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Crispy Fried Onion Straws

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Crispy Fried Onion Straws are seasoned and lightly breaded thin-sliced onions, pan-fried to golden perfection. They’re so delicious as a snack, side, or on top your favorite burger!

THIS POST AND RECIPE CARD UPDATED JULY 7, 2019
overhead shot of Crispy Fried Onion Straws on a piece of white parchment paper, with side of garlic aoili in top right corner

My friends know I am a 100% french fry snob, and I’ll send them back at a restaurant if they’re not hot or fresh enough.

I’m also an onion rings snob and I love breaded onion rings…beer batter, not so much. Too often, the batter is too thick so there’s more breading than onions and they are greasy.

When I’m at home I prefer to pan-fry when I want that golden, crispy crust. Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu is one of my favorites. And I can eat my Panko Parmesan Zucchini Chips practically straight out of the pan.

It recently hit me that I’ve never made onion rings at home, so I decided to make CRISPY FRIED ONION STRAWS

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • The flavorful seasoning mix uses spices you likely already have on hand
  • The buttermilk adds a wonderful tangy bite 
  • They’re easy to make and, after soaking in buttermilk they’re ready in about 15 minutes
overhead shot of Crispy Fried Onion Straws on a piece of white parchment paper, with side of garlic aoili in top right corner
ONION PRO TIPS  

I prefer to use yellow onions. You could substitute Vidalia or white onions. Note that white onions will have the harshest bite of the three.

You want the slices about 1/4″ thick, to ensure that they cook fast and evenly

I highly recommend slicing the onions with a Mandolin. Trying to cut lots of slices that thin with a knife is a cut hand waiting to happen.

Make sure the Mandolin blade is very sharp, or the outer layer of the onion will split as you slice. 

Overhead process shot of onions sliced and mandolin
PREPARING THE ONIONS FOR FRYING

Soak the onion in buttermilk for an hour. This adds a nice bite and helps the flour mixture stick

Drain the buttermilk well. I use a Fine Mesh Strainer to make the process easier.

overhead shot of onions soaking in buttermilk in a glass bowl

Don’t skimp on seasoning the flour! This is where you’ll get nearly all the flavor. I use onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and chili powder.

Working quickly and in batches, dredge the onions in a food storage container with a lid. Add some onions, close the lid tightly, and shake well. This makes for easy, hands-free breading.

close up shot of seasoned onions on a white plate
COOKING CRISPY FRIED ONION STRAWS

Use a Cast Iron Skillet or a Nonstick Fry Pan. I swore by my Nonstick Fry Pan for a long time, but now I’m obsessed with my Cast Iron Skillet. The heavy bottom distributes heat more evenly, and retains the temperature better.

Use a light, flavorless oil. I prefer canola oil, but you could use vegetable oil or Peanut Oil.

Make sure the oil is hot enough before you add the onions. If not, the onions will soak up the oil and get greasy. I drop a small piece of onion into the pan; it’s ready when the piece immediately begins to bubble and raises to the surface.

Cook the Crispy Fried Onion Straws in batches. If you overcrowd the pan, they won’t cook properly.

The onions cook quickly, so don’t walk away! For me, they cook in about 2 minutes.

Season Crispy Fried Onion Straws lightly with coarse sea salt as soon as they come out of the oil.

LEFTOVERS AND REHEATING

I make a fresh batch of Crispy Fried Onion Straws each time. I’m not a fan of reheating fried food, because you never get back that trademark crunch.

Do the long prep on day 1: 

  • Slice twice as many onions, and soak them all in buttermilk for an hour.
  • Drain the onions well and store them in a sealed container in the fridge overnight. 
  • Season the onions the next day, and they’ll fry up crunchy and delicious!
overhead shot of Crispy Fried Onion Straws on a piece of white parchment paper, with side of garlic aoili in top right corner
MORE APPETIZERS AND SNACKS
DIPPING SAUCES FOR CRISPY FRIED ONION STRAWS
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Crispy Fried Onion Straws - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Crispy Fried Onion Straws

Yield: 4 cups onions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Crispy Fried Onion Straws are crispy, crunchy deliciousness in every bite! Seasoned and lightly breaded thin-sliced onions are pan-fried to golden perfection. They're so delicious as a snack, side, or on top your favorite burger! 

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Slice onion into 1/4" slices using mandoline. Separate onion pieces and place into large bowl. Add buttermilk, and rest in fridge
  2. Soak onions in buttermilk for one hour. Drain buttermilk well from onions
  3. FOR EASY, HANDS-FREE BREADING: Use a Tupperware-like container that has a cover!
  4. Add flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and chili powder into container. 
  5. Using tongs or a fork, transfer onions in batches into flour mixture. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously. Transfer seasoned onions to a plate
  6. Add enough oil for a 1/2" depth and heat in large fry pan. Test the oil with a small piece of onion: when onion immediately begins to bubble and raises to the surface, the oil is hot enough
  7. Add onions in batches to fry pan. Don't overcrowd the pan, or the onions won't cook properly
  8. Watch carefully, as onions will only take about 2 minutes to cook. Transfer cooked onions to paper towels to drain. Immediately sprinkle with sea salt
  9. When completely finished, sprinkle with additional paprika, if desired.

Notes

Use a mandoline or slicer with a very sharp blade to slice the onions. Faster, easier and safer than a knife

FOR EASY BREADING: Use a Tupperware-like container that has a cover! Keep your hands clean, ensures easy full coverage of onions

Instead of reheating leftovers, use this shortcut on the first day:

  • Slice twice as many onions, and soak them all in buttermilk for an hour
  • Store drained onions in a sealed container in the fridge overnight
  • Season the onions the next day, and fry as normal
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 137Saturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 185mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 4g
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