How To Make Beer Batter Onion Rings

Beer Batter Onion Rings

After I made the tempura onion rings a bunch of people asked about doing a beer batter. I finally got around to it, and the result is what you see here. Tasty? Absolutely. Better than the tempura? Hard to say without a back-to-back comparison. But I will say this one is more work.

If you’ve done beer-battered onion rings before, I’d be happy to hear any tips you’ve got to offer.


2 medium onions
12 ounces beer (one can)
1 cup white flour
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 cups buttermilk


Peel the onions and slice into rings about a half-inch thick. Spread them in a pan or baking dish, and add enough buttermilk to nearly cover the onions. Toss to coat, and set them aside to soak for at least an hour before cooking.

Mince the garlic, then add the salt and pepper and mince everything together.

Add the garlic/salt/pepper mixture to the flour and combine, then add the beer.

Mix until there are no lumps of flour left.

Now comes the part where I need some tips. The basic process is to take each onion and shake off the buttermilk, dredge it in the flour mixture, then dip it in the batter, and finally into the hot oil.

After each dip, shake off the excess. You don’t want to get the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients or vice-versa. Fry on the first side until the edges are golden brown, then turn over and fry for another minute.

And that’s it.

You can do the horseradish-based dipping sauce or, like I did this time, the buttermilk ranch dressing. Tangy, zesty, thick and creamy. Perfect with the hot, sweet onion rings.

You hungry yet?

How about now?

I only did two medium onions, but by the time I was done the flour was getting pretty sticky from the buttermilk, and the batter was getting thick from all the flour. The last few rings I did were pretty thick with batter. Which was good, mind you, but I was going for onion rings, not fried dough.

Anyone who has worked in a restaurant or one of those snack trailers at a fair has done these by the bushel load. What do you do differently so you don’t gum up all the ingredients going from one kind to the next? I suspect it’s just a matter of using much larger quantities of everything. I’d like to do these again, but if I don’t get any better ideas for it, I’m going to leave out the flour dredge next time.


  1. Sweet Bird says:

    I think I gain 5 pounds every time I visit your blog…

    BTW, any tips for dealing with troll comments? I got hit by ChiffOnade aka DocChuck today…

  2. Congratulations, it’s like a rite of passage.

    Delete them or ignore them. Never respond.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I worked at Popeye’s one summer. When we did onion rings, we did just as you said – large quantities. I would slice up the onion, then toss the whole thing in the liquids all at once, then the whole thing in the powder all at once, then fry it. No need to worry about whether it was gumming up or not, because it was all done in one big batch.

    You could try doing it that way – just use really big bowls.

  4. Makes sense. I think I’ll have to wait a little while before trying again, though. My wife hates how the whole house smells like a deep fryer when I’m done.

  5. I worked in an Italian Restaurant for a long time where we did deep fried zucchini (same basic principle except with bread crumbs instead of batter) When the flour got think we would sift it and add a little more fresh, and when our milky mixture was getting thick from flour we would thin it out with a bit of milk (I guess you’d use butter milk in this) and whisk it up to break the lumps.

  6. Kristin says:

    Now be honest, Drew–all that beer didn’t REALLY make it to the batter without a few sips going missing, did it?

  7. Thanks Aimee, that’s 2-for-2 saying that this is something you do working in big batches. Maybe it’s just not practical to make onion rings for one. [pout]

    Kristin, it all went into the batter. First of all, what’s the point of drinking two sips of beer? Second, after the tempura incident I think I’d like to keep all my wits about me when deep frying.

  8. Hubby is determined to make leek rings instead of onion rings. I’ll have to remember to check back to this recipe if we ever find any leeks big enough for leek rings. Although, duh, I guess we could always make leek strips.

  9. I actually checked out the leeks before buying the onions. I wanted to give it a try, but they were barely thicker than muy thumb. I can’t imagine how many tiny little rings I would have ended up with, but the batter would have turned them all into solid little disks.

  10. Yup. Hmmm, I guess if I separated the rings and dipped a handful of them in the batter together I could make “fried leek clusters” or something. Doesn’t seem worth the trouble though.

  11. Halytech says:

    Looks delicious!

    What kind of oil did you use, Drew? Peanut?

  12. Actually it’s tallow. My next choice would have been olive pomace oil.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m going to try this recipe with my new healthy organic coconut oil I just bought. This sounds and looked delicious– Thanks for posting it.

  14. These onion rings look really good!

    I have a question someone that has made them–Are they cooked through so that when you bite into them, you get a bite of the onion and the breading but don’t end pulling the whole thing apart because the onion ring is still hard and stays in one piece? (hope that makes sense)

  15. I’d say these are more likely to pull out than with the tempura battered version. The beer batter is thicker and can holds its shape after the onion cooks down a little. The tempura seemed to shrink down with the onions more.

  16. I tried your recipe last night and thought I had missed a step. Your directions said to mix everything together, except for the onions and the buttermilk, to make the batter. Then you said to shake the buttermilk off a ring, dredge it in flour, dip it in the batter and then fry in hot oil. I tried a couple of rings without the additional flour without success. Then I dipped the rings into additional flour before the batter and they were better. Maybe you should add additional flour to the recipe so others won't make the same mistake. The rings were very tasty.

  17. Nikki, I think I'm the one who dropped a step somewhere in the editing process. Guess I'll have to do this one again. Thanks for pointing it out.


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