Whether it’s time for the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup, the NBA Finals, or just about any other occasion where you’ll be glued in front of your TV screen for hours, crispy onion rings are always a hit. But they’re more than just fanfare for those special times. They can be great snacks, too, or served with your favorite beverage as you entertain your friends. Some like them deep fried while others prefer a healthier way of preparing the rings by cooking them in an oven. Making the perfect onion rings whether fried or baked shouldn’t be difficult and we’ll show you how.
The most important part of cooking onion rings is choosing the right onion. For onion rings, your best bets are sweet onions, especially the Vidalias, Walla Wallas, and Mauis. These do not have the starkly pungent and sharp flavor than other types of onions have such as the white onion. These onions are excellent for onion rings because they are flatter and can impart a deliciously sweet taste to the palate.
Alternatively, yellow onions can also be used. These onions usually have a sharp taste when raw, yet they do mellow out the longer they are cooked. It’s one of the best substitutes for a Vidalia or a Maui if you cannot get hold of these sweet onion varieties.
You can also try white onions especially if you require a more pungent flavor to your onion rings. These onions have higher water content, too, making them really crispy when fried.
Ideally, the onion rings should be cut in uniform slices. The best way you can ensure this is to get larger onions. First, slice off the root end and stem of each onion. With a really sharp chef’s knife, preferably one with a really thin blade, slice the onion crosswise into about a quarter of an inch thick. You can make it thicker like half an inch depending on what your idea of the perfect onion rings is. Make sure that you have a really sharp knife so you don’t get that onion sting in your eyes.
Now carefully separate the rings. You can leave the smaller middle rings and store them for another dish if you want. Most folks will only want the larger rings.
Get a bowl of iced water and soak the onion rings for about an hour. Make sure to drain the onion rings completely and pat dry using paper towels.
Whether you’re going to deep-fry your onion rings or make them crisp in the oven, you will still need to prepare the batter with which to coat the onion rings.
To make the batter you’ll need to whisk an egg in a small bowl and transfer this into a larger bowl containing three-quarters of a cup of all-purpose flour. Add about a two-thirds cup of milk and a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Also, add about a quarter of a teaspoon of salt.
You can also add a pinch of cayenne powder if you want the batter to be a bit spicy, but you can always leave this one out.
Whisk everything until you get uniform consistency of the batter.
A good deep fried onion rings recipe often calls for a deep fryer to get the rings all nice and crispy outside, yet soft and velvety inside. But if you don’t have a deep fryer, you can always use your ordinary frying pan, but preferably one that has higher sides so you can place more cooking oil. Alternatively, you can use a medium-sized thick-bottom pot.
Make sure the oil is hot enough before you start dunking the onion rings. Ideally, you’d want an oil temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dunk the onion rings into the batter. Work in batches so you can ensure even coating. Make sure to drain off from the onion rings any excess batter. This is not tempura so it would be wise to avoid dripping onion rings.
Deep-fry for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the batter has turned golden brown. Drain the golden onion rings on paper towels. Season to taste.
… Or, Bake in the Oven
If you don’t like deep-fried, then you’d do well with homemade baked onion rings. Preheat your oven to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit first. While getting your oven hot enough, dunk the onion rings in your prepared batter and dredge this in Panko breadcrumbs. Make sure to coat each onion ring with the breadcrumbs.
Transfer these Panko crumb-coated onion rings onto a baking sheet. Lightly spray the onion rings with cooking spray. Put in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs have turned golden brown.
Making onion rings at home is easy. Now you get to enjoy professional-quality onion rings anytime right at home.