Moonshine Onion Rings

A stack of moonshine onion rings on a wooden board.

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

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 25 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 6 to 8


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  • For the onions
  • For the batter


Prepare the onions

Heat the oil to 350°F (176°C) in a large, deep-sided pot.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Serve ’em steaming hot from the oil or still pretty hot.

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    Recipe Testers Reviews

    These onion rings rock! This recipe makes you want to eat onion rings every day and forget about dieting forever. I made them using 190 proof (gasp) liquor from my friend, the distiller, but I’m sure vodka would do just fine. I didn’t bother with panko, as the batter was plenty. Frying for 3 minutes was enough as well. Frankly, I can’t wait for my next batch. The batter was rather odd; I had to really try to get it to stay on the rings. But once the rings were coated and fried, they were really magnificent. I’d describe the end result as thin but melt-in-your-mouth. These rings are something special—thin, crisp, and not at all greasy.

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