If you're dreaming of an American BBQ, onion rings are the perfect addition to Kansas City-style ribs. Freshly cut onions will give you the best product and the thicker the onions are cut, the lower the oil temperature should be to ensure that the onions are cooked at the same time as the coating. Oh, and once you've finished frying, the onion-flavoured oil is fantastic drizzled over steamed fish. 






Skill level

Average: 4.7 (13 votes)


  • onion, medium-sized
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup medium cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying (see Note)
  • extra salt for seasoning

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Slice the onion into slices the thickness of a finger.

Marinade the onions in buttermilk whilst combining the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper in a separate bowl.

Heat the oil until it is around 190°C in a deep pot.

Remove the onions from the buttermilk and toss in the flour mixture, until all the onions are coated and separated from each other.

Fry the onions until golden brown and then drain on paper towel.



• I never use a thermometer but rather test the oil by dropping a floured slice of onion into the oil and watch to see how quickly the bubbles form around the onion. If the onion drops to the bottom of the pan, doesn’t bubble and starts to rise, increase the temperature. If the bubbles rapidly form and the onion turns dark immediately, lower the temperature. The fastest way to lower the temperature of the oil is to add some cold oil into the hot oil.  When the oil is at the correct temperature, the onion ring will bubble reasonably quickly but will gradually brown.


Photography by Mark Roper. Styling by Vicki Valsamis. Food preparation by Lance Rosen. 


This recipe was published in Temples of BBQ, by Lance Rosen (templesofbbq.com.au, hbk, $49). Read our review here


This is part of our Ultimate BBQ series. For recipes, our guide to American BBQ and tips on smoking, head here.