If you crave crispy onion rings but need to watch your weight, we’ve got your back. We’ll help you make the perfect batch of air fryer onion rings recipe — crisp on the outside, sweet and tender inside, and basically guilt-free to boot!
Plus, there’s no hazardous hot oil to work around and no greasy stovetop to clean afterward. With an air fryer, this crispy finger food is a snap to make.
So, click here to see how our air fryer onion rings are done. Or, read on and see why air-fried onion rings are worth the hype.
Are Air-Fried Onion Rings Healthy?
On a scale from healthiest to junkiest, fast-food onion rings fall near the bottom. They, along with most deep-fried foods, are often considered unhealthy because:
- They sneak oil into your food, adding loads of calories that you don’t need. If you want to lose fat, deep-fried foods (and processed carbs as well) are the last thing you want to put in your body.
- They are fried using hydrogenated oil, which contains trans fat. It raises bad cholesterol levels and lowers good cholesterol levels.
- They contain acrylamide, a by-product of deep-frying linked to an increased risk of cancer. Acrylamide forms when starch in the coating reacts with hot oil.
However, when done at home in an air-fryer, these foods can move several rungs up the health ladder. Without oil, none of the problematic substances listed above make it into your body.
Plus, making onion rings at home can help us avoid exceeding the USDA-recommended limits for sodium and saturated fats. It’s all too easy for store-made savory foods to exceed the recommendations.
Are Onion Rings Vegan?
Typically, onion rings aren’t vegan-friendly because the coating contains eggs. However, you can create vegan onion rings by substituting a vegan binder in place of the eggs.
To do this, combine half a cup of almond milk (or soy milk) with a quarter cup of flour. Whisk them together, adjusting the ratio if necessary, and you have yourself a vegan binder that works for all fried foods.
How to Cut an Onion for Onion Rings
Cutting an onion into rings is an easy task to master. Once you do, you’ll find yourself making them all the time.
Wash and peel your onion first. Then lay it on its side and slice off the top (not the root end). Don’t simply slice it in half because you won’t be able to hold it tightly for the next cuts.
Next, starting at the top, make incisions half an inch apart from one another. When you reach the root end, toss it in the trash right away to stem your flow of tears.
Finally, use your hands to separate the layers, creating onion rings of all sizes. We recommend separating out the ones that are too small to use. You can store them in the fridge for other dishes.
How to Make Homemade Onion Rings in Air Fryer
Once you have your rings, here’s what you need to do next:
- Preheat the air fryer
- Mix the eggs with seasonings
- Mix the breadcrumbs with seasonings
- Coat the rings in flour, eggs, then breadcrumbs
- Arrange them in your air fryer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
For the detailed air fryer onion rings recipe with measurements and timing, refer to our full recipe card below.
What Sauce Goes with Onion Rings
In case you don’t yet have a favorite, here are some of ours:
- Mayo AND ketchup: with equal parts of ketchup and mayonnaise, you’ve got a simple sauce that goes well on salads or fried foods. We find it even tastier with a dab of sriracha and honey.
- Dill and sour cream: a handful of chopped dill makes a world of difference when added to sour cream. It’s simple, easy, and works every time.
Storing and Reheating Onion Rings
You can place leftover onion rings in a Ziploc bag or any other container and keep them in the fridge. They last up to five days, and you can easily reheat them at 350°F in your air fryer.
For best results, spray some cooking oil over the top of the rings before reheating. It won’t add a lot of calories and will make them crispier.
Alternatively, freezing your onion rings will keep them good for several months.
How to Cook Frozen Onion Rings in an Air Fryer
Frozen onion rings can go straight to a bubbling deep-fryer, but do they work the same in an air-fryer? In short, yes, they do!
First, preheat your air-fryer to 400°F. Next, arrange your onion rings in the frying chamber, spray some (neutral) oil on top, and cook for 10 minutes (flip halfway through).
It’s possible to cook onion rings like this because they are relatively thin. Thicker foods like chicken fingers or nuggets need to be thawed (or microwave-defrosted) before placing them in the air fryer.
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- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F.
- Place an onion on your cutting board. Hold it on its side and slice off the top (not the root end). Cut it into half-inch-thick ring slices. Use your hands to separate the slices into rings. Measure out 4.5 oz onion rings (cut more onions if necessary), and put the ones you want to use in a bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together 2 medium eggs, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tbsp milk. Set aside.
- In a third bowl, mix 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp breadcrumbs with 0.25 grated parmesan cheese.
- Add 2 tbsp all-purpose flour to the onion bowl and gently toss to coat them evenly. Dip each ring into the egg mixture, then finally into the breadcrumb bowl. Use one hand to touch the wet mixture, and the other for the dry mixture in order to avoid making lumps in the breadcrumb bowl. Place the rings on a large baking tray or dish.
- Place onion rings in the preheated air fryer, and cook for 10 minutes (flip halfway). Try to arrange them such that you can cook as many as possible at a time — we only needed to cook two batches.
- Serve with mayo and ketchup.
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