I have played with many baked onion ring recipes without oil trying to find the right combination of spices and CRUNCH needed for perfect texture and taste. Finally, after many attempts, I created a variety of ingredients for baked onion rings, which are both oil-free and healthy.
We like our food spicy at our house, so if you are not a spice lover, omit the cayenne pepper or reduce the amount to meet the desired spice. Remember, you can always add spicy slowly, but you can't take it away once you have put it in a recipe. So add lightly.
Another quick trick to the best-baked onion rings is to salt and microwave them before baking.
How to prepare onions for oil-free onion rings
To make oil-free baked onion rings, you first need to prepare the onions. While experimenting in my kitchen, which occurs daily, some of my ideas fail miserably, while others create incredible opportunities. With that being said, this step is a game-changer to preparing the onions for baked onion rings.
The goal of a perfect onion ring is to attain a soft center with a crispy outside. Unfortunately, that process occurs during frying. But, to make oil-free onion rings, all you need is a microwave, a large glass measuring cup, and a lot of salt.
Even though the salt may deter you, don't worry! The salt, while only used in preparing the onions, is then removed before cooking.
- Cut onions and separate all the inner circles of each onion slice; place in a microwave-safe container.
- Generously salt and toss with your hands.
- Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes covered with a paper towel to prevent splatter
- Rinse onions in water several times, and drain well.
- Place on paper towels and pat dry; leave on the paper towels
As a result, your onions will be soft and ready for the batter and breading.
Onion ring batter and breading
Furthermore, the batter and breading are an easy two-step process. The baked onion ring batter, for instance, is all blended using a high-speed blender and a few ingredients:
- 1 cup unsweetened, unflavored almond milk (or plant milk of choice)
- 1/2 cup flour (I used almond flour), but you can use any flour you choose
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
The breading, on the other hand, is mixed in a separate bowl. The breading can also be made gluten-free by using gluten-free panko bread crumbs.
- 1 cup plain Panko bread crumbs (Gluten-free or regular)
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 3 teaspoons garlic salt
- 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper (skip this if you don't want the spice)
How to make onion rings (baked or air-fried)
Baked Onion Rings
Once the batter and breading are in separate bowls, let the dipping begin. To keep it oil-free, I use a silicone baking mat on my baking sheet to avoid sticking.
- Take two separate deep bowls.
- Using a single cup blender, combine almond milk, nutritional yeast, and flour. Blend until smooth. It will resemble pancake batter.
- Then, using a second bowl, combine bread crumbs, cornmeal, garlic salt, and cayenne (if you like it spicy). Mix contents of this bowl with a fork
- Begin dipping onions, first in the almond milk batter, then in the bread crumb mixture, making sure the bread crumbs adhere to the onions, and place on a silicone lined or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Place onions on the cookie sheet, making sure not to put them on top of each other for even cooking.
- Cook for 30 minutes or until brown
- I served with organic ketchup, but you may dip in any dip you like, such as Vegan Southwest Dressing or Vegan Ranch Dressing.
New Air-fryer cooking option
- Once the onion rings are breaded place on a sheet pan and cook in the air-fryer in batches.
- Then, place onion rings in a single layer in the Air Fryer basket.
- You can place smaller rings inside bigger rings if necessary; just make sure there is space between them.
- Cook at 400°F until golden brown and crispy, about 11-15 minutes.
- Carefully lift out the onion rings with a cookie spatula or fork and serve.
LOVE OIL-FREE VERSIONS OF YOUR FAVORITE FOODS? CHECK IT OUT!
- Baked Tater Tots
- Sweet Potato Chips
- Vegan Potato Skins
- Oven-Baked Fries Perfect Crispy Oil-Free and Garlic
- Steak Fries Crispy Air Fryer Steak Fries Recipe
- Loaded Chili Fries
- Air Fried Falafel
- Crunchy Baked Zucchini Coins
- Baked Vegan No Egg Rolls Two Ways
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