Best Beignets in New Orleans

10Best New Orleans beignets are fried goodness, both sweet and savory

In New Orleans, there isn’t another treat better loved than a beignet, a freshly fried square of dough served with a healthy dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Although many cultures adore fried dough, think churros in Mexico, fritters in the UK and zeppole in Italy, the  beignet is the treat of choice in New Orleans, a throwback to the city’s French roots.

Brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by either French Acadians or Ursuline nuns, depending on who you ask, beignets were adapted into the evolving Creole diet, sometimes spiked with bananas or plantains, both popular imports in this port city. 

In the French Quarter, Café du Monde is the gold standard when it comes to beignets, fried in the original French Market location since 1862. The Café’s menu is short and sweet: dark-roasted coffee with chicory, served black or au lait with steamed milk, beignets, white and chocolate milk, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. It’s a common sight to see folks sitting along the river walk, clouds of powdered sugar giving their breakfast choice away.

Beignets are adaptable, with fried dough working as well as a savory flavor vehicle as a sugary treat. Creative New Orleans chefs are known to incorporate cheese, seafood and duck debris into the fried goodness. 


Cafe Normandie
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

The sparkling $66 million Higgins Hotel New Orleans might just be America's first museum hotel, with a World War II theme from stem to stern. Beyond the hotel's many stunning Art Deco spaces, dining and drinking options impress. Café Normandie, where French chef Virgile Brandel presides, rustic French cuisine shakes hands with the New Orleans' table. The crab beignets, offered for lunch and dinner, are a revelation, airy pillows of dough stuffed with creamy Louisiana lump crab meat. But really everything is tasty here, from the char-grilled oysters and crispy duck with duck fat fried fingerling potatoes to the stuffed portobello tangy with asiago cheese and for dessert, of course! crazy good warm beignets with dark chocolate dipping sauce. As the holiday season rolls around, restaurants all over town will be debuting their Reveillion celebratory menus, a uniquely New Orleans tradition. Historically, the meal unfolded in homes after Christmas Eve mass - the name comes from the word révei - meaning "waking" - because everybody ate all night long until morning, when it was time to open presents. Now, these special menus are just part of the season. Chef Brandel's prix fixe $84 menu celebrates his French heritage, with four courses and choices like oyster vichyssoise with Cajun caviar, escargot with almond garlic cream and exotic mushrooms and pan seared scallops with creamy vanilla grits.

Recommended for Beignets because: Cafe Normandie just reopened for dinner, which is something to celebrate.

Beth's expert tip: Have a drink at Rosie's, a stellar rooftop bar with river views, before or after dinner.

Read more about Cafe Normandie →

Photo courtesy of SoBou Restaurant

Pull up a stool at stunning SoBou (South of Bourbon) in the W, a sassy member of Commander's family of restaurants. Here, a team of crackerjack bartenders create fab original cocktails and the kitchen serves modern fare that is downright fetching. Don't miss crawfish drop beignets with roasted poblano sauce, but the starters are all fun, from house made cracklins to shrimp and tasso corndows with crystal beurre to spicy Natchitoches meat pies. For dessert, warm beignets with Steen's cane caramel syrup. There's a Legs & Eggs Burlesque Brunch featuring local performer Bella Blue every Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

Recommended for Beignets because: Nothing typical about SoBou, which makes eating and drinking here a guaranteed adventure.

Beth's expert tip: The two-hour happy hour Monday to Friday from 4-6 pm is one of the Quarter's best deals.

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Commander's Palace
Photo courtesy of Commander's Palace

Answer the siren call of the green and white signature awning to dine at Commander's Palace, the must-eat restaurant housed in a beautiful Victorian mansion in the Garden District. Chef Meg Bickford is always up to something startling, with specials like Crawfish Boil beignets made with spicy wild crawfish tails and roasted chilies rolled into a savory-sweet corn dough. These addictive bites are served with red pepper aioli and warm remoulade sauce. Lunch is less formal than dinner, but you still want to look a little uptown when you visit this iconic New Orleans restaurant. Jazz brunch is an event on Sundays.

Recommended for Beignets because: This flagship of the Brennan family offers a seminal New Orleans dining experience

Beth's expert tip: There isn't a bad seat in the house for Sunday jazz brunch - the band roams through every dining room.

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La Petite Grocery leaves the sugary powdered beignets to the Cafe du Mondes of the world, taking its own approach to the beignet. La Petite stuffs their doughy morsels with blue crab and serves them with a tangy malt vinegar aioli. These are a must-order appetizer when you visit this popular Magazine Street eatery for lunch, dinner or brunch. Chef/owner Justin Devillier, a California native who moved to New Orleans in 2003, is known for his creative approach to all kinds of local culinary customs, including a spin on bread pudding that pairs it with black truffle jus and the introduction of local turtle meat to an outstanding Bolognese. Check the other restaurant he runs with his wife/partner Mia, Justine in the French Quarter.

Recommended for Beignets because: Chef Justin Devillier is a creative culinary force to be reckoned with in New Orleans

Beth's expert tip: La Petite Grocery is named after the business that used to exist on the property - a specialty grocery store.

