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Today’s Onion Rings and Spicy Dipping Sauce recipe is a classic. Crispy, deep-fried, sweet Vidalia onions with a simple, spicy dipping sauce — need I say more?

While preparing this irresistible dish, I “double dipped” the onion rings to get a nice crispy shell. The crunch was right on point! And the dipping sauce is just as easy to whip up!

a bowl of onion ring sauce on a table with a basket of fried onion rings in the background.

I could go on and on about why I adore this recipe. For one, it’s simple and quick yet produces a restaurant-style snack, side dish, or even garnish.

Toss your crispy and tender onion rings onto a freshly grilled burger and smear the spicy sauce onto a toasted bun — YUM! It also makes for an irresistible after-school snack or game night nibble.

If you’re looking for other easy appetizers or game night snacks, try my fiery Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers or try my Air Fried Onion Rings for a slightly healthier alternative to the deep fryer method — with just as much irresistible flavor and crunch!

a basket of fried onion rings on a table.

Key ingredients & substitutions for the best Onion Rings and Sauce

Onion Ring Sauce

  • Sour cream — Creamy with a punch of acidic flavor, sour cream is the base of my simple spicy sauce recipe. The particular consistency and taste of sour cream is best. However, you could try Greek yogurt or crème Fraiche as substitutes.
  • Chili sauce — Sweet and tangy chili sauce mixes perfectly with the sour cream and brings some heat to the sauce.
  • Chili powder — Savory and spicy chili powder packs more of a punch.
  • Cumin — Sprinkle in some warm and rich cumin to further the savory notes. If you don’t have cumin handy, ground coriander or even taco seasoning works similarly.
  • Sriracha or horseradish sauce — A dash of sriracha or horseradish sauce may be just the extra flavor you are looking for! However, this final touch is optional. So, you can leave it out if they aren’t your favorite tastes.

Onion Rings

  • Vidalia onions — The best onion ring recipes use the sweeter onion varieties. My personal favorites are Vidalia onions, but you could also use yellow onions or Walla Walla onions.
  • Half and half — You’ll soak the rings in half and half to adhere the flour and spices to the onions. Buttermilk is also a suitable alternative.
  • Flour — Once the flour crisps in the fryer, it’ll create the crunch these delicious onion rings need.
  • Spices — A bit of black pepper and a pinch of paprika adds the kick of spice — YUM! You can also use pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a similar effect.
  • Canola Oil — The canola oil is a perfect high-heat oil for frying up the crispiest onion rings. Vegetable or peanut oil can be used as well.

How to make delicious Onion Rings with Spicy Dipping Sauce

stirring ingredients together in a bowl for onion ring sauce.

STEP 1 | Stir up the sauce

Add the sour cream and chili sauce in a small mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients until you achieve a creamy smooth texture.

Next, thoroughly stir in the chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Refrigerate your completed spicy sauce until you are ready to serve it up with your crunchy onion rings.

Could it get any easier than that?

STEP 2 | Prepare the deep fryer

Slowly pour the oil in and set your fryer to the correct temperature for beautifully crisp onion rings. 

I like to use my Presto FryDaddy Electric Deep Fryer. Presto makes incredible fryers — no messy basket, helpful attachments, and more. Plus, you save on oil because it uses less than its competitors. 

slicing onions and separating into rings for frying.

STEP 3 | Slice the onions

Get ready for the tears! Slice your Vidalia onions into ¼-inch slices. Then, after wiping away the onion tears, separate the slices into rings.

Next, place the rings into a deep bowl and pour the half and half over the onion rings. Mix your spices and flour in a shallow dish perfect for dipping.

dredging onions rings soaked in half in half into a flour and spice mixture.

STEP 4 | Coat the onions rings

And now for the messy part — dredge the wet rings in the flour mixture, coating completely, and shake off the excess.

I like to double dip for an extra satisfying crunch. So, you can dip the onion ring again in half and half and once again in the flour mixture, if desired.

deep frying onion rings in a fry daddy and draining on paper towels.

STEP 5 | And fry!

Toss 3 or 4 rings into your heated deep fryer until they are a beautiful golden brown. Remove the crispy rings and allow them to drain on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels or a brown paper bag. 

