A Spicy Perspective

Homemade Onion Rings in Air Fryer

How to Air Fry Onion Rings – 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!

Plate with fresh air fryer onion rings.

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!

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!

Stack of crispy air fried onion rings.

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
Hand dipping air fryer onion ring into sauce.

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!

Slices of large white onion on a cutting board, with sharp knife to the side.

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.

Slices of onion rounds soaking in buttermilk in a large baking dish.

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.

Cajun spices, flour, and cornmeal in a mixing bowl.

Mix well.

In the second bowl, whisk the egg whites until very foamy.

Bowl of whipped egg whites.

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!

Hand dipping ring of onion into egg white foam.

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.

Onion slice in panko breading.

Place 5 to 8 onion rings in the air fryer basket at a time making sure not to overlap. Spray thoroughly with oil spray.

Raw breaded rings in the fryer basket.

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.

Serving Suggestions

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.

Hand adding onion ring to stack of air fried rings.

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.

Hand dipping fried onion ring into ramekin with sauce.

Looking for More Easy Air Fryer Recipes?

Find all nutritional information in the recipe form below.

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Homemade Onion Rings in Air Fryer

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinade Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Enjoy the crunchiest fried onion rings right at home! This easy air fryer recipe has steps to make perfectly crispy onion rings from scratch or frozen.
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

Use any seasoning salt blend you like: Cajun, Adobo, Tajin, Lemon Pepper, Old Bay, or Taco Seasoning.
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.
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.

Nutrition

Serving: 8rings, Calories: 394kcal, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 360mg, Potassium: 613mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 2022IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 265mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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5 comments on “Homemade Onion Rings in Air Fryer”

  1. Pingback: Air Fryer Oatmeal Cookies - The Wooden Spoon Effect

  2. I love onion rings but I always feel like I have to eat out to get them but now with yours, they are so good I will have to make them many more times.

  3. I will never make them any other way! My kids LOVED these!

  4. Onion rings are already such a big hit at family get together! These will be such a great addition to bring to a family party. I can’t wait to make them! Thank you for sharing!

  5. these are amazing and the best use of my onions in the pantry! thank you so much for sharing this recipe