Onions dipped in buttermilk, coated in a flavorful breading, and air fried to a perfect crisp. These Air Fried Onion Rings are ideal for an appetizer, side dish or snack!
New Air Fryer
For the last two years I’ve primarily air fried in a toaster oven air fryer combination. I love that I can fit a good bit of food in a single layer, but after trying out a few other air fryers, I realized that the basket air fryers have some advantages as well.
Prime advantage: I think basket air fryers do a better job at crisping small things, especially vegetables.
Last year I mentioned this to my mom, so for Christmas she sent me a new basket air fryer. I have to tell you, so far, I love it.
One of my first experiments in the basket fryer was with onion rings. It was a success. As a matter of fact, I’d prefer to eat these air fried onion rings over deep fried onion rings any day. And, my son just requested them for his 6th birthday. So, you know they’re good.
I prefer sweet onions for onion rings. They have a more mild taste than many other onions, and have just a bit of a sweet taste when they’re cooked. If I could not find sweet onions, my second choice for this recipe would be yellow onions.
Onion Ring Batter
I experimented multiple times with the best way to make these onion rings. This is what I found worked best:
Step 1: Dip each onion piece in a mixture of egg and buttermilk.
Step 2: Shake off the extra liquid.
Step 3: Place the onion in the bread mixture.
Can you then dip the onion in the egg/buttermilk mixture again and coat the onion a second time?
Sure! BUT, I found that this made it harder for the coating to crisp. I only do this if I don’t think the onion was fully covered after the first dip.
Can you dredge the onions through flour before dipping them and breading them?
Sure. BUT, I didn’t find that it made a bit of difference in the outcome of the onion rings.
Onion Ring Coating
The coating for these onion rings uses:
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Black pepper
- Plain bread crumbs
The cornstarch and baking powder help the coating to crisp nicely, and the other spices added a great extra bit of flavor!
Oil for Onion Rings
Alright, this is my number one piece of advice: DIP the onion rings in oil (vegetable, corn and olive oils all work well).
I tried spraying the rings and the outcome is not near as tasty. If you miss even a tiny spot, the taste is lacking. If you dip them in oil, all of the coating is oiled, and you get a much crispier, tastier onion ring.
You may be thinking, why air fry instead of deep fry if you’re going to dip them in oil?
- Even dipping them onion rings in oil will lead to less oil in the coating than you have after deep frying.
- It’s much less messy to clean up.
These onion rings become soft if stored overnight, so they are best served immediately after cooking.
With that said, I will gladly eat them cold the next day as a snack, but know that they are at their crispiest just after making them.
These Air Fried Onion Rings are easy to make, less messy and healthier than deep fried onion rings, are perfectly crunchy, and full of wonderful taste!
Air Fried Onion Rings
- 2 large sweet onions cut into ~1/4 to 1/3 inch slices
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ~1 cup vegetable oil may also use olive oil or corn oil
- In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and buttermilk together until well combined.
- In a second shallow bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, bread crumbs, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper until well combined.
- In a third bowl, add oil.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Working with one onion piece at a time, dip the entire onion piece in the egg/buttermilk mixture. Shake off excess liquid.
- Next, place onion piece in breadcrumb mixture and cover entire ring with breading. Gently shake off excess breading.
- You may place onions on a plate after you bread them.
- Once you are ready to air fry the onions, dip each onion piece in the oil so that it is entirely covered in oil. Then, place onion in air fryer basket. NOTE: You do NOT need spray the air fryer basket.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until onions are golden brown. You will not likely need to flip them during the cooking time. NOTE: Time to bake will vary by brand of air fryer.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
If you enjoyed these Air Fried Onion Rings, you might also enjoy these other SugarSpicesLife recipes: