We’re bringing a favorite fast-food, deep-fried indulgence home for an air fryer makeover and the transformation is going to be positively delicious. With a crispy, crunchy, perfectly seasoned batter on the outside, and savory-sweet, tender onion on the inside, these Air Fryer Onion Rings are just as delicious as their greasy counterpart, if not better!
Guaranteed, you won’t be missing a thing…other than the grease and the extra calories, that is.
Air Fryer Onion Rings are not only a healthier option for soothing those snacky, junk food cravings, but they also make for the perfect party or game day appetizer! Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce and watch the crowd go wild!
FLOUR DREDGE VS. PANKO FOR HOMEMADE AIR FRYER ONION RINGS
Initially, we tried making Air Fryer Onion Rings both ways: with the panko breadcrumb coating, and without it. Now, typically, we’re team Panko all the way. We use it in our air fryer pickles, chicken nuggets, shrimp, and even cheese sticks to guarantee that extra crispy-crunchy coating. However, we found in the case of onion rings, they were just better without it.
Getting the Panko to stick to the onion rings proved time-consuming and irritatingly difficult, requiring a double-dredge and even freezer time to make that panko coating stay put. So we opted for an Air Fryer Onion Ring that was actually more of an onion string.
Onion strings are thinner sliced onion rings with a light and crispy batter. They’re just as addictive, yet twice as easy to make in the air fryer!
HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER ONION RINGS
- Slice the Onion
- Preheat the Air Fryer
- Prep the Dredge
- Dredge the Onions
- Spritz With Cooking Spray
- Air Fry In Batches
1. HOW TO SLICE ONION RINGS
Slice the stem end off of the onion and peel off the outer paper. For stability purposes, hold the onion on its side, and carefully slice off a scant sliver from the other side. Use this point as the base for your onion before you begin cutting it into rings.
Then, with the onion sitting on the base, hold it steady and carefully begin slicing from the stem end toward the root. For onion strings, you’ll want to try and cut the onion into thin slices, about a 1/4″ thick.
2. PREHEAT THE AIR FRYER
Preheating your air fryer is an important step and if you want your first batch of Air Fryer Onion Rings to turn out perfectly golden and crispy, it’s a step you won’t want to skip!
Some air fryers preheat quicker than others, but likely 5 minutes of preheating should do the trick, regardless of your model. I like to let my air fryer preheat while I’m preparing my dredge, which typically takes right around 10 minutes.
3. PREP THE DREDGE
For the dredge, you’ll need two “stations.” The first takes form in a medium-sized bowl and the second, in a gallon-sized, ziptop bag. If you don’t have a gallon-sized bag, you could use a large mixing bowl in its place.
In the medium-sized mixing bowl, you’ll whisk together the eggs, the buttermilk, and the hot sauce. Set the bowl and aside, and then move on to the dry mix. Add flour and spices to the ziptop bag and shake until everything is evenly mixed.
4. DREDGE THE ONIONS
To kick off the [very simple] dredging process for your Air Fryer Onion Rings, take half of the sliced onions and toss them in the buttermilk-egg mixture until they’re well-coated. You’ll find it’s easier to get your sliced onions evenly coated both in the egg mix and the seasoned flour if you split that load in half.
Once you have your onions drenched in the wet mix, transfer them to the seasoned flour mixture, seal shut, and shake until well-coated in the flour. Then, shake off the excess and transfer the coated onion to a rimmed baking sheet or set them on a large work surface.
5. SPRITZ WITH COOKING OIL
This step is more important than you might think. You want a nice, even coating of cooking spray to mist every centimeter of the onion rings! It’s for this reason, having a large baking sheet off to the side really comes in handy. It provides you with ample room to space out the onion rings without overcrowding them; the rim just helps to keep the oil contained.
Spacing out the onion rings is important and allows you to get a full-coverage mist of oil across both the surface and along the sides of each and every onion. So, lightly coat the onion batter with the cooking spray, turn each ring, and spritz again.
6. AIR FRY IN BATCHES
Once your onion rings are dredged and spritzed, it’s time to do some air frying. Simply place the half-batch of onion rings in the air fryer and cook at 400°F for 10 to 12 minutes. Give the air fryer basket a shake every 3 minutes or so to encourage even cooking and browning. Then, remove the onion rings from the air fryer and repeat the steps once more with the remaining onion rings!
