Sometimes you want onion rings on a Wednesday. And on those days—busy weeknights or when you've just deep-cleaned your stovetop—the last thing you want to do is break out the Dutch oven and a quart of oil for one side dish.
Fortunately, you can still satisfy that craving by oven frying.
You might be skeptical that you can get the same crunch from oven frying that you do from deep frying. But after testing everything from bread crumbs to Melba toast for our Oven-Fried Onion Rings recipe, we found a deliciously unexpected duo of ingredients that produced crispy, crunchy oven-fried onion rings with deep-fried flavor. Those ingredients? Potato chips and saltines, pulsed together in a food processor.
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Each of these ingredients plays a different role in the coating:
- Kettle-cooked potato chips give the coating a deep-fried flavor. Why use kettle-cooked chips? They’re thicker than regular potato chips and have a deep, satisfying crunch. Plus, the combination of their oil and what’s on the pan increases browning and flavor. (If you want to make your own, our Crunchy Kettle Potato Chips are better than anything store-bought.)
- Saltines provide a delicious, salty punch to amplify the flavor of the onions and pull double duty by absorbing the excess grease from the potato chips.
Potato ChipsThick and crunchy kettle chips versus the traditional thin and crispy variety: We held a potato chip battle royale to find the best products on the market.
Once we cracked the code to the super-crunchy coating, we figured out a few other tricks to get the most of your oven-fried onion rings:
- For even cooking, make sure your rings are as consistent as possible, using only slices of onion with a diameter of at least 2 inches.
- Use a batter made with egg, buttermilk, flour, and some seasonings. This makes for a very thick batter that will stick to the onions.
- Dredge your onions with flour before coating them in batter to give the buttermilk something to hold on to.
- Coat two baking sheets with 3 tablespoons each and preheat them in a 450-degree oven until the oil just starts to smoke. Then transfer the onion rings to the baking sheet. This way, the onions will begin crisping up as soon as they hit the baking sheet.
With these tips, it’s possible to get the same crunchy goodness with less oil and less mess. Remember that next time that onion ring craving strikes, and watch this video to see all these tricks in action.