Mardi Gras Day Of The Bugnes


Here it’s that time of the year, again!

What time is that? A time that happens every years around February or March, called Mardi Gras.

As I mentioned in my post last week about la Chandeleur, just about every festive occasion in France comes with food, and Mardi Gras is no different.

As a matter of fact, just the name tells you that there’s going to be some food involved since Mardi Gras, as many of you already know, means Fat Tuesday.

This year Mardi Gras falls on February 12, but the date varies each year between February and March, because is always 47 days before Esther and Easter which also falls on different dates every year.

What is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras marks the last day of plenty before the long fast of old that lasted between from Ash Wednesday until Palm Sunday.  This is why on that day people celebrated with costumes and masks parties and food.  It’s during such period that the bugne was born in Lyon.  Why do I say Lyon, because according to regions this French beignet changes names.

In the South of France it’s called “oreillettes” and in the Paris area it’s called “beignets”. While the name and shape changes by regions, it’s still the same recipe.

 Why do we make bugnes at Mardi Gras?

A very interesting thing and that touches me personally is that this type of beignets was actually was born in the same city I was born, yes, that’s right, the bugne was born in Lyon, France what is now the second largest city of the country and nicknamed the capital of gastronomy.

According to history literature they found the oldest reference of the word “bugne” in the city of Lyon back in 1538 at the Hôtel-Dieu de Notre Dame de la Pitié du Pont-du-Rhône, which used to be a castle, then a hospital and soon will be transformed into a luxury hotel and a mall. This  happens to be the very hospital where my own brother was born.

It in this beautiful history building that a list for a banquet was found which include “bugnes” This banquet was made in the honor of a major Renaissance French writer named Francois Rabelais. The word bugne comes from the old French word “buigne” which meant “hump”.

Where does Mardi Gras Meets Bugnes?

Even though Bugnes are now made and eaten during what it’s the last day of plenty before the period of fasting, the bugne was actually born “during” the fasting by some Lyonnaises woman who where trying to make some time of food that was allowed during fasting. The only huge difference is that it was basically made of only flour, salt and water.  As  you will see in the receipe it contents much more good ingredients now.


Bugne Recipe


  • 300 g of Flour
  • 30 g of sugar
  • 2 coffee spoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 120 g of butter


Melt the butter on low heat. Mix all the ingredients together in a blow until you obtain a mixed dough. Work with your hand about 3 minutes. Form a ball and place your dough in a ball covered with a cooking cloth or plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours take the dough out of the fridge.  Spread some flour on a clean kitchen counter and spread the dough with a rolling pin.  Than cut the shape of the bugnes as seen in the video and plunge them few at the time in hot vegetable oil.

Note: In Lyon We twist them before cooking, in the south they don’t.



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19 thoughts on “Mardi Gras Day Of The Bugnes”

  1. You always find something new to share, Sylviane! Now these look yummy. And simple enough to make. I admit I’m not very good at fasting. I like to eat 🙂 These look like they would make a good breakfast or snack. Hm, I wonder if you could dip them in honey or something! Yum!!
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    1. Hi Carol,

      I wouldn’t be very at fasting at all either. Actually I wouldn’t be good at it all, because I’d get sick.

      I guess you could dip the bugnes in anything you want, but with the sugar plus honney that would be darn sweet!

      Thanks for coming, here again, Carol
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  2. Hey Sylviane,

    I love beignets, yummy. We have a restaurant not far from me that is a walk in and you order at the counter type of set up. They make the best beignets and although I do not eat a lot of them, I’ve been known to get a wild hair and stop in to grab a few. Oh yes, they are so fattening but man are they good.

    Thanks for this history lesson and the unique change of names and things. See, I never know the history behind it, I just love the events. Mardi Gras is a big deal here in our area too, people have so many parties and Galveston has a big parade and bash too.

    Fun time had by all. Thank you for the recipe.

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    1. HI Adrienne,

      Ah, I’m glad that you like beignets, this time!

      I love them too, I remember when my mother would make those bugnes I would eat lots of them. She usually made tons of them because they were me, my brother, and my cousin in house and we didn’t even counted how many we ate.

      Thanks for coming 🙂

  3. Sylviane,

    This looks scrumptious! Visiting this blog has given me a better education about France. I remember the post you did on wine and I wanted a glass so badly, but had to settle for my California wine in my house lol.

    Now, with Mardi Gras coming, it is so great you shared this regional recipe! Being Italian decent, I love to cook my traditional foods on that day, and lightly fast on the next. Now I have a French way to do it.

    Thanks for giving me such a great education.


    1. Hi Donna,

      Well, thank you for being a great supporter of the blog, Donna, and enjoying what I share.

      I like to call this blog my fun blog, because it’s always fun to share those stories with you guys.

      Thanks so much for coming 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah,

      That’s right here are lot of version of the bugnes with just different names. Thanks for sharing this and thanks for coming.

  4. Hi Sylviane,
    Thanks for the reminder about Mardi Gras and the history lesson of the bugnes. They look easy to make and we might make some at home. My daughter Catherines class is always making food. They made les gallettes des rois and will make something for mardi gras too i’m sure.

    Carnival de Nice is coming up soon. Have you been to it??
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    1. Hi Annie,

      Yes, bugnes is big in France around Mardi Gras. My elmentary school used to make bugnes on that day and we didn’t do much work. We used to dress up in costumes and eat bugnes most of the day. Loved that!

      No, I’ve never been at the Carnaval de Nice, but sure heard about it a lot, even on TV and stuff. Are you going to go?
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      1. Yes i think we may just go to the Carnival de Nice. It is less than 2 hours by train from us… The kids are out of school for 2 weeks and we could not get a reservation to go skiing which is too bad since we have not been skiing since we arrived in France. we thought of going to Bulgaria but my husband doesnèt want to go that far..:(
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  5. Hi Sylviane,

    This is really a great blog about Mardi Gras Day and it is always good to learn about other cultures. Thanks for the lesson.

    The Bugnes look similar to what my Mum used to make and in the Middle East we call them “Mishabak” and I wanted badly to know the recipe but I never did and I am so glad to find it here. Yes, my Mum used to twist them before frying and they look and taste yummy. I have to try this recipe. It looks easy.

    Thanks Sylviane for sharing this and for the education we get here.

    Be Blessed,

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    1. Hi Neamat,

      How interesting that those bugnes are all over, isn’t it?

      Yes, this recipe is quite easy and they are delicious too 🙂

  6. Hi Sylviane

    Now this is so funny for me to read as Mardi Gras in English version is Carnival Season and in Australia it is a huge Gay and Lesbian celebration held in Sydney. This year it is on the 2nd March. It is the largest event of it’s kind in the world.

    Now back to your post. Those bugnes look absolutely delicious and great they come from Lyon. I have been there many years ago as I have mentioned before.

    Thanks for some more of the history of your beautiful country Sylviane.

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    1. Hi Sue,

      Yes, it looks like Carnival is a worldwide thing that just varies a little here and there, but kind of all in the same season.

      Yes, those bugnes are good and easy enough to make.

      Thanks for coming, Sue 🙂

  7. We have Shrove Tuesday over here in the UK..and we make pancakes.
    I have never heard of Bugnes, but they look amazing, and will definitely try to make them…getting hungry just looking at them!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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