Homemade Onion Rings in Air Fryer
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You don’t have to go to a restaurant to enjoy crispy fried onion rings! Learn how to make Homemade Onion Rings in the air fryer to enjoy the crispiest, crunchiest fried onion rings right at home. This easy recipe has steps to make in the air fryer from scratch or frozen!
Why We Love This Onion Recipe
A basket of hot and fresh onion rings is always welcome at the table! Delicious for an appetizer, side dish, or snack – any time is the right time for tender onion slices coated in a thick and crunchy batter. I know you are thinking about your favorite “fried” food dipping sauces right now!
I am a sucker for old-fashioned onion rings, cooked in hot oil and served fresh. But, I think they can be just as good without all that oil! We have an easy baked onion rings recipe that we love, but here’s a slightly tweaked version for the air fryer. Like the rings you oven-bake, these babies are flavorful and crispy – without being too heavy or greasy.
So what is the secret to the best, crispiest, not-actually-fried rings? We marinate Air Fryer Onion Rings in buttermilk for several hours so that sweet onion flavor really shines. Then dunk in a simple egg wash and coat with a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs, yellow cornmeal, and Cajun spice blend. The homemade rings are air fried to crunchy golden perfection in only 10 minutes!
In a pinch for time? We’ve included super easy steps to make frozen onion rings in the air fryer, too!
Ingredients for Crispy Air Fryer Onion Rings
We are using Cajun seasoning to flavor the breading. However, you can use any salted spice blend you like! Consider using lemon pepper, Tajin seasoning, or Adobo.
- Sweet onion – the larger the onion the more flavorful it is
- Buttermilk – try our easy recipe for homemade buttermilk
- Panko – or regular breadcrumbs
- Yellow cornmeal – for the crunchiest fried rings
- All-purpose flour – can sub with gluten-free flour
- Cajun seasoning – store-bought or homemade blackening seasoning (or blend garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt together)
- Egg whites – use the yolks to make homemade ice cream or chocolate raspberry pots de creme
- Oil spray – high heat and neutral flavored, like avocado or canola
How to Make Homemade Onions Rings in the Air Fryer
First, peel and slice the onion into 1/3 to 1/2 inch rings.
Pro Tip: Wear gloves when slicing large amounts of onion!
Gently separate the onion rings and place them in a baking dish or a large Ziploc bag.
Pour the buttermilk over the onion rings. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours to marinate.
Once the onions have had plenty of time to soak in the buttermilk, preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
Drain the buttermilk mixture off the onion rings. Set out two bowls.
In the first bowl, combine the Panko breadcrumbs, cornmeal, flour, and Cajun seasoning.
In the second bowl, whisk the egg whites until very foamy.
Working in small batches, dip each onion ring in the egg whites to coat in foam.
Get the Complete (Printable) Air Fried Onion Rings Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Then dunk in the breading mixture. Make sure the onion rings are mostly coated and set aside.
Pro Tip: Whip the egg whites as needed when they deflate. The foaminess makes the batter stick well to the onion slices and creates that ideal thick onion ring crust.
Place 5 to 8 onion rings in the air fryer basket at a time making sure not to overlap. Spray thoroughly with oil spray.
Air fry the onion rings for 5 minutes. Then open the basket, flip them over, spray the other side with oil, and continue air frying for another 5 to 7 minutes until golden and crispy.
Repeat with the remaining batches.
Enjoy freshly air-fried onion rings for an appetizer, side dish, or snack. They are great to pair with your favorite casual foods like hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken or steak fingers, BBQ chicken, and brisket sandwiches!
And, of course, you’ve got to have dipping sauces! Ketchup, ranch dressing, honey mustard, and barbecue sauce are just a few classics. We also love to dip onion rings in southern comeback sauce, spicy mustard, and our magic aioli – and homemade remoulade is delicious with the Cajun spice that’s in the breading.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make store-bought frozen onion rings in the air fryer?
Of Course! Preheat the air fryer to 400°F, then air fry the frozen onion rings in single layer batches for 6-8 minutes, flipping once in the middle. No need to add cooking spray!
Why are my onion rings not crispy?
If your rings are a bit floppy, the culprit is likely not enough heat or too many rings in the basket at once. Make sure to air fry onion rings at the right temperature, lay them in a single layer with no overlapping, and lightly spray with oil.
Why soak onions in buttermilk before battering and frying?
The buttermilk gets rid of any spicy onion bite, so only the delicious sweet onion flavor really comes through. It also makes the onion slices not as “slimy” so the batter is able to stick on really well.
How do you reheat onion rings?
Onion rings are best when enjoyed freshly fried, but will keep well in the fridge for a day or two. Then it is easy to reheat them in the air fryer! Cook for 2-4 minutes at 400°F, flipping halfway through.
Looking for More Easy Air Fryer Recipes?
- Air Fryer Zucchini Chips
- Crispy Air Fryer Toasted Ravioli
- Air Fryer Jicama Fries
- Halloumi Fries (Air Fryer or Baked)
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Air Fryer Cookies
Find all nutritional information in the recipe form below.
Homemade Onion Rings in Air Fryer
- Peel and slice the onion into 1/3 to 1/2 inch rings. Gently separate the onion rings and place them in a baking dish (or a large Ziploc bag.) Pour the buttermilk over the onion rings. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours to marinate.
- Once the onions have had plenty of time to soak in the buttermilk, preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
- Drain the buttermilk off the onion rings. Set out two bowls. In the first bowl, combine the Panko breadcrumbs, cornmeal, flour, and Cajun seasoning. Mix well. In the second bowl, whisk the egg whites until very foamy.
- Working in small batches, dip each onion ring in the egg whites to coat in foam, then dunk in the breading mixture. Make sure the onion rings are mostly coated and set aside. Whip the egg whites as needed when they deflate.
- Place 5 to 8 onion rings in the air fryer basket at a time making sure not to overlap. Spray thoroughly with oil spray.
- Air fry the onion rings for 5 minutes. Then open the basket, flip them over, spray the other side with oil, and continue air frying for another 5 to 7 minutes until golden and crispy.
- Repeat with the remaining batches. Serve warm with favorite dipping sauces.
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