No air fryer or fryer needed. Just a stovetop, pot and some frying oil and you can make gluten-free onion rings at home in 30 minutes.
I don’t eat fried foods very often, and being gluten-free, fried food at a restaurant can be dangerous. Onion rings are usually coated with gluten-containing flour or bread crumbs, so making them at home is best.
These onion rings are a perfect side with my gluten-free baby back ribs, crispy roasted chicken thighs or this kid friendly baked crispy coconut chicken. Be sure to check out my full collection of gluten-free snacks including my 4 ingredient guacamole, gluten-free baked corn dog bites and gluten-free chex mix recipe.
Tangy Dipping Sauce
A tangy dipping sauce is perfect for these fried onion rings. A little sweet, some spicy kick (as much or as little as you like) and plenty of acid are the right balance for fried foods. Mayo and Greek yogurt are the base with Dijon mustard, some sweetener, vinegar and hot sauce (no horseradish) – ingredients you likely have in your pantry and fridge.
My favorite onions to use for onion rings are Vidalia onions. They are on the sweeter side and create a great flavor balance in this recipe. Sweet yellow onions or plain yellow onions will also work. I find red onions to be too pungent and sharp tasting for onion rings.
Just the right ring size will assure that the onion turns soft and almost melty once cooked. Cut them too thin and they may fall apart. Cut them too thick and the onion will be firm and undercooked. The right size for onion rings is 1/4″ thick slices.
I was surprised at how easy it was to get the gluten-free version just right. A regular gluten-free flour blend needs a little lightening up with corn starch to make the perfect batter.
For a good a store bought flour blend, I recommend King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure flour. Cup4Cup (contains milk powder) and Pamela’s All Purpose Artisan Blend are similar and will work too. All three of these flours are certified gluten-free I have not tested with Bob’s Red Mill (not certified gluten-free), as I have had sensitivity issues with their products.
Not all gluten-free flours will give the same results with the batter. It should have a thin consistency. If yours seems thick, like pancake batter or even thicker, add more water. It should easily coat the onion rings and drip off without being gloppy. I recommend testing just one ring in the batter and frying. If the coating seems bready once it’s cooked, the batter is too thick – add water and try again.
How to Make Onion Rings Without a Deep Fryer
An oil that can tolerate high heat without smoking is the key for frying. Most oils will indicate “high heat” on the label. Also important, is to use a a neutral flavored oil so that the flavor of the food you’re frying is the star of the show. Grapeseed oil and avocado oil are both excellent choices for high heat frying. Safflower oil, canola oil, light olive oil and vegetable oils (usually made from soy) are also good frying oils.
Oils that DO NOT work for frying are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and unrefined peanut and sesame oils.
Use a Frying Thermometer
A very helpful tool if you don’t have a fryer is a frying thermometer. Knowing the exact temperature of the oil will allow you to make a perfect ring. Onion rings should be crispy golden brown on the outside with soft, melty onion on the inside. If the oil temp is too low the onion rings will be greasy. Too high and the batter will brown before the onions have softened. A thermometer that clips to the side of the pot is ideal or one that has a probe that you can leave in the pot. The right temperature for frying is around 360ºF.
To test the oil temp without a thermometer, drop in a battered ring. If it sinks to the bottom of the pot and then quickly rises to the top, the oil temp should be ok. If the batter turns dark brown within one minute, turn the heat down a little.
To safely remove the cooked rings and drain the oil, a slotted spoon (easier if your pot is small) or a frying spider work best.
These onion rings can be frozen and reheated. Place fully cooked and cooled onion rings in a zip top bag and freeze. To reheat, place frozen onion rings (do not thaw them) on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 7 minutes. Flip them over and and heat until crispy.
Gluten-Free Onion Rings & Dipping Sauce
Tangy Dipping Sauce
- 3 Tbsp mayonnaise, I use avocado mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt (dairy-free options ok)
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tsp hot sauce (Frank's Red Hot recommended), more if you like spicy heat
- 1 tsp apple cider or white vinegar
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ c gluten-free flour blend
- ¼ c non-gmo corn starch
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp garlic powder
- ⅓ c club soda or water
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 large sweet, yellow or Vidalia onion
- high heat/frying oil safflower, canola, avaocado, grapeseed or high heat vegetable oil. NOT olive oil. Enough to fill your pot to 2”
- Pour the oil into the pot, turn the heat to high and put in the thermometer. (See notes below for tips for frying without a thermometer). For an accurate read, the probe should not touch the bottom of the pot. I use a small pot and fry in small batches so that I do not have to use a lot of oil.
- As the temperature approaches 325° turn the flame to medium. While you are mixing up the batter, keep an eye on the temp. You want to fry at about 360°-370.°
- Slice the onion into rounds about 1/4″ thick and separate the slices into individual rings.
- Place the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir with a whisk to combine and break up any lumps. Add the beaten egg and club soda/water and whisk until smooth.
- This should be a relatively thin batter. Not watery, but thinner than pancake batter. Not all gluten-free flours will give the same results. If you batter is thick, stir in more water 1 tablespoon at a time. The batter should easily coat the onion without being gloppy.
- When the oil is at the right temperature, turn the flame down a little bit. If the temp keeps rising just play with the flame until it holds somewhat steady. I find that I have to adjust often while frying.
- Toss the onions into the batter to coat. Bring the bowl over to the stove and use a fork to drop rings into the oil one at a time. Do not crowd.
- Flip them after 1-2 minutes or when the bottom is golden brown. Cook another 2 minutes or until the batter is golden brown on both sides.
- Remove with a slotted spoon or frying spider. Place on the wire rack. They can be kept warm in a 300° oven while you fry the rest. If you need to re-heat them from cold, leave them on the rack and place in a 350° oven.
- These onion rings can be frozen and reheated. Place fully cooked, cooled onion rings in a zip top bag and freeze. To reheat, place frozen onion rings on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 7 minutes. Flip them over and and heat until crispy.