Moonshine Onion Rings

Onion Rings Recipe

It’s been known for some time that using vodka—which evaporates quickly—or club soda instead of water makes for a less watery batter for tempura and other fried things. David Chang is one of many modern chefs who’s used vodka this way. This got me thinking: if vodka works, how about my own custom-made moonshine?–Adam Perry Lang

LC Make Mine Moonshine Note

Actually, you don’t really have to secure a stash of moonshine to make these lovelies. Even when you substitute the far more readily available—not to mention legal—vodka, the batter turns out to be somewhere beguilingly barely there—a thin, crackly coating that clings to the onions and shatters at the slightest touch. In the words of one tester, “They were really magnificent. I would describe the end result as thin but melts in your mouth.” Wait, there’s more. “These rings are something special,” she said. Still, this recipe can be used as an excuse to procure some distilled divinity. We got ours from a preacher’s son.

Onion Rings Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 6 to 8


  • For the onions
  • 8 cups peanut oil
  • 3 large Spanish onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and separated into rings
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • For the batter
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup moonshine or vodka
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • About 4 cups panko breadcrumbs (optional)


  • Prepare the onions
  • 1. Heat the oil to 350°F (176°C) in a large, deep-sided pot.
  • 2. Meanwhile, place the onions in a large bowl, pour the milk over the top, and toss to coat the onions. Drain the onions, discarding the milk.
  • 3. Place the flour in a large resealable plastic bag, add the salt and pepper, and shake to mix. Working in batches, add some of the drained onions to the flour, seal the bag, and shake vigorously to coat the onions. Spread the onions on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining onions.
  • Make the batter
  • 4. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks in a large bowl. Fold in the moonshine or vodka. Sift the cornstarch, salt, black pepper, and cayenne over the egg whites and gently fold to combine.
  • 5. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place a wire rack near the baking sheet. Spread the panko, if using, evenly on a second baking sheet.
  • 6. Working in batches, add the onion rings to the batter. Using a fork or a slotted spoon, remove the rings from the batter, one at a time, and allow any excess to drain off. If desired, toss the onion rings in the panko and flip them over to coat. One by one, carefully drop the coated onions into the hot oil without crowding them and cook them in small batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the onion rings with a slotted spoon and transfer to the lined baking sheet to drain briefly. Sprinkle with salt and then transfer to the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining onion rings.
  • 7. Serve ’em steaming hot from the oil or still pretty hot.
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