Onion Rings


When I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, my grandmother used to take me to the farmers market in Miracle Mile. After the market, we would walk over to Bob’s Big Boy and order a serving of fried onion rings. We probably ordered hamburgers too, but all I remember to this day was how much I loved those onion rings. As far as I knew at age five or six, Bob’s was the only place on the planet to get them.

I still love onion rings, but can’t eat so many of those heavily battered, deep fried ones. This recipe, adapted from one by Ina Garten in a recent issue of Oprah Magazine makes a lighter onion ring than I remember from Bob’s, but still crunchy and delicious.

Onion Rings Recipe

  • Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled, sliced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick ringed slices, rings separated (See How to Slice an Onion)
  • 2 cups buttermilk, or 1 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1 cup milk
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup cornmeal OR 1 cup prepared cornbread flour plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 or 3 cups of grapeseed oil, or other high smoke-point oil such as canola oil or peanut oil

Equipment needed: a 5-quart heavy-bottomed dutch oven, tongs, candy thermometer, paper towels, cookie sheets


1 Combine the buttermilk (or yogurt and milk) with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Add the onions to the buttermilk mixture and coat thoroughly. Let sit at least 15 minutes.

2 In a separate bowl combine the flour and cornmeal, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.

3 Add the oil to a largish Dutch oven pan - about 5-quart or 6 quart size. Make sure that the pan is absolutely dry inside before you add the oil. Any water droplets in the pan will cause the oil to splatter violently as it heats up. The oil should create a layer anywhere from 3/4-inch to an inch thick. Use more oil if necessary. Heat the oil to 350°F. Use a candy thermometer to measure the heat of the oil. You may need to tilt the pan in order to cover the thermometer's sensor completely and get an accurate reading. I have found some instant-read thermometers to be useless for this purpose as their sensors are 2 1/2 inches up from the bottom. A good old fashioned metal-encased thermometer works best.

Be very careful whenever handling hot oil. No running kids in the kitchen. No distractions. Do not answer the phone if it rings. Pay attention. Have the pan's lid close by.

You can test if the oil is ready by moistening a little bit of the flour and dropping it in the pan. If it sizzles and fries, it's ready. If it burns, take the pan off the heat and let the oil cool down a bit.

onion-rings-1.jpg onion-rings-2.jpg

4 Working in batches, lift some onion rings out of the buttermilk and coat them in the flour mixture. Use tongs to place them one by one in the hot oil. Fry for a minute on each side, until golden brown. Do not crowd them. Place finished onion rings on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Keep the complete onion rings warm in a 200°F oven while you fry the rest. Between batches, if you end up needing more oil, add some. Let the temp get back up to 350°F before starting the next batch.

Serve hot.

Note: It's best not to pour the leftover oil down the drain. Better to pour into an extra empty jar, and discard with your trash.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Onion Rings on Simply Recipes. Thank you!



How to Slice an Onion

Never miss a recipe!

Subscribe to Simply Recipes free via email:

Showing 4 of 18 Comments

  • Sabrina C.

    I made these delicious Onion Rings, eating them right now, so good!, I made some modifications, had no milk or plain yogurt, so I used the flour/ cornmeal mixture (added extra 1/4 c cornmeal), and dipped my onions in egg. Still came out perfect, light and crispy. I added the tsp salt to my flour mixture, and it was the perfect amount to season the rings, sprinkling salt on them after frying would simply be to much sodium, and I’m sure they’d taste to salty. Great recipe starting point for me, next time I’ll follow the recipe exact.

  • Maria

    I made this but cut the onions 1/8 and 1/4 inches thick. Very light and delish! Will definitely be making these again. I sprinkled salt on the papertowels before putting the fried rings to drain and also sprinkled them with a bit of salt. Really helped bring out the flavor.

  • Heather

    Hello All,
    Well it’s quite a few years since this recipe was originally posted. I have read the recipe and made my own GLUTEN FREE-DAIRY FREE solution. My daughter is both, so I had to find something yummy that we could both do together. I had no time in between reading this recipe and saving it, and the BBQ that made me famous for it!!!

    I got some heavy duty foil, oiled it with corn oil (she’s allergic to olive oil), and then kept that aside.

    I got a small bowl and filled it with soy milk.
    In another bowl I filled it with rice flour, black pepper, some green herbs (of choice).

    Then I sliced red onions (sweeter) to just under 1/4 inch.

    I dredged the onion rings, concentrically sliced slabs, into the soy milk, then carefully laid them onto the flour mixture.

    With a spoon I covered the tops of them with the flour.

    Then I scooped them out, and laid them on the oiled foil.

    I wrapped the foil like a waterproof package, top folded first tightly, then rolled up the ends keeping the air out as I went.

    I put the packages on the BBQ from the get go, so they had at least 20 minutes on there.

    When it was time to check for doneness of them and the other veggies I had packed,


    They looked deep fried! Crusty, caramelized onions!!

    This was the first time I had tried such a stunt, and it worked wonderfully!

    I posted this, to show others that batter foods do well on the BBQ. You just have to experiment.
    The family was jazzed at it’s success!!



  • Kkitchenwitch

    Wanted to serve something other than french fries with home made hamburgers, looked for an onion rings recipe and this one appealed to me because of the reference to the memory of the Bob’s Big Boy rings. (In the first job I ever had, I was assigned to make the Bob’s Big Boy rings according to their recipe instructions with pre-mixed ingredients. Maybe I’m biased, but I agree that Bob’s were the best ever! And with Ina’s recipe, I was able to duplicate the same taste and crunch, with fewer calories I’m sure.) The recipe was easy to follow, though I reduced quantities to accommodate enough for just 2 servings, and added 1 teaspoon of Tabasco Sauce for fun. Prep and cooking times were minimal. Nothing but rave reviews from my husband, and I certainly consider it a saver!

View More Comments / Leave a Comment