Apr 042011
Deep-fried onion rings arranged in a line on a...

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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.



All about Bob the nutjob!

Bob is a N Georgia blogger, homesteader, yurt liver, self-sufficiency nutjob, pig farmer, political activist, politician baiter...and the best damn cook you know that doesn't make a living at it.He can be followed onTwitter. You can also "Like" our Facebook page.

  11 Responses to “Easy onion rings. A simple fix”

Comments (11)
  1. Now if you could just tell me how to make them without a deep fat fryer and all that oil.

  2. Easy if you don’t want many at once…a half inch of oil in the bottom of a skillet…LOL…of course you can only cook about 3-4 at the time.

  3. Bob,
    3 or 4 should be sufficient.

  4. You know I really hate that show, it has way too much good food on it. I want to eat at a good 93% of the places he goes. ?and then you find those dumb little things that make all the difference. I had given up on onion rings because of the exact problem you had, limp onions and batter. I guess I will have to give it another try. And Ralph, you could always cook them in the oven on like 500 degrees. You could use a rack on a cookie sheet and it should work fairly well.

    ** did you really put a captcha on here Bob?**

  5. Had to Justin…was getting WAY too much spam. It’s been on for about a week and has cut my spam by 99%.

    At least I’m using a Captcha that can be easily deciphered by real people.

  6. How do you stop the onion from stinkin’ up the rest of the food in the frig????

  7. It is rare that I put anything in my fridge without covering it. When I do the onions to slightly dry them, everything else is covered and won’t pick up the odor.

  8. Nice to meet you Bob! Thanks for this,I was just given a 25lb.bag of gorgeous white granex onions and so wanted to give onion rings a try AGAIN!- Wish they were Vidalias though! But greetings from a fellow N.Georgian- my birthplace is Ft Ogelthorpe..Looking forward to your newsletters!

  9. Welcome to the JuicyMaters family Kimberly…and I’m glad you found the onion ring post helpful.

    On the newsletter…I don’t bombard your inbox…I think I’ve sent 3 in the past year…but try to put good info in what I DO send.


  10. gonna try it one more time….. piles of sticky batter I don’t need……

  11. I agree…I love me some fried okra but HATE the batter I used to use. This way? YUM!


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