Crispy Baked Onion Rings.

This is how I make onion rings in the oven, not the frier. They are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside without getting soggy.

How to Make Crispy Baked Onion Rings. Made in the oven, not the frier. Much healthier! Recipe at

Like most of us, I made a resolution to keep January on the healthy side. To me that means not saying “no” to any food, but rather watching my portions. Except when it comes to this. I want to eat the whole batch.

Other resolutions? Get more organized, do more DIY stuff (thanks Pinterest), and work on my time management. I’ve been getting to the gym regularly, wearing out my daily planner, and consuming more veggies than I did the entire month of December.

One thing on my planner this month is onion rings. Because everyone has onion rings on their calendar, right?  Such is my life.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings |

Have I ever told you about my love for onion rings before? To be honest, they’re really just a vehicle for ketchup. I’ll have a little onion ring with my ketchup, please.

True story: my sister almost bought me an “I put ketchup on my ketchup” t-shirt. I wish she had. I’d wear it all the time.

I’m pretty sure we all can agree that onions taste so much better when they’re battered, fried, and dunked in ketchup. I went ahead and healthified this fried favorite to make it taste even better than what you’d get with your burger at a restaurant.

Don’t believe me? Try them. Dare ya.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings |

I’ve often wondered why onion rings cost more than French fries, but after making these at home, I can now appreciate the work that goes into making the perfect batch!

Fried or not, there are a few things you must know ahead of time before making onion rings. Soaking the onions, applying the perfect amount of breading, some spice, and making sure they’re just crisp enough without getting soggy. Luckily, I cracked the crispy onion ring code in my kitchen yesterday and am happy to share today.

Onion rings are so easy to make a little lighter. And in true form, I’m not sacrificing any of the irresistible taste or crunchy texture in this lightened-up snack!

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings |

There are a lot of step-by-step photos for you today. I want you to make the best-ever crispy baked onion rings that you possibly can! Because this is a recipe you’ll want to make over and over again, I promise.

First, you’re going to get some large onions. I suggest some sweet onions for the best flavor. Slice them thick – about 1/2 inch thickness.

You’re going to give the rings a nice soak in low fat buttermilk. This is something I learned from my mom; it’s how she breads chicken. Here’s why you are soaking the onions in buttermilk: the buttermilk soak will soften your onions, making them tender inside the crispy coating. Furthermore, the buttermilk soak will allow the egg whites and all the breading to adhere easier to the onion slices. (More on breading later.)

The longer you soak the onions, the better. So yes, this recipe takes a bit of planning ahead. I soaked my onion slices overnight. Clearly this isn’t a feasible option for most folks, so anywhere from 4-6 hours would be ok. Just know that soaking them overnight will make them all the better.

Don’t have buttermilk? You can make your own. Measure 1/4 cup of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice in a quart-size measuring cup. Then, add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 quart. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use for the soak.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings |

Get your breading ready.

  • Whole wheat flour (because it really sticks to the onion)
  • Cornmeal (for crunch)
  • Panko breadcrumbs. Not familiar with Panko? Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for fried or baked foods. It’s available in most major grocery stores near the stuffing.

Here’s why Panko is better than regular breadcrumbs in this recipe: Panko is made from crustless bread and is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes. Panko flakes tend to stay crispier longer than regular breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease.

You can then flavor the breading with pepper, paprika, salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder. Really, whatever seasonings you prefer. I’ll list what I used in the full recipe below with the option of any said seasonings. The Panko I used was pre-seasoned, but I  made a note of that in the recipe.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings |

Once the onion slices have soaked in buttermilk, they take a dip in beaten egg whites and then a generous dip into the breading. If you find the breading isn’t sticking, dip again into the egg whites, then into the breading.

This looks about right. ↓

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings |

Place in a single layer on your baking sheet and spray them with some nonstick spray, olive oil spray (which is sold in stores, though you can purchase this handy tool to make your own), or coconut oil spray (I get mine at Trader Joes). You’re doing this to really make sure the breading is soaked in.

Here’s what my onions looked like before baking:

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings |

Now they’re ready to bake. I had 2 batches because onions were enormous. Feel free to halve this recipe and only use 1 onion if you’re making them just for yourself and/or one other person.

