Are you looking for onion rings that don’t feel so heavy and are crunchy too? Give Ina Garten’s Fried Onion Rings a try! No breadcrumbs needed, instead coated in flour and cornmeal. Learn how to make them in the air fryer too.
My wife is a huge onion ring fan. She likes them anyway she can get them,
I myself am a bit more picky.
I do not like onion rings that are too heavy or are covering in too much batter.
Light and crispy is the way I go.
When I came across a recipe from Ina Garten that produced a lighter batter that was plenty crispy, I was completely on board.
Here is what you will need from the grocery store for these onion rings.
- Yellow, Spanish, or Sweet onions
- Cornmeal (I like Bob’s Red Mill Stone Ground)
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
The cornmeal is there to provide an extra crunch as well as flavor. It’s what really makes this recipe in my opinion.
We used Spanish Onion as Ina suggested. When in season, Vidalia onions would make a great choice. Those onions don’t make me tear up. Any yellow colored onion would do.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use regular milk with a little bit of lemon juice in it to bump up the acidity. Really try to use buttermilk, it’s tang will add another level of flavor to these rings.
As for frying oil you want to pick anything that has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor. You can use canola, vegetable, grape seed, or sunflower, among others. If you aren’t sure you have the right oil, just do a search for smoke point for that oil. It needs to be above 350, the cooking temperate of the oil for this recipe.
Ina used a quart of vegetable oil.
💡 Fry Tips
As Ina says, don’t overcrowd them when frying. You don’t want them to stick together.
Also you don’t want to lower the temperature of the oil too much by adding too many “cold” rings.
📝 Air Fryer Instructions
If you got an air fryer you can totally adapt this recipe to be made in it.
Most air fryer onion ring recipes I saw online called for breadcrumbs. I wanted to make the make them without breadcrumbs like in this recipe. It took a little bit of tinkering to get it right but really the only thing I changed was – spraying the rings with oil.
I made sure to spray each onion ring with oil in order to help browning and to moisture the flour. I fond when I didn’t do that well enough there were floury tasty spots on the onion rings. Not desirable.
I recommend cooking the onion rings ta 375 degrees for 10 minutes, monitoring their progress half way through.
🍤 More Foods to Fry
Ina’s Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings
Ina Garten's recipe for cornmeal fried onion rings written out in my own words
- 2 large yellow or sweet onions
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 quart frying oil
Peel the onions, slice them into rings. The ring should be about 1/2 inch thick. No more than 3/4 inch.
Add buttermilk, salt, and pepper to a vessel large enough for the onions to fit in.
Add the onions and allow at least 15 minutes for them to soak.
Heat up a dutch oven or large wide pot to 350 degree. Keep track of temperature with a candy/fry thermometer that is attached to the side of the pot.
You are going to work in bathes here, put no more than a few onion rings in at a time, so you don't overcrowd them or reduce the temperature of the oil too much. You can place the finished rings in a oven set to it's lowest temperature to keep warm.
Remove one ring from the buttermilk. Allow a moment to drip. Then dredge into the flour. Flip over to cover both sides, then into the oil.
Fry each ring for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip half way through.
Season with salt immediately when out of the oil. Place on a sheet in the oven to keep warm.
Repeat until all the rings are done. Serve hot.
To make in an air fryer – Spray each ring well with cooking spray. Set the air fryer to 375 degrees and cook for 10 minutes, checking half way through, until golden brown and the outside is set.
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