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!

We don't do fried foods all that often, but when we do we go all out. Be sure to reuse your oil for Homemade French Fries and Idaho Finger Steaks!

A white bowl filled with crispy fried onion strings.

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.

A large glass bowl with thinly sliced onions soaking in buttermilk.

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 (affiliate link) 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.

Another favorite way to use them is on top of casseroles like my Fresh Green Bean Casserole, Tuna Noodle Casserole, or Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole.

They are also amazing all on their own, dipped in homemade garlic aioli, sriracha aioli, Outback Blooming Onion Sauce, or sprinkled on top of a salad like my BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad.

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.

A burger topped with crispy fried onion strings.

More recipes with onions

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Fried Onion Strings

5 from 1 vote
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 4 -6 servings
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!


  • 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.


Store in an airtight container. You can crisp them up again in the oven if you need to make them in advance.


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 969mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 202IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. I havent made them just yet but I plan to today. I have a question though? How long can I let them soak in the buttermilk? I know it says a minimum of 30 minutes but is there a maximum?

    1. Hmmm not sure if there is really a maximum but I wouldn't let them soak for more than an hour. That would probably be my max.

    1. Hmm good question. I think so? I haven't ever tried that. I've seen fried onions in an air fryer but without dipping the onions in a batter. The only thing I worry about is the batter might be a little messy in the air fryer, but I am sure it's possible!