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How do you like your Onion Rings?

chompie Feb 27, 2013 11:17 PM

Just curious to see what the majority likes in an onion ring.. For example, me and hubby love thin, softish, sweet onions coated in a thin coating which is somewhat crispy but not crunchy, piled messily and somewhat greasy in a cardboard container.And the extra bonus would be a good supply of soft sweet "middles" scattered in....Whereas, other choices might be large thick firm slices with lots of tooth challenging crunchy bits stacked uniformly, or pankoed, or battered, or tempura'd or nearly free of grease, or the kind with no recognizable onion in a lots of coating...

  1. b
    Bobfrmia Mar 12, 2013 08:08 PM

    When the Vidalia's show up here. I like to batter them with a cheap batter mix (Don's Cajun), but instead of using a cup of water to mix, I use a half cup of beer, and a half cup of Louisiana Brand hot sauce. The sweet onion with the spicy batter is fantastic.
    Oh, if you decide to do this, don't salt them before you try them.

    1. k
      Kelli2006 Mar 12, 2013 07:26 PM

      I like my onions rings in a crunchy beer batter.

      Long John Silvers now has onion rings that are above average for a fast food outlet, if they are fresh from the fryer.

      I hate it when the slimy centers pull away from the batter.

      1. Bada Bing Mar 12, 2013 04:23 PM

        My favorite is large thick tender rings with crispy batter. In my experience, very hard to find. I used to live (1980s) near a place called Whitey's in East Grand Forks, MN, which had the best onion rings I've ever had, in this style. Not until this year, when I tried onion rings at Red Mill Burgers in Seattle, have I had any to compare.

        Not the kind of thing I make at home, nor know how to.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bada Bing
          gmm Mar 12, 2013 06:26 PM

          I love Red Mill's onion rings! That plus a Verde Burger and I'm a happy girl. You might like Fat Burger's rings, I'm in Spokane now, so no Red Mill in my near future.
          I like my onion rings cut thick, and they have to be crisp with either a seasoned flour coating, or a thin layer of batter. I don't like them coated with bread crumbs or panko. I really don't care for onion strings/straw/tanglers or any of the super thin types because you end up tasting the coating more than the onion.

        2. Bada Bing Mar 12, 2013 04:20 PM

          My favorite is large thick tender rings with crispy batter. In my experience, very hard to find. I used to live (1980s) near a place called Whitey's in East Grand Forks, MN, which had the best onion rings I've ever had, in this style. Not until this year, when I tried onion rings at Red Mill Burgers in Seattle, have I had any to compare.

          Not the kind of thing I make at home, nor know how to.

          p.s.: I have also enjoyed very thin ones called "onion strings" at K-Village Inn in Kettlersville, IN. That's a different beast.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Bada Bing
            Tom34 Mar 12, 2013 06:02 PM

            Hard to cook at home. Must have deep fryer shortening, not regular oil. Also shortening in a restaurant is usually not brand new. When the shortening is changed, often times a little of the old stuff is added back into the new shortening to boost the flavor.

            1. re: Tom34
              Bada Bing Mar 12, 2013 06:18 PM

              Yeah, thanks. I've always gathered that deep-frying is just something that doesn't work well at home scale, alas.

              I didn't know the fryers use special shortening. In the '70s I worked at McDonalds, and we filled our fryers with big huge blocks of shortening, which then needed to be melted down and brought to temp.

              1. re: Bada Bing
                Tom34 Mar 12, 2013 06:36 PM

                Some brands of the stuff restaurants use are available at wholesale clubs and places like Restaurant Depot. Prob 2 to 5 gallon containers. It definitely gives a different flavor than the standard oils.

                I have seen people put a "heavy duty" ($150.00 - $200.00) electric deep fryer outside on the deck using restaurant shortening. Being outside the smoke / smell stay outside & the food comes out pretty good in small batches.

