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Large bowl of super crispy sourdough onion rings

Homemade Sourdough Onion Rings

  • Author: Emilie Raffa
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This recipe for homemade onion rings uses sourdough discard for the batter and Panko breadcrumbs for a crispy crust. The onion rings are fried to golden perfection on the stovetop. So crunchy and delicious! For timing the rings are coated in flour first, dunked in batter, dipped in breadcrumbs and then fried.


For the Onions

  • 1 large “softball-size” yellow onion (see notes)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sourdough discard 
  • Sparkling water or seltzer
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 quart frying oil, such as canola, vegetable or peanut

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • A few dashes of hot sauce, to taste
  • Snipped chives (optional)


– About the onions: this recipe calls for 1 large onion, softball size, which serves 3-4 as an appetizer or side dish. If you only have small onions, use two of them instead. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to have a few extra onions on hand as you continue to fry.

– The success of this recipe is all in your set up! Have your onion ring assembly station ready to go. The upfront prep will save you time and scurrying about the kitchen. 


Before you begin, set up your assembly station. Grab the following items below, and spread out at the kitchen table or kitchen island for extra space:

  • 1 shallow baking tray to coat the onions in flour (9×13-inch brownie pan is perfect)
  • 1 large bowl for the sourdough batter
  • 1 large bowl for the Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 parchment-lined sheet pan for the battered onion rings
  • 1 parchment-lined sheet pan for the breadcrumb coated onion rings.

Now, you’re ready to make onion rings…

  1. Trim and peel the onions; cut into 1/2-inch slices. Separate the slices into rings. I use my thumbs to push the rings outwards starting in the middle. 
  2. Add the flour, garlic powder, smoked paprika and a fat pinch of salt to the shallow baking dish. Whisk to combine. Toss the onion rings in the flour mixture to coat. Set aside.
  3. Pour the sourdough starter into a large bowl. Add a splash of the sparkling water or seltzer to thin out the consistency. It should look like thick pancake batter that clings to the onion ring when dunked. Add more flour/water if necessary.
  4. Place the Panko breadcrumbs into a separate large bowl. Set aside.
  5. Dunk a few onion rings into the sourdough batter allowing the excess to drip off as you go. Transfer a parchment-lined sheet pan for easy clean up. Repeat to coat all the rings.
  6. Coat the rings in the Panko breadcrumbs. Use tongs for this. I work with 1 onion ring at a time so the breadcrumbs stay dry. Coat both sides. They don’t have to look perfect. Add more breadcrumbs to the bowl as you continue to work, if needed. Place onto a parchment-lined tray.
  7. In a heavy bottom pot, heat the oil to 365- 375 F on medium-low. Use a thermometer to check for accuracy- this is important. If you don’t have a thermometer drop a pinch of Panko breadcrumbs into the oil. If they sizzle and turn golden brown, the oil is hot enough.
  8. To fry, add a few of the onions rings to the hot oil. Cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt while still hot. Repeat to fry the remaining onion rings. Do not overcrowd the pan. Tip: the oil temperature will dip down in between batches. Bring it back up to 365- 375 F as needed.
  9. For the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients (except the chives- use it to garnish). Chill until ready to serve.
  10. To serve, pile the onion rings onto platter or tray with the dipping sauce on the side for dunking.