The cousin of onions, leeks make for delicious fried leek rings (thanks Alton Brown for the idea). Get our recipe for frying them in a flour/cornmeal batter (thanks Ina Garten for that idea) without any bread crumbs. Also see how to make them in the air fryer.
I love me some leeks!
Not just because they are great for jokes, such as there is a leek in the bag, but for their fantastic flavor.
I prefer them over onions for many applications.
One of my favorite things that I think leeks can do better than onions is fried rings.
❓ Why Leeks
There is a huge advantage to leek rings. Leeks don't contain as much moisture as onions.
Have you ever had an onion ring and had the batter separate from the onion when you bite in? You won't have that problem with leeks.
Not to mention leeks rings are smaller so they cook faster. The fresher "green" taste of leeks is really nice.
? Cornmeal Fried
I got the idea for making leek rings from Alton Brown.
However I decided to use a batter from Ina Garten for onion rings with my leeks rings. This is a light batter that contains corn meal to give the rings a nice crunch.
I cut her batter recipe in half as I didn't need as much since the rings are smaller.
For the cornmeal I always reach for a stone ground cornmeal that will have more flavor than the cheap stuff from the store. Bob's Red Mill is always reliable
Here is what yo will need in your shopping cart for the leek rings.
- Leeks (4 medium sized leeks)
- Salt and pepper
- Cooking oil (like vegetable, canola, or peanut)
I have actually used cake flour because believe or not, the store was to once of all purpose flour. Cake flour is finer and I think actually works better for this. You aren't trying to make bread!
If you want to make them gluten free, you can sub in a gluten free flour easily.
? Top Tip
In order to separate the rings, start by cutting the leeks into ½ inch slices.
Then take each cut leek section and push the leeks upward to separate like I am doing in this picture.
Any pieces that are too small or aren't rings I just set aside for another use, such as dicing them up for soup.
? Air Fryer Instructions
I recently got an air fryer, so I had to check out how the leeks would do it in. Turned out to be a great alternative that was still crispy and delicious, while using less oil.
For the air fryer I recommend 8 minutes at 375 degrees. Check them after 4 minutes to see how they are progressing. Try not to overcrowd the basket, they should be in a single layer. You can keep them hot in a warm oven if you need to make them in batches.
Before you start cooking the leeks it's a good idea to spray them with oil otherwise you might end up with parts that are too floury.
? More Recipes to Try
Crispy Air Fried Leek Rings
- 4 small to medium leeks cut into rings
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ stone ground corn meal any color
- 1 quart frying oil peanut, canola, or vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Take off the dark green parts of the leeks, save them for your compost pile. Slice the leeks into rings. The rings don't need to be separated.
- Soak the leeks rings in a bowl of water to remove dirt (it should sink to the bottom).
- Soak the leeks in the buttermilk for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Combine the flour, corn meal, and salt and pepper to taste in a mixing bowl.
- Dredge the rings into the flour mixture, Then add to your air fryer basket. Don't overcrowd them. They should be in a single layer. It's better to work in batches.
- Spray each ring with cooking spray and cook for 8 minutes at 375 degrees. Check them after 4 minutes to see how they are progressing.
- Add any additional salt to taste when you remove them from the basket.
- Heat your oil to 350 degrees in an electric deep fryer or a Dutch Oven with a fry thermometer attached.
- Fry the rings for 60-90 seconds or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and add additional kosher salt if needed.
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