Southern cornmeal hushpuppies are easy and delicious.

Southern Cornmeal Hushpuppies - The Southern Lady Cooks

Southern cornmeal hushpuppies are round cornmeal dumplings that usually accompany a big dish of fried fish.  There are many different ideas as to how hushpuppies got their name.  If you check the internet, you will come up with some of the following:

1.  Confederate soldiers used their corn biscuit rations to feed to their dogs to quiet them in order to avoid detection from Union soldiers, hence the phrase hushing the puppies.

2.  It is believed that while cooking fried foods with batter outside such as fish, balls of batter were fried and given to the dogs to keep them from begging or barking, thus the name “hush puppies”.

3. (This one is my favorite. I am a Kentuckian and it makes sense to me.)  They were fried up to toss to the dogs to keep them quiet while the “revenooers” were snooping around looking for stills. Whatever explanation, fried catfish just isn’t the same without hushpuppies.

Ingredients Needed for Southern Cornmeal Hushpuppies:

Yellow cornmeal

All-purpose flour

Baking powder

Baking soda


White granulated sugar, optional

Onion, finely chopped or grated

Garlic powder


Fresh or dried chives

Cayenne pepper


Oil for frying

Southern Cornmeal Hushpuppies - The Southern Lady Cooks
Southern Cornmeal Hushpuppies The Southern Lady Cooks
Southern Cornmeal Hushpuppies The Southern Lady Cooks
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Southern Cornmeal Hushpuppies

The Southern Lady Cooks
Hushpuppies are a great addition to any meal. Plus, they are super easy!
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, bread, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar optional
  • 1/2 of a medium onion finely chopped or grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chives chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • oil for frying


  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with spoon.   The batter should be just wet enough that you can shape it into balls about the size of a walnut with your hands and it sticks together.
  • Have oil hot in a skillet and drop hushpuppies into oil.  Cook about 3 to 4 minutes browning on all sides.   Remove and drain on paper towels.


This makes about 20 to 24 hushpuppies.  You can double or triple the recipe. 
Keyword Southern Cornmeal Hushpuppies, hushpuppies, southern
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  1. Jayne Adler says:

    the first time I ever had Hush Puppies, many, many years ago on vacation in Virginia, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. they are delicious. being from Wisconsin, yummies like that weren’t even a thought back then.

  2. Chris Borders says:

    That’s the wonderful thing about hush puppies…you can add so many different ingredients in them and they always turn out great!

  3. Evelyn Barfield says:

    Just like I do except for cayenne pepper……the beer makes them light and fuffly

  4. Mona Hickey says:

    This is the way I make mine, but I add a little green bell pepper and I add a little oil to the batter.

  5. I put a jalapeno, diced sweet onions, and grated cheddar cheese in my hush puppies .

  6. Lia Ellison says:

    Once out of desperation I used salsa in the batter (I usually add some ketchup) and found this to be the best addition ever!

  7. Patrick McCain says:

    If you fry your hushpuppies in deep oil they will turn themselves over when they are brown enough and brown the other side. No foolin!

  8. I prefer to use white cornmeal for these and I use a grater for the onion so u don’t get onion pieces in the puppy!

  9. Love me some good homemade hushpuppies! Ever added kernel corn to them? Great dipped in homemade jalapeno nacho sauce. Wish I had some right now with a big ol’ platter of fried catfish!!

  10. Another one I have heard is that when slaves were escaping north during the civil war they would feed these to the dogs to aid their escape.

    Without ever having had the real thing before, I have tried to make these, except I always used baking powder to make them puff up just because I imagined them puffing up as they are being fried. Is that ever done, not done, or is there some other property that makes them puff up?

    1. You can use baking powder if you like. I just make them into balls and they seem to stay the same size I make them. If you use the beer instead of milk they are lighter and fluffier.