Onion Rings are a deep-fried snack or side dish that is often served in restaurants but can easily be made at home with just a few simple ingredients. They are made by slicing onions into rings, coating them in a batter, and frying them in oil until crispy and golden brown. They are fantastic and a must-make appetizer! If you prefer, they can also be made in an air fryer! Serve them with your favorite condiment like my fry sauce.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Onions: I prefer yellow or sweet onions for onion rings. However, white onions would also work; they just have a more pungent flavor.
Buttermilk: Use full-fat buttermilk for dipping the onion rings; it helps the breading stick to each piece and adds a tangy flavor to the batter. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, I have homemade buttermilk recipes here.
Breading: The breading mixture has common seasonings that add flavor to the onion rings. You will need flour, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper.
Oil: For deep-frying, vegetable oil or canola oil are both excellent choices. These oils have a high smoke point and a neutral flavor, making them suitable for deep-frying. After use, the oil can be clarified to extend its life and be used again. Here is information on how to clean used cooking oil. If would rather not fry the onions in oil, I have instructions on cooking onion rings in an air fryer in the notes of the recipe.
How To Choose The Best Onions For Onion Rings
When choosing onions for making onion rings, there are a few key factors to consider:
- Sweetness: Generally, sweeter onions will make better onion rings. Sweet onions such as Vidalia onions, Walla Walla onions, or Maui onions have a mild, sweet flavor that complements the crispy, savory coating of the onion rings. On the other hand, onions that are very pungent or bitter, such as red onions or white onions, may not work as well for onion rings.
- Size: Look for onions that are large and round, as these will be easier to slice into uniform rings. A larger onion will also yield more rings, which can be helpful if you’re making onion rings for a crowd.
- Firmness: Choose onions that feel firm and solid when you gently squeeze them. Onions that are soft or mushy may be past their prime and may not work as well for making onion rings.
- Thickness: Consider the thickness of the onion rings you want to make. If you prefer thicker onion rings, look for onions that are larger in size and have a flatter shape. If you prefer thinner onion rings, look for onions that are more elongated.
Overall, the best onions for making onion rings are those that are sweet, large, firm, and have a shape that is conducive to slicing into uniform rings. Experimenting with different types of onions can also be a fun way to explore different flavor profiles in your onion rings.
How To Serve Onion Rings
Onion rings are a delicious snack or side dish that can be enjoyed on their own or as part of a larger meal. Here are some ideas for serving:
- Burgers (In fact, I have a Rodeo Burger that has onion rings added to the patties!)
- Dipping Sauces like fry sauce, ketchup, or ranch dressing
- Hot Dogs
- Add to sandwiches for a little crunch
How To Store Onion Rings
Store deep-fried onion rings in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will last up to 3 days. Reheat them in the oven or air fryer.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- To a medium bowl, add buttermilk.
- In a separate medium bowl combine flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Slice the onion into ½-inch rings, separating each ring.
- Dip each ring into the buttermilk mixture and then into the flour mixture. Set onto the parchment-lined baking sheet until ready to fry. Repeat with each ring, dipping into the buttermilk mixture and then into the flour mixture.
Frying In Oil*
- Fill a large pot or Dutch oven with 1-2 inches of vegetable oil (or enough to cover the onion rings). Heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 375°F, using a thermometer to check the temperature. While the oil is heating, line a pan with a paper towel.
- Fry 2-3 onion rings at a time for about 3 minutes, flipping halfway. Do not overcrowd the pan. Constantly check the oil temperature to keep it as close to 375°F as you can; it may cool down after each batch.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the onion rings from the hot oil and place them on the paper towel-lined pan to drain off excess grease. Repeat with the remaining rings.
- Serve the onion rings hot with fry sauce, ketchup, or ranch dressing.
- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F.
- Place the coated onion rings in the basket of your air fryer in a single layer. (Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to work in batches.)
- Spray the tops of onion rings with non-stick cooking spray.
- Air fry for 12-14 minutes, flipping and spraying the onion rings halfway through cooking time.
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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:
I happen to be an onion ring fanatic. I will happily pay the $2.99 upgrade fee at restaurants to get onion rings instead of fries. This is a classic, crispy onion ring. They have a perfectly light and crunchy exterior and a tender and sweet onion interior. Great as a side for burgers, sandwiches, or just an appetizer.
These are light and crispy onion rings with some room for adding a little extra flavor if you wanted. They would be delicious dipped in a variety of sauces and on a burger or sandwich, for sure! I also loved the ones that were cooked in an air fryer (even though they didn't look quite as lovely).
I discovered that I am not a fan of onion rings. If they were in front of me, sure, I'd eat a few. I can understand why some enjoy onion rings though! They were definitely light and crispy. I liked how the rings didn't fall apart after each bite! The onion rings aren't heavily seasoned which makes room for a tasty sauce to dip it in!
This is a delicious, solid onion ring recipe. They fry up super crispy and are lovely with your favorite dipping sauce. I couldn't stop eating them!