For the footwear brand, see Hush Puppies. For other uses, see Hush puppies (disambiguation).
Alternative names Hush-puppy, cornbread ball, corn dodgers
Place of origin North America
Main ingredients Cornmeal
Cookbook: Hushpuppy  Media: Hushpuppy
A basket of hushpuppies at a restaurant

A hushpuppy (or cornbread ball) is a small, savory, deep-fried ball made from cornmeal-based batter. Hushpuppies are frequently served as a side dish with seafood and other deep-fried foods.


The use of ground corn (maize) in cooking originated with Native Americans, who first cultivated the crop. Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole cooking introduced one of its main staples into Southern cuisine: corn, either ground into meal or limed with an alkaline salt to make hominy, in a Native American technology known as nixtamalization.[1] Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different sizes and forms. It could be fashioned into high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried for a quick meal.

To a far greater degree than anyone realizes, several of the most important food dishes that the Southeastern Indians live on today is the "soul food" eaten by both black and white Southerners. ... Indian boiled cornbread is present in Southern cuisine as "corn meal dumplings", ... and as "hush puppies" ...[2]

Hushpuppies retain strong ties to the Southern United States, although they are also available throughout the United States at restaurants serving deep-fried seafood.


The first recorded use of the word "hush-puppy" dates to 1899.[3] The name is often attributed to hunters, fishermen, or other cooks who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture (possibly that they had been bread-coating or battering their own food with) and feed it to their dogs to "hush the puppies" during cook-outs or fish-fries.[4] Other legends date the term to the Civil War, in which Confederate soldiers are said to have tossed fried cornbread to quell the barks of their dogs.[5][6]

Characteristics and preparation

Typical hushpuppy ingredients include cornmeal, wheat flour, eggs, salt, baking soda, milk or buttermilk, and water, and may include onion, spring onion (scallion), garlic, whole kernel corn, and peppers. Sometimes pancake batter is used. The batter is mixed well, adjusting ingredients until thick, and dropped a spoonful at a time into hot oil. The small breads are fried until crispy golden brown, and cooled.[7] Hushpuppies are served with seafood or barbecued foods. They are commonly made at home or served in restaurants advertising home-style food.


A plate with a dozen Puerto Rican "sorullitos" (hushpuppies) appetizers in Ponce, Puerto Rico

In Jamaica, such fried breads are known as "festivals", and are prepared with cornmeal, salt, and sugar then fried in the form of a hot dog roll. They are sweeter than the hushpuppies that often contain onion or garlic instead of sugar. They are served with jerked meats such as pork or chicken. Mostly, it is served with fried or escoveitch (see also escabeche and ceviche) fish.[8] In Puerto Rico, hushpuppies take the form of a short sausage and are called "sorullos" or "sorullitos".

See also


  1. Dragonwagon, Crescent (2007). The Cornbread Gospels. Workman Publishing. ISBN 0-7611-1916-7.
  2. Hudson, Charles (1976). "A Conquered People". The Southeastern Indians. The University of Tennessee Press. pp. 498–499. ISBN 0-87049-248-9.
  3. Harper, Douglas. "hush". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  4. Dull, S.R. (2006). Southern Cooking. Atlanta, Georgia: University of Georgia Press.
  5. Stern, Jane (2011). The Lexicon of Real American Food. Lyons press. p. 154.
  6. "Catfish and Hush Puppies".
  7. Cf. McCormick product, "Golden Dipt Hush Puppy Corn Meal Mix", ingredients and preparation on box
  8. Jamaican Festival Recipe
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