Frizzled Onions
Frizzled Onions

Our middle guy, James, will be leaving for his first year of college in just a few short weeks, so I've been trying to make him some of the foods he loves before he leaves us FOREVER (sorry, sometimes I get a little melodramatic about the whole going-to-college-thing!) Anyway, there's a restaurant nearby that we go to once in a while that makes these great lightly battered onions to top their burgers and that he loves. So when I saw a recipe for them a couple of weeks ago, I knew it would not be long before I recreated them at home. And good thing that I did too! These Frizzled Onions are crispy, crunchy, surprisingly not greasy and totally addictive!! If you're looking for a way to make ordinary burgers pop, look no further! 

When James was little he was rail-thin, allergic to dairy and barely ate anything. His doctor really wanted him to gain some weight and encouraged me to fry everything possible. Fortunately he liked chicken cutlets so I would make him one every day. Flash forward 10 years, James was the picture of health, yet I was still making fried cutlets, only now, huge platters of them every week--standing by the stove, deep-frying for about an hour-ugh! The smell of the grease got into everything!! At about the same time, he started liking many more foods and I decided to institute the no-fry rule in our house, which I've basically stuck to, only breaking it on rare occasions...for yummy once-in-a-while treats like these!!

You start by soaking sliced onions in vinegar and then dipping them into a simple flour, cream of tartar and salt and pepper mixture. coating the onions.

Next you simply fry the onions in batches for about 5 minutes--

Draining them on paper towels in the process.

What you get are extra-crunchy, crispy little rings that taste wonderful on their own or when they're topping a burger.

Everyone, including James, loved them and I know I will soon be forced to break the no-fry rule again!

Frizzled Onions

1 large onion makes enough for 4 people to top 4-5 burgers generously

Prep Time: 15 minutes: Cook Time: 15-20 minutes (depends on how large your skillet is--how many onion rings you can fit in at one time without overcrowding)


  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 2 cups vegetable oil

The Recipe

1.  Separate onion rings and place them into a large bowl. Pour the vinegar over them and toss to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile into a large shallow bowl or plate, combine flour, salt, pepper and cream of tartar.

3.  Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. While oil is heating, drain onion rings and one at a time, dredge rings into the flour mixture, coating well. Transfer to a plate and continue until all the onion rings are coated. When the oil is hot (about 350ºF) but not smoking, add the coated onion rings in batches, being careful not over crowd them and turning them every so often, keeping a close eye on them so as not to let them burn. You want them to be golden brown but these can go very quickly from that to burned, so no walking away! This should take about 5 minutes. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove them from the skillet when ready and drain on paper towels. Add the next batch to the oil and repeat the process, until all the onions are cooked.

4.  Serve immediately or make ahead and serve at room temperature. If you want these to be hot, you can reheat them in a 300ºF oven for about 10 minutes.

5.  Recipe doubles or triples well.


Note:  Recipe adapted from Cooks Country, 2015 by Christopher Kimball.




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