What is it about dredging something in batter and submerging it into a vat of steaming hot oil that makes food so much more delicious? I’ve yet to try anything deep-fried that I didn’t deeply love. Whether it be potatoes, cheese, mac and cheese, or even Oreos, it seems no food is immune to the deep fryer’s kiss of golden brown goodness. Deep-frying takes an otherwise basic food and kicks it up to a whole new crispy, golden level. It’s like some sort of magical metamorphosis. A plain ol’ stick of cheese can turn into a gooey, crispy, crunchy delicacy when covered in breading and dunked in the fryer. Plain potato goes from limp and bland to golden brown and delicious. Is is it magic? I can’t say for sure. But when I eat a good basket of deep-fried onion rings, it’s hard to think otherwise.
Although I’m a fan of all things fried, onion rings are definitely in my top three favorites. They’re crispy, crunchy, and delicious, with great flavor from that onion. When done right, onion rings are a tasty treat. After having tried these circular onions from just about every restaurant in existence, it is only natural that I began to ponder how good homemade onion rings might be.
Turns out, homemade onion rings aren’t good.
I’ve eaten many average onion rings at restaurants just to find a handful of good ones, when all I had to do was make some at home. These rings are so crazy crispy-crunchy that it actually caught me off-guard when I took my first bite. It was a pleasant surprise to experience that satisfying snap as my teeth sunk through the crispy golden crust and into the tender, juicy onion. Sogginess is a common problem among onion rings (ever had them from a certain fast food chain that claims to be “king”?), so I was thrilled to find such serious crunch factor here. Plus, the breading is not overly thick, so you don’t have to worry about eating a whole lot of breading with barely detectable onion buried beneath it.
Another flaw with way too many onion rings is a lack of flavor. I think some people literally cover their rings in plain breading and nothing else before frying ‘em. What, I can’t even get some salt and pepper? This is a major mistake. Onions have a lot of flavor, but covering them in thick, tasteless breading tends to cancel that out. The rings need a flavorful yet not overpowering coating to support them. These Homemade Onion Rings have just that. They have the perfect balance of salt and flavor; no bland, boring breading here! This can be attributed to the addition of cayenne, buttermilk, and the teeny tiniest drop of hot sauce in the outer coating.
If you’re sick of onion rings that are average at best, then try making them at home! These are super easy to make and come together rather quickly. Do not fear the fryer, my little cookies. It’s not as scary as it seems! These rings are crunchy and completely delicious. Although the breading is tasty and crisp, it does not outshine the fresh and flavorful onion it cradles. Serve these up alongside a burger or sandwich when you’re craving something deep-fried and delicious.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- You can cut the onion to suit your preference. If you like ‘em thick, then cut them thick. If you like ‘em thin, then cut ‘em thin. I personally would’ve preferred them a bit thicker than how I cut them. However, their thinness allowed them to cook through well and be easy to bite through.
- You could serve these with marinara sauce or another dipping sauce.
- To keep the first batches of onion rings warm while the other batches fry, keep them on a baking sheet in an oven at 200 degrees.
- I’m a strong supporter of using kosher salt. It has so much more flavor than table salt.
Homemade Deep-Fried Onion Rings
Recipe adapted from Food Network
- Peanut oil or vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 2 medium Vidalia onions
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Preheat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F.
Slice the onions into 3/4-inch rings and separate. Add the buttermilk, hot sauce, and egg to a large casserole dish and whisk to combine. Stir in the onion slices and allow to soak for 3 to 5 minutes.
Put the flour, cornmeal, salt, and cayenne into another large casserole dish or bowl. Whisk to combine. Drop the soaked onion rings into the breading and use a fork to cover them, making sure to thoroughly and evenly coat the entire onion.
Add the onions in batches to the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the fryer. Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter when they come out of the hot oil.