Easy Crispy Fried Onions Recipe

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This crispy fried onions recipe is incredibly simple to make! These can be enjoyed as a snack while watching Gilmore Girl reruns and can also be added to sandwiches, soups, or even eaten as a side dish with your favorite dinner.

birista fried onions

What’s the Difference Between Birista Fried Onions and Carmelized Onions?

Carmelized onions are cooked low-and-slow until they’re soft and melt-in-your-mouth. Fried onions are cooked quickly, under high heat, to create a crispy texture.

Can I Make Crispy Fried Onions Without Deep Frying Them?

Yes! You can use an air fryer.

How To Fry Onions in an Air Fryer:

  1. First preheat your air fryer to 275 degrees F.
  2. Place the sliced onions in a separate bowl and spray with oil while tossing the onions. You can also add salt, pepper, and spices at this stage.
  3. Place the onions in the air fryer basket and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Next, open the air fryer and toss the onions around. Cook for another 5 minutes.
red onions for birista onion recipe

What Are French-Style Fried Onions and How Do I Make Them?

Do you know the onions that go on top of green bean casserole? Those are the French onions I’m referring to. You can make these by following the same steps listed above with a few extra steps:

french onions

How To Make Homemade French Onions:

Note: You want to use a white onion for this recipe instead of red onion.

  1. First, slice your white onions using a mandolin, food processor, or knife.
  2. Dip a handfdul of onions in an simple whisked egg mixture.
  3. Roll the onions in some kind of flour mixture or breading (panko mix works well)
  4. Fry for 10 minutes in a neutral oil; vegetable oil, peanut oil, or sunflower oil until the onions are brown and crispy. Let dry for 5-10 minutes before eating.

Check out this recipe from The Country Basket.

Can I Use This Recipe To Create Onion Rings?

For onion rings, I would follow this recipe from Bon Appétit.

What Should I Serve These Crispy Onion Strings With?

These are great on top of salads, as a crunchy layer in roast beef sandwiches, and sprinkled on creamy soups like clam chowder.

dum biryani with fried onions
Use fried onions as a garnish on dum biryani.

They also make great additions to biryanis, especially dum biryani.

How Do I Store My Crispy Fried Onion Strings?

Make sure they’re fully cooled before storing. Then, when it comes time to store them, any airtight container will do. We keep our dried goods–beans, oatmeal, etc., in large mason jars in our kitchen. We do the same with these crispy fried onions.

Tips for This Onion Recipe:

1. Use Proper Cooking Oil Temperature

Use hot oil. If you don’t, your onions will end up being soggy. The hot oil is key to the crispiness. A way to tell if the oil is ready is if you look closely, you’ll see little whispy movements in the oil.

Also, the oil may begin lightly smoking, which is perfectly normal.

Lastly, make sure you’re using enough oil to cover the onions completely. You may need to cook one onion at a time if you don’t have a large enough saucepan to cook both whiles covered in oil.

2. Use The Right Onion Slice Thickness

Make sure your onions are thinly and uniformly sliced. This is crucial for evenly fried, crispy onions (also known as birista or bereste).

closeup of sliced onion showing thickness
The perfect thickness

Uniform slices can be challenging to accomplish with just a knife, which is why I recommend using a mandolin (not the instrument, though I suppose that’d help create a nice ambiance) or a food processor.

3. How to Tell If They’re Done vs. Burnt

Once the onions have turned golden or light brown in color, they’re done. But, remember, they’ll cook a bit longer even when removed and set on a towel to cool.

Closeup of fried onions showing color
Perfect color.

Note: These onions can burn quickly, so this isn’t a dish you want to walk away from.

This recipe takes patience (20 minutes or so). Once you’ve fried them at high heat to remove the excess moisture, you want to continue frying them LOW-AND-SLOW until they gradually turn golden brown.

Don’t rush this step. They won’t be crispy if you do, and you will most likely burn them.


How To Make Birista Fried Onions:

Follow this simple recipe to make the crispiest fried onions known to humankind.

