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.

onion rings on a silpat baking mat

hand dipping onion ring into bowl of ketchup

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.

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.

onion rings on a blue plate

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!

onion rings on a blue plate

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.

Give the rings a nice soak in low fat buttermilk. 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.

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, so anywhere from 4-6 hours would be ok. Just know that soaking them overnight will make them all the better.

sliced onions in a dish

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.

ingredients for 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.

hands dipping onion ring into coating in a white bowl

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.

onion rings on a silpat baking mat

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.

onion rings on a white plate

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3 images of baked onion rings

Crispy Baked Onion Rings

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 4-12 hours, 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 5-13 hours
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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 buttermilk*
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup (85g) whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (125g) ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup (60g) Panko bread crumbs*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • nonstick spray like PAM, olive oil spray, or coconut oil spray (found mine at Trader Joe’s)


  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.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Buttermilk: Real buttermilk is best, but you can make your own DIY sour milk if needed. Measure 1/4 cup of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice in a quart-size measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 quart. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
  3. Breadcrumbs: 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.
  4. 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.

Keywords: crispy baked onion rings


  1. 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

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

    1. A light beating – a little foamy is good.

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

  4. Betsy Pedersen says:

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

  5. 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.

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

    1. Cornmeal is best.

  7. 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.

  8. papas restaurant games says:

    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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

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

  12. Juie @ Cooks with Cocktails says:

    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.


    1. Hahaha best shirt ever.

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

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

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

    1. 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.

  17. 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!

    1. A drizzle of olive oil works!

  18. 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!

  19. Sandy Eubanks says:

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

  20. Anita - says:

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

  21. Melissa Yi/Yuan-Innes says:

    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!

  22. Please let me know if I can make these with almond milk?  My grandson would love to try them but has a serious dairy allergy. 

    1. You sure can.

  23. Great recipe! I did a gluten and dairy free version and used rice milk instead.  I substituted chick pea crumbs (I found them at whole foods in the baking section but I know you can make your own).  AMAZING!! And guilt free.  Will definitely make these again!

  24. What if i soaked the onion rings for less time will they still turn out okay?

  25. This sound amazing! I plan on making these ahead and freezing them. Would you first bake them for the whole cooking time and then freeze? Or freeze before any cooking? Thanks!

  26. Have you tried coating the onion rings and putting them in the refrigerator so they are ready to bake at any time? Would like to prevent last minute coating mess. Thanks!

    1. Hey Sally! I LOVE your site, every recipe I have ever made has come out great but these I followed to a T everything, they never would brown and they just tasted like raw flour?!? Im an amazing cook, no amateur cook here also a manage a restaurant just tying to figure out what went wrong. Thank you so much.

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