The Special Method For More Flavorful Hush Puppies

Often served as a starchy side to a hearty Southern meal, hush puppies have a crispy exterior, tender interior, and slightly sweet flavor. With the name being rather unique, how did these corn croquettes get to be called "hush puppies?" According to History Cooperative, Native Americans were the first to know of this dish, with corn being one of the three "sister crops," and beans and squash being the other two. These crops were grown near the Mississippi River System, which is how they made their way into Southern cuisine. Culinary Lore states that when men were having fish fries back in the day, they'd coat the fish in cornmeal, which would ramp up the hunting dogs. In order to quiet them down, the men would throw cornmeal in the fryer and toss it to the dogs, yelling "hush, puppy!" From then, the delicious fried cornmeal nugget was born and derived into what it is today.

While there are different variations of hush puppies, there's a few ingredients you shouldn't leave out when it comes to making them, including cornmeal, spices, and buttermilk. But although the first two ingredients may be obvious, buttermilk is actually the reason it has a subtle sweetness, and plays into another important factor: texture. 

Our recipe for Crispy Fluffy Hush Puppies manipulates the formula to create the perfect flavor and texture. 

Make your own homemade buttermilk

Tasting Table recipe developer Miriam Hahn cracked the code on how to get the best of both worlds in terms of two-toned textures with her Crispy Fluffy Hush Puppies. "The special method is making your own buttermilk by adding vinegar to regular or dairy free milk. I always hate buying a carton of buttermilk when you just need a small amount for a recipe so this vinegar trick is super helpful. It works with regular milk or any type of non-dairy milk," states Hahn. 

Check out this video to see step by step how to make these genius hush puppies at home. While this recipe is delicious as a side, it can also be prepped up quick and served with a dip for an easy appetizer for occasions like game-day, children's birthday parties, or play-dates. Furthermore, you can lighten it up by popping them in the air fryer versus frying on the stovetop. 

Hahn's go-to dips to pair with these crispy buds include ranch, blue cheese, garlic aioli and Thousand Island.