Ingredients:

crispy fried onion ingredients
Forgive the layout…

Red onions are ideal for this recipe because they impart extra flavors and hold up better when fried. However, if you decide to go more of a French route, substitute a white onion.

Sunflower oil is a bit pricier per quart but will impart a neutral oil flavor and is what I would suggest using. Feel free to use other oils, but be sure to choose one with a neutral flavor.

Olive oil isn’t ideal for frying because it burns quite easily.

Recommended Equipment:

Step 1: Slice Onions

Peel your onions and rinse them under cold tap water.

Next, grab your mandoline (a fancy veggie slicer) and slice each onion until you’ve got a big pile of evenly sliced onion slices.

Fried Onions Recipe

If you don’t have access to a mandoline, use a sharp knife. Try your best to cut even, thin slices. This will ensure even browning when it comes time to deep fry the onions.

You can also use a Cuisinart food processor with the slicing blade inserted to make quick work of the onions.

Step 2: Let the Onions Dry for a Few Hours

Take your onion slices and spread them out evenly on a kitchen towel or a few paper towels. You want to let the onions sit for a few hours to reduce overall moisture. This will result in a crispier onion when you’re done frying them.

Step 3: Fry the Onions

Fried Onions Recipe

Grab your large saucepan, and pour in your 8-10 cups (64-80 ounces) of canola oil over medium-high heat.

Once your oil is hot (almost smoking), place onions in the oil, you won’t have crispy onions if you add the onions before the oil is hot enough.

There are two distinct stages in the frying process:

Frying Stage 1: Fry for 10 minutes in the hot oil, stirring consistently, to remove all the moisture from the onions.

Frying Stage 2: Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir and fry the onions until they’ve turned a golden brown.

Fried Onions Recipe
These are the perfect color for done-ness.

Step 4: Last steps

Once the onions are golden brown, remove the onions and place them on a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet using your mesh hand-strainer.

Leave the onions alone for 4-5 minutes until they reach room temperature. This is how the onions gain their crispiness. Also, the onions will continue to brown a bit while they’re sitting on the plate, drying.

Note: If your goal isn’t to make a large number of fried onions, you can use one onion instead of two and reduce the amount of oil used.

Recipe Card

fried onions recipe main

Crispy Fried Onions Recipe

This crispy fried onions recipe is incredibly simple to make! These can be enjoyed as a snack while watching Gilmore Girl reruns and can also be added to sandwiches, soups, or even eaten as a side dish with your favorite dinner.
5 from 2 votes
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Prep: 2 hrs
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 2 hrs 10 mins
Yield: 2 people

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Slice onions
    Peel your onions and rinse them under cold tap water.
    Next, grab your mandoline (a fancy veggie slicer) and slice each onion until you’ve got a big pile of evenly sliced onion slices.
    2 large red onions
  • Let the onions dry
    Take your onion slices and spread them out evenly on a kitchen towel or a few paper towels. You want to let the onions sit for a few hours to reduce overall moisture. This will result in a crispier onion when you’re done frying them.
  • Fry the onions
    Grab your large saucepan, and over medium-high heat, pour in your 8-10 cups (64-80 ounces) of canola oil.
    Once your oil is hot (almost smoking), place onions in the oil, if you add the onions before the oil is hot enough, you won’t have crispy onions.
    Frying Stage 1: Fry for 10 minutes or so in the hot oil, stirring consistently, to remove all the moisture from the onions.
    Frying Stage 2: Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir and fry the onions until they’ve turned a golden brown in color.
    2 large red onions, 10 cups vegetable oil
  • Last steps
    Once the onions are golden brown in color, using your mesh hand-strainer, remove the onions and place them on a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet.
    Leave the onions alone for 4-5 minutes until they reach room temperature. This is how the onions gain their crispiness.
    The onions will continue to brown a bit while they’re sitting on the plate, drying.

Your Own Notes

Nutritional Information

Serving: 1onion, Calories: 20kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 75mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 1mg

The Golden Lamb provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.

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