Repeat the steps for all remaining onions. Plate and serve immediately with your spicy dipping sauce!

tips

  • The frying section of this recipe moves pretty quickly. So, have all your onion rings breaded, double dipped, and ready to pop into the fryer.
  • Remember not to overcrowd the fryer basket with your onion rings. The temperature decreases some when you drop any food into the hot oil. So, limit each round of frying to 3 or 4 onion rings, depending on the size of your deep fryer.

onion rings stacked into a tower on a plate.

For Father’s Day, our family celebrated by grilling Dad’s famous burgers and frying up a batch of these crispy Onion Rings with Spicy Dipping Sauce. Oh. My. Gosh. They were absolutely delicious and a tremendous hit!

I’ve tried batter-dipped onion rings before, but these were much better, in my opinion. I think my family will agree — because not a single one was left over!

Frequently asked questions

Can you store the onion rings for later?

Onion rings are best served fresh from the fryer for the most tender insides and crunchy crust. However, if you’re in a pinch and need to make them ahead of time or want to store leftovers for later, you can refrigerate or freeze and reheat them when you are ready.

Pop the onion rings into an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze for about three months. To reheat, you can bake the onion rings in the oven or air fryer.

Are there other sauces that go with onion rings?

Another popular zesty sauce that pairs perfectly with your onion rings has a base of mayonnaise and ketchup. You can also try a smokey chipotle sauce or a blue cheese dipping sauce for something a little creamier and cooler.

Can you make this recipe gluten-free?

Absolutely! Simply substitute the flour for the gluten-free alternative and ensure the bottled spices you use have the GF label.

a mound of onion rings on a plate drizzled with onion ring sauce with a spoon to the side.

Serving suggestions

Have you ever heard of loaded onion rings? Like a loaded baked potato, you can add all sorts of toppings on top of crunchy onion rings. Try some tangy feta cheese crumbles, chopped-up red onions and bell peppers, and bacon or shaved steak!

Or spice up my Italian Garlic Butter Burger by adding the crips onion rings as an extra topping with a savory crunch.

a mound of onion rings on a plate drizzled with onion ring sauce.

Behind the recipe: Onion Ring Sauce

The origins of the sensational onion ring are not entirely known. However, we know that they have appeared in sophisticated cookbooks since the 16th century with recipes to be served at the “tables of the nobleman, gentleman, and tradesman.” Who would have guessed?

They were an affordable treat in the Depression era, rarely made in home kitchens. But when they were, cheaper oils, like Crisco, were used to make this delicacy less expensive.

Today, they are enjoyed as a perfectly crunchy appetizer, side, or garnish with a tender and mild inside. Use caution when bringing them to your next BBQ or family dinner — it’s almost guaranteed that they will be viciously devoured in minutes!

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a mound of onion rings on a plate drizzled with onion ring sauce with a spoon to the side.

Onion Rings + Spicy Dipping Sauce

Onion Rings and Spicy Dipping Sauce – crispy deep fried sweet Vidalia onions with a simple, spicy dipping sauce.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Vegetables & Sides
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 268 kcal

Ingredients
  

Onion Rings

  • 2 large Vidalia onions peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rings
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • canola oil for frying

Onion Ring Sauce

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • dash sriracha or horseradish sauce optional

Instructions
 

Onion Rings

  • Pour oil into a deep fryer and heat to 375 degrees.
  • Slice onions into 1/4-inch slices and separate into rings. Place half the rings in a deep bowl and pour in the half and half.
  • In a shallow dish, combine the flour and spices. Dredge the wet rings in the flour mixture and shake off excess. Double dip (again in the half and half and once again in the flour mixture), if desired.
  • Fry 3-4 rings at a time until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove and drain on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels or a brown paper bag. Repeat steps for remaining onions. Serve with dipping sauce.

Onion Ring Sauce

  • Add the sour cream, chili sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to a small bowl; whisk until smooth. Stir in the spices — chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin — and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • The frying section of this recipe moves pretty quickly. So, have all your onion rings breaded, double dipped, and ready to pop into the fryer.
  • Remember not to overcrowd the fryer basket with your onion rings. The temperature decreases some when you drop any food into the hot oil. So, limit each round of frying to 3 or 4 onion rings, depending on the size of your deep fryer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 6gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 231mgPotassium: 358mgFiber: 2gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 836IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 155mgIron: 1mg
Keyword onion rings, sweet chili sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

3 Comments

  1. Can you prepare the onion rings beforehand or is it advisable to fry them immediately after coating ?

    1. Sybil’s, I haven’t tried that myself, but I think you could batter them and refrigerate. Let me know how that works for you!

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