dough, not the smell of frying.
Prep the biscuits.
1. Separate biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarters. (They won’t have the traditional square shapes of beignets but will still have the taste!)
2. Roll each piece of dough into a ball with your hands. If using flaky biscuits, roll them well to help seal the edges on the outside.
Prep the air fryer.
3. Brush or spray the air fryer with vegetable oil (not cooking spray) or line the air fryer basket with parchment paper. Preheat to 350 degrees.
Fry the beignets.
4. Place the biscuit pieces in a single layer in the preheated air fryer basket and cook for 8 minutes, turning them over after 4 minutes. (You may need to adjust the cooking time for a different air fryer.)
If you’re using flaky biscuits, they’re a little trickier to flip. Try to pick them up from the bottom to help keep them from falling apart.
5. Remove from the fryer and sprinkle the top of each beignet with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
How to make air fryer biscuit donuts.
You can make easy air fryer donuts the same way! Instead of cutting the biscuits into quarters, sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and roll the biscuit dough out with a rolling pin into a flat circle. Punch a hold in the middle with a biscuit cutter. Or I’ve used an appropriately sized cap off of something in the kitchen. Cook the donuts the same way as the beignets, frying the donut holes in a separate batch for less time. Finish the donuts with powdered sugar or roll in cinnamon sugar.
How to fry biscuit beignets in oil.
If you don’t have an air fryer, using biscuits for the beignet or donut dough is still a great shortcut. Prep the biscuits the same way. Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a fryer or a dutch oven or cast iron skillet with enough oil so that the dough will float instead of sitting on the bottom (about 2 inches). Place the dough pieces in the hot oil (they’ll float on top), fry until one side is brown (about 1.5 minutes), flip and repeat on the other side. After deep frying, place the beignets a cooling rack with some paper towels underneath to drain some of the extra oil before dusting with powdered sugar.
Air-fried beignets FAQ’s.
How do you store beignets?
Beignets are really only at their best fresh out of the fryer while they’re warm. After that, some of the powdered sugar gets absorbed and they lose their nice crispness a bit. But they’ll be okay if you have any left, so store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Can you reheat beignets?
Reheat leftover beignets in the microwave for 15 seconds to serve them warm again.
Can you make beignets ahead?
You can prep the biscuit dough ahead, but you’ll want to cook them right when you serve them. They only take a few minutes and the smell will have everyone anxiously waiting with their plate.
What to serve with beignets.
Coffee or cafe au lait of course. But if you want to get fancier with these simple fried biscuit pastries, here are more delicious ideas:
- Melt chocolate morsels and drizzle chocolate sauce on top
- Add a bit o’ honey
- Dip in fruit jam or sauce
- Pair them with a rich mug of hot chocolate
If you love easy Louisiana-inspired recipes, check out my Shortcut Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and my Boudin Dip recipe.)
This is a fun way to have a tiny taste of New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season, for breakfast or dessert! And little cleaning and little time mean the faster you’ll be able to savor this special treat along with its sidekick cup of coffee.
Now the messy part of having beignets is no longer the splattering oil, it’s the tell-tale powdered sugar on your shirt.
As always, I appreciate your visit, comments, and shares here on the blog! I’d love it if you also follow along with me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook so you won’t miss any of my inspiration and ideas.
Don’t forget to sign up for updates to keep in touch…I have lots of fun and useful freebies you may be interested in in my subscriber-only library like my cheat sheet for emergency baking ingredient substitutions!
Easy Air Fryer Beignets
This short cut way to make beignets brings this New Orleans classic treat home without any of the oily mess, or time involved in making the dough from scratch. So you can get on with enjoying these fluffy pillows of golden brown goodness dusted in powdered sugar even faster!
- 1 can 8 count large biscuits (Grands)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup powdered confectioner's sugar
- Separate biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarters.
- Roll each piece of dough into a ball with your hands. If using flaky biscuits, roll them well to help seal the edges on the outside.
Brush or spray the air fryer with vegetable oil or line the air fryer basket with parchment paper. Preheat to 350 degrees.
Place the biscuit pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook for 8 minutes, turning them over after 4 minutes. (You may need to adjust cooking time for a different air fryer.)
Remove and sprinkle or sift the top of each beignet with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
If you’re using flaky biscuits, make sure to pick them up from the bottom when flipping to help keep them from falling apart.
Susan Sikes says
Thanks for the idea! I’m trying this out tomorrow morning!
Good Susan! Let me know what your family thinks.