Here is the important thing about the bake time: all ovens are different! And everyone likes a different level of crispiness. I baked my onion rings in my oven for 30 minutes, rotating and flipping once, and they were perfectly crisp! Especially after sitting out for about 10 minutes before digging in.

Just bake the onion rings until they’ve reached your desired level of brownness.

How to Make Healthy, Crispy Baked Onion Rings |

Not optional? Ketchup! Of course if you’re not a fan of ketchup, dip in BBQ, honey mustard (is that weird?), ranch, or whatever zesty dip you’re a fan of. Kevin left his plain. I know. I mean, I don’t know.

Get ready for your mind to be blown.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Crispy Baked Onion Rings

Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside without getting soggy. You won't even realize these onion rings are baked!


  • 2 large sweet onions, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 quart (950ml) low fat buttermilk1
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup (85g) whole wheat flour (or all-purpose) (measured correctly)
  • 3/4 cup (125g) ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup (60g) panko bread crumbs2
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • nonstick spray like PAM, olive oil spray, or coconut oil spray (found mine at Trader Joes)


  1. At least 4 hours ahead of time, place the sliced onion rings into a large dish and pour buttermilk overtop. You don't have to drown the onions, just make sure they are somewhat submerged. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. In this step, you are soaking the onions, which will tenderize them. I strongly suggest soaking them for at least 12 hours for the best taste. I soaked mine overnight.
  2. Once the onions have soaked, remove from the refrigerator. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites. Set aside. In a large shallow dish (I used a pie dish), mix the whole wheat flour, cornmeal, bread crumbs, and the seasonings together until combined.
  4. Remove each ring from the buttermilk and dip in egg whites. Immediately submerge in the bread crumb mixture, mixing around to coat the onion well. If the bread crumbs won’t adhere, dip in egg whites and then the breading again. If you find you need more breading, make more.
  5. Lay each breaded ring on the baking sheets in a single layer. You'll have two batches if your onions were quite large like mine. When all the rings are breaded, spray each with nonstick spray to "seal" the breading, which will prevent the breading from staying raw and allows it to bake onto the onion rings.
  6. Bake each batch for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and flip each ring using tongs. Spray the other side with nonstick spray. Then bake for 15 more minutes. A note about bake time: all ovens are different! And everyone likes a different level of crispiness. I baked my onion rings in my oven for 30 minutes, rotating and flipping once, and they were perfectly brown and crisp. Just bake the rings until they reach your desired level of brownness.
  7. Allow the onion rings to sit out for 10 minutes before digging in. Enjoy immediately.
  8. Make ahead tip: Begin the night before by soaking your onions overnight in step 1. You can freeze baked onion rings for up to 2-3 months. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Read above for why buttermilk is used and how to make your own at home.
  2. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for fried or baked foods. It's available in most major grocery stores near the stuffing. Panko is heavily preferred opposed to regular bread crumbs because they tend to stay crispier longer. You may buy seasoned or unseasoned and then add more/less seasonings to your breading if preferred.

Seasoning - you can flavor the breading with the seasonings listed or use more/less pepper, paprika, and salt. The recipe is written as if my breading was not seasoned. Some other seasonings to try? Lemon pepper and/or garlic powder. Whatever seasonings you prefer.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Looking for some lightened-up snacks?

Try these Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas.

Crunchy Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Chickpeas

And these Baked Sweet Potato Fries are so crisp!

Baked Crispy Sweet Potato Fries. Easy & cheap. |

Crunchy Baked Apple Chips

Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips


The tricks for CRUNCHY baked onion rings at home! Find the recipe on


  1. Can I just say that I am such a fan of yours, Sally! My husband bought your cookbook for me for Christmas, and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival! I have printed off so many of your recipes, with the intention of trying them all. I’m just like you in that I love healthier versions of anything as long as they still taste good! I also love all of your not so healthy recipes because you use good ingredients and they are fairly simple to make. I am not one to turn down a baked good of any kind! Can’t wait to try these onion rings!

    • Thanks Joni, what a nice comment to read today! I’m so happy you’re excited for my book. It will be here before we know it! Let me know which recipes you try first. Have a great weekend!

  2. Thanks for the recipe! Got my onions soakin’ now! Can’t wait to devour them during the Super Bowl! Any notes on how far in advance I could bread them before baking?

