I have murky memories of the first time I ever tried onion rings.  I was a kid, probably seven or eight, and we were at a restaurant that had onion rings on the menu.  I glanced over the name with mainly disgust and a smidgen of curiosity, and moved right along (probably to nachos or pizza).  I can’t remember who I was with, but someone at the table actually ordered this unthinkable dish.  I must have expressed my surprise because they then tried to convince me that onion rings were, in fact, very good.  I think they even said better than French fries.  Come on now, let’s not exaggerate.  Anyway, when our food finally arrived this persuasive devil convinced me to try one (who was this person?!  I wish I could remember).  I grudgingly agreed that they were pretty good, but I would still never choose them over French fries.

Though I still pick French fries over onion rings, I have a husband who loves onion rings and has asked me to make them on numerous occasions.  I pretty much always turn to Cook’s Illustrated when I’m in need of a reliable recipe, and I had bookmarked this one a year ago with Ben in mind.  Now don’t go thinking that just because these are made in the oven, they are a healthified version of onion rings.  They still have plenty of oil and are coated with a potato chip crust…yeah, I told you.  Of course you might feel a little better about the whole thing if you choose to serve them as we did with bean burgers instead of regular hamburgers.  I really liked this method though, and all of us thought the outcome was fantastic.  The onions were cooked through but the coating was crispy and browned, just as it should be.  Even Andrew devoured them without batting an eye (though he eats practically anything I put on his plate, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.)  I doubt I’ll be making them again anytime soon since this is a once-a-year kind of indulgence, but I think we’ll all be looking forward to when that day rolls around again.


½ cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
30 saltine crackers
4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips
2 large yellow onions, sliced into 24 rings (½-inch thick rounds)
6 tbsp. vegetable oil


  • 01

    Adjust oven racks to lower- and upper-middle positions.  Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  Place ¼ cup of the flour in a shallow baking dish.  Beat the egg and buttermilk together in a bowl.  Whisk the remaining flour, cayenne, salt and pepper into the buttermilk mixture.  Combine the saltines and potato chips together in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.  Place half of the crumb mixture in a second shallow baking dish; reserve the other half.

  • 02

    Working one at a time, dredge each onion ring in flour, shaking off the excess.  Dip the onion rings in the buttermilk mixture, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl, and then dredging in the crumb coating, turning to coat evenly.  When the crumb mixture is low, add the reserved crumb mixture to the dish for dredging the remaining onion rings.  Transfer the coated rings to a large plate or platter.

  • 03

    Pour 3 tablespoons of the oil onto each of 2 rimmed baking sheets.  Place the baking sheets in the oven and heat just until smoking, about 8 minutes.  Tilt the heated sheets to coat evenly with the oil.  Lay the onion rings out in a single layer on the oiled baking sheets.  Bake, flipping the onion rings and rotating the pans halfway through baking, until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes total.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined rack briefly before serving.

  • I’ve always been a huge fan of onion rings but never tried to make them. I love that you coated them in crackers and potato chips!

  • Always wanted to make these! I love that you can still achieve that so-desired crunch without all the oils and cals!

  • Great idea to Oven fry onion rings,still looks crunchy,and Yummy buzzed ya :)

  • I need these in my life.

  • Oh yes. I do love me some onion rings every so often. I love that these are baked!

  • These looks so awesome! and I love that you baked them instead of frying them, less guilt!!

  • Cook’s Illustrated may be a little anal, but they produce the goods. We have an “oven-fried” potato recipe we made this summer which was excellent. I adore onion rings and I think I might make these with a slightly simpler coating. We’ll see.

  • I’m so glad to have a recipe for onion rings that are oven fried! I hate frying things – for the way it makes the house smell and also because it’s so fattening! Thanks for posting!

  • Kelly

    I had to post a comment here because I couldn’t comment on the recipe I wanted to. Just had to come here to say that I made your Baked Oven Fries last night and I was soooo happy with them. Every time I made home made fries I was always disappointed with the fact that they never crisped up. These were delicious and crispy and it’s only about breakfast the next day and I’m already looking forward to when I can make them next. Thank you!!!

  • Hi Annie: While this does sound very good, and I really love my onion rings, I am wondering how much of a mess is made with splattering oil in the oven? Thanks, Anne

  • I’ve never tried the oven-fried method, but it looks like it turned out great! I adore onion rings, but like you say- it’s a once in awhile indulgence. I love that Andrew eats whatever you make for him. I just don’t understand picky eaters :)

  • Those onion rings were of the first things I saw this morning when I turned on my laptop. And now I can’t unsee them so we’re going out for lunch to order some :)

  • My Ben has been begging me to make onion rings, too. He even emailed me a link one day while he was at work for a black and tan onion rings recipe. So, I have that bookmarked, but not sure when we’ll get to it! These look absolutely delectable, so I might make some sooner than later now. :)

  • Both my husband and I would choose onion rings over fries, any day. It’s great to see a recipe for them that won’t make me feel *that* guilty about eating them once in a while.

  • My dad managed a fast food restaurant all through college and he said learning to make onion rings was the only good part of it. I’ve never attempted it myself, though. This recipe looks great for an every-once-in-a-while treat!

