I made these oven fried onion rings on a complete whim. My cousin, who has an amazing green thumb and can grow just about anything in her hillside yard, had just harvested a lot of onions and gave me a big bag full.
I turned some of them into this caramelized onion jam (wonderful in a grilled cheese sandwich), and then.... I made these ultra crunchy oven fried onion rings.
One of my all time favorite foods is perfectly prepared onion rings. I remember as a kid making runs to Twohey's in Alhambra, California for big piles of perfectly done rings. Very few onion rings come even close to their deliciousness. They are worth the trip.
One of our favorite breakfast places, Schooner or Later in Long Beach, California, also has some amazing onion rings. Sometimes we will all order breakfast, plus one big plate of onion rings for the table. For breakfast.... (a friend of mine refers to them as vegetable doughnuts). I won't even go near fast food onion rings.
I still want to tackle the deep fried variety (and now that I've invested in a quart of buttermilk for 1/2 cup for this recipe, and still have a pile of onions..... ), but this oven fried version comes really close! I couldn't stop eating them. I salted mine and then dipped them in chipotle ketchup.
Warning, just because these are oven fried, it doesn't mean they are "lightened up." These babies are coated in crushed Saltines and Kettle potato chips to replicate the coating of deep fried onion rings.
While they may be a "once in a while" special treat, they are totally worth the effort and extra dishes. They are perfectly crunchy with sweet, tender onions underneath. Oh man!
P.S. I had leftovers for breakfast.
Oven Fried Onion Rings
Slightly adapted from America's Test Kitchen
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Saltine crackers
4 cups Kettle potato chips, about 1 bag
1 very large yellow onion (or two large), cut into 1/2 inch rounds. Separate and use the 24 largest rings.
6 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
- Place two oven racks in the upper and lower third of your oven and preheat it to 450 degrees F.
- Place 1/4 cup of the flour into a shallow bowl.
- In a measuring cup or bowl whisk the egg and the buttermilk. Add the cayenne, salt, and pepper, Add the rest of the flour and whisk.
- In a food processor or blender, crush the Saltines and potato chips until finely ground. Place in a shallow baking dish. You will have more than you need, but that's okay, because some of it gets soggy from the buttermilk mixture.
- One ring at a time, dip the onion rings in the flour and shake off the extra.
- Next, dip into the buttermilk mixture and let the excess drip off.
- Drop the ring into the potato chip mixture and, using a spoon, cover with the mixture. Lift the onion ring and place on a plate. Continue to dip and coat each ring, one at a time.
- Place 3 tablespoons of the oil into each of two rimmed half sheet pans. Place the pans in the oven for 8 minutes to heat the oil.
- Remove the pans from the oven and tilt them to fully coat the surface.
- Place 12 rings in each pan in a single layer, and place the pans in the oven.
- Bake for 8 minutes, remove the pans from the oven, flip the onions over, and bake the onions for another 8 minutes, rotating the pans.
- Place the rings on a paper towel lined plate for a minute to drain, and then serve immediately.
Make ahead tip: You can refrigerate the coated rings for about an hour. Allow them to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before baking.