How to Make Onion Rings That Are Crisp and Delicious

Make restaurant-quality onion rings in your kitchen in just three simple steps!

Crisp and savory on the outside, sweet and silky on the inside, hot all the way through—onion rings are easily one of the most craveable appetizers. Learn how to make fried onion rings step-by-step, including how to make batter for onion rings to achieve that extra crispy crust. This recipe includes instructions for how to make onion rings without bread crumbs, so you can make the batter with ingredients you probably already have on hand. And if you want, you can alter this recipe to learn how to make beer-battered onion rings—just replace the milk with your favorite beer when you're making the batter.

Make Homemade Onion Rings

Steak topped with onion rings on white plate
Jim Franco

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

This classic onion ring recipe serves six, making it a great party appetizer for sharing with friends and family!

You'll need:

  • 4 medium mild yellow or white onions (1¼ pounds)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Salt
  • Dipping sauce, such as Chipotle Ketchup or Curried Aioli (see recipes below)
three pieces of sliced onion for onion rings
Kritsada Panichgul

Step 2: How to Make Batter for Onion Rings

Using a chef's knife ($16, Target) or sharp thin-blade knife, slice off the stem and root ends of each onion. Remove the peel. Slice each onion crosswise ¼ inch thick. Separate the onions into rings.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, milk, egg, the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Using a whisk or rotary beater, beat until just smooth.

Step 3: Batter and Fry the Onions

In a deep-fat fryer ($190, Beth Bath & Beyond) or large, deep skillet, heat 1-inch oil to 365°F. Use a fork to dip onion rings into the batter. Drain off the excess batter.

Test Kitchen Tip: You might need to stir the last few onion slices into the batter to coat them entirely.

Fry the onion rings, a few at a time, in a single layer in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once or twice with a fork to separate the rings. Remove the onion rings from the oil. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with additional salt and serve warm.

Great Dippers:

Although onion rings can be savored solo, ketchup is a classic dipping sauce. You can also try one of these gourmet dippers:

  • Chipotle Ketchup: In a small bowl stir together 1 cup ketchup and 2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce.

Test Kitchen Tip: Extra chipotle chile peppers can be frozen. Place in freezer containers; cover with adobo sauce. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 2 months.

  • Curried Aioli: In a medium bowl stir together ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon curry powder. Slowly drizzle ⅓ cup olive oil in a thin stream into the mayonnaise mixture, whisking constantly.

Tools for Making Onion Rings

You don't necessarily need special equipment to learn how to make homemade onion rings. A deep fryer will be the easiest to use because it allows you to set and regulate an exact frying temperature. However, you can get by just fine with a large, deep skillet and a frying thermometer ($31, Walmart). Don't skip the frying thermometer though—it's important to make sure you're frying at the right temperature so your onion rings come out crispy, crunchy, and delicious. If the oil isn't hot enough, your onion rings can turn out soggy; too hot, and the oil can start to smoke. To use a frying thermometer, just clip it on the side of the skillet so you can monitor the oil temperature throughout the entire frying process.

Safety Tips for Frying Onion Rings

The cooking oil for frying onions reaches very high temperatures, which can start fires or cause burns if you aren't careful. Before you roll up your sleeves to make onion rings, be sure you're following these safety guidelines:

  • Have a kitchen fire extinguisher handy (and learn how to use it!) before you begin.
  • Avoid letting water come into contact with the hot oil—the water will vaporize into steam, which can make the oil splatter and cause burns.
  • Never use water to put out a grease fire. Use a kitchen fire extinguisher, or cover the fire with a metal lid.
  • Always add oil to a cold fryer (that is turned off) or an unheated pan. Make sure any fryer or pan you use is dry and set away from sources of water.
  • Never leave the fryer or pan unattended when it is in use.
  • When finished frying, turn off and unplug the fryer (or remove the pan from the heat). Make sure the fryer or pan is completely cool before cleaning.
  • Once oil is completely cooled, pour it into a resealable container and discard it in the trash. Never pour it down the drain, as it can harden and clog pipes.

Best Onions for Onion Rings?

You can use white or yellow onions to make onion rings. Keep in mind that white onions are generally more pungent than yellow onions. If you are a fan of sweet onions, consider Maui, Vidalia, or Walla Walla onions, which are usually available during the spring and summer. Outside of those seasons, try Oso Sweet or Rio Sweet onions; these yellow onions are grown in South America and are available during fall and winter.

Are Fried Onion Rings French or American?

Classic onion rings are made from onions that have been sliced, separated into rings, dipped into a batter, and then deep fried. Sometimes onion rings are called "French fried onion rings." However, fried onion rings are not something you're likely to find while strolling around Paris. While there's no clear consensus on where onion rings originated, they've become a classic American steakhouse and bar-grill specialty. They're often served as appetizers or as side dishes and garnishes to meaty specialties such as steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Onion rings are also popular in Great Britain, Australia, and some parts of Asia.

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