Air Fryer Ranch Onion Rings

published Jan 9, 2022
Air Fryer Onion Rings Recipe

Onion rings are a classic example of how breading just about anything can transform a few humble ingredients into a fun and impressive side dish or snack.

Serves4 to 6

Prep30 minutes

Cook36 minutes to 48 minutes

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onion rings made in an air fryer, laid out with a small black ramekin with creamy white dipping sauce
Credit: Laura Manzano

Onion rings are a classic example of how breading just about anything can transform a few humble ingredients into a fun and impressive side dish or snack. But this air fryer version goes one step further, thanks to the magic of ranch seasoning powder — a tangy combination of powdered buttermilk, onion power, garlic powder, and other spices — which adds a hidden boost of flavor and doubles as seasoning for a creamy dip.

Vidalia onions are most commonly used for onion rings, and for good reason. They’re sweeter and milder than white or yellow onions. When shopping, be sure to look for onions that are as fresh and young as possible — the older the onion, the stronger and more potent the onion will be. Look for onions with smooth skin and no soft spots.

Breading onion rings from scratch is a methodical process that requires full use of your hands. Try as you might to use utensils to avoid sticky fingers, nothing will work as well to really adhere the breadcrumbs than your hands. And the results are more than worth it. What makes these rings unique is the double dredge of flour and egg — it produces a stronger coating for the breadcrumbs to stick to, and it’s less likely to fall into the bottom of the air fryer while cooking. Coating the breadcrumbs in oil before frying gives them a beautiful golden-brown color without having to deep-fry!

Be sure not to jostle the rings once they’re nestled in the air fryer basket. Because they’re thin and hollow, the heat that circulates through the air fryer will cook them evenly without having to flip or shake.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Onion Rings in the Air Fryer?

Because of the powerful convection qualities of an air fryer, onion rings take no longer than 15 minutes in a standard air fryer.

How Long Do Air Fryer Onion Rings Keep?

As with all fried (and air-fried!) foods, these onion rings are best enjoyed immediately and not recommended as leftovers. But if you must, they keep in an airtight container for up to five days and are best reheated (no surprise) in an air fryer for about five minutes at 375ºF. 

The Best Dipping Sauces for Air Fryer Onion Rings

The only thing better than onion rings are the dipping sauces they come with. In this recipe, ranch seasoning powder gets mixed with sour cream for a cool and tangy accompaniment. But feel free to pull out all the stops and get creative! Mix honey, curry powder and yellow mustard for a different take on honey mustard. Or mix cumin, chili powder, and a squeeze of lime into ketchup for a gourmet upgrade to a dipping classic. Dig around your spice cabinet and the door of your fridge, and let these simple onion rings be the vehicle for your creativity!

Air Fryer Onion Rings Recipe

Onion rings are a classic example of how breading just about anything can transform a few humble ingredients into a fun and impressive side dish or snack.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 36 minutes to 48 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the onion rings:

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 (1-ounce) packet

    ranch dressing and seasoning powder (2 tablespoons)

  • 2 tablespoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 1/4 cup

    water

  • 4 cups

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 5 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 3

    large Vidalia onions (12 to 16 ounces each)

For the dip (optional):

  • 1 cup

    sour cream

  • 1 tablespoon

    ranch powder

  • 1/4 bunch

    fresh dill

  • 1 tablespoon

    water

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • Pinch

    kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 250ºF. Fit a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

  2. Place 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 (1-ounce) packet ranch powder (2 tablespoons), 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper in a shallow bowl or small rimmed baking sheet and stir with a fork to combine.

  3. Place 4 large eggs and 1/4 cup water in a second shallow bowl or rimmed baking sheet and whisk until well combined.

  4. Place 4 cups panko breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl or rimmed baking sheet. Using your hands, crush up the breadcrumbs slightly to create a slightly finer crumb, which will adhere to the onion rings more easily. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon kosher salt and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper and stir to combine. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Again, using your hands, rub the oil into the breadcrumbs, breaking up any lumps with your fingers and making sure all breadcrumbs are coated evenly. (You might be tempted to use a fork for this step, but it won’t be as effective as using your hands.)

  5. Peel and slice 3 large Vidalia onions crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Carefully separate the rings, setting aside only the large and medium rings. Use the small inner pieces for another recipe or caramelized onions!

  6. Heat an air fryer to 375ºF. Dredge and fry the onion rings in batches (enough to form two layers in the air fryer basket): Dredge the onion rings in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Dip into egg mixture, thoroughly moistening the insides and outsides of the rings with your fingers. Return to the flour mixture, dredge again, and then back to the egg mixture. Transfer to the seasoned panko, and dredge, pressing the crumbs to the rings to properly adhere.

  7. Place the dredged rings in two layers in the air fryer basket, making sure the rings are not sitting within one another. Air fry until browned and crisp, 12 to 16 minutes, ignoring any potential prompts from your air fryer to shake its contents, which would only knock off breadcrumbs. Meanwhile, dredge the next batch of rings, stacking them on a plate so that they don’t stick together.

  8. Transfer the cooked onion rings to the wire rack, lightly sprinkle with more kosher salt, and keep in the oven to stay warm. In between batches, brush any loose crumbs out of the air fryer basket so they don’t burn. Repeat breading and air frying the remaining rings, being careful when placing the rings in the basket — the basket will be hot!

  9. Finely chop 1/4 bunch fresh dill until you have 2 tablespoons. Place the dill, 1 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon ranch powder, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Serve the onion rings warm with the dip.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer until warmed through.