Super crispy, crunchy gluten-free onion rings are the perfect snack for game day or late-night cravings.
I do not practice a gluten-free diet, but I always prepare homemade onion rings this way. The reason for this is that the ingredients needed to produce the most crispy onion ring just so happen to be gluten-free.
You do not need to run out and purchase special gluten-free ingredients if you don't already have them. You already have them in your kitchen!
The only "gluten-free" ingredient is rice flour, which you can literally make in 90 seconds with your own rice.
Oil- Vegetable oil or another neutral oil with a high smoke point such as avocado oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or corn oil.
Rice flour- Store-bought or homemade from your own rice.
Sweet onions- Sweet onions like Vidalia or Walla Walla Sweet Onions. (Where my family and I are from!)
Carbonated drink- Club soda, light beer, 7-UP, or ginger ale.
Buttermilk- See recipe notes for substitutions.
Prepare the draining station by placing an elevated cooling rack on a baking sheet or cutting board.
You can line the lower tray with paper towels for easy cleanup, but don't allow the fried onion rings to be set directly on paper towels.
Cut the ends off and peel the outer layer of each onion.
Cut thin slices in the onions, about¼ of an inch thick, and break them apart to separate.
Pat the onion slices dry to absorb any excess moisture.
Mix the dry ingredients first until evenly blended.
Then, add the buttermilk, egg, and club soda or beer, and whisk until combined.
Fill a large pot with 2 to 3 inches of oil, leaving at least 3 inches of headspace from the top of the oil to the top of the pot.
Heat the oil to 375°F. If the oil sizzles when a tiny bit of flour is dropped into it, it's ready.
If it's smoking, it's too hot, but it's most accurate to use a thermometer for frying.
In batches of about 10 rings, dredge the rings in the flour mixture, followed by the batter.
Gently add to the hot oil for about three minutes until golden. Once golden and crispy, transfer with a slotted spoon or frying skimmer to the draining rack.
Repeat until all the onion rings are finished.
Walla Walla Sweet Onions are the absolute best onion to use when making onion rings; however, Vidalia or Mayan Sweet onions are the next best option.
The only reason to soak onions is if the onion is not a sweet variety; white onions can be made milder by soaking slices in ice water for 15 minutes prior to preparing the remainder of the recipe.
1. Laying fried onion rings directly on paper towels without elevating them using a rack will immediately "steam" them and make them soggy.
2. Frying onion rings too close together, as well as draining them in piles rather than a single layer can make them soggy.
3. Not using at least a portion of rice flour can create a soggy onion ring.
Not properly or adequately dusting sliced rings with corn starch before battering can contribute to loss of batter during frying as the corn starch helps the batter to adhere to the onion itself.
The only way to make onion rings crispy again is by giving them a 30-60 second burst in 350-375°F frying oil, or by heating them in an air fryer at 350°F for 5 minutes.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- If you don't have rice flour, you can make your own quickly with the rice you already have.
- If you are not able to use an instant read thermometer for the oil, then keep an eye on the oil that it does not get too hot. Don't let it smoke.
Other crispy, fried, and dunkable recipes are below. Or, continue scrolling for the onion rings.
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Gluten Free Onion Rings
- 2-3 sweet onions like Walla Walla sweet, or Vidalia sliced into ¼ inch thick rings
- 1 ½ cups rice flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoon sweet paprika not smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch cayenne pepper optional
- 1 ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar less if using beer or ginger ale
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup club soda, ginger ale or gluten free beer
- canola or vegetable oil for frying
- Prepare draining station by lining a baking sheet with several paper towels and top with a wire cooling rack.
- Cut onions into ¼ inch rings.
- Heat frying oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix rice flour (1 ½ cups), cornstarch (½ cup), cornmeal (¼ cup), paprika (2 tsp), onion and garlic powders (1 teaspoon each), salt (1 ¾ tsp), cayenne pepper (pinch, optional), sugar (1 tsp) until well blended.
- Whisk in buttermilk (½ cup), egg, and club soda (¾ cup) until batter is combined.
- Dip rings, a few at a time into batter, making sure they're entirely coated, and shaking off excess.
- Carefully place rings in hot oil, and fry in batches of 7-8 rings for 1-2 minutes until they are golden brown. Allow room in between frying rings.
- Use a slotted spoon or spider skimmer to remove rings from oil and transfer to the wire rack draining station. Don't over crowd the rings.
- Do not lie fried onion rings on paper towels to drain, instead drain them on an elevated wire rack over paper towels so that the rings don't come into contact with the paper towels.
- Fry in batches of 7-10 rings depending on size.
- Gluten-free beers include many ales.
- If you choose to use a gluten-free beer or ginger ale, cut the sugar into half (so, half a teaspoon).
- Reheat by re-frying in hot oil for 30-60 seconds or in the air fryer for 3-5 minutes.