Perfect Gluten-Free Beignets! Just like the ones they serve at Port Orleans in Walt Disney World. These are perfect for Mardi Gras. Recipe is gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free.
Do you have a recipe for gluten-free beignets?
This question arrived by email a few days ago and…I felt bad. Because a recipe for gluten-free beignets has been sitting in my computer for, oh, several years now. No joke. Several years.
It was one of those recipes I kept meaning to finish. And never did.
I didn’t even have a good excuse. (Is there ever a good excuse for procrastination? Nope. There isn’t.)
This wasn’t even a recipe I started from a blank page, which is how I start all my recipes unless someone asks me to adapt a family favorite.
Not this time.
A few years ago, Port Orleans at Walt Disney World in Florida introduced gluten-free beignets. They’re amazing. Not only are they gluten-free, but they’re also dairy-free and egg-free. And you’d never know.
During one visit, the Chef gave me the recipe. It used several pounds of gluten-free flour. It was an excellent recipe but…for the home baker, it needed a little tweaking. So I tweaked and never got around to finishing it.
Gluten-Free Beignets: Important Ingredients
The Gluten-Free Mix
The original recipe called for Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Mix. Since gluten-free mixes vary from brand to brand, to get the right results, you need to use a specific mix. (Please note: I have no idea if this is still the mix Disney uses for their beignets.) The pizza mix does a great job giving these beignets the right texture. If you replace the mix with another brand or your own blend, I can’t say whether or not the recipe will work.
Not only is this recipe gluten-free, but it’s also dairy-free and egg-free. Since I don’t routinely create egg-free recipes, this isn’t an ingredient that I keep in my pantry. So I tested it with the egg replacer and without. The beignets are better with. So, yes, you do need to buy a bag.
The Apple Juice and Applesauce
This recipe uses both apple juice and applesauce. They add a subtle sweetness to the beignets. When the beignets are freshly fried, I think you can detect a slight apple flavor. However, these beignets don’t taste like apple doughnuts. Select unsweetened apple juice and applesauce.
The Tools You Need to Make Gluten-Free Beignets
In addition to the standard tools required for baking (mixing bowls, mixer), you’ll also need a few specific tools when making beignets.
- A Fryer or Heavy Pot. These beignets require frying. They don’t work well when baked. (for more information on that, see below.) Use either a deep fat fryer or a heavy bottomed pot filled with two inches of oil.
- A Deep Fat Thermometer. It’s important to fry beignets, or any food for that matter, at the correct temperature. If the oil is too hot, the beignets can burn on the outside and be raw in the center. And if the oil is too cold, they’ll absorb cooking oil and turn out greasy and heavy. Maintain a temperature of 365 degrees F. Fry only 3-4 beignets at a time. Frying more than that causes the oil temperature to drop.
- Parchment Paper. This dough needs to rise between two sheets of parchment paper. The parchment prevents a skin from forming on the dough. If the surface of the dough dries out while rising, the beignets won’t puff.
- A Wire Skimmer. To safely remove the fried beignets from the hot oil, use a metal skimmer. It doesn’t hold on to hot oil the way a slotted spoon can. So you’re less likely to burn yourself.
- Paper Towels. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set it next to your fryer. When you remove the beignets from the oil, place them onto the baking sheet. The paper towels absorb excess oil from the surface of the beignets.
How to Make Gluten-Free Beignets
Here’s the step-by-step for how to make beignets.
- Prepare the Dough. This dough, like all my gluten-free bread doughs, is thick. But it’s a bit thicker than say, my gluten-free sandwich bread or soft dinner rolls. A stand mixer fitted with the flat paddle attachment is the best way to mix this dough.
