Air Fryer Onion Rings

Ari fryer onion rings

 The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  • Total: 26 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 11 mins
  • Servings: 3 servings
  • Yields: 18 onion rings

It's easy to assume that air fryer onion rings won't be as good as deep-fried onion rings, but this recipe recreates that favorite indulgence perfectly. Air fryer onion rings are incredibly crispy and crave-worthy, and without any of the extra fat and calories found in deep-fried onion rings. You'll enjoy onion rings that are crispy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside. Even better, they're guilt free and don't leave your kitchen smelling like grease.

The recipe is quick and easy, too. You simply slice the onions, fill three bowls with flour, beaten eggs and milk, and panko breadcrumbs, dredge the onions, and let the air fryer work its magic. The real secret to the crunchy exterior is the panko crumbs, which produce a crisper breading than regular breadcrumbs. Serve the onion rings with your favorite dipping sauces for a delicious and healthy appetizer, side, or snack.

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Optional: creamy dipping sauces, honey mustard, or ketchup (for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200 F.

    Ingredients for air fryer onion rings
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  2. Cut off both ends of the onions and peel off the skin. 

    Peeled raw onion on a cutting board
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  3. Slice the onions into thick rings. 

    Sliced onions on a cutting board
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  4. Carefully separate the rings from each other. Set aside the innermost rings for another recipe. If the rings break, you can still use them. 

    Raw onion rings
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  5. Prepare the 3 dredging bowls. Put the flour in 1 shallow bowl. Beat the eggs and milk in another shallow bowl. Add the panko breadcrumbs to a third shallow bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix the smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt, then divide the mixture evenly among each of the bowls. Whisk each bowl to disperse the seasonings. 

    Breadcrumbs, flour, and egg wash in bowls
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  6. Dip the onion rings in the flour first. Completely coat both sides of the rings and the inner portion. 

    Onion rings dusted in flour
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  7. Dip the flour-coated rings into the egg mixture. Make sure to completely coat them with the egg so you cannot see any of the flour. You may need to flip the rings a few times. 

    Onion rings in egg wash
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  8. Dip the rings in the breadcrumb mixture. To thoroughly coat them, use your fingers to press the breadcrumbs onto the rings. 

    Onion rings in breadcrumbs
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  9. Generously spray the inside of the air fryer with cooking spray. Carefully place a single layer of the onion rings into the air fryer and spray the tops with cooking spray. Cook on 375 F for 10 minutes, flipping each ring halfway through the cooking time. 

    Onion rings in an air fryer
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  10. Transfer the first batch to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Cook the second batch of rings. Serve with creamy dipping sauces, honey mustard, or ketchup if desired. 

    Onion rings cooked in air fryer
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Can I Use a Wet Batter in an Air Fryer?

A wet batter, like a beer batter, will just drip off the food in an air fryer and not create that signature crispy coating. Stick with ingredients like eggs and a little milk, along with flour and breadcrumbs to develop a crunchy texture.

Tips

  • Make sure to spray the onion rings thoroughly with cooking spray to get the nice golden brown crunchy coating. As some cooking sprays can damage cooking surfaces over time, you may want to place the coated onion rings on a baking sheet and spray them before placing in the air fryer basket.
  • Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer so the onion rings cook evenly. Air fryers have different capacities, so it may take more than two batches, especially if you're doubling the recipe. Serve each batch when it's ready or keep them warm in the oven.

Recipe Variations

  • Substitute whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs if you prefer.
  • Use a paleo breading for paleo and keto diets.
  • Add other seasonings to the breading, such as cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, and seasoned salt. 
  • This recipe calls for sweet onions, but typical yellow or white onions will work just as well. Just keep in mind that white onion has a stronger flavor.