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For the footwear brand, see Hush Puppies. For other meanings, see Hush puppies (disambiguation).
Hushpuppies 5stack.jpg
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 savory food made from cornmeal batter that is deep fried or baked rolled as a small ball or occasionally other shapes. Hushpuppies are frequently served as a side dish.


Native Americans were using ground corn for cooking long before European explorers arrived in the Americas; there being no corn in Europe. Southern Native American culture (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek) was one of the main contributors to Southern cuisine. From their culture came one of the main staples of the Southern diet: corn (maize), either ground into meal or limed with an alkaline salt to make hominy, also called masa, in a Native American technology known as nixtamalization.[1] Corn was used to make all kinds of dishes from the familiar cornbread and grits to liquors such as whiskey and moonshine, which were important trade items. 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. Hominy, for example, is still eaten ... Sofkee live on as grits ... cornbread [is] used by Southern cooks ... Indian fritters ... variously known as "hoe cake", ... or "Johnny cake." ... Indian boiled cornbread is present in Southern cuisine as "corn meal dumplings", ... and as "hush puppies", ... Southerners cook their beans and field peas by boiling them, as did the Indians ... like the Indians they cure their meat and smoke it over hickory coals.[2]


The first recorded reference to the word "hush-puppy" dates to 1899.[3]

Hushpuppies are a food with strong ties to the Southern United States, although they are available in many areas of the United States on the menus of deep fried fish restaurants. The name "hushpuppies" 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 hush puppy legends purport to date the etymology of the term "hushpuppies" to the Civil War, in which soldiers are claimed to have tossed fried cornbread to quell the barks of Confederate dogs.[5][6]

Characteristics and preparation[edit]

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[edit]


  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. ^ Festival (Jamaica)