Have you ever tried to do something that you knew just had to be simple, but you are never quite able to get it right? That’s how I was about onion rings. Every greasy spoon diner and fast food joint in the world seems to find onion rings easy to make.
Not me. I always wound up with a mess I would have a pile of cooked, limp pieces of onion, and another pile of nicely browned, crisp batter that was supposed to be encasing the onion, but wasn’t.
I tried everything I could think of. I mixed my batter thinner, thinking that maybe a thick batter was too heavy and fell off during the cooking. Nope, still one pile of cooked onions and one pile of cooked batter. I mixed my batter thicker thinking a thick, sticky batter would hold together better and stick to the onion. Nope. A pile of cooked onions and a pile of cooked batter, but no fried onion rings.
In desperation, I even got fancy (way too fancy for onion rings) and tried my method for fried chicken. I dredged the rings in flour, then egg wash, then flour again.
Do you know what I wound up with? One pile of cooked onions and one pile of cooked batter, that I must say would have looked really good on a chicken drumstick.
Still no fried onion rings though. I was beginning to think everyone had a magic trick I hadn’t heard about.
And then a Eureka moment! I was watching a cooking show, Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive ins, and Dives on Food Network, and he was showing a guy in a diner making onion rings…and I learned a simple fix that will keep the batter on your onion rings.
If you already know this (and you might…I might be the only cook in the world that didn’t), I apologize…but if you have fought to make onion rings like I have, listen up. This is so simple it’s amazing.
Turn your raw onion rings into a sponge to “suck up to” the batter.
Onions are moist…wet…and as soon as you slice them and separate the ring sections, they start weeping…
You do too if it is a potent onion.
…and that weeping…expelling of water…tends to wash anything off the onion so it cannot stick to it.
Including onion ring batter.
So, to get the onions to quit washing the batter off themselves, you need to SLIGHTLY dehydrate them, so that rather than weeping and knocking the batter off they will be thirsty and suck the batter to themselves trying to draw in moisture.
The cool…and simple…way to make the onions thirsty little sponges doesn’t involve chemicals or drying agents, it just involves your refrigerator. A refrigerator removes moisture from the air in it, and has a very low humidity. Vegetables tend to dry out quickly in a refrigerator, but you can use that in making onion rings.
Simply slice your onions and separate the rings THE NIGHT BEFORE you are going to cook them. Place them in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight and the low humidity will draw out some of the moisture, drying them slightly and making them try to suck up some of the moisture in the batter, holding it on.
The fix is just that simple.