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How to Make Homemade Fried Onion Rings

Athlyn Green enjoys whipping up tasty dishes in her home kitchen. She's received many requests for her recipes and is happy to share.

Puffy fried onion rings made in the home kitchen.

Puffy fried onion rings made in the home kitchen.

Making Restaurant-Style Onion Rings at Home

Onion rings are a restaurant favorite, but they can be easily made from home, and they don't take much time to make.

All you need are onions, something to fry them in, and a good recipe for the batter that puffs up wonderfully as it cooks and turns into a delightfully crispy coating.

But to some, puff batter seems a bit of mystery, a wonderful coating made by chefs and only found in restaurants—because, after all, something that tastes so delicious must be difficult to make, right?

Not at all. Surprisingly, the batter can be made from a few simple ingredients that most people have in their home pantry. It is very easy to make and can be mixed up in seconds.

While it takes just minutes to make onion rings and puff batter at home, it is important to follow the cooking tips in this article for the best results and it's equally important to pay close attention to the safety precautions when working with hot oil in the home kitchen.

Ready to get started?

A good puff batter is all that is needed to make these lovelies at home.

A good puff batter is all that is needed to make these lovelies at home.

A Snack or a Real Serving?

Most people would agree that while they enjoy eating a plate of onion rings when dining out, there are never enough of them. I worked as a cook in a family restaurant and we were told to put about 8–10 onion rings on each plate. This is more like a side-dish and not what many would consider to be a real serving.

When you order onions ring in a restaurant, there are never enough.

When you order onions ring in a restaurant, there are never enough.

Why Make Your Own Onion Rings?

  • You don't have to go out.
  • You don't have to spend any money.
  • If you are short on groceries, this is one menu item that takes a few ingredients to make.
  • You can make a bigger serving of onion rings than you would get in a restaurant.
A friend tried my recipe and shared a photo of her onion rings.

A friend tried my recipe and shared a photo of her onion rings.

1. Preheating Your Oil

Onion rings can be made using a deep pot or a deep-fat fryer.

  • If using a pot on the stove, heat your oil on medium heat (dial should be around 6–8), not the high heat!
  • If using a deep-fat fryer, follow the instructions regarding temperature.

Type of Oil

I've found it's best to use liquid oil over using hydrogenated fat. Why? Shortening or lard adds to greasiness, which you don't want, whereas a liquid oil adds to the wonderful crispy texture. Shortening or lard works fine when cooking French fries but not as well when cooking onion rings coated with batter.

Step 2: Making the Batter

While your oil is heating, combine ingredients for your batter.

Adding paprika to the dry ingredients for onion ring batter.

Adding paprika to the dry ingredients for onion ring batter.

Whisking dry ingredients.

Whisking dry ingredients.

Liquid added to batter.

Liquid added to batter.

A Few Simple Ingredients Are Needed to Make Puff Batter

1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl:

  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • shake paprika
  • shake seasoned salt, (optional)

2. Whisk to mix.

3. Add:

  • scant 1/2 cup water

4. Whisk until smooth.

Note: You really don't have to measure, after you've made this batter a time or two. I find making a slightly thicker batter, creates more "puff" to your onion rings.

Step 3: Slicing Your Onions

Slice medium onions 1/8–1/4" inch thick and gently pull apart the rings. Slightly thicker onions have less of a tendency to break. Take care that rings don't snap when separating them.

Separating rings

Separating rings

Separating rings

Separating rings

Step 4: Coating Sliced Onions With Batter

Add sliced onions to the batter mixture and stir gently with a spoon. This is much faster than individually dipping each ring into the batter mixture. Make sure all onion rings are coated with batter before slipping each one into the hot oil.

Onion rings coated in batter. Make sure batter isn't too runny. If it's runny, it won't stick to your onion rings as well.

Onion rings coated in batter. Make sure batter isn't too runny. If it's runny, it won't stick to your onion rings as well.

Oil Temperature and a Tester Onion Ring

To test your oil, drop in one coated onion ring and watch to see if it just sits or if it fries. What you are looking for is an onion ring that turns golden. If oil is too hot, your onion ring will cook too quickly and turn a dark brown. If necessary, adjust oil temperature. When the oil temperature is just right and your "tester" onion ring has cooked the way it should, you are ready to proceed.

Step 5: Cooking Onion Rings

When the fat is ready, gently drop in onion rings into the pot one-by-one or place them in the fryer basket and lower into the fryer. Use caution when lowering in rings, so as to avoid being splashed by hot fat.

Deep frying in action

Deep frying in action


You want your fried onion rings to puff up and turn golden brown, not overcook. If they overcook, they will taste bitter.

Cooking Tips For Perfect Results

  • Make sure your onion rings are separated as they cook in the oil, so they don't stick together.
  • Turn them over, so they cook evenly on both sides.
  • Put a metal strainer over a bowl and place it nearby.
  • Use a slotted spoon to lift the onion rings out of the oil. Place rings in a strainer to drain.
Ready for lifting out

Ready for lifting out

Important Safety Precautions When Using a Pot

If you are using a large, deep pot instead of a deep fryer, follow the safety tips below.

  • Make sure that you do not overfill your pot. When oil becomes heated and when it is frying something, it will bubble up and could boil over onto the stove and onto the hot element and catch on fire. A pot that is half full of oil contains too much oil for safe deep-frying.
  • Place the pot at the back of the stove.
  • Watch closely to avoid overheating and the risk of fire. As mentioned, you do not need high temperatures.
  • Do not leave it unattended for any reason.
  • Keep a lid close by, in case of fire, for quick and safe extinguishing.
  • Remove the pot from the element when you are finished frying to prevent the wrong element from being turned on accidentally and causing a possible fire.
  • Put the pot in a safe spot, taking care to protect any surface and well out of the way of any kitchen traffic.
All done!

All done!

Should You Use a Deep Fryer to Cook Onion Rings?

Using a deep fryer is a safe method for frying foods, which allows for:

  • Easy temperature control, which prevents fat from catching on fire.
  • You don't have to "chase" onion rings around in hot fat with a slotted spoon to lift them out. When you use a deep fryer, you cook right in the basket.
  • You lift all your onion rings out at once in the basket.
  • Fat drains into the fryer. Deep-fat fryers are designed so that the basket sits up on a ledge and out of the fat, so that everything drains and stays in the fryer.
  • No hot element near to the fat. A fryer offers a safe cooking scenario when used as recommended.
  • Do not leave it unattended as you would do with a pot, and so too, with a deep-fat fryer. Any time you cook with hot oil, never, never step out of the kitchen for any reason.

Safety Precautions if Using a Deep-Fat Fryer

Place well back from the counter edge and make sure the unit can't be bumped, the cord can't be snagged in clothing, or the unit or cord pulled by young children.

A Fast Cooking Method

Once you are set up to go, deep-fat frying is a fast cooking method that eliminates having to turn on the oven and having to wait while it heats. In most cases, deep-fat frying is faster than pan-frying.

Fryer or Fire?

It is important to remember that oil if overheated, can catch on fire. Never leave oil unattended, and always take appropriate steps to ensure safety when cooking with fat. If using a pot, make sure no fat drips onto the heated stove element or near to element.

© 2009 Athlyn Green