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Air Fryer Onion Rings are extra crispy and make a perfect game day snack or party appetizer. Perfectly seasoned, easy to make, and so delicious! Ditch the deep fryer in favor of this quick Air Fryer recipe!

Fried onion rings in a grey canteen cup with parchment paper. There\'s a small white porcelain bowl with barbecue sauce next to it and a single onion ring leaning against it.

Crispy Air Fryer Onion Rings are perfectly seasoned, dipped in batter, dredged in panko breadcrumbs and then cooked to crispy-perfection in the Air Fryer! These faux-fried onion rings are tender on the inside and so crisp on the outside, just how we love them. They make a great healthier but so delicious snack or side dish. Serve them up with your favorite dipping sauce for the perfect party appetizer or game day snack!

We love making our favorite game day snacks in the Air Fryer like Air Fryer Chicken Wings, Air Fryer Chicken Tenders, and Air Fryer French Fries. Compared to deep frying you save a lot of oil, have a lot less mess to clean up, and save a good amount of calories. You only need a few tablespoons of oil to get similar results in the Air Fryer, which makes eating onion rings made in the Air Fryer a better-for-you choice than eating onion rings that have been deep fried.

My husband loves onion rings and orders them whenever we go out. He was amazed by how similar my homemade version tastes and how simple it is to make them. So if you’re craving Onion Rings you have to try this easy recipe!

an onion ring in some panko crumbs in a white plate with a fork in it.

Tips and Tricks for Making The BEST Air Fryer Onion Rings

  • Using panko breadcrumbs makes these Onion Rings extra crispy!
  • If you don’t have panko breadcrumbs you could also use normal breadcrumbs but the result might not be as crispy.
  • Divide the panko breadcrumb mixture in two. The battered rings will make the mixture sticky so it’s best to half it so you can switch to the second part of the dry mixture after the first part is sticky.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily make your own by adding 1 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon/lime juice to a ½ cup of milk.
  • Instead of paprika, you can also add your favorite spices like a bit of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or chili.
  • Place them in a single layer in the Air Fryer basket! You can put small onion rings in the bigger rings as long as they don’t touch each other. My Air Fryer comes with an additional rack so I can add a second layer, this way I can fry a whole onion at once even though my Air Fryer is quite small.
  • The cook time depends on your Air Fryer model. The onion rings take about 12-15 minutes but some models run hotter or colder so keep an eye on your first batch.
  • Spraying the onion rings with cooking oil spray after half the cook time is over makes them extra crispy and browner.
  • You don’t need to turn the onion rings during the cooking process! It’s just not necessary, they will get perfectly crispy on both sides.
  • Depending on your Air Fryer model you might have to preheat it. Mine doesn’t require preheating!

A single layer of onion rings in an air fryer basket

How thick to slice Onion Rings?

I cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices and then separate them into rings.

Which Onions are Best for making Onion Rings?

Sweet onions like Vidalia, Texas, Maui, or Walla Walla are best for Onion Rings since they’re sweet and usually flatter than other onions. They don’t have that sharp and pungent taste that other onions have.

How long to cook Onion Rings in an Air Fryer?

Depending on your Air Fryer model about 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown.

A doughnut is next to a cup of coffee, with Onion ringFried onion rings in a grey canteen cup with parchment paper. There\'s a small white porcelain bowl with barbecue sauce next to it, a whole raw onion in the background and a single onion ring leaning against it.

Julia recommends for this Air Fryer recipe:

Air Fryer: This is the model I own. I really like it and would recommend it for smaller families. It came with a rack which doubles the space in the basket. Before buying this model I had the older XL Air Fryer which was bigger but took a lot more space to store.
Air Fryer Oven: This oven is on my wishlist! I saw it at Costco and it has great reviews. It has a lot more functions then an Air Fryer!


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4.86 from 110 votes

Air Fryer Onion Rings

Air Fryer Onion Rings are extra crispy and make a perfect game day snack or party appetizer. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, see tips above for making your own
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow sweet onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick and separated into rings
  • Oil Spray, optional

Instructions 

  • You need 4 shallow bowls or deep plates. In the first one combine flour, paprika, and ½ tsp salt. In the second combine buttermilk (or milk and vinegar/lemon juice) and egg, then add ¼ cup of the flour mixture from the first bowl. In the third combine panko breadcrumbs, ½ tsp salt and olive oil with a fork, until the oil is evenly distributed. Put half of the panko in a fourth bowl so you can switch to the second part after the first got sticky.
  • Pat dry the onion rings with paper towels to remove excessive moisture. Using a fork, dredge the onion rings in the flour mixture, drop them in the buttermilk mixture and then dredge them in the panko mixture. (TIP: Freeze the breaded onion rings for 15 minutes on a baking sheet, this helps the panko mixture to stick better.)
  • Spray Air Fryer Basket with oil spray. Place onion rings in a single layer in the Air Fryer basket. You can place smaller rings inside bigger rings if necessary, just make sure there is space between them.
  • Cook at 400°F until golden brown and crispy, about 11-15 minutes. Spray with some cooking spray after about 6 minutes. You don't need to turn the onion rings.
  • Carefully lift out the onion rings with a cookie spatula or fork and serve.

Notes

  • Make sure to use sweet onions for this recipe! White and yellow onions don't work well with the breading.
  • This recipe is messy but well worth the effort. Read all my tips before starting!
  • If you don’t have panko breadcrumbs you could also use normal breadcrumbs but the result might not be as crispy.
  • Divide the panko breadcrumb mixture in two so you can switch to the second batch after the first gets sticky.
  • Use a fork and not your hands to coat the onion rings. 
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily make your own by adding 1 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon/lime juice to a ½ cup of milk.
  • The cook time depends on your Air Fryer model. Keep an eye on them!
  • You don’t need to turn the onion rings during the cooking process! Don't shake the basket or the breading will fall off!
  • Be careful when lifting the onion rings out of the basket! I recommend using a cookie spatula or fork to lift them out.

Nutrition

Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 1208mg | Potassium: 260mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 540IU | Vitamin C: 7.9mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1.4mg
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About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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80 Comments

    1. I like to divide the flour mixture into two bowls. When the flour in the first bowl gets clumpy I switch to the second bowl.

  1. These turned out great for us. I’ve actually used it many times since with cauliflower florets rather than onions and used them in cauliflower soft tacos. Just added different seasonings. Always a hit. Perfect every time. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. 3 stars
    I have made onion rings using a variety of recipes. The spicing of each has been favorable. The distinction between the success of each approach is how easy and how well the coating sticks to the onions. It is this issue that I feel that the approach in this recipe is less favorable. I feel that it is the oiling of the panko that is the problem. I have more success when the panko or bread crumbs are dry. I coat the onions with a batter and then coat with the dry ingredients. I let the onion rings rest so the batter and the dry coating bond. Before air frying I spray the coated onion rings with oil. That is the difference in how I add oil to the coating.

    I recognize that coating onion rings by any method can be a challenge. Onion rings have a shiny, tight surface that is difficult for anything to adhere. I accept the challenge because onion rings are so delicious. Good luck to all.

  3. This recipe is delicious! Yes definitely messy and a few different things to dunk them onion in but soooooo worth it, knowing it’s a much healthier version that the oil deep fried onion rings at restaurants or preservative filled froze ones.

    I completely forgot the egg but they still turned out delicious and crispy.

    Either way thank you for the recipe. I will definitely be making again.