Happiness is…eating out, you order a burger and it comes with a surprise side of…Onion Rings! Yes, I have to admit it, I am a little onion ring obsessed. If I see them on a menu I have to order them and will rate a restaurant based on the quality of their onion rings alone (which reminds me of when we were on honeymoon in Vegas, my husband and I ordered a portion of chicken wings in every restaurant we ate at. But that’s a story for another time!)
So back to the onion rings. Yes I’m a big fan. But they have to be big, fresh and crispy. Those greasy frozen ones from the packet just won’t cut the mustard. The deep fried restaurant variety are undoubtedly the best but they won’t do my clogging arteries any favours so I set about making my own oven baked healthy version.
The crunch factor is probably the most important thing to get right when making your own onion rings. No one wants a soggy onion ring. For me the key to extra crunchy onion rings has to be panko breadcrumbs. If you’re not familiar with them, panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese style breadcrumb. Crustless bread is ground into large flakes that make foods super crispy. Panko breadcrumbs are crunchier than normal breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease, making them a bit healthier too. Aswell as onion rings, I use them to coat and bake chicken or chicken nuggets. I buy my panko breadcrumbs in Tesco. They have their own brand. But you can also get them from asian supermarkets or online.
So after crunch, what’s the next most important factor in a good onion ring? Well the onion itself is pretty important. It has to be sweet and tender, but still with a bit of a bite and not soggy in the middle. For me the key to the perfect middle is in the preparation. I soak the onions in a buttermilk and milk mixture for several hours. This might seem a bit too much faff but honestly it is worth it. Plus I like being able to get that bit of preparation out of the way earlier in the day, so then I just need to coat the onion rings and pop them in the oven later on.
The buttermilk helps to make the onions very tender and sweet but if you can’t get hold of buttermilk then just normal milk is fine. If you don’t have 6 hours to soak the onion rings then a couple of hours should suffice but warning…I’ve only ever tried this recipe after 6 hours of soaking so I cannot guarantee the results!
As for seasoning, I just added a small amount of cayenne pepper and some salt and pepper. You can get a little bit more creative though with other spices and herbs and I can imagine some grated parmesan mixed in with the panko crust would be delicious too.
- 2 large white onions
- 250ml buttermilk
- 300ml milk
- 100g plain flour
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 150g panko breadcrumbs
- Peel the onions, cut them into ½ inch slices and separate them out into rings.
- Mix the buttermilk and milk together in a large bowl or dish. Add the onion rings, cover with cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.
- After 6 hours preheat the oven to 200c. Mix the flour, cornflour, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a large ziplock sandwich bag. Remove all the onion rings from the milk and put them straight into the bag with the flour mixture. Close the bag and shake until the onion rings are fully coated. Kids will love helping with this part!
- Beat the eggs in a bowl and spread the panko breadcumbs out onto a plate. Line 2 baking trays with parchment.
- One at a time take each onion ring from the bag, dip in the egg and then coat with the breadcrumbs. Place onto the baking tray in a single layer.
- Once all the onion rings have been coated and placed on the trays spray them with an oil or cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, turning once and spraying again.
- Serve immediately with ketchup or another dip.