                PS: That 1970's McDonalds shortening was the bomb. A ton of research and taste testing went into creating that stuff. I am not sure of the date, but not that long ago they switched to a healthier shortening :(

          2. njmarshall55 Mar 12, 2013 12:10 PM

            Glad you asked...only because I was going to start a new thread but had the foresight to see what someone else had done. I'm a thick slice, plenty of crispy batter kind of guy. Definitely rings over fries, anyday. From reading recipes, I have to assume the batter I prefer to be used is a mix of flour and corn meal, for that slight sweetness and crunch. I usually mix ketchup with Rooster Sauce to dip. Although lately, I'm leaning more toward straight Chili Garlic from Huy Fong. I've had what I call "shoestring" onion rings. Sorry...not for me. Too thin, too "limp," and I don't much like thin anything...even women, but that's another website. I've also had the shoestring "loaf" and that, too, is not on my radar. I find, also, that onion rings don't travel very well. There are two diners around here that serve very good rings, but by the time I get them home, they've steamed into quite a mess. Better to order them out and enjoy them hot and crispy.

            3 Replies
            1. re: njmarshall55
              Tom34 Mar 12, 2013 03:39 PM

              I am down in South Jersey. My favorite Diner gets giant onions that are bigger than a soft ball, cuts full 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 inch thick slices, coats them with cracker meal (not flour) , then egg wash then bread crumbs. Deep fried golden brown. I dip them in their homemade spaghetti sauce. 35 year love affair with them.

              Your right about them being best eaten at the diner. However, if you get them to go, and they put them in a plastic container with a hinged lid....(black bottom / clear top)....tell them not to snap the lid down and leave the plastic bag open. This will allow them to breath and not steam.

              PS: You will fail to follow this advice, but with the lid open and the bag not tied, your car will quickly take on the smell of fried food, .....don't eat and drive :)

              1. re: Tom34
                njmarshall55 Mar 13, 2013 08:12 AM

                Agreed! Many a time I wind up with the empty container by the time I hit the driveway! My folks live in Barnegat. Any good diners down that way?

                1. re: njmarshall55
                  Tom34 Mar 13, 2013 08:36 AM

                  I don't know, most of the ones I am familar with run North / South along the Delaware river from Bordentown down to the Collingswood area and east to the Cherryhill / Marlton area.

                  Depending on where you are coming from, there is the Vincentown Diner at RT 206 & RT 38. There is probably one near Lakehurst as well.

            2. Bill Hunt Mar 1, 2013 08:27 PM

              First, real and not composites of "onion pieces." Then, with a light crust, and barely rare inside. Fresh onions, never frozen. Deep-fried, and never baked.

              That about covers it.


              1. w
                wyogal Mar 1, 2013 06:44 AM

                Ah jeez..... last night went to one of the the local high schools' production of Willie Wonka. The cooking classes made chocolate bars. I shared one with my husband. Large bars, milk chocolate, kinda of devoured it.
                Then I got home and got the munchies for something savory. We are cleaning out the fridge, going on a trip.... but, I had an onion that had not been sliced.........
                So I dumped some yogurt over the sliced onion rings, let that sit a bit, then sprinkled in some dry ranch seasoning, then dumped in some flour. There was just enough yogurt to coat the rings, and dumped just enough flour to coat. a gloppy yet almost dry consistency.
                Fried them in coconut oil,as I was out of everything else.
                Oh. My.
                But, today, I am suffering from a food hangover. and I am about to take another Tums just after writing this....

                1. LMAshton Mar 1, 2013 12:36 AM

                  I like making my onion ring batter with garlic, onion, chilli powder, and pepper. Really ramps up the flavour for me. And as a bonus, the husband and his entire family prefer my onion rings, too.

                  1. s
                    sandylc Feb 28, 2013 05:12 PM

                    Oh, and I like them with salt only. No dips, ketchups, or dressings. I don't know where/when people came up with the onion-rings-in-ranch-dressing thing, but they have to stop it. ;-)

                    1. m
                      mike0989 Feb 28, 2013 02:53 PM

                      I like sweet onion rings, up to a half inch thick. No strings, no petals\chips. I like them coated or battered. It can be a beer batter or tempura, but no breading. I also like them with ranch dressing.

