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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. 3 stars
    So I’m confused and wish for clarification. You say “Put half of the panko in a fourth bowl so you can switch to the second part after the first got sticky.”
    This is not very clear…. Do you mean half the panko (1/2 cup) or half of the panko, olive oil, and salt that was mixed in the third bowl? And what do you mean by “switch to the second part”?

    1. Cobia, in step 1 you make the panko mixture and then divide it in half. So you have two bowls with panko mixture. By switching to the second part, I mean to use the other bowl of panko mixture after the first half has become sticky. I hope this helps!

  2. 5 stars
    These air fryer I onion rings turned out amazing! I don’t understand the negative comments unless they didn’t follow all the directions and your tips. I did have to double the Panko crumbs in order to get enough onion rings covered but they tasted great and the crunch was amazing. Definitely a repeater.

  3. 4 stars
    Tasted good but too much trouble to make. Crumbs did not stick to rings. I do not like to make onion rings that are fried in oil because it is always a huge mess to clean up. Except for 4 extra bowls in dish washer, clean up was easier with air fryer. Will try frozen rings next time. Wasted a lot of Panko crumbs.

    1. 3 stars
      I agree with your comment. A lot of dishes (bowls) and a lot of ingredients to the point where I wished I would have just bought some frozen onion rings that consistently come out well baked in a regular conventional oven.

      1. Making them from scratch is definitely more time-consuming and messier than opening a package of frozen onion rings. But next time you make frozen onion rings make them in the Air Fryer (390 degrees F for about 9-11 minutes) they will be so much tastier than from the oven.

  4. I put the rings in for min of 11 minutes and they burned beyond eating and set off the smoke detector. Subsequent batches I reduced the temperature and time until 8 minutes at 350 worked.
    They were reasonably tasty but too much trouble to make and in very small batches so time consuming. I won’t make again.

    1. Sharon, that’s why the notes say: The cook time depends on your Air Fryer model. Keep an eye on them!

  5. I found this a very good recipe and very tasty. I have a suggestion however, and this is to NOT plate or bowl the Panko crumbs but instead after battering the rings hold the battered ring with a pair of tongs and sprinkle the Panko over the battered ring letting them fall onto the sticky, batter covered rings. Catch what Panko falls but does not stick to the ring below in a bowl and re-cyle the dry Panko crumbs and sprinkle them again on the next ring. In this way you avoid having somewhat of bunch of gooey Panko crumbs in the Panko bowl recommended above after processing a passel of rings. :) Good stuff!

  6. 5 stars
    Followed the exact recipe. I had some difficulty keeping the crumbs on the onion ring but they really don’t need to be thickly crumbed. They tasted great.

  7. 5 stars
    VERY good onion rings. I did need more of everything to bread them, but my onion was HUGE. I found that using a fork to move the onion around in the egg mixture and placing it in the crumbs, then using a spoon to help cover the rings with the crumbs saved loosing a lot of breading on my fingers. I’ll be making this recipe again!