Frozen onion rings come in a variety of styles, flavors, and sizes. Breading or coatings can be anywhere from a simple wheat flour, oil, and seasonings to an egg and milk battered ring that is coated in crunchy bread crumbs.
Some frozen onion rings have many more ingredients than others. Some are organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free. The rings with more than 10 ingredients listed can make your head spin. I don’t really know what a lot of those ingredients are. I have found that the frozen onion rings with the least ingredients highlight the flavor of the onion better, not the breading. Onions shouldn’t need onion powder added or sugar. For me, that is an indication that the quality of the onions might not be the best.
If you really want crispy onion rings, I suggest going with the Panko coated brands. If you prefer a battered ring, which a lot of kids really enjoy, try the brands that have a milk, egg, and flour coating.
As mentioned, I like the onion to be flavor forward in a good onion ring. If you enjoy a kick, try rings that are well seasoned with some cayenne or Cajun seasoning. Give yourself some time when shopping for frozen onion rings. Just like French fries, there are tons of brands and so many different ingredients. Take a little time to read the ingredient list so you aren’t getting added sugars, preservatives, stabilizers, soy, caramel food coloring, or even MSG.
Why Air-Fry Frozen Onion Rings
If you enjoy hitting up your local pub for a beer accompanied by some fried onion rings and fried calamari (who doesn’t do that on occasion?), be mindful that these delicious treats are seriously deep fried in super hot oil. While delicious, you may wake up the next morning with a bit of a belly ache from what is likely soybean or corn oil. Sometimes, that oil is reused for several days, depending on the standards of the commercial kitchen.
You can control the greasiness, fat content, and calories of frozen onion rings by air frying them at home. There is no need to add extra oil. Most frozen onion rings have a small amount of oil in the coating. Just give your crisper plate or basket a quick spray or brush of olive oil to prevent sticking, if you prefer.
Air-fried frozen onion rings will be just as crispy as those cooked in a deep fryer.
Tips for Air Frying Onion Rings
First, do not defrost the onion rings. As with many frozen foods, it is best to air fry in a single layer for maximum crispiness. Air fry your onion rings in 2 or 3 batches and keep them warm in a low oven on a sheet pan until all are cooked. Keep in mind that smaller air fryers will require more batches.
Because frozen onion rings vary in size and in the thickness of the batter or breading, some might take longer than others to cook. I suggest checking them at about 8 to 10 minutes. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the desired crispiness and temperature are achieved.
Dipping Sauces for Onion Rings
My family always finds it odd that I like most fried foods without a dipping sauce, with the exception of French fries. I love ketchup with those because potatoes are inherently bland in flavor. That said, everyone else wants a great dipping sauce for their onion rings.
The most popular sauces include:
- Ranch dressing
- Honey mustard
- Chipotle mayonnaise
- Remoulade sauce
I have included a Louisiana style remoulade dipping sauce recipe that you can make ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to serve with your onion rings.
Crispy Air Fryer Frozen Onion Rings
- 1 bag of your favorite frozen onion rings
- Olive oil spray (optional)
- Sea salt, if desired
Total time:12 min – Prep time:1 min – Cook time:11 min – Serves:4 people
1. Preheat your air to 390°F for 5 minutes.
2. Give the basket or crisper plate a very light spray or brush of olive oil.
3. Place 1/2 or 1/3 of the frozen onion rings in the basket or on the crisper plate of your air fryer, making sure not to crowd them.
4. Cook the rings for 5 minutes. Give the bucket a shake or flip the onion rings. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Check the rings for desired crispiness. Continue to cook for 2 to 4 more minutes, if necessary.
5. Place the cooked rings on a sheet pan and keep warm in a 250°F oven and continue to cook the rest of the rings.
6. Season with a little sea salt and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Louisiana Style Remoulade Sauce
- 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
- 2 TBS brown or Dijon mustard
- 1 TBS sweet pickle juice or relish
- 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp prepared horseradish
- 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
- 1-1/2 tsps paprika
- 1 tsp Creole or Cajun seasoning
Total time: 5 min – Prep time: 5 min – Serves: 4 people
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until well blended.
2. Cover and store until ready to serve.
3. Place the remoulade sauce in individual ramekins and serve with warm onion rings.
What to Serve with Onion Rings
Onion rings are a great appetizer or snack all by themselves. I enjoy them when served with a burger or a lobster roll. I especially like them with a veggie burger. The texture of veggie burgers can sometimes be a little soft. I will top the dressed burger with a few rings to give it some crunch. Then, I add a handful of rings to the side of the plate.
Another thing you can do with fried onion rings is top off a casserole. These are great to elevate a homemade, classic green bean casserole. I may be one of the few people who enjoy a good tuna noodle casserole. To give the recipe a boost, I will use cooked salmon instead of tuna and top it off with crispy onion rings. You can also do this with smoky macaroni and cheese or turkey tetrazzini in place of bread crumbs.