                      1. t
                        Tom34 Feb 28, 2013 02:50 PM

                        Big Greek Mid Atlantic Diner Style: 11/4 inch thick slices out of softball sized onions tossed in cracker meal, then egg, then homemade bread crumbs then deep fried golden brown in 2 day old oil.

                        Homemade Greek style marinara sauce to dip them in.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Tom34
                          mrbigshotno.1 Mar 1, 2013 10:36 AM

                          And just about everything else in those diners is great!

                          1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                            Tom34 Mar 1, 2013 01:03 PM

                            Yeah....my first job was in a diner.....food was always good, reasonable & "plentiful".

                            Diners are hurting now because the 20 to 50 year old crowd prefer the big chains and only occasionally go to a diner for breakfast or late night after bar closing meal.

                            Most of the remaining diners have been in the family for many years and are mortgage free which is the only reason their doors are still open.

                            1. re: Tom34
                              StrandedYankee Mar 1, 2013 01:40 PM

                              I used to be a huge proponent of diners, but frankly the food at most of them became so, well...bad. Generous portions became huge, but the food itself became a lot less worth eating. I grew up in Philadelphia, and wonderful diners abounded in the suburbs, the outer parts of the city, and across the bridges in Jersey. My mom thinks that part of the problems came in with the fact that the ethnic groups that owned and ran the diners changed (some people will put allspice and cinnamon into almost ANYTHING...Ick!). Then the desserts got much bigger and fancier looking, but they stopped tasting very good. Really, that started happening with most of the food. Most of them can still make you a reasonably good breakfast, but for lunch and dinner I now mostly avoid them.

                              BTW, allspice and cinnamon are both delicious. But not in tomato sauce, gravy or meatloaf, goshdarnit!

                              1. re: StrandedYankee
                                sandylc Mar 1, 2013 02:02 PM

                                I have seen this, as well. Also, many diners that made food from scratch for years began buying frozen and convenience products, sending the quality downhill considerably.

                                Desserts are indeed a major point of contention at these modified diners. I have twice recently been served pie that had a white, cardboard-textured crust with some sort of colored, flavorless, gelatinous filling, topped with a Cool Whip-type topping. Completely inedible.

                                A diner-type of restaurant would triple their business in a week if they offered a fresh, delicious, made-from-scratch pie selection.

                                Stranded Yankee, I have also seen non-U.S.-born owners at some of these disappointing diners. I am not sure what all the cultural factors at work here are, but there must be some impact. If I was to move to.....Bengladesh, say, and purchase a homestyle-cooking restaurant, I am sure that I would be unable to maintain its integrity. I just wouldn't have the background knowledge or the tastebud development for that cuisine that would be required in that situation.

                                1. re: sandylc
                                  Tom34 Mar 1, 2013 09:43 PM

                                  As I said above, twice a week a non English speaking old Greek baker came in and made all the fresh pies, cakes, cheese and cinnamon bread. He was like a god and nobody messed with him. When they retired or died, that was the end of that. Now its mostly companies like Bindi that supply the baked goods by truck.

                                2. re: StrandedYankee
                                  Tom34 Mar 1, 2013 09:34 PM

                                  I live in South Jersey just across the river from Philadelphia. In the 70's & 80's portions were 2 meal size and the quality was "good" and the $$ reasonable. There was also free cheese & cinnamon bread baskets brought to the table. Most were either Greek or Turk owned but never a mix :) Each had a small bakery where a baker came 2x a week.

                                  Rising food costs over the years and a declining ethnic labor force put a strain on the diners. Soon the Greek / Turk line cooks with ambitions of one day owning their own diner were replaced with south of the border labor only employees. In house bakers were replaced with pies & cakes off a truck.

                                  Funny you mentioned the Cinnamon laced tomato sauce. When I was about 14 and worked at a diner, I first had a rough time with the sauce. Soon I got to love it and to this day have not been able to duplicate it.

