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Skip the deep fryer for this lighter alternative – homemade air fryer onion rings! This simple air fryer recipe is a healthier way to enjoy fried onion rings at home, as a perfect side dish, appetiser or light meal idea with your favourite dipping sauce. This crispy homemade air fryer onion ring recipe is so quick and easy to make and just as good as your favourite restaurant.
There is no denying that I love my air fryer and coming up with new ways to recreate favourite recipes using it. The crazy thing is, I never intended to buy one of our own.
My parents left theirs here when they moved, so we started out just using it to cook pre-made products, such as chicken nuggets… #fussykids but it soon progressed into a whole new world of yummy recipe possibilities.
Plus it’s always a bonus when you can make healthier versions of your favourite foods at home!
These pair great with crispy coconut prawns (and the sweet and sour dipping sauce included with the recipe), air fryer sweet potato fries or salt and pepper calamari if you want a variety of air fryer snacks to enjoy together.
How To Make Air Fryer Onion Rings
Making your own homemade onion rings in the air fryer is simple to do. It can be a little messy, but it does not take long to make a batch of light, crispy air fryer onion rings to enjoy at home or with family and friends.
One of my favourite things about this recipe is that it uses such simple ingredients, or ingredients that are easily substituted and still ending up with a delicious easy recipe.
Let’s check out the ingredients for making crispy air fryer onion rings:
- 1 large onion – As for the type of onion, I usually just use brown onions, however, you may want to choose sweet onions. Go for a large one so you can get nice big crunchy onion rings.
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk
- 1 egg, beaten
TIP: For extra flavour, add garlic powder chilli powder, or cayenne pepper into your flour mix in the first bowl.
You will need three bowls for making your homemade onion rings. Any standard bowls will work, however, medium-sized bowls that aren’t too deep will make it easier to roll your in raw onion rings through the different mixtures.
- In a shallow dish or bowl, combine the flour with the paprika seasoning.
- Add half of your dry mixture to a second bowl and combine with buttermilk and egg.
- In a third bowl, add panko breadcrumbs and salt and combine well.
- Dip your raw onion rings first in the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk mixture. Then roll well in the panko mixture to give them a thick crumb coating.
- Add to air fryer in a single layer to ensure each of your onion rings comes out nice and crispy!
TIP: Allow your onion rings to rest for a few minutes on a sheet of paper towel after air frying to allow any excess oil to absorb into the paper.
The printable recipe card with a FULL ingredients list and detailed instructions can be found at the bottom of this post.
TIP: If you have a small air fryer basket, cook your onion rings in smaller batches so they are not overlapping. This is how you will get that perfect golden brown, crispy texture on each of your onion rings.
What is Buttermilk?
This recipe uses buttermilk rather than standard full cream milk. Buttermilk involves curdled proteins, creating a thicker consistency than standard milk, but not as thick as cream. It is also lower in fat than both regular milk and cream.
If you do not have buttermilk, you can try these substitutions for buttermilk instead.
Tips for getting crispy onion rings
Crunchy, crispy onion rings are perfection! And the air fryer does a great job of achieving this texture.
However, if you want to add a little extra crunch to your onion rings and ensure a golden brown finish, try spraying a little cooking oil onto them halfway through cooking. This will help crisp them up and turn them golden brown!
Add a light spray of cooking spray to the base of your air fryer basket before adding your onion rings or add a layer of baking paper to the bottom of your air fryer tray first. Otherwise, you will have a bit of a mess to clean up after you are done. This will also prevent your onion rings from sticking to the air fryer and pulling away that delicious crispy coating!
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Leave a comment below or a rating and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram. I would love to see!
How To Reheat Onion Rings
If you accidentally air fry too many homemade onion rings to eat in one sitting (what a terrible shame… is there really such thing as too many onion rings?), you may be wondering if you can save them for later.
If so, make sure to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until reheating.
They won’t be the same crispy onion rings straight out of the air fryer. You could microwave them, but this will leave them soft and a bit soggy.
Instead, this is how to reheat onion rings to get them crispy and crunchy again:
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C or 350F.
- Give your onion rings a quick zap in the microwave for approximately 10-15 seconds.
- On a lined tray, spread your onion rings out in a single layer and cook for 5 or 6 minutes until they regain their crispy texture.
TIP: To avoid your reheated onion rings getting soggy with oil, use a wire rack on a tray to elevate them. This will allow the oil to drip onto the tray below, rather than reabsorb into your onion rings and it will help restore them to their crispy glory!
Can I Substitute Panko Breadcrumbs For Regular Bread Crumbs?
Yes, if I have no panko crumbs in the pantry I will use regular bread crumbs instead and the result is still tasty!
What Type Of Onions Can I Use?
Most large onions work great for air fryer onion rings. I usually use brown or white onions, as this is what we most often have in the house, however you can also try red onions or sweeter varieties too.
Check out more simple air fryer recipes to try:
- Air fryer salt and pepper calamari
- Air fryer sweet potato chips with yogurt dip
- Air fryer pizza rolls
- Stuffed sweet potatoes
- Air fryer tortilla chips
- 1 large onion
- ½ cup plain all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- Cut onion into slices around 1cm thick. Separate into rings.
- In a wide bowl, combine flour, salt and paprika. Pour half of the mixture into a second bowl and stir in buttermilk until combined. In a third bowl, mix salt and panko breadcrumbs.
- Roll onion rings in flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk mixture then coating in the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat with all onion rings.
- Place onion rings in a single layer in the air fryer basket, avoiding them overlapping as much as possible.
- Cook for around 10-12 minutes in air fryer on around 200 degrees Celsius (400F), until golden.
- Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.
The panko breadcrumbs can be substituted for standard breadcrumbs instead. You may want to add additional seasoning.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 42Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 288mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g