Buttermilk Onion Rings

A red woven basket with a pile of buttermilk onion rings

Even people who think they don’t like onions will fall for these onion rings, which are crispy on the outside and have a sweet, soft interior. Double dipping the onion rings helps to give them that extra-crunchy coating. I love the extra-sweet taste of Vidalia onions, but if you can’t find them in your market, any other sweet variety or even good old yellow onions will work well, too.–Bobby Flay

Buttermilk Onion Rings

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • 2 large Vidalia or other sweet onions
  • 1 quart peanut oil
  • 2 cups buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 1. Peel the onions and slice them crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Separate each slice into individual rings and then remove the papery thin membrane covering the inside of each ring.
  • 2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed medium stock pot over medium heat, or in a tabletop deep fryer, to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
  • 3. While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk in a large baking dish and season liberally with salt and black pepper. Divide the flour between 2 large baking dishes and season each dish liberally with salt and pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne.
  • 4. Working in batches, dredge some of the onion rings in one of the dishes of flour and tap off the excess. Dip the rings in the buttermilk, allow the excess to drain off, and then dredge the rings in the second dish of flour, making sure to coat the rings evenly. Tap off the excess and transfer the batch of coated rings to the hot oil. Fry the rings, turning once or twice, until golden brown and tender, about 4 minutes.
  • 5. Remove with a mesh skimmer and drain on the baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season immediately with salt. Repeat until all of the onion rings have been cooked. Serve hot.

Recipe Testers Reviews

I’ve never been a big fan of onion rings. I could take them or leave them. My biggest pet peeve is when you bite into the ring, and all the onion slips out, leaving you with an empty shell of batter. These onion rings are not like that. The coating is light and crisp, and doesn’t overwhelm the onion. I just love them. I made these to be a vehicle for ketchup in a ketchup tasting, but the truth is, they are so good, I’d just as soon eat them plain. When I made these, I had a lot of flour left over, but I’d used all of the buttermilk. Next time I will start with about half the amount of flour that the recipe specifies. After all, you can always add more if you run low. I also prefer to slice the onions a bit thinner than called for here–just a matter of personal preference.

These are crispy, crunchy, and delicious. I used Vidalia onions, which I adore. I love the way they fried up golden brown and crisp, yet still tender. Nice idea to dip in flour, buttermilk, and then again in flour. They were great served alongside fish but would also go perfectly with a burger.

This recipe brings back fond memories of my great aunt’s seafood restaurant. I’d walk into the kitchen and see onion rings waiting to be fried. This recipe didn’t disappoint in terms of flavor. If you season the flour and buttermilk, according to the recipe, you don’t need to salt the onion rings after frying. I made one batch 1 inch thick as stated in the directions. They were good but pretty thick. I made the rest about 1/2 an inch thick and we loved those best. If you do the thicker ones, you really need to remove that inner membrane from the onions but with the smaller ones you didn’t notice it. Be sure to fry them up as you batter them because they’ll start to stick together if you don’t. I’d also recommend using just 1 onion if you make them 1/2 an inch thick. It really makes a pile of onion rings.


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  1. These are fantastic. You rarely get great onion rings at restaurants so it’s great to have this simple recipe when the craving hits. I sliced the onions skinny ‘cuz that’s how I like them. Tossed them on top of a grilled lamb chop. Perfect.

  2. I made these tonight, after your newsletter featuring this recipe showed up in my inbox this morning, and good lord, were they divine! I ate the whole batch by myself with a steak and some potatoes and a glass of red wine.

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