HOW LONG TO COOK ONION RINGS IN THE AIR FRYER
The thickness of your onion rings will effect cook time in your air fryer more than anything else. For thinly sliced onion rings (about a 1/4″ thick), you will likely need no more than 10 minutes for the interior to soften and the exterior to become a gorgeous, golden brown. If your Air Fryer Onion Rings are on the thicker side, they’ll likely take the full 12 minutes to cook all the way through.
THE BEST ONIONS FOR ONION RINGS
You can use yellow or sweet onions for slamming out an incredible batch of Air Fryer Onion Rings!
Sweet onions are fairly mild as far as “onion flavor” goes and as their name indicates, are sweeter in nature than other varieties. If you are a fan of savory-sweet, this is probably going to be your number one choice for making homemade onion rings!
Yellow onions, on the other hand, are a bit more complex and “spicy” in nature. If you’re Team Savory all the way, feel free to go for the yellow onion.
THE BEST ONION RING DIPPING SAUCE
If you’re looking for a particularly delicious dip for Air Fryer Onion Rings, you absolutely cannot go wrong with Comeback Sauce (a.k.a. Outback’s Bloomin Onion Sauce). This sauce is a mix of mayo, ketchup, and horseradish, and comes across as mostly savory with just a hint of sweet and a teensy kick of spice.
COMEBACK SAUCE (BONUS RECIPE!)
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons creamy horseradish
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
Add all of the above ingredients to a small mixing bowl and stir to combine. Serve and enjoy!
STORING AND REHEATING
If you end up with leftover Air Fryer Onion Rings, you can either keep them in the refrigerator or the freezer. If you like your onion rings extra crunchy, the latter will be the best option. Refrigerated onion rings are likely to become soggy.
Frozen Air Fryer Onion Rings, on the other hand, will maintain a crispy, crunchy coating when reheated.
HOW TO FREEZE THEM
To freeze Air Fryer Fried Onion Rings, lay the onions on a flat surface lined with wax paper and place them in the freezer. Once the onions are frozen, transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe, ziptop bag, seal, and freeze for up to two months.
HOW TO REHEAT THEM
Your frozen homemade onion rings will reheat in the air fryer beautifully! Just preheat your air fryer for 10 minutes at 400°F. Then, add a batch of frozen Air Fryer Onion Rings back into the air fryer, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
ABOUT AIR FRYER FROZEN ONION RINGS (PRE-PACKAGED)
If you don’t want to get out the flour and the spices, you can use packaged frozen onion rings instead.
CAN YOU COOK FROZEN ONION RINGS IN THE AIR FRYER?
If you want to cook pre-packaged, frozen onion rings in the air fryer, rather than using the oven instruction on the back of the package, you certainly can!
HOW LONG DO YOU COOK THEM?
Just place them (in frozen-form) in a preheated air fryer basket and cook them at 350°F for about 6 to 8 minutes, turning them halfway through.
5 MORE PARTY APPETIZERS YOU’LL LOVE
- Texas Trash
- Chili Cheese Dip
- Crockpot BBQ Meatballs
- Bacon-Wrapped Smokies
- Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip
The best Air Fryer Onion Rings with a crispy, crunchy, perfectly seasoned Southern-style batter and savory-sweet, tender onion on the inside!
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2-3 dashes hot sauces
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 medium-sized sweet onions thinly sliced
- Nonstick cooking spray (Avocado, canola, or vegetable oil preferably in an aerosol can), about 2 tablespoons
Preheat the air fryer to 400° for 5-10 minutes.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce and set aside.
In a large gallon-sized, ziptop bag, add the all-purpose flour, salt, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, mustard powder, and onion powder. Seal and shake until well-combined.
Add the onion rings to the egg mixture and toss until evenly coated. Shake off any excess and transfer half of the onion slices to the ziptop bag with flour. Shake and until coated in the flour mixture, and before removing, shake any excess flour off of the onion rings and back into the bag. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet or a large work surface.
Spray generously with cooking oil, turn, and spray again. Make sure not to leave any "dry spots" on the flour coating. You want the onion slices to be somewhat wet-looking.
Transfer to the preheated air fryer basket and cook for 10-12 minutes, shaking the basket every 3 minutes or so.
Turn out cooked onion rings on a serving platter and repeat once more with the remaining onion rings.