Oven-Fried Onion Rings

Published April 1, 2006.

Why this recipe works:

Fried onion rings are the perfect accompaniment to burgers, barbecue, and other casual fare. But who wants the mess and smell of deep-frying? We wanted an oven method that produced tender, sweet onions with a super-crunchy coating.

We made a batter with buttermilk, egg, and flour, but when we… read more

Fried onion rings are the perfect accompaniment to burgers, barbecue, and other casual fare. But who wants the mess and smell of deep-frying? We wanted an oven method that produced tender, sweet onions with a super-crunchy coating.

We made a batter with buttermilk, egg, and flour, but when we put the baking sheet in the oven the batter slid right off the onions. Coating the onion rings with flour first gave the batter something to cling to. But we wanted even more crunch. For an extra layer of coating, we turned to crushed saltines and crushed potato chips. We preheated the oil in the baking sheet before adding the coated onions so they’d start crisping right away. The result: crispy, crunchy oven-fried onion rings with deep-fried flavor.

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Makes 24 rings, serving 4 to 6

We had the best results with kettle-cooked potato chips.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place 1/4 cup flour in shallow baking dish. Beat egg and buttermilk together in medium bowl. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup flour, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into buttermilk mixture. Pulse saltines and chips together in food processor until finely ground and place in separate shallow baking dish.

    2. Pull apart the rings in each round, discarding any that are less than 2 inches in diameter. Working one at a time, dredge each onion ring in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl, then drop into crumb coating, turning ring to coat evenly. Transfer to large plate and repeat with remaining onion rings.

    3. Pour 3 tablespoons oil onto each of two rimmed baking sheets. Place in oven and heat until just smoking, about 8 minutes. Carefully tilt heated sheets to coat evenly with oil, then arrange onion rings on sheets. Bake, flipping onion rings over and switching and rotating position of baking sheets halfway through baking, until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer onion rings to plates lined with paper towels to drain briefly. Serve immediately.

    MAKE AHEAD: Oven-Fried Onion Rings can be breaded in advance and refrigerated for up to an hour. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking; if baked straight from the fridge, the onions will not soften properly and will remain crunchy.

Deep-Fried Coating without the Deep Fryer

Our oven-fried onion rings are so crisp and crunchy that you'd swear they came straight from the fryer. The secret is a coating made with kettle-cooked potato chips and saltines ground to fine crumbs.

KETTLE CHIPS

When crumbled, these chips produce a golden brown crust that almost seems deep-fried.

SALTINES

Crushed crackers add a nice salty kick and absorb excess grease from the potato chips.

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