My fondness for onion rings is fairly legendary, and I’ll choose them over fries any day, given the opportunity. There’s just something about the crispy crunchy sweet salty ring that gets me everytime. More often than not, those onion rings are deep-fried, which is why they taste so darn good, but not everyone wants to hover over hot oil and have their house smelling like a fast food restaurant. This baked version of onion rings still gets top marks for flavour, and I love how I’m not missing out on any of the crunch factor.
Before you get started, there are a few things to know about how to get the best-tasting oven-baked onion rings. First up is the type of onion. I like to use large sweet onions as they have the best flavour. Next up is timing. The onion rings need to soak in buttermilk for a minimum of 6 hours but ideally overnight. This allows the onions to soften, making them tender inside the crispy coating. The long soak in buttermilk will also allow the egg whites and the crumb coating to stick to the onion rings. This recipe does take some planning ahead, but it’s worth it!
The ingredients for the breading are also key. Flour really sticks to the onion; the cornmeal adds crunch; and the panko crumbs are large, airy flakes which tend to stay crispier longer than just regular old breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease. I seasoned my mixture with smoked paprika and garlic powder, but lemon pepper, chili powder, Old Bay, would also be great.
Once the breaded onion rings are on the baking sheets, you’ll want to thoroughly coat them in a cooking spray. This helps to seal the breading to the onion, and gives us the crispy rings we all crave. Flipping the onion rings over at the halfway point is also important as it makes sure the onion rings brown evenly. All ovens bake a little differently, so watch the last few minutes of baking, as you wouldn’t want these tasty morsels to burn. Golden brown is where it’s at!
The hardest part is waiting the suggested 10 minutes before you can pop a ring in your mouth. I didn’t wait that long, to be honest, and I assume you won’t either!
Serve the onion rings with this creamy Chili Lime Mayo, but ketchup or a ranch-style dip would also be delicious. This is a fabulous snack to enjoy on the patio with a cold beverage. I also love tucking these onion rings into my burger or grilled cheese sandwich. Best part is there’s no deep fryer to clean!