  3. Hi Sally,

    Just wanted to say ever since i found your website i’ve been on it EVERY SINGLE DAY looking at all your amazing recipies and seeing what to make for dinner for the boyfriend and I. You are AMAZING!!!! and you’ve made my relationship better :p

  4. Hey Sally,
    I’m making these for dinner tonight, currently soaking in buttermilk now… I used to relatively large onions and am thinking I’m going to have left overs. I’m wondering if you think these would freeze well after fully baked?

  5. We only buy skim milk, which I have used with vinegar for buttermilk in a banana cookie recipe (peanut butter and chocolate chips are divine in these cookies) with no issues. Since you didn’t mention skim as an alternative for the buttermilk concoction, I’m wondering if using it would have a profound effect on the end result.

    These look delicious and I will definitely be making these! Also very excited to be getting your cookbook!!

    • Tai, skim milk should be fine when making the DIY buttermilk for this particular recipe. I try to steer clear from it when using the DIY version in cakes and such because I like the extra fat/moisture milk with fat gives to the baked goods. However, soured skim is fine here.

  6. These looks amazing, can’t wait to try them out! But I was wondering if I could substitute the Panko for normal breadcrumbs?

    • Definitely! However, be sure to read what I wrote about this substitution. Here’s why Panko is better than regular breadcrumbs in this recipe: Panko is made from crustless bread and is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes. Panko flakes tend to stay crispier longer than regular breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease.

  7. How would these turn out if you used white onions? Do you think it could work? They’re all I have and i’m dying for some onion rings haha

  8. Hi!
    If the onions have soaked for 12 hours but I won’t be making the onion rings until later in the day, should I remove the onions or is it ok to keep them in the buttermilk until I am ready to make them?

  9. Totally took your idea of sealing the crumbs with spray when I pan fry breaded pheasant…use lots less butter! Thanks!

  10. Just found your site Sally through this Onion Ring recipe and I’m just waiting for my husband to get home so I can begin cooking them! 🙂 I have a question…have you ever made a batch and put them in the freezer. How did everything turn up? Also, what do you do after you freeze them to get them ready for eating? I love making mass batches of things in case of company or for quick meals.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Margie! The only way to freezer hess is after they are baked – they freeze perfectly fine. I throw them into the oven at 350F for 5-10 minutes to thaw and warm up. Hope you enjoy!

      • Thanks for the quick response…with all that I have made for dinner from your site tonight, “it’s a Sally dinner night,” I fear that we won’t be able to finish everything! 🙂

        Thanks Sally, I am so glad I found your site!

  11. I actually made these and they were vary good. I will make a couple of changes next time

    • next time i will mix the dry ingredients together, but only use half for the first batch then use the 2nd half for the 2nd batch because the dry ingredient clumps up from the egg. I would use less corn meal and try to use 2 onions per ring. Thank you so much. cant wait to try some of ur other recopies

  12. Hi Sally! One quick question – when using the seasoned Pablo breadcrumbs, did you add the listed seasonings? Just a little confused on the instructions!

  13. Also, is the taste the same when using all-purpose flour instead of the white whole wheat flour, or is the difference noticeable? Thanks!

    • Hi Olivia – the recipe is written as if the Panko I used was unseasoned. I’ve used both all-purpose and white whole wheat and have never noticed a taste difference.

  14. TRIED TESTED AND ADORED!!!! Absolutely yummy.made a cheesy chilly dip coz the onion rings were too lonely without a dip lol. Thanx Sally <3

  15. How long do you beat the egg whites … soft peak, stiff peak? Just until a bit foamy?

  16. This recipe looks absolutely stunning! Quick question, if I were to put the onions in buttermilk for around 24 hours, would that be too long? I don’t have time to put them in to soak during the day, I would have to do it the night before, but would that negatively affect the onions?

    • That should be fine, Kaitlin. I’ve done it for that long before because I forgot about them in the fridge. Everything was fine!

  17. Have you tried soaking onions in a non-dairy milk like almond milk ? Any reason that would not work ?l Thanks

  18. I just made your onion rings for dinner for my boyfriend and me and they were a big hit!! So super easy and I was surprised how well the onion cooked! Dipped in my fry sauce (ketchup & mayonnaise ). Thanks for the recipe.

  19. Just got 20 lbs of vidalia onions so plan a couple nights of onion rings. Can I reuse the buttermilk tomorrow? Anxious to have them for dinner tonight.

