Onion Rings

Onion rings

Typical battered onion rings cooling on a wire rack.

Onion rings are a popular appetizer dish commonly found in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and some parts of Europe.

Onion rings typically consist of a cross-section or “ring” that has been either battered or breaded and then deep fried. The onion slices are typically between 1/4 – 1/2 inch in thickness. As with other dishes containing cooked onion, propanethial oxide in the onion decomposes during the cooking process, turning into bispropenyl disulfide – which is responsible for the sweet taste you might be familiar with in onion rings.

Other forms of onion rings exist, specifically types you might find in fast food restaurants. Many of these aren’t actually made from whole onions, but instead formed by pressing onion pieces together (something like onion paste) into the shape of a small ring before being breaded, frozen and sent to the fast food companies to be cooked when needed. They tend to be very homogeneous in size and don’t taste particularly good in my opinion.

Onion rings are often served with a number of different sides to dip them in. These include ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing (our favorite), barbecue sauce, fry sauce, or even house-made specialty sauces.

No one knows exactly where onion rings got their start, but there was a recipe in a 1933 Crisco advertisement in The New York Times, which features onion rings dipped in milk and dredged in flour before being deep fried.

Some larger chain restaurants sell their onions rings in the frozen food section of different grocery stores. Our local grocery store carries bagged frozen onion rings from Red Robin. I’m not sure if they are the exact same recipe as those served in the restaurants themselves, but they taste pretty similar in my opinion. The onion rings from Red Robin are breaded as opposed to being battered.

If you’re interested in making some onion rings at home, just know that they can get a bit messy if you plan on dipping the rings in milk, egg, and flour. Despite this, I still recommend giving it a shot if you’ve never tried making them before. The milk, egg, flour method a very viable method of making onion rings; I think it’s used in many different restaurants, but I have a couple recipes on this site that don’t require the use of eggs or milk.

The advantage over making traditional onion rings is that these recipes are a bit quicker and don’t make as big of a mess:

Onion Rings – Beer Battered Without Breading

Onion Rings – Quick Battered With Panko Breading