These onion rings are prepared with a light beer batter for a super crunchy texture, and make for a tasty snack when plunged into a side of smoky, kicked up ketchup!
Onion Rings, a Favorite Fried Treat
Onion rings are one of those hot, golden, crispy-fried finger foods that my hubby Michael and I rarely pass up when they're offered on a menu. We can't seem to resist!
We enjoy splitting an order between the two of us, and love dipping them into a tasty sauce of some sort, one that's a little smoky and spicy. It pairs so well with slightly sweet and savory flavor of freshly fried onion rings, especially when they're extra crunchy!
The fun thing about onion rings is that they're easy to whip up in the comfort of your own kitchen, using spices and seasoning tailored to your own liking. No need to go out to a restaurant enjoy 'em!
A Better Onion Ring Batter
Onion rings are best when they’re extra crispy and crunchy; and I’ve found that in order to achieve this, a quick dredge in seasoned flour and then a dip in beer batter is the way to go.
The beauty of a beer batter is that it is super easy. All you need is flour and some good beer, which makes it an ideal coating for homemade onion rings!
And the added bonus with beer batter is that it actually adds a little bit of extra flavor to an onion rings recipe. You simply whisk it up just before dipping (to keep that carbonation from the beer fresh), then dip your freshly sliced onions into it and fry!
The result is a light, golden and extra crisp exterior...so finger-licking delicious!
How to Make Onion Rings
When I prepare my onion rings, I like to use ingredients that pack as much extra flavor as possible.
I like to first sort of “marinate” my onion slices in buttermilk for about 20 minutes while I prep my dredging ingredients and get my oil nice and hot, and this tenderizes the rings and adds a little initial layer of flavor.
Then, I simply add some flour and my seasoning to a ziplock bag to use as an initial coating after the buttermilk, followed by a dip in that simple beer batter.
Here's my onion rings recipe at a glance:
- First, I prep my kicked up ketchup (optional) to have on hand to dip my onion rings in.
- Next, I slice my onions into roughly 1/2” thick rings, and cover them in buttermilk for about 20 minutes.
- Then, I slowly bring my oil up to 360°; and as I do this, I prep my seasoned flour.
- I drain my onion rings of the buttermilk, add them in batches to my seasoned flour in a ziplock bag, and shake to coat; I place the coated rings on a wire rack to hold while I prep my beer batter.
- Next, I whisk together flour with beer to make my beer batter, dip the flour-coated rings into the batter, and fry them until golden.
- I serve the freshly-fried onion rings with my smoky, kicked up ketchup!
(The full recipe is below...)
Tips & Tidbits for Onion Rings:
- Maui onions: I like to use the slightly more sweet Maui or even Vidalia onions for my onion rings recipe, as this adds a little contrast to the savory flavors; but you can simply use yellow onions, or even white onions—whatever you prefer.
- Buttermilk is your friend: Buttermilk is wonderfully tenderizing and imparts some extra flavor to the onion rings; but if you're avoiding dairy, simple skip this step and go directly to the flour dredge step.
- A hint of cornmeal for extra crunch: I add a small amount of cornmeal to my flour mixture for a little added crunch; however, you can leave it out if you prefer and sub more flour.
- Season the flour: Seasoning equals flavor, so I opt to use salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and cayenne in my flour dredge—it gives a hint of added color as well.
- Get your oil hot: I always like to use a clip-on thermometer when heating my oil for frying. This gives me an accurate idea of the temp, and this way I can avoid the oil getting either too hot (and burning the onion rings), or not hot enough (oily onion rings). Getting the oil to around 350-360° works best.
- Prep the beer batter just before dipping: Make sure to prep your beer batter just before you're ready to dip the rings and fry them—it helps keep the beer fresh and carbonated.
- Season when they're fresh out of the oil: When the onion rings are fresh out of the oil and draining on a wire rack, you can give them a little extra sprinkle of salt and pepper as it will nicely adhere while they're cooling a little before serving.
- Smoky, kicked up ketchup for dipping: I like to make my own dipping sauces, so I'm sharing my favorite for these onion rings along with the recipe. It's super easy, a little smoky, and a bit spicy! But you can certainly use your own preferred dipping sauce.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 410 calories
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Onion Rings Ingredients:
• 2 medium (or 1 extra large) Maui onions, peeled of outer layer and sliced into 1/2” thick rings
• Buttermilk to cover (about 3 cups)
• Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
• 2 cups flour, divided use
• 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 10 fl oz beer (I used amber ale)
Smoky, Kicked Up Ketchup Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup ketchup
• 1 garlic clove, pressed through garlic press
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 2-3 drops liquid smoke seasoning
• 3-4 dashes (or more) tabasco sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
• Pinch salt
-If preparing the optional smoky ketchup, begin by preparing that: in a small bowl, whisk all of those ingredients together until well blended; then, cover with plastic and chill for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld together for extra zip.
-To prepare the onion rings: add the sliced onions into a large bowl, and pour the buttermilk over them just to cover; allow the rings to marinate in the buttermilk for about 20 minutes.
-While the rings marinate in the buttermilk, place a medium-large pot on the stove, and add enough vegetable oil to come about half-way up the sides of the pot (about 5-6 cups), and slowly bring the temperature of the oil up to 350-360° while you prepare the rest of the steps.
-Prepare your flour dredge by adding 1 cup of the flour, along with the cornmeal, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper into a large Ziplock bag.
-Once the rings have marinated, thoroughly drain them from the buttermilk allowing any excess to drip off, and add them into the Ziplock bag (work in a couple of batches if you need to), tossing them very well to coat them thoroughly; remove the rings from the flour dredge and place them in a single layer onto a wire rack or baking sheet to hold for a moment.
-To prepare your beer batter, add the remaining 1 cup of flour to medium-size bowl, and slowly pour the beer into it, whisking gently until the batter is smooth and about the consistency of pancake batter.
-To fry the rings, dip each ring into the beer batter allowing any excess to drip off, and carefully place into the hot oil; repeat with another few rings (you will work in batches), and allow the rings to fry for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown.
-Remove the fried rings from the oil and drain them on paper towels or on a wire rack, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over them while still hot; repeat the process with the remaining rings. (You can keep the rings very hot by placing the finished ones on a baking sheet and into a warm, 200° oven while you work on the batches, if you desire.)
-Serve the onion rings while hot with the smoky ketchup, or your favorite dipping sauce!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2013, and has been updated with even more love!