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Onion Rings

Posted by Denise on February 22, 2011

Onion rings

Quickly make better than restaurant onion rings right in your own kitchen.

We love onion rings that are hand battered with a thin but crunchy exterior, cooked quickly so they aren’t greasy tasting, and are spiced to our tastes. Unfortunately, most restaurants serve the frozen, thickly coated bland rings that leave us hungry for great tasting ones. We occasionally find a place that makes really good onion rings, but it never seems to last. They either quit offering them or substitute something inferior.  

So, I thought that I could easily make up a recipe that met our desires. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. First, I came up with a crunchy exterior that unfortunately left the interior onion crunchy also. Not too great tasting! Then, when I was able to find a method that let the onion cook to the right consistency, the batter was soggy almost immediately after frying the rings. Not good either.  

Finally, I found a recipe that we liked the taste and texture of. This recipe is a riff off a recipe from Chef Alex Guarnaschelli of the Food Network. Most of it comes from her recipe, but the method is one that I figured out through trial and error. By soaking the raw onions in milk, buttermilk or ice water for about an hour before battering and frying the onion rings, the onions on the inside of the rings cook thoroughly in the time the outside cooks to a toasty brown. Just make sure to drain and blot the onions before battering them to keep the oil from popping excessively. And the batter uses a secret ingredient that I recently discovered helps to make a flaky pie crust (recipe coming soon)…Vodka! Don’t worry, no alcohol is left after it is cooked, so it is safe for the kids.



 Onion Rings

4 servings




onion ring ingredients 

Simple ingredients, delicious onion rings!




    Approximately 3-4 cups of peanut oil

3  cups, approximately, of milk, buttermilk or ice water

1  8 oz. beer

2  oz. shot of cheap vodka

2  T.  paprika, regular or hot, if you want it spicy

½  teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional, or to taste if you want it spicy

½  teaspoon garlic powder if desired

1  cup all purpose flour, plus a little more if needed

2  large sweet or white onions, peeled, sliced into 1” thick slices and separated into rings

            Kosher salt





1.         Place rings of onion in a bowl with a tight lid and pour cold milk or water over them. Put the lid on and allow to soak for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Make sure the liquid almost covers them and invert the bowl periodically to keep the onions on top moist as well.

                cutting onion rings

2.          In a heavy, large pot or a fryer, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer for checking the temperature, use one of the battered onions to check the temperature.

3.         Combine the beer and vodka in a medium bowl. Whisk in the paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and flour until well mixed with the liquid mixture. Set aside in a warm place until ready to coat onions. It should be pretty thick to adhere to the onions.

beer in bowl

making onion ring batter

spicing onion ring batter

finished onion ring batter

4.          Drain the onions and blot them to get most of the liquid off. Using a strainer, sprinkle some of the flour over the onions. Layer paper towels in a cake pan or cookie sheet for placing cooked onion rings to drain when they are cooked.

5.         Stir the batter slightly, then dip the onions a few at a time in the batter. Let part of the batter drip off back into the bowl, then using a fork or bamboo chop stick, gently slide the battered ring into the oil. Test one first and if it browns at a decent rate without burning, then the oil is at a good temperature. Do not put too many in at a time, because it will make the oil temperature drop too low and the onion rings will be greasy.

battering onion rings

Letting batter drip off after coating the onion rings. I use a fondue fork to do this. 
cooking onion rings 

6.         Cook rings until brown on one side (approximately 2 minutes), then carefully flip them making sure you don’t splash hot oil. Drain them on the prepared paper towels. If you want, sprinkle Kosher salt over the finished onion rings once cooked and eat while hot.


 cooking onion rings 2



onion rings draining


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