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Susan Spicer opened Bayona in the French Quarter in 1990 in a centuries-old cottage complete with a romantic courtyard. A doyenne of all things culinary in New Orleans since the 90s, and now an inductee into the James Beard Who's Who in Food, Spicer's creative take on beignets is chronicled in her Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans. Better yet, treats like her savory smoked salmon beignets with brandied tomato sauce or sweet cinnamon banana beignets show up on the menu as specials any old time, yet another incentive to dine at this French Quarter gem. Lunch is currently featuring 32 cent martinis and $32 three course menu to celebrate Bayona's 32nd anniversary.

Recommended for Beignets because: Celebrating 32 years of service in 2022, Bayona is a French Quarter gem with a gorgeous courtyard.

Beth's expert tip: Although her smoked salmon beignets aren't always on the menu, you won't be disappointed by anything you eat at Bayona.

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The New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co.,located in Uptown New Orleans, is a swell spot for a pick me up, any time of day. Be sure the beignets are fresh out of the fryer, ask before you order if they are being made ala minute, otherwise you might be disappointed. Besides the traditional confectioner's sugar-covered version of these sweet square doughnuts-without-the-hole, New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Company dishes oatmeal, cookies, pastries, muffins and locally loved La Divina gelato. The coffee program is robust, with flavored espresso drinks and specialties like the bowl of soul - cafe au lait with caramel, whipped cream and cinnamon.

Recommended for Beignets because: This uptown classic delivers a solid version of the Cafe du Monde original.

Beth's expert tip: If you are visiting during the swampy months of summer, try the frozen cafe au lait or iced chai to chill down.

Read more about New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co →

Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

Scot Craig is chef/owner at Katie's Restaurant in Mid-City, a much-loved neighborhood Creole-Italian eatery that draws armies of regulars for lunch, brunch and dinner. He does two swoon-worthy (and way rich)savory beignets, the crawfish beignet overstuffed with crawfish, cheddar, mozzarella, jalapenos, caramelized onion and jalapeno aioli for a nice kick. There's a seafood version too, same basic format with the addition of local shrimp and crawfish. Terrific char-grilled oysters are also on the menu, a fab alternative to the crowds at Acme. Another added bonus is that Katie's is a neighborhood spot, where locals congregate and New Orleans style hospitality rules.

Recommended for Beignets because: Katie's is an uber-local spot in Mid-City that's always friendly, with rib-sticking cuisine that includes a wow-worthy crawfish beignet.

Beth's expert tip: If you're seeking a quieter meal, ask to be seated upstairs.

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French Quarter

Cafe Beignet, with locations on Bourbon, Royal, Decatur and Canal Streets in the French Quarter, is a convenient and solid alternative to Cafe du Monde. A bit less hectic than Cafe du Monde, where a line of hungry folks hang out like vultures waiting for your table, Cafe Beignet serves tasty fried treats along with a full breakfast from 7-8 am (depending on the location) every day of the week. Start with a tasty breakfast sandwich, or try the crawfish or andouille omelet. Nola go-to dishes (red beans, jambalaya) also served. Sit in the outdoor courtyard if the weather is fine.

Recommended for Beignets because: Cafe Beignet is centrally located in the French Quarter, a convenient spot for tasty beignets.

Beth's expert tip: If you find yourself craving a beignet but you're staying close to Canal Street, head to this respectable spot.

Read more about Cafe Beignet →

French Quarter

Café du Monde is a pilgrimage most visitors make when they come to New Orleans. A French Market landmark, the café is renowned for its beignets, which are fried dough covered with powdered sugar. The menu is succinct, cafe au lait, orange juice and beignets, cash only, please. Since opening in 1862, Café du Monde has been the spot locals and tourists flock to for savory chicory coffee, café au lait and light pastry desserts. All can be enjoyed while soaking in the foot traffic of Jackson Square while sitting at the cafe. This place is an institution, and the first restaurant to reopen after Katrina. Table service and 24/7 hours are scheduled to resume in September.

Recommended for Beignets because: Cafe du Monde is the gold standard when it comes to the sweet version of beignets.

Beth's expert tip: Eat your beignets by the river - there are benches facing the Mississippi just steps from the famed coffee house.

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Morning Call in the Oaks
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

It's been a long two years for the Morning Call-obsessed, but the much-loved local coffee and beignet shop, founded in 1870, reopened in 2021 on the edge of City Park. The neon Morning Call sign now on the corner of Canal and City Park proclaims it's open 24 hours, but alas, not yet. Customers can clamor for freshly fried beignets and chicory-laced café au lait from 7 a.m. to midnight daily. MC's coffee was always a big draw, which makes sense. By the time it opened in the original French Quarter location, coffee was one of the city's leading imports and it is still true today, with one-third of all coffee imported to North America landing first in New Orleans.

Recommended for Beignets because: Morning Call has long been a go-to for locals who are extremely thrilled to have them back.

Beth's expert tip: The key to getting the sugar right is spanking the shaker - don't unscrew the cap, it will just dump out in one big mess.

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Meet Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.

Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets...  More About Beth