Skinny Onion Rings

Anyone who grew up an Army brat has developed a real love/hate relationship with Burger King.  For those who don’t know, basically every Army post has a Burger King, and it was generally the only food option.  Posts now have Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Taco Bell and more.  We always had a free standing Buger King, and a PX foodcourt full of generic fast food knockoffs like Anthony’s Pizza and Robin Hood Sandwiches.  Burger King was the way to go…but that often meant getting sick of it, and quickly. But I loved Burger King for one reason…the onion rings option.  I love onion rings, and almost always opted for those instead of fries. 

When I saw a recipe for “skinny” onion rings, I knew I needed to try it.  Personally, I don’t fry things at home.  It’s messy, it’s greasy, it’s generally a pain.  Not to mention it produces some very unhealthy food.  So, this baked option, using onions, low fat buttermilk, panko and not much else, really jumped out at me. 

The recipe was a success for sure; the onion rings were crunchy and quite good.  The process was a bit messy, though not hard.  There are two parts of this process that are integral to success:

  • One, LINE THE BAKING SHEETS WITH PARCHMENT.  Don’t skip it, don’t think you can just sprayy them with Pam…rings on an unlined sheet will burn.  Trust BistroBess. 
  • Two, BREAD THE RINGS IN SMALL BATCHES.  My breading got wet and clumpy really fast, and once that happens, nothing sticks.  I had to toss out my first batch less than halfway through the process and start over.  My suggestion would be to mix up the breading in one bowl, and add it to a seperate breading bowl a small amount at a time. Put in about enough breading for 2 or 3 rings, bread those, wipe out the bowl, and add fresh breading crumbs for the next few rings.  It takes more time, but your results will be dramatically improved.

If you follow these two guidelines, the reward is crispy, hot onion rings that you don’t feel bad about eating.  But don’t worry, Burger King, your onion rings will always be my nostalgic fave.

Skinny Onion Rings

Adapted slightly from

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup crushed corn flake crumbs
  • salt to taste 
  • Pam cooking spray

Slice onion into ¼ inch rings.  Separate the rings (I discarded the tiny middles), and place in a shallow baking dish.  Cover in buttermilk, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450. Combine the three types of crumbs and salt to taste in a small bowl.  Have another bowl nearby for breading.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove onions from refrigerator.

Put a small amount (¼ cup or less) of the breading mixture into your breading bowl.  Remove the onion rings one at a time from the buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off.  Quickly dredge in the breading mixture and place on the baking sheet.  Repeat with all onion rings, replacing breading as needed.  Wet, clumpy breading will not stick to the rings!

Spray the onion rings generously with cooking spray, and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Serve hot.


91 thoughts on “Skinny Onion Rings

  1. This is such a cool idea! I’m in love with onion rings and always wanted to make a homemade healthier version but didn’t know where to start. I’m so glad I found this recipe!!

  2. First off, I love that these are healthy. Look at you – helping in your own way to ease the obesity epidemic! Fabulous!! Second, the photos you took of these are lovely and enticing. Thank you for sharing and congrats on fp!!

    • Making substitute buttermilk is not hard! Add about a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of low fat milk and stir…instant buttermilk!

  3. Wow, this looks really good. I never realized that you could bake onion rings and still get it crispy and get the breading to stick. I always deep fry mine.

    I also never know that most army posts had free standing Burger Kings. Interesting.

  4. I love onion rings; a non-fried but tasty version seems to good to be true. The commercially available oven-bake versions never quite taste right. I think I’ll give these a go instead. Thanks!

  5. I haven’t made onion rings in years, my mom’s recipe actually calls for a beer batter so you can imagine the calories. I think I’ll give these a try. Thanks

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  7. Why everytime I’m hungry and there’s nothing left in my fridge, I seems to go and watch these blogs for food videos? Those onion rings looks delicious, it makes me so hungry right now.

  8. Delicious recipe! One of my fave at a Cocktail party with seafood with family and friends.
    Great Post and very insightful. LOVE IT!!! Thanks for sharing your awesome recipe. xx EzzY

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