    • Yes, I’ve reused the buttermilk the next day. Make sure you cover it tightly when storing in the refrigerator.

  20. Oh man now I wish I had buttermilk (I only drink coconut milk so I can’t even make homemade) and Panko crumbs. Thanks for this, I have an unnatural attachment to onion rings, but have vowed off fried food

  21. I made these and they were very good! I overcooked a bit but still tasty. Next time I know better. Love the mix of wheat/cornmeal/panko. That worked really well. Also the buttermilk soak worked great. Huge hit even with my non-dieting family!

  22. Is it ok to use corn meal mix instead of corrnmeal?

  23. I made them and I thought the crust was too griity. It was like eating a corn muffin sort of, its hard to describe. The onions were perfect though, I actually soaked them 2 days in plain milk and was worried it would ruin them but I was 2aiting on my dadvto get cornmeal. I was surprised when tge onions were beyond perfection! Most tender onion rings ive ever had.

  24. I wonder if I can pull this off on my own 😀 i’m not a very good cook if u know what I mean. But I really love onion rings and me and my GF broke up recently, so I guess I need to learn how to cook my favorite snack myself lol

  25. Whoa! These turned out really great! We’re hooked! We don’t have Panko bread crumbs over in Switzerland, but the usual blond bread crumbs worked fine. Lemon pepper and a dash of herbes de Provence for seasoning… and you are so right about the ketchup… be sure to have enough for dipping!

  26. Sally, THANK YOU so much for coming up with this recipe! I have been wanting a baked onion ring recipe for as long as I can remember. I knew I could count on you to create a winner! I made these tonight with red onions because it was all that I had on hand, but next time I will definitely get a large sweet one. I whipped up some copycat “onion blossom” dip that was delish paired with these onion rings! Onion rings are definitely a vehicle for tangy dip for me as well.

  27. Hi. Is there any alternative for cornmeal? We don’t have it here in the Philippines. Thank you.

  28. Omg, I had to laugh when I read about the ” I put ketchup on my ketchup” t-shirt cuz I have SEEN that shirt and I almost got it for my man Kevin. He actually does put ketchup on his ketchup lol. Too funny!

    Love the onion ring recipe too! It looks so good and I love naked onion rings. I can eat way more of them without feeling like crapola.


  29. Sally i have to say that this recipe rocked my world!!! i made them and suddenly i figured out that i needed to make tons of onions ring! they blown away just in few minutes ( even though we skipped on ketchup). Thank you very much!

  30. I love onions and put them in any dish I can…unfortunately my boyfriend does not shared affinity for them-but he does love onion rings! Cannot wait to try this baked version. I’ve had the onions soaking since last night and can’t wait to surprise him!
    Thanks-from a Philly girl living in Baltimore!

  31. hi. instead of butter milk can i use water? I want to make these dairy free. Thank you

  32. Do you use egg whites for health reasons or because it’s inportant for the recipe? (could I use whole eggs?)

    • I find the egg whites help make the onion rings slightly more crisp (yolks give off a ton of moisture)– but you can use whole eggs if you’d like.

  33. YUM! I cannot look at this post without drooling 😉
    You are amazing Sally!!!
    Is there anything i can use instead of oil to spray on them before baking? I don’t have any spray oil 🙁 Thanks!

  34. I made these last night for thanksgiving… OMG, they were sooooo crispy! Perfect tips, I followed all of them, making slight changes on the ingredients because here in Argentina there is no buttermilk or panic bread crumbs, but I found how to replace them. We also fried the onion rings, using your nonstick spray to “seal” the breading tip… Perfect solution!
    We loved them, this recipe is definitely a keeper!!!

  35. I just made these tonight with some turkey sandwiches for dinner! The onion rings are so light but crispy, which makes them oh-so addictive.  Especially when paired with some fry sauce 😉  It takes a bit of prep but this will be my go-to recipe for onion rings from now on.  Thanks for a great recipe, Sally!

  36. My husband was just diagnosed with diabetes. What is the carbohydrate amount per serving and how big is a serving? Thank you.

  37. These look great! Thanks for the tips on how to perfect the baked method.

  38. My ten-year-old son picked out the recipe and had fun dredging the onion rings. He didn’t eat too many of the results, but my husband and I will. Thanks for posting this!

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