We had these with some Ina Garten sliders. I would make them again just for the smell! They were amazingly crunchy and the onions were perfectly cooked. Just the way an onion ring should be. And when you bite into them, the onion stays with the breading! Scot and I really enjoyed these.
I think the potato chip coating is genius. It takes a little bit away from the health benefits of baking rather than frying, but it gives the onion rings such a nice crunch. This could also easily be made gluten-free by using only potato chips and gluten-free flour.
The baking was pretty hassle free, but the assembly does take some time.
Oven-Fried Onion Rings
from Brown Eyed Baker, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 ground black pepper
30 saltine crackers
4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips
2 large yellow onions, cut into 24 rings (see Note 1)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees F. Place 1/4 cup flour in shallow baking dish. Beat egg and buttermilk together in bowl. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup flour, cayenne, salt and pepper into buttermilk mixture. Pulse saltines and potato chips together in food processor until finely ground; 8 to 10 pulses.
Place crumb mixture in second shallow baking dish.
Working one at a time, dredge each onion ring in flour, shaking off excess. Dip rings in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl, then drop into crumb coating, turning rings to coat evenly.
Transfer coated rings to large plate or tray.
Pour 3 tablespoons oil onto each of two rimmed baking sheets. Place baking sheets in oven and heat until just smoking, about 8 minutes. Carefully tilt heated sheets to coat evenly with oil, then arrange onion rings on sheets. Baking, flipping onion rings and switching and rotating position of baking sheets halfway through baking, until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Briefly drain onion rings on paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately.
Note 1: Slice the onions into 1/2-inch-thick rounds, separate the rings, and discard any rings smaller than 2 inches in diameter. It will depend on the size of your onions, but both of mine ended up being sliced into 4 to get the 1/2-inch-thick rounds.
Note 2: The onion rings can be breaded in advance and refrigerated for up to an hour. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking them; if baked while still chilled from the refrigerator, the onions will not cook enough to soften and will remain crunchy.
(Servings: 4, Prep time: 45 min., Cook time: 25 min., Difficulty: Easy)