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

  • 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: Read above for why buttermilk is used and how to make your own at home.
  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

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


  1. Mmmm – I finally think I have mastered oven fries (I don’t know what took me so long), so I’m so excited to add these to the list!! I’ve made fried onion straws before, and I’m so glad you emphasized the long soak in buttermilk – it really does make them so tender and takes away some of that bitter onion flavor. Can’t wait to try these, Sally – a perfect “indulgence” for the new year!

    1. Hey Jess! I have got to try onion strings next. Thanks for bringing that up. I love them on casseroles and such. Kevin does too. Making those sometime soon! Hope you’re having a wonderful new year so far!

  2. Oh, Sally. You revolutionize the way I think about buttermilk. Genius! These look absolutely delicious. Onion rings are so so addicting but, I agree–the ketchup is basically the most important part. Also so addicting. 🙂 Great job on another savory recipe–seems like people are loving it as much as me!

  3. If these are even half as good as your sweet potato fries recipe (which I now make all the time), they’re going to be amazing. Thanks for adding healthified comfort food snacks to your blog…love it!

  4. Baked Onion Rings are now officially on my 2014 resolution list. Need to be made and inhaled as soon as possible. 😀

  5. This is SOOOOOO much better for you than frying it! I imagine everyone has to admit they get that craving for onion rings and jojo’s. What a fantastic job well done by baking them and also throwing whole wheat flour in there!

  6. Wow these sound fantastic, I can’t wait to try this out!
    P.S. I love your blog, I am a fellow Baltimorean! I am new to this whole blog thing..I hope you can stop by my page if you get a chance. Would love suggestions!

  7. It’s been years since I last ate an onion ring. I’ve never made them, but this post makes me want to! Yum. Thanks for healthying these up for us Sally! xx

  8. Sally! You are absolutely THE WORST! I am going to be as big as a BUFFALO crossed with, like, a DINOSAUR! (Secret translation: I HAVE to try this recipe and I love you more than a thousand sticks of butter!!!!!!!!)

    Note: I love butter. A lot. :o) Trying this recipe tomorrow. YES.

  9. I love onion rings too! Though I’ll always be a bit more of a french fry girl :). Can’t wait to try this healthified version.

  10. I made these this evening for my fiance and our friend. They both loved them and wished we had more! This is definitely a recipe I’ll be making again in the future. Usually I pair veggie burgers with baked fries but these onions rings are definitely going to go into our regular rotation.

    1. These would be so good paired with a veggie burger, Lys! I love veggie burgers. Haven’t made them in awhile. I should make them soon with a batch of these. Thanks for reporting back!

  11. Hi Sally! My mom makes the same joke about me and my ketchup! While I don’t have as many bottles and kinds like you showed on Instagram a few years ago, I can’t get enough of the stuff! These easy onion rings look so delicious – and they’re skinny to boot! I almost found myself trying to reach through the screen to try one a couple of times. Definitely adding this to the SBA recipes to-do list!

  12. Made these tonight…soaked for 10 hours. They were AMAZING and EXACTLY as you described. I knew they would be because the first recipe I made of yours, the soft baked monster cookies was…EXACTLY as you said it would be. Even after making only three of your recipes (candy cane kiss cookies) I have total trust in what you say about your recipes. Just stumbled on your blog in November and can’t wait to try more. Oh, and my sis and her family live in Glen Burnie. Thanks for the Yums!

    1. Hey Deb! I’m close to Glen Burnie. What a small world! I’m so happy you enjoyed these onion rings. I’m currently soaking slices from a couple onions right now to make tonight. I’m glad you loved a couple of my other recipes too. Those monster cookies are so good. Thanks so much for reporting back!

  13. Made them and everyone devoured them!! I love your website! Look forward to making more of your recipes. Actually your chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies were a complete hit too! That’s going in my recipe book for forever. Love your pics, the instructions and personal helps to pull off a successful treat! Look forward to buying your cookbook.

    1. Thank you for reporting back about these onion rings (and the pumpkin cookies), Kim! You’ll have to let me know which cookbook recipe you try first.

  14. These onion rings looked so yummy I just had to make them this weekend. I served them on the side and on top of juicy cheeseburgers and they were fantastic! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. 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!

    1. 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!

  16. 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?

  17. 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

  18. 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?

  19. 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!!

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

  21. 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

  22. 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?

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

  24. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally