Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

fritter the English word for a small portion of deep-fried batter, usually but not always containing a piece of fruit, meat, fish, or vegetable. Fritters are generally eaten immediately after cooking, as, like all deep-fried foods, they taste best hot and fresh.

Many kinds of batter or dough are used to make fritters. An egg, milk, and flour batter is most usual in Europe; mixtures similar to that used for choux pastry are also popular. In English the latter are known as beignets (the French word carries both the English meaning of fritter and a specific culinary meaning of deep-fried choux pastry). Runny yeast-leavened batters are used in some areas, making fritters akin to doughnuts. Some fritter-like confections are made in twisted shapes, for example, the various kinds of cruller. Others are closer to deep-fried stuffed pastries of the samosa type.