How many calories are in a fried hush puppy?

A hush puppy is a small, deep-fried ball of cornbread batter that is a classic side dish in Southern cooking. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, hush puppies are a delicious accompaniment to fried fish, barbecue, and other down-home favorites.

What Is A Hush Puppy?

Hush puppies get their name from a popular story that says Confederate soldiers would fry up bits of cornbread batter during the Civil War to toss to barking dogs and “hush the puppies.” These bite-sized fritters were an inexpensive way to make use of leftover cornmeal batter.

Today, hush puppies are still made by deep-frying balls of cornmeal batter, usually 1-2 inches in diameter. In addition to cornmeal, typical hush puppy ingredients include:

  • Flour
  • Milk or buttermilk
  • Eggs
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

The batter may also contain herbs, spices, chopped jalapeños, cheese, or other add-ins to lend extra flavor. The small balls of batter are dropped into hot oil and fried until golden brown and cooked through, usually just a few minutes per batch.

Hush Puppy Nutrition Facts

The nutrition information for fried hush puppies can vary quite a bit depending on the exact ingredients, size, cooking method, and quantity consumed. However, here are some general nutrition facts for hush puppies:

  • Calories: Around 50-150 per hush puppy
  • Fat: 5-12g total fat per serving
  • Carbs: 15-30g per serving
  • Protein: 2-4g per serving

Since hush puppies are deep-fried, they are high in calories, fat, and carbs. Most of the calories come from the oil they are cooked in. A typical hush puppy is around 1 inch wide and has about 70-80 calories. The more oil they absorb, the higher the calorie count.

How Many Calories In A Single Hush Puppy?

Let’s take a look at the estimated calorie counts for a single, average-sized hush puppy ranging from 1-2 inches wide:

Hush Puppy Size Calories
1 inch wide 70-80 calories
1.5 inches wide 100-120 calories
2 inches wide 130-150 calories

As you can see, the bigger the hush puppy, the more calories it will contain. A good rule of thumb is that a 1-inch hush puppy has around 75 calories.

Calories In A Full Serving

To determine the calories in a full serving, you need to account for the number of hush puppies being served. A typical side serving may include:

  • 3-5 small hush puppies
  • 2-3 large hush puppies

So for a 3 hush puppy serving with average 1-inch puppies, the calories would be:

  • 3 hush puppies x 75 calories (each) = 225 calories

The more hush puppies you eat, the more calories you’ll consume. Restaurants may serve endless baskets of hush puppies too, so it’s easy to overload on calories if you are not careful.

Factors That Affect Calorie Count

Several factors can raise or lower the number of calories in hush puppies:

  • Size: Larger puppies mean more calories.
  • Batter ingredients: More caloric mix-ins like cheese will increase calories.
  • Frying oil: Type of oil and frying method impacts absorption.
  • Cooking method: Deep frying adds more oil than pan frying.
  • Batter consistency: Thicker batters may absorb more oil.
  • Quantity: Eating more hush puppies increases calorie intake.

How To Reduce Calories In Hush Puppies

If you are looking to lighten up your hush puppy recipe, here are some tips to decrease the calorie count:

  • Use a healthy frying oil like avocado or coconut oil.
  • Opt for pan-frying instead of deep-frying.
  • Make puppies smaller, around 1 inch wide.
  • Avoid calorie-dense mix-ins like cheese.
  • Use low-fat buttermilk instead of whole milk.
  • Cut down on portion sizes to 1-2 puppies.
  • Bake the hush puppies instead of frying.

Baked hush puppies will have significantly fewer calories, around 30-50% less depending on the recipe. But the taste and texture will be different than traditional fried hush puppies.

Healthiest Ways To Eat Hush Puppies

Here are some healthy tips for enjoying hush puppies while reducing calorie intake:

  • Share a small order as an appetizer.
  • Select a lighter side like slaw instead of fries.
  • Balance the meal with non-fried vegetables and lean protein.
  • Avoid dipping in high-calorie sauces and dressings.
  • Portion out just 1-2 puppies as a side dish.
  • Substitute baked puppies and use healthier fats.

While hush puppies are a high calorie fried food, you can still incorporate them into a healthy diet in moderation by controlling portions, choosing healthy cooking methods, and balancing them out with lighter sides and main dishes.

Hush Puppy Calories Compared To Other Fried Foods

How do hush puppy calories stack up against other popular fried foods?

Food Calories (average)
Hush puppies (75g/2.5oz) 200 calories
French fries (75g/2.5oz) 210 calories
Fried shrimp (85g/3oz) 170 calories
Fried chicken tenders (85g/3oz) 220 calories
Fried calamari (85g/3oz) 190 calories
Fried catfish (85g/3oz) 160 calories

As you can see, a serving of hush puppies has a similar calorie count to other popular fried foods like french fries, shrimp, and chicken tenders. The calorie density depends largely on preparation methods and portion size.

Should You Avoid Hush Puppies If Watching Calories?

Hush puppies are high in calories, fat, and carbs compared to non-fried foods. But does that mean you need to avoid them completely if watching your calorie intake?

Not necessarily. Hush puppies can still be enjoyed as an occasional treat as part of a balanced diet. The keys are:

  • Practice portion control. Limit to 1-2 puppies max.
  • Balance with non-fried vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains.
  • Reduce frequency. Enjoy just once or twice a month.
  • Pay attention to calories in other parts of the meal.

By carefully planning when and how you indulge, you can still fit hush puppies into your diet while meeting your nutritional goals. Just be mindful of portions and frequency.

Healthier Hush Puppy Alternatives

If you are looking for lower calorie alternatives to enjoy that classic hush puppy flavor, here are some options to try:

  • Baked hush puppies – Uses minimal oil for less fat and calories.
  • Corn fritters – Swap corn-based batter for lower carb count.
  • Sweet potato hush puppies – Packed with fiber and nutrients.
  • Quinoa hush puppies – Uses protein-rich quinoa flour.
  • Black bean hush puppies – Higher fiber and protein than corn-based.

With some simple substitutions and cooking method changes, you can give this Southern favorite a healthy, low cal makeover.


Hush puppies are a delicious but high calorie fried food with about 70-80 calories in a standard 1-inch ball. Bigger puppies, fried cooking methods, and multiple servings can quickly add up in calories. But you can still enjoy hush puppies in moderation as part of a balanced diet by controlling portions, choosing healthier prep methods, and balancing with lighter sides. With some simple tweaks, hush puppies can still have a place in your healthy eating plan.

Leave a Comment