These vegan onion rings are crispy, golden brown, flavorful, and – best of all- baked, not fried! Serve them as an appetizer, side dish, or a party nibble for a potluck and other parties. Plus, this recipe is egg-free, dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and can be made oil-free.
Crispy, Golden Brown, and Flavorful!
Recently I shared my recipe for baked plantains, and I’m at it again with a recipe for an indulgent dish that we’re so used to seeing deep-fried. Instead, these vegan onion rings are baked and so much healthier, and easier on the stomach. The results are onion rings that maintain the crispy, savory coating and soft and sweet flavorful onion center but without the copious amounts of oil.
If you’re dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, or just trying to lay off fried foods, then this recipe is perfect for you. In fact, this recipe is extremely allergen friendly – so everyone can continue to eat onion rings no matter what they avoid (unless, of course, you can’t eat onions in which case – sorry!)
There are some fast-food items that many vegans think will never be available to them again – especially with healthier versions. Luckily for us all, this is not one of those dishes. After all, just because you have dietary restrictions – there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy these types of meals too. You might actually be surprised at just how many onion rings you can get out of a single onion.
Baked Not Fried
There’s no denying that this indulgent dish is delicious. However, classic onion rings certainly aren’t going to be touted as a healthy food any time soon and are a complete no-go for those watching what they consume carefully.
Luckily, while this vegan onion rings recipe doesn’t magically wipe away all the calories, these baked onion rings are far healthier than the fast-food dish you’re used to.
By baking this delicious finger food you get to forego the big vat of oil. In fact, this recipe can even be made 100% oil-free, if preferred (though I suggest using a little for perfect crispiness). Plus, I’ve even included an air fryer method in the recipe notes below- for truly crispy results and fast cooking times.
And, if you’re still not entirely convinced, this recipe uses just 8 ingredients (water and salt not included- and plenty of substitution options). Most of which are probably already sitting in your kitchen.
This Recipe Is:
- Low in fat
- Healthier than fried
How To Make Vegan Onion Rings Step-By-Step
The gluten free onion rings take just a few steps to prepare and will blow your sock off with flavor and texture.
For the full ingredients list, ingredient measurements, and nutritional information, then please read the recipe card below.
Step 1 – Prepare the onions
Slice the onions into ½-inch (around 1.2 cm) sections and pull the rings apart then set aside. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F (205° C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 2 – Prepare the breading
Grind the oats (regular or gluten-free) in an electric coffee/spice grinder or blender (check recipe notes below for alternatives). Add the flour to a medium-sized bowl and combine with the other breading ingredients, mix well, then set aside.
Step 3 – Prepare the batter
Whisk the chickpea flour, cornstarch, and spices in a medium-sized bowl. Add water and then whisk to combine.
Step 4 – Coat the onion rings
Place an onion ring into the batter (either using one hand, a fork or tongs) and toss until thoroughly coated. Then, dip the ring into the breading, coat well, and place onto a lined baking sheet, repeating for the remaining onion rings.
Top Tip: It’s best to use one hand to deal with the dry ingredients and one for the wet, for a less messy process. Even better, separate the dry breading into two bowls. Place the battered onion ring into one of the bowls and then grab some from the second bowl to press on top.
Step 5 – Bake them
Lightly spray the onion rings with cooking spray (optional, but will lead to browner, crispier results). Bake for 12-15 minutes, flip over and then bake for a further five minutes. They should be light golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.
How To Serve
I love to serve them alongside meals such as these:
- Vegan Black Bean Burgers
- Vegan Breakfast Burritos
- Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
- Portobello Mushroom Steaks
How To Store
These healthy onion rings are best eaten immediately, while warm (like most ‘crispy’ foods).
Though I haven’t tried to, these onion chips should also be freezer-friendly and will last two to three months when frozen. To freeze, place the rings on a tray lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, transfer the pieces to a Ziplock/freezer-friendly bag.
To reheat, simply place in the oven for a few minutes until warmed through. This will allow them to become crispier again.
Ingredient Notes & Variations
- You can use a plant-based milk or even vegetable stock/broth instead of water. I know that beer batter is also possible, though I haven’t tried it- so I can’t say how the recipe may need to be adapted.
- The Oats: Use certified gluten-free oats if necessary. You could also use panko breadcrumbs instead of oats.
- Chickpea Flour: You could also use other gluten-free flours or regular all-purpose flour. Almond flour may also work and would be a low-carb option or chickpea flour/breadcrumbs for additional protein.
- Cornstarch: Arrowroot flour or tapioca flour will also work well.
- There are tons of variations that you can make in terms of different herbs and spices used. For spice/heat, add some cayenne pepper. You could also add garlic powder, black pepper, mixed herbs, oregano, curry powder, etc.
- If you have an air fryer, then you can also use that. This method will take less time, so check on the rings after around 8 minutes and fry for longer, if needed.
- Make about 50% more of the batter and breading (or even double the amount) if you are using large onions (mine were medium-sized).
- If you find your batter is a little thick, then you can add a small amount of additional liquid to the batter.
- You can also use this batter for other veggies. Zucchini, carrots, sweet potato, etc. will all work, though the cooking time will often need to be increased.
If you give this vegan / vegetarian onion rings recipe a try, I’d love a comment and recipe rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Vegan Onion Rings
- 2 medium onions
- Cooking spray
- Slice the onions into 1/2-inch (about 1.2 cm) wide rings and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400° F (205° C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Grind oats (regular oats or gluten-free oats) in an electric coffee/spice grinder or in a blender or simply use oat flour (or bread crumbs, see notes). Add the flour to a medium-sized bowl and stir in the other breading ingredients. Give it a mix and set aside.
- Whisk together the chickpea flour, cornstarch, and spices in a medium-sized bowl. Add water and whisk to combine.
COAT THE ONION RINGS
- Place one onion ring into the batter (using one hand or a fork or tongs) and toss until it's thoroughly coated. Then dip the onion ring into the breading, and toss until it's coated with the breading.
- Place the onion ring on the lined baking sheet. Repeat these steps with the remaining onion rings.
- Lightly spray the onion rings with cooking spray. This step is optional, but they'll brown better and get crispier. Then bake for 12-15 minutes, flip once and bake an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately with BBQ sauce or your favorite dip. Enjoy!
- Oats: Use gluten-free oats, if you have a gluten allergy. You can also use panko bread crumbs (regular or gluten-free) instead of oats.
- Chickpea flour: Any other flour is fine, e.g. regular all-purpose flour or a gluten-free flour.
- Cornstarch: Arrowroot flour or tapioca flour is fine too.
- I used medium onions. If yours are large, I would suggest making about 50% more of the batter and breading (or even double the amount).
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