Baked Onion Rings with Old Bay

by feastonthecheap on December 13, 2011

Mary Anne here. True, I am an onion ring fanatic, but I believe there is nary a fried food that stacks up to a deep-fried, batter-crisped sweet onion. That being said, while December typically signals a break from bathing suit season, my annual trip to the tropics means I should probably be taking a plunge into the cold waters of abstinence.

Unfortunately for my waistline, these diner classics have been on my mind ever since dining with one of my favorite colleagues at a cute little spot that was a “Mom and Pop” sort of operation. Certain that the folks behind the counter wouldn’t let me down, I convinced my lunch partner to share a platter of decadent fried onion rings. What a mistake. The rings from Ma and Pa were “fresh” out of the freezer and the minced onion was ensconced in a mushy, flavorless crust. Not worth it. Ever since that disappointing dive into the deep fryer, I’ve vowed to recreate them for real.

As bathing suits loom in my future (what a luxury problem), I decided the only way I could justify creating a batch of crispy rings was to bake ‘em instead of turning to the deep fryer. I used Mariel’s Sweet Potato Fries as my muse, adopting her brilliant use of Old Bay and, because I wanted the crust to be light but super crunchy, I finely ground Panko crumbs in the food processor. These rings are pretty messy to make with all the dipping and dredging, but pure heaven to bite into. I was so shocked at how good they were, I didn’t even dip the first three into ketchup or a spicy remoulade from my Shrimp Po’ Boys recipe – I guiltlessly gorged on them hot off the cookie sheet!

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Baked Onion Rings with Old Bay
Serves 6

Tip: Pour the Panko crumbs into the bowl of a food processor armed with the steel blade. Press pulse several times until the crumbs are finely ground. Proceed with measuring.

To reheat the baked rings: Bring back to room temperature about 1 hour before serving. Re-crisp in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Note: These can easily be made gluten-free. Simply swap in rice flour and one of the many gluten-free crumbs available in Health Food stores.

Ingredients:
1 lb. medium-size Vidalia onions, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices – $1.29
¾ cup flour – stock
2 Teaspoons baking powder – stock
3 eggs, lightly beaten – stock
1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs – $1.50
1 heaping tablespoon Old Bay seasoning – stock
½ Teaspoon salt – stock
Cooking spray
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $2.79
Total Per Serving: $0.46

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Note: If your oven isn’t wide enough to accommodate 2 cookie trays on 1 rack, position the racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven.

2. Generously spray 2 large cookie sheets with Pam or a similar product.

3. Peel and slice the onions ½-inch thick. Separate the rings. (Save the smallest rings for soup stock or add to a salad.)

4. Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes. Place the onion rings in the water to cover for about 15 minutes. Drain well. Note: The ice water helps the batter adhere to the onions.

5. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Using a large plastic bag, combine the Panko crumbs, Old Bay, and salt.

6. Dredge one onion ring at a time into the flour mix, shaking off the excess. Dip in the egg, allowing the excess to drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumb mixture and shake gently to coat.

7. Transfer the prepared rings to the cookie sheets and spray each generously with the cooking spray.

8. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn each ring over. If using 2 racks in the oven, switch the position of the cookie sheets.

9. Bake an additional 10 minutes until golden and very crispy.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy - Panini Happy December 13, 2011 at 10:36 am

As if I didn’t already have a huge weakness for onion rings…the addition of Old Bay now makes them pretty much irresistible. :-)

Reply

Delishhh December 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Not a fan of deep fried onion rings but these baked ones look really good – i should try these. Very nice!

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Regina December 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm

They do look fried. A must on my to do list. I love onion rings…..Thanks Regina

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Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) December 13, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I love to use panko, but I wouldn’t have thought of grinding them a bit, and clearly that makes all the difference. Yum.

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Lana @ Never Enough Thyme December 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm

What a weakness I have for a good onion ring! Deep fried, crispy out the outside and succulent inside. I tried a baked version a while back using panko and they were really good, but I can see how processing it into a little finer crumb would really work well!

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Kalyn December 13, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I think it would be hard to find onion rings that weren’t good, but these look especially good (and a bit healthier than regular fried ones!)

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Maria December 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Love your baked version!

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Jay December 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm

wow…sounds splendid…feel like tasting it right now..:P
love your space..
happy following you..:)
check out mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

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Baker Street December 13, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Love the baked version! Almost don’t feel guilty popping those 4 extra .. Thanks for sharing!

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Jeanette December 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Love this healthy version of fried onion rings, and as a Maryland girl, Old Bay brings back some nice memories.

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DessertForTwo December 14, 2011 at 12:35 am

So easy and yummy!

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. December 14, 2011 at 7:19 am

omg love these!

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Sommer J December 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

oh wow, these look perfect! Will try soon :)

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Curt December 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Hey, I gotta try this. I love a recipe that gives a baked option to otherwise unhealthy goodies like onion rings!

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Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} December 15, 2011 at 1:24 am

Gorgeous! I will feel much less guilty eating your baked version.

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Rhonda December 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I so had to pin this recipe. Our next fish and chip night will be fish and Old Bay Onion rings.

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