These Crispy Fried Onion Strings are one of our all-time favorite appetizers. Dip them in sauce, eat them straight as is, or use as toppings for everything from burgers to casseroles to salads! Deliciously seasoned and easy to make, you will have a hard time resisting the temptation to snack on them until they are gone!
My family definitely has a thing for onions that are battered and fried. Whether it's a bloomin' onion, onion rings, or these crispy fried onion strings, we find them irresistible. It's almost embarrassing how quickly we can devour them.
Whenever I plan to make these fried onion strings to go on burgers or a casserole or something, I always double or even triple the recipe just because I know that no matter how many I make they will disappear.
People love to sneak a taste here and there and find excuses to walk through the kitchen while these are frying. I have to constantly remind my kids (and husband) not to burn their tongues on the hot onion strings that have just been fried!
Vidalia onions are my favorite for these onion strings, but any yellow or sweet onion will work, really. You could even do red onions, shallots, or leeks this way and they would be delicious!
How to make fried onion strings
This recipe is beyond easy to make. Start by slicing the onion very thin (or two, or three onions because seriously, you will be amazed at how many of these people will eat). We aren't making onion rings here, so we don't need thick rounds or anything. I like to cut the onion in half, then place the cut side down on my cutting board for easy slicing with a sharp knife, but you could also use a mandolin.
Place the thinly sliced onions in a shallow dish or bowl and cover with buttermilk. If you don't have buttermilk on hand, just add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to your bowl, then pour in regular milk and let it sit for five minutes before adding the sliced onions.
Soaking the onions in the milk or buttermilk not only helps the seasoned flour coat and stick to the onions, but it also takes away a bit of their bite and just adds a wonderful flavor.
Drain the buttermilk from the onion strings and toss them with a seasoned flour mixture. Heat oil in the bottom of a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven to 350 degrees F over medium-high heat. You will want about 1 inch of oil to fry these onion strings. I find it best to use a candy thermometer to monitor the oil temperature so the onion strings don't burn or turn out greasy.
Shake off the excess flour, then fry a handful of onions in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan which will cause the oil temperature to drop. Cook until they are golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. Drain on a wire rack or a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining onion slices.
Ways to use fried onion strings
My all-time favorite way to use crispy friend onion strings is on burgers as a topping. I specifically use them when I make Cilantro Bomb Burgers and my All-American Hamburger, but try brushing your burgers with BBQ sauce and topping them with crispy bacon and these fried onion strings as well.
Frequently asked questions
How do you keep fried onions crispy? These really are best when they are hot and fresh, but you can make them in advance and let them cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container. Crisp them up in a 325 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes on a baking sheet before using.
What is the best oil for frying? Canola, vegetable, or peanut oil are my favorites for frying. Be sure to use a thermometer to regulate the temperature of the oil for the best results.
Can I reuse oil that has been used for frying? I always try to use my frying oil 3-4 times before discarding it because it's such a waste to only use it once! Just let it cool completely, then pour it into jars or a container and label it as used. If there are bits of onion or crispy coating in the oil, pour it through a fine mesh sieve to strain them out.
More recipes with onions
- Korean Pancakes with Scallions
- One Pan Roasted Peppers, Onions, and Sausages
- French Onion Soup
- Onion Fritters
- Beer-Battered Onion Rings
Did you make this recipe?
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Fried Onion Strings
- 1 sweet or yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Soak onion in buttermilk for at least 30 minutes.
- Mix flour, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish. Remove onions from buttermilk and let the excess liquid drip off. Dredge the onion strings in flour mixture and shake off excess.
- Heat oil to between 350°F and 375°F. Fry onions in batches, stirring to break up clumps, about 2 minutes. Once brown, drain on a wire rack. transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.