Know how when you bite into an onion ring and the coating is too thick and bready and the onions are too crunchy and slip out all at once? You’ll experience none of that here with sweet onions briefly soaked in buttermilk and an ever-so-slight coating of flour. Never again be disappointed.Renee Schettler Rossi

A red woven basket with a pile of buttermilk onion rings

Buttermilk Onion Rings

5 / 11 votes
These buttermilk onion rings are briefly soaked in buttermilk and double-dipped in flour before frying to ensure an extra crisp coating and oh so tender onions within. Spectacular alongside burgers. Or simply on their own.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories796 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time40 minutes


  • 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


  • Peel the onions and slice them crosswise into 1/2- or 1-inch-thick slices. Separate each slice into individual rings and then remove the papery thin membrane covering the inside of each ring.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: If you slice the onions only 1/2 inch thick, you can save yourself some work and not remove the papery thin membrane from the onions.

  • Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat or in a tabletop deep fryer until it reaches 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  • While the oil is heating, pour 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.
  • 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 and soak for a moment, turning to completely coat them, and then allow the excess to drain off. Then dredge the rings in the second dish of flour, making sure to coat the rings evenly.
  • Tap off the excess flour from the rings and transfer them to the hot oil. Fry the rings, turning once or twice, until golden brown and tender, about 4 minutes.
  • 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. Originally published July 30, 2009.

Adapted From

Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries & Shakes

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 796 kcalCarbohydrates: 63 gProtein: 10 gFat: 57 gSaturated Fat: 10 gMonounsaturated Fat: 26 gCholesterol: 7 mgSodium: 78 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 11 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Bobby Flay. Photo © 2009 Ben Fink. All rights reserved.

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’re 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’ll 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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Just made these after a quick Google search for onion rings made without eggs (we have an allergy) or sparkling water. (I realized after pouring my oil that I was out!) Luckily, I had just opened a carton of buttermilk for a cake! These rings were so easy and came out great—crispy but tender inside. My daughter wolfed them down before her burger, which is a high compliment. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    omg amazing onions are so tender after being in the buttermilk and so crispy didn’t have time for pic as they were eaten before I had a chance to take one, definitely making them again