These golden onion rings are impossibly light but deliciously crunchy and perfectly paired with tangy Buffalo Ranch dipping sauce.
You ever have one of those foods that you love, but only if they are come served a certain way? I love burgers, but only if they come without mayo. And I love me some donuts, but only if they’re the yeast kind, not the cake kind. Without exception, my biggest only if food has to be onion rings – because they’re exponentially better when they have a batter, not a breading.
It’s a serious difference, y’all. A heavy, cornmeal-breaded chunky onion ring holds no appeal to me at all. On the other hand, a perfectly golden halo of crisp batter that nearly melts in your mouth is the kind of fried food that is worth the calories every damn day of the week. That’s what these babies are – ethereally light with a crust that will stay crunchy even as they sit cold. It’s some kind of culinary witchcraft!
By the way, as an expat living in the U.S., I think it’s important to let Americans know not to take their onions for granted. In Australia, we don’t have anything like the Vidalia/Sweet/1016 onion, and it makes a big difference. Can you imagine eating a burger with raw chopped onion pieces that aren’t sweet? Yeah, it burns and gives you a bad case of onion breath. In this case, using a sweet type onion is essential to this recipe – it allows you to get a quick fry and a perfectly sweet taste without any bitterness. So, I guess technically that’s another notch in Murica’s belt?
Most importantly, the crust will stay put when you bite into ’em. No giant slabs of cornmeal falling away from your mouth as you try to eat them. Structural integrity for the win!
12 fl oz (one regular bottle) of good quality beer
1 cup Topo Chico or sparkling/seltzer water
4–6 cups of oil for frying – peanut is best but vegetable works great too
2 cups sour cream
3 tbsp ranch powder
2.5 tbsp hot sauce
Peel and slice onions into rings into approximately half inch widths. You will only be able to use the larger middle to outer rings for this, so chop up the centre pieces and store them in the freezer for your next recipe.
Toss the rings in 1/2 cup of the plain flour and set aside. Set up a cooling rack and layer with some paper towels.
Heat oil in a heavy based pot (or use a fryer if you have one), until the temperature registers between 350-375f.
In a large bowl, combine remaining flour, cornstarch, onion, garlic, cayenne, chipotle, sugar and salt.
Once your oil is at the correct temperature, to the dry ingredients add the beer, sparkling water and egg and work quickly to combine the mixture together.
Dip each ring into the batter and then place immediately in the oil. The quicker you get that ring into the oil before batter drips off, the more crispy bits you’ll have. Make sure not to overcrowd your pot, and turn the rings every now and then until they are golden. Remove them to cool on the paper towels once they are the right color.
In between batches, keep checking that your oil is at least at 350f, or allow it to come up in temperature before starting the next one. You may also want to use a ‘spider’ to clear out any floating pieces of batter between each batch, to keep them from burning and giving the oil a bad taste.
Once the excess oil has drained off, you can transfer the rings to a parchment lined tray and keep them in a low oven until all the batches are done.
To make the Buffalo Ranch dipping sauce – combine sour cream, ranch powder and hot sauce. Stir until combined.