It’s Almost Too Easy To Make Hot, Fresh, Fried Onion Rings

I believe you can fry.

Maybe you don’t come from a family that fried on the regular. Perhaps the thought of a vat of boiling oil frightens you. But listen to me.

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Once you’ve mastered a few common-sense basics, frying is actually a simple task. The payoff is that there are few other culinary feats that are more impressive than bringing a plate of hot, crispy, freshly fried food to the table, whether said food is chicken or churros. And in the pantheon of fried foods, few will top onion rings.

The onion rings are so much better than the fries, and the fries are great. They are definitively far too beautiful to enjoy only when you go out. I’ve relied on Rachael Ray’s “Spicy O-nuts” from her “Cooking ‘Round the Clock” for nearly two decades now, and they’ve never let me down.

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The secret is the ever-winning combination of pancake mix and beer, resulting in beautifully puffy rings that disappear from the table in an instant. The spices balance out the sweetness and the crunch is absolutely amazing. So don’t be nervous. You probably have a clicking onion in your kitchen right now. What more glorious destiny could you give him than this?


Recipe: Spicy Sweet Onion Rings
Inspired by “Cooking ‘Round the Clock” by Rachael Ray


  • 1 bottle of vegetable oil, 16 ounces
  • 1 large sweet or yellow onion
  • 2 cups wholemeal pancake mix
  • 1 cup beer (If you drink, drink the rest while you cook.)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder or 1 tsp hot sauce (Feel free to adjust the spice level to your taste.)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cover a large plate or pot with paper bags or paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. If you have a food thermometer, it should read 375°. If not, check that the oil crackles a bit to know when it’s ready.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the onion into thick slices and separate the rings.
  3. In a large bowl, combine pancake mix and spices. Stir in the beer.
  4. Work with about 5 or 6 onion slices at a time, dip and coat in batter. Fry until golden and puffy, turning once or twice, about 4 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon or kitchen spider, place the onion rings on the plate to drain. Salt generously.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the rings. Serve immediately.

A few things to remember for success:

  • Make sure your oil is really hot and ready so your rings don’t get muddy.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan – you want to keep the oil hot and give your rings room to move.
  • Like a brand new car that stands out, onion rings depreciate quickly. It’s not something to do when you have a bunch of other dishes to keep an eye on or when your guests are quietly making their way to the table.
  • Make sure the oil is completely cooled before discarding it.

More restaurant classics to make at home:

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