  • oooo, i love onion rings, and these ones look so good! I can usually justify eating them b/c I have about 3 instead of like, 20 french fries. I actually don’t know which would be worse, but that’s what I tell myself. :)

  • Ive never made my own onion rings but had an AMAZING batch at a restaurant the other day and simply must try to recreate them at home, here looks like a good place to start! Gorgeous :)

  • I on the other hand could eat onion rings all the time, but my husband can’t stand them! I’ve never tried oven frying them though – it uses so much less oil, I’ll have to give them a try.

  • These look amazing! My hubby would love these!

  • YuM!These look amazing, I love onion rings!

  • Mmmm. Sometimes you do get tired of french fries. I’ve tried oven-baked onion rings before, and they’re not bad. But I think dressing them up with potato chips is just the coolest thing. That sounds like a good weekend recipe. Thanks.

  • I have been wanting to try these for sometime now, but I only ever thought to use panko…love the idea of crackers and potato chips!

  • These look mazing!
    I remember my first onion rings! They were at a place called Chubby’s in Westport, CT. We used to go thee every Friday night. I was probably 5 or 6! Been hooked ever sice!

  • After I made these I dreamed about the next time I would have them. They are so good.

  • 58Teresa

    I love the way you go from sesame crusted salmon – to potato chip encrusted onion rings – it always keeps me on my toes reading your blog!

  • I am so happy with this recipe. We love onion rings at home, but lately we have been frying less. Your recipe is a great way to enjoy onion rings without the extra grease. Thanks!

  • YUM these looks deeelish!

  • Yummy we love onion rings!! :)

  • I bet this recipe would work well with sliced Portabella mushrooms too!

  • I don’t like onion rings either. However, even though I don’t these still look delicious and the batter is a keeper. I have to think of what else to use it on!

  • Your photos of these are awesome. Love your story about the onion rings. I’m an onion ring lover, so I’d be in with your husband :)

  • Karen

    Hi Annie – I LOVE your website…my cookie decorating has become quite a bit better since I started coming here! But I digress…I just wanted to let you know that you can lighten these a little bit by using half panko bread crumbs and reduced calorie potato chips (I use the Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt chips), and I only used 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil. They came out awesome, and very crunchy. My husband inhaled them…

  • We took ,y grandma to Florida in he 1950’s. She ordered some onion rings with her burger and they did look so good. I had never heard of them before but never forgot them either. I was about 11 years old at the time. I love your site and have already printed out 2 recipes. Thanks

  • Sarie

    Would it work to freeze these after all the prep before cooking? Then remove them, let them warm up to room temp, and then cook them?

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t tried it myself so the only way to know is to try it and see. In my opinion, it probably won’t have the best results but I can’t say for sure. Good luck!

  • Joanne Kyvetos

    Hi Annie,
    I’ve made your delicious onion rings and will do so again. I am curious to know what kind of dipping sauce you have with them?

  • Anonymous

    We just used ketchup and honey mustard. Glad you enjoyed them!

  • Leo_Lady

    After coating them in potato chip crumbs and using 6 tablespoons of oil in the baking pan, I don’t see that you’re saving all that many calories than just deep frying them. This recipe looks like too much work for the end product not being that much healthier than frying. If you’re only having them once a year, I say “go big or go home!” LOL Picture looks yummy though.

  • Anonymous

    It’s certainly not health food by any means (as I discuss in the post), but I prefer this method to traditional frying. The full 6 tablespoons of oil certainly doesn’t end up on the rings and mostly coats the baking sheets, and of course is far, far less than drowning them a big pot full of oil. It’s not only about lightening up but simply preferring less greasy food.

  • I’m not really a fan of using potato chips, do you think using panko breadcrumbs would be a good substitution?

  • Anonymous

    Please see the FAQ page regarding substitutions.

  • We made these a couple of weeks ago, they were great! Will definitely make again!

  • Cassie

    I made these last night for dinner and they were really good. I did make a few substitutions though because I didn’t have a few of the ingredients. I used panko and crushed ritz crackers in place of the saltines & potato chips. I also reduced the oil and sprayed the tops with canola cooking spray. They turned out really good and I will definatey be making them again. Thanks for the great recipes.

  • We made these for the Super Bowl, and they were SO good. I don’t even like onion rings normally, but these have converted me.

  • Marie

    These are the best onion rings around and so easy to make. I let the onions soak in the buttermilk for about an hour, the batter and crumbs adhere much better. and they freeze well for eating later in the week (they don’t last that long in our house). I also use the big white onions at the local produce store (four for 1.50). Better than fried and no reason for all the oily mess.

  • Liz N.

    I can’t believe it has taken me 2 years to finally make this recipe. I had some leftover buttermilk from a cake I made and stumbled upon this recipe as I was searching for something to make with burgers on my dinner menu. These were absolutely delicious. My kiddo dislikes onions/onion rings in general but I managed to persuade her to try these and she ate at least two! That’s a big deal in our household. I was a bit skeptical that these could crisp up in the oven but they delivered on taste and texture! I love rediscovering older recipes on your blog. I am always amazed at the results.