- Roll and Cover. After mixing the dough, transfer it to a white rice floured counter. Knead the dough a few times. You want the dough firm enough to knead but soft enough where it doesn’t crumble or break apart. Pat the dough into a round and cut in half. Dust a piece of parchment paper with white rice flour. Dust the top of the dough. Cover with a second piece of parchment paper. Roll dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Do not roll the dough thinner than this or it won’t puff. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
- Allow to Rise. This thin dough doesn’t rise too much but it does rise a bit. Place the dough in a warm spot. When the dough looks a bit puffy and feels slightly warm to the touch, it’s ready to fry.
- Cut. The key for gluten-free beignets is to get the sizing right. Cut the dough with a sharp knife into 2×3 inch pieces. A sharp knife is key. If the edge is ragged, the beignets might not puff during frying.
- Fry. Heat oil to 365 degrees F. Gently place three to four beignets into the oil. Fry until golden brown. Halfway during frying, carefully turn the beignets over.
- Drain. No one wants a greasy beignet! As soon as they come out of the fryer, place the beignets on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
- Toss in Powdered Sugar. After the beignets have drained for a minute or two, toss with powdered sugar.
What’s the best oil to use for frying beignets?
I like vegetable oil for frying these.
Can I Bake the Beignets?
Nope! Unless you want flat, sad beignets. Take a look at the baked beignets versus fried.
My beignets didn’t puff! What happened?
Urgh. This is frustrating. I’m sorry this happened. Here are some possible causes
- The dough was too dry. If the dough is too dry, it won’t rise or puff during frying. You want the dough firm enough to knead but not so dry that it breaks apart or feels tough when you roll it. A good way to know if your dough was too dry is to look at it while it fries. You shouldn’t see bubbles of oil breaking through the frying beignet.
- A skin formed on the beignet. It’s important to allow this dough to rise between two pieces of parchment paper. And while you’re frying, keep the dough covered. If it forms a skin, the beignets won’t puff.
- The dough was rolled to thin or too thick. Beignets that have been rolled too thin don’t have enough dough to puff when fried. And…beignets that have been rolled too thick (over 1/4 inch) are often too dense to puff. Roll that dough out to 1/4 inch. Use a ruler to check the thickness. I always do!
- The oil was too cold. Oil temperature is key. If the oil was too cold, the beignets won’t puff.
- You baked them. See above.
Perfect Gluten-Free Beignets. Just like the ones served at Walt Disney World. Perfect for Mardi Gras.
Note: This beignet recipe is very specific. Replacing any of the ingredients--including the flour-- can alter the results.
recipe adapted from Port Orleans at Walt Disney World Resort
- 1 bag Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Mix
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- White rice flour for dusting
- Oil for frying
- 1 pound Powdered sugar
Remove the yeast packet from the pizza mix. Whisk the yeast and warm water together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to stand for five minutes.
Whisk together the pizza mix, granulated sugar, egg replacer, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add the whisked flour mixture, apple juice, applesauce, and vinegar to the yeast mixture. Fit the mixer with the flat paddle attachment. Mix dough until smooth, about three minutes. If dough is dry, add an additional tablespoon of water.
Dust counter with white rice flour. Turn dough out onto the counter. Knead a few times. Pat dough into a disk. Cut in half. Dust a 12x18 piece of parchment paper with white rice flour. Place the dough in the center of the parchment paper. Dust the top of the dough with white rice flour. Cover the dough with a second piece of parchment paper. Roll dough out into 1/4 inch thickness. Do not roll the dough thinner than this or it won’t puff. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
Allow dough to rise until puffy, about one hour. (Keep it covered between the parchment paper as it rises.)
Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 365 degrees F. Place a rimmed baking sheet near the fryer. Line it with two layers of paper towels.
Remove the top piece of parchment paper from one piece of dough. Cut the dough with a sharp knife into 2x3 inch pieces. (A sharp knife is key. If the edge is ragged, the beignets might not puff during frying.)
Gently place 3-4 beignets into the oil. (Cover remaining dough while you fry.) Fry until golden brown. Halfway during frying, carefully turn the beignets over.
Place the fried beignets on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
Toss in powdered sugar. After the beignets have drained for a minute or two, toss with powdered sugar.