It’s almost too easy to make hot, fresh, fried onion rings
You probably have an onion rattling around in your kitchen right now. What more glorious fate could you give it?
Onion Rings (Mary Elizabeth Williams)
Perhaps you didn’t come from a family that fried on the regular. Perhaps the thought of a vat of boiling oil frightens you. But hear me out.
RELATED: “Stroganachos” are a sheet pan twist on two classics — and an easy dinner that’s ready in 30 minutes
Once you get down a few common-sense basics, frying is in reality a straightforward task. The payoff is that there are few other culinary feats that are more impressive than bringing a plate of hot, crisp, freshly fried food to the table, whether said food is chicken or churros. And in the pantheon of fried foods, few will ever outdo onion rings.
Onion rings are so much better than french fries, and french fries are great. They’re definitely far too good to only enjoy when you go out. I’ve relied on Rachael Ray’s wickedly easy “Spicy O-nuts” from her “Cooking ‘Round the Clock” for almost two decades now, and they’ve never let me down.
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The secret is the always winning combination of pancake mix and beer, resulting in gorgeously puffy rings that disappear from the table in an instant. The spices balance the sweetness, and the crunch is absolutely incredible. So, don’t be nervous. You probably have an onion rattling around in your kitchen right now. What more glorious fate could you give it than this?
Recipe: Spicy Sweet Onion Rings
Inspired by Rachael Ray’s “Cooking ‘Round the Clock”
- 1 16-ounce bottle vegetable oil
- 1 large sweet or yellow onion
- 2 cups complete pancake mix
- 1 cup beer (If you imbibe, drink the rest while you cook.)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Feel free to adjust the spice level to your liking.)
- Salt to taste
- Cover a large plate or pan with paper bags or paper towels. In a large pan, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to medium-high heat. If you have a food thermometer, it should read 375°. If you don’t, look for the oil to be crackling a little to know when it’s ready.
- Meanwhile, cut the onion into thick slices and separate the rings.
- In a large bowl, mix together the pancake mix and spices. Stir in the beer.
- Working with about 5 or 6 onion slices at a time, dip and coat them in the batter. Fry them until golden brown and puffed, turning once or twice, about 4 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon or kitchen spider, remove the onion rings to the plate to drain. Salt generously.
- Repeat with the rest of the rings. Serve immediately.
A few things to keep in mind for success:
- Make sure your oil is really hot and ready so your rings don’t get sludgy.
- Don’t crowd the pan — you want to keep the oil nice and hot and give your rings room to bobble.
- Like a new car leaving the lot, onion rings depreciate quickly. This isn’t something to make when you’ve got a bunch of other dishes to keep a close eye on or when your guests are taking a leisurely route to the table.
- Make sure the oil is completely cooled before discarding.
More restaurant classics to make at home:
- Spice up winter lunches with this copycat Panera chicken tortilla soup
- Taco Bell is bringing back the Mexican Pizza, but we have an easy homemade recipe if you can’t wait
- Sheet pan chow mein is made to order and faster than takeout
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Mary Elizabeth Williams
Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of “A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles.”
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