                          2. p
                            plf515 Feb 28, 2013 11:15 AM

                            Thinly sliced with almost no batter or none at all, just fried in oil.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: plf515
                              chompie Feb 28, 2013 02:24 PM

                              wow this triggered alot of onion ring cravings! Looks like its running about 50/50 on types... Glad some do like them like i do.. I dont necessarily need them thin.. i like a nice slice, but thick ones tend to get over battered and under cooked.. I do prefer when the onion is clearly seen and intact but not easily separated from the coating. I dont like when the coating breaks off like shards of glass unless the pieces are delicate and crispy and not chewy or extra crunchy.. btw.. noticed a couple of you from MA...so recommend the Lobster Claw in North Reading. He said that he gets a mix of those asking for softer vs crunchier and encourages letting them know what you prefer and he will fry it to your taste..

                            2. biondanonima Feb 28, 2013 10:10 AM

                              I'll eat them pretty much any way I can get them, with the exception of those nasty ones with the onion paste in the center. I also don't care for a thick bready batter coat. Pretty much anything else goes. I also really love Blooming Onions or Awesome Blossoms or whatever they're called at chains like Chili's and Outback.

                              The very best onion rings I've had in a while, though, came from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. A google images search indicates that some locations serve a batter-dipped style, but the ones I had were coated in breadcrumbs, like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cherishi...

                              I don't know what it was about them, but they were truly divine.

                              1. s
                                sandylc Feb 28, 2013 10:09 AM


                                First of all, FRESHLY MADE. No frozen products allowed.

                                Next, sweet onions only.

                                Good, fresh oil is a must - NO canola!

                                Thickness? I love thin strings up to about 1/2-inch thick. But the thicker ones need to be carefully cooked through.

                                I make onions strings when the Vidalias are abundant. Paper-thin half-slices of onions are tossed with flour in a strainer over the sink, to remove all excess flour. Then they are flash fried in small batches (they need to be floured in these small batches, as well, or they become gummy) and salted while still hot.

                                As for thicker ones, I love both breaded and battered rings. I have experimented with everything from corn flakes to Panko to rice flour to buttermilk to....well, you get the idea.

                                Results? They're ALL great. If you follow my first three points you're probably going to have great rings.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: sandylc
                                  Kontxesi Feb 28, 2013 11:21 AM

                                  When you say "flash fried", just how long do you mean? Your onion strings sound like something I can get behind. :)

                                  1. re: Kontxesi
                                    sandylc Feb 28, 2013 11:34 AM

                                    If I had to guess, maybe a minute???? Don't hold me to it, though. You have to watch and move them around carefully, as they burn fast. A pain to make, but very delicious. Sometimes I cut corn tortillas into 1/8" strips and fry these to mix with the onions.

                                    1. re: sandylc
                                      sandylc Mar 1, 2013 05:47 PM

                                      O.K., made them today for hubby's birthday. It took more like..uh....3-4??? minutes per small (important!) batch.....

                                2. mucho gordo Feb 28, 2013 09:45 AM

                                  I prefer them exactly your way. Thick sliced is okay as long as the coating is thin and not crisp

                                  1. Motosport Feb 28, 2013 08:37 AM

                                    Yes!!! What chompie said!!

                                    1. ipsedixit Feb 28, 2013 08:28 AM

                                      I really (and I mean REALLY) like the onion rings at Burger King.

                                      Do those count?

                                      (Go ahead, I have my flame suit on ... flame away!)

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        MGZ Feb 28, 2013 08:44 AM

                                        It's been a long time, but I always got rings instead of fries with my Whopper.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          alliegator Feb 28, 2013 08:45 AM

                                          My flamer remains tucked away for that one. The kid that dogsat for me a few years back worked at BK, so having it my way meant burger with cheese, tomato, bacon, mayo, and the onion rings on the burger. Junky heaven!

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            pine time Mar 1, 2013 11:34 AM

                                            Oh, my, forgot about these--love them.

