The Book Vegetables

155. Fried Onion Rings p.552

I can’t find the recipe for this one online.

Way back in the beginning of The Project, I mentioned that I’ve been a little gun shy about deep frying in my kitchen ever since I put some very wet potato wedges into a pot of massively overheated oil and turned my stove into a fireball. I try to do most of my frying outside on the barbecue’s side burner instead. The thought of raining fiery death upon the downstairs neighbors innocently sitting on their balconies hardly bothers me at all. It has the additional advantage of not stinking up the whole house. I take as many of my stinky cooking projects outside as I can, the hipsters next door may not appreciate it, but keeping my dining companion happy is much more important.

I’ve never made onion rings before, but I’ve eaten my fair share. I like rings with a thin crisp coating of batter, that stays attached to the onion that it doesn’t slither out along with your first bite. The batter should be flavourful on it’s own, but not excessively seasoned. Simplicity is a good thing, but these rings may have been a bit too simple. The recipe calls for sliced onions to be dipped in milk, and dredged in flour and salt, then fried at 370F for a couple of minutes. They passed the thin, crisp, and well attached to the onions test, but they were a little lacking in the flavour department.

I appreciate the minimalism of the recipe, lots of other onion rings recipes call for eggs, baking soda, cornmeal, bread crumbs, and other nonsense. A simple mixture of flour, salt, and a liquid should be quite sufficient. I would have preferred the liquid to be beer however. Using milk is nice, because you don’t have to wait for the beer to go flat before using the batter, but beer tastes so much better, and onion rings just don’t say dairy to me. I would have also preferred a little more salt mixed into the flour. Obviously you can add salt later, but it’s better when it’s in the batter. In fact, a batter would have been nice too. In this version you dip the onions in milk, dredge them in flour, dip them in milk again, then once more into the flour. It was a bit of an operation to do the double dredge, and it made a mess. Just mixing up a batter of the right consistency and sticking the rings in there wouldn’t be any harder, and it would be a lot faster.

I love that this recipe is in the vegetables section of the book. Finally my nine-year-old self’s “Eat your vegetables”, “But mom, onion rings are a vegetable” logic is getting the respect it deserves. For a first attempt at making my own rings, I was reasonably pleased with these, they were golden, crisp, and quite tasty. These aren’t the ultimate rings, but refining my perfect recipe is going to be a fun process.


I'm a graduate student in Montreal. I spend most of my time studying drug addiction using brain imaging techniques. I'm also a foodie, exploring the culinary world both in and out of my kitchen.

8 replies on “155. Fried Onion Rings p.552”

There’s an Asian-Cuban-American fusion restaurant near me (if you think that’s bizarre enough to begin with, it’s also Fifties-themed), and it does an awesome dish they call “Curried Rodeo Rings”. The curry in the batter is pretty understated, but it definitely adds a nice kick, and they fulfil all your other criteria for a good ring. They’re also served with chipotle ketchup, so, knowing your love of chipotle, I suspect this one item of food would be enough to tempt you to Boston on its own.

Cuban-Chinese history is an interesting one (as is the resulting cuisine). There was a subsequent diaspora to the States when Cuban politics changed in the fifties.

Andrew: Sign me up!

Drew: Your tempura looks awesome, I’m absolutely going to have to try it.

Graeme: Thanks, it’s fun to think about cooking as siege warfare.

Mirz: Cool, I wasn’t aware that Cuban-Chinese was a popular fusion.

Here is a fairly easy recipe, but it does have milk and egg in it so you may not like it. It’s crisp, thin, sticks to the onion rings, and has great flavor without much seasoning! Personally,I like my onion rings to be thin, not only in the sense of the batter, so I begin with thinly sliced onion rings. Soak them in 1 cup milk and 1 egg. In a separate dish (a pie pan or a dinner plate work well so you have a larger surface area of dry ingredients) mix 1 cup flour, 2 1/2 tbsp. confectioners sugar, 1 tsp. salt and about 2 tsp. black pepper. Take the rings from the milk/egg mixture and put in flour mixture; cover completely and place in oil. Depending on how thin your onions are they shouldn’t take long to fry up golden brown! Place on plate with papertowels to drain. Enjoy!

Awesome, thanks Jessica. Now that summer has come again I’m ready to start working on my rings, I’ll give this a try.

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