Onion rings are a British dish consisting of onions cut cross-sectionally into rings, breaded with flour, milk, and eggs, and then batter-fried.

Onion Rings

What are Onion Rings?

Onion rings are a British dish consisting of onions cut cross-sectionally into rings, breaded with flour, milk, and eggs, and then batter-fried. They are usually served as an appetizer or a snack. Any kind of onions can be used to make them. The dish has a crispy texture and a light brown color on the outside, but is tender, sweet, and silky on the inside.

  • Seasonings such as garlic powder, pepper, paprika, herbs like dill, rosemary, or thyme may be used to amp up the flavor.
  • This appetizer is easy to prepare from scratch and is served fresh in many cafés and restaurants.

Some of the most popular frozen onion ring brands include:

  • Simplot
  • Fishery Natural
  • McCain
  • Alexia Foods
  • French’s

Origin of onion rings

This dish is a traditional British dish. The first mention of it is from a 1802 book by chef John Mollard called The Art of Cookery, Made Easy and Refined. The original recipe called for thick onion slices to be dipped in batter and fried in lard. These were recommended to be served with a side of mustard butter. While born in Britain, this fried snack has been exported to almost every part of the world with the rise of fast food. Today, this dish is commonly found in restaurants, pubs and bars, fairs, sporting events, and just about anywhere that large amounts of people congregate.


Nutritional profile for onion rings (1 fast food order/120g):

This dish also contains magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, folate, choline, lutein + zeaxanthin, vitamin K, and fatty acids. Regular consumption of onions may help in reducing the risk of cancer, cataract, DNA damage, and cardiovascular diseases. Both raw and cooked onions retain the flavanols and anthocyanin. The outer layers of the vegetable contain the most antioxidants.

Though onions have health benefits, deep-fried onion rings are high in calories, simple carbohydrates, saturated fats, and sodium. Hence, it is recommended to consume this dish in moderation.

Commercial production

The largest onion-producing countries are China, India, Egypt, the USA, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, and Mexico. To prepare onion rings, the ingredients required are onions, flour, milk, and eggs, as well as oil for deep frying. First, the onions are sliced crosswise and separated into rings. Then, the flour, milk, eggs, and salt are mixed in a bowl until it gets a smooth consistency. After that, the rings are dipped into the batter and deep fried. Some fast food places use onion paste or onion powder to form the rings. This dish is also available frozen in pre-packaged form.

Onion ring recipes

These usually have simple ingredients but they can be adapted to include different seasonings. Some cuisines have different versions of this popular dish, which is best consumed fresh. Here are a few recipes:

FDA regulations

The FDA regulates the production of this dish and sets standards for its labeling and production. The USDA defines onion rings as rings prepared from slices that are cut at approximately right angles to the longitudinal axis of the bulb with approximately parallel, and a reasonably uniform, thickness and separated into circular sections with open centers.


Lauren Cahn, The Untold Truth Of Onion Rings, Mashed, https://www.mashed.com/326050/the-untold-truth-of-onion-rings/ 

Sidhu, Jiwan S et al. “Onion (Allium cepa L.) is potentially a good source of important antioxidants.” Journal of food science and technology vol. 56,4 (2019): 1811-1819. doi:10.1007/s13197-019-03625-9, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6443770/