                                            And IIRC, White Castle's had a lovely onion "chip" fried onion. Haven't lived near a White Castle in over 30 years, though.

                                          2. MGZ Feb 28, 2013 08:16 AM

                                            Well, I do love onion rings, pretty much all kinds made of real onion slices. In fact, given a choice between rings and fries, I always go with rings.. Hell, I've made meals out of 'em and beer. Nonetheless, my favorites are properly made, beer battered, thick slices - especially if they come on a big slab of grilled, rare, prime porterhouse (or strip, actually). On the side's fine too.

                                            1. alliegator Feb 28, 2013 08:03 AM

                                              Usually very thin with the salty crispy coating, but not breading. Like the picture. But here's where I get weird: I like a squeeze of lemon over the pile instead of a dipping sauce. I think it's quite tasty. I always prefer onion rings over fries in a restaurant that offers a choice.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: alliegator
                                                Chemicalkinetics Feb 28, 2013 04:11 PM

                                                <here's where I get weird: I like a squeeze of lemon over....>

                                                I don't think it is that weird. Yes, it is not as popular as dipping sauce or whatnot, but it is not sometime crazy.

                                                < I always prefer onion rings over fries in a restaurant that offers a choice.>

                                                I like French fries, but when given the choice, I always pick something else. Anything really: curly fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, coleslaw....etc. Anything.

                                                1. re: alliegator
                                                  Fydeaux Mar 12, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                  I like them like this too; the kind that supper clubs used to serve by the "hill" or by the "mountain". Never though of sqeezing lemon on them, but I'll give that a try.

                                                2. Perilagu Khan Feb 28, 2013 07:29 AM

                                                  I like very thin, almost string-like onion rings, with only the faintest suggestion of a batter. That "batter" should really be more a dusting of flour and spices than anything else.

                                                  1. o
                                                    oystertripe Feb 28, 2013 07:24 AM

                                                    Very thin with a very light coating: Cooked in hot, clean oil so that they are fragile and crisp, lightly sweet and dusted with fine salt. That being said, I cannot find them in RI/So. MA.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: oystertripe
                                                      Perilagu Khan Feb 28, 2013 07:32 AM

                                                      The best of this genre I've had was at a place called Murry's in Columbia, Missouri. Their other offerings were "meh," but those rings...

                                                    2. e
                                                      elkerette Feb 28, 2013 07:20 AM

                                                      The best possible onion ring allows you to pull out a whole strand of onion after biting into it, separating the onion from the batter and allowing you to eat each separately. It's a messy way to eat them (and a bit gross if you are eating with friends!) but for me, the only way.

                                                      Don't even get me started about rings with that pureed onion mix in the middle... ew. You might as well just eat onion-flavoured batter - NOT an onion ring.

                                                      1. k
                                                        Kontxesi Feb 28, 2013 06:35 AM

                                                        Tempura. I've never been able to get behind the typical greasy onion ring, but if you throw it in some tempura batter and give me a nice sauce for dipping, I'm all over it.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Kontxesi
                                                          EWSflash Mar 1, 2013 05:27 PM

                                                          Yep, that's my preference too, FWIW

                                                        2. Peg Feb 28, 2013 06:33 AM

                                                          Raw, straight off the onion. With a slice of strong cheddar.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Peg
                                                            Perilagu Khan Feb 28, 2013 07:30 AM

                                                            Heh. You and my--now deceased--mom.

                                                          2. grampart Feb 28, 2013 06:10 AM

                                                            Like this.

                                                            12 Replies
                                                            1. re: grampart
                                                              wyogal Feb 28, 2013 06:12 AM


                                                              1. re: wyogal
                                                                grampart Feb 28, 2013 06:12 AM

                                                                Not like this.

                                                                1. re: grampart
                                                                  wyogal Feb 28, 2013 06:15 AM

                                                                  Same here

                                                                  1. re: grampart
                                                                    mrbigshotno.1 Feb 28, 2013 07:40 AM

                                                                    Those look like a bunch of worms jammed into a fry daddy and pulled out in one chunk.

                                                                    1. re: grampart
                                                                      StrandedYankee Feb 28, 2013 10:33 AM

                                                                      I've had onion ring loaves like this that are DELICIOUS! However, they are best shared so they can be consumed quickly (they do not cool down well). And I also usually prefer thicker, separate rings like in the previous picture. But a good onion ring loaf can be absolutely delicious.

                                                                      1. re: StrandedYankee
                                                                        grampart Feb 28, 2013 11:18 AM

                                                                        I had my first onion ring "loaf" over 30 years ago in a place called Lord Chumley's in Stuart FL. It appeared as though the rings were put on a dowel or something and submerged in batter and then slid into the fryer so that, when served, they were easily separated into portions. I dislike the jumbled mess type that are usually served.

                                                                        1. re: grampart
                                                                          StrandedYankee Feb 28, 2013 02:15 PM

                                                                          The loaf-style onion rings that I've liked have been surprisingly light and delicate. I have had heavy, greasy ones that have been lousy, but I have found them to be very much a "When they are good, they are very, very good" kind of thing. And when they are bad? Feh!

                                                                          1. re: StrandedYankee
                                                                            pine time Mar 1, 2013 11:32 AM

                                                                            We ate at Outback Steakhouse just once, and we ordered the Bloomin' Onion as as app...half-way through, I was feeling greenish, but ate the main anyway. Was violently sick all night--don't think any of the food was "off" in any way, but that amount of grease from those onions was off the charts.

                                                                            We prefer a pakora-fried onion, or failing that, tempura batter. And in great quantity.

                                                                            1. re: pine time
                                                                              StrandedYankee Mar 1, 2013 11:38 AM

                                                                              Bloomin' Onions are different. They can be tasty for a few bites, but I agree, they are WAY too greasy! Good onion ring loaf, the onions are usually sliced super thin, barely coated, and fried fast and hot. You can eat them almost like potato chips because they are so thin and crispy. Bloomin' Onions always end up with some half-raw batter near the center and way too much oil. Ick!

                                                                    2. re: wyogal
                                                                      Bada Bing Mar 12, 2013 04:24 PM

                                                                      I second that "yummy"

                                                                    3. re: grampart
                                                                      fldhkybnva Feb 28, 2013 06:20 PM

                                                                      +1 love the thick ring with a coating which doesn't fall off with the first bite. I used to love the onion rings at Ted's Montana Grill but haven't had them in quite some time so would hesitate to vouch for them after nearly 3 years.

                                                                      1. re: grampart
                                                                        EWSflash Mar 1, 2013 05:26 PM


                                                                      2. s
                                                                        StrandedYankee Feb 28, 2013 06:05 AM

                                                                        I like them less than a half-inch thick, but not truly thin. I also like a thin, crispy coating. The onions should have cooked to the point of softness and to mellowing out the onions sting, but not to the point of being too liquidy. I like french fries fairly heavily salted, but onion rings I prefer with light salt. I do like ketchup on the side for dipping my rings into.

                                                                        1. w
                                                                          wyogal Feb 28, 2013 05:48 AM

                                                                          I made some awhile ago, kind of a dy batter, I soaked the onion in yogurt, then tossed in four, then fried.
                                                                          I like a crispy exterior, with a soft onion inside.
                                                                          I absolutely hate the minced onion "ring."

                                                                          1. c
                                                                            Cinnamonster Feb 28, 2013 05:41 AM

                                                                            I love onion rings in general (so all types are fine by me).
                                                                            I do prefer ones that aren't overly greasy as well as ones that aren't limp.
                                                                            Large and thick onion slices are also a plus, but I wouldn't say no to onion bits mushed together.
                                                                            I enjoy various types of breading, and don't think I can pick one to be far above others.

                                                                            1. Chemicalkinetics Feb 28, 2013 12:00 AM

                                                                              Well, most of the onion rings I had were coated with thick crust/coating and crunchy. I do prefer thinner and lighter coating, but I also prefer decently thick onion ring (not your prefered thin onion).

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