Growing up in New York, one of my favorite diner foods was batter fried onion rings. Diners all over the five boroughs of New York make these fantastic onion rings… some restaurants do too… I have no idea how they make theirs… but I finally figured out how to duplicate it at home.
When I took some graduate courses at Long Island University in Brooklyn (don’t ask me why it’s in Brooklyn not Long Island… I have no clue)… there was this great restaurant just across the street… the famous Junior’s restaurant…. they’re still there….they have the best cheesecake and …. you guessed it… onion rings… I used to eat lunch there … and split either a cheesecake slice or a plate of onion rings with a friend… the waiters thought we were crazy… we’d each order a small salad and share the onion rings or cheesecake.
When I got married and moved out of the New York area, I began my quest to find someplace that made the onion rings the way the diners did in New York. I simply couldn’t find any place that served them like they did in New York. I finally gave up and started my quest to find a recipe that I liked.
I found that my recipe came close but it still didn’t produce that wonderful “puffed up” onion ring I loved, then I read that adding beer instead of water or milk would do the trick… the onion rings improved. … but were still not perfect.
Then I saw Rachael Ray use pancake mix (complete) and beer and I thought nothing ventured nothing gained…. I tried it and viola! …. I found the recipe that worked. For some reason the pancake mix made a better batter than doing it from scratch…
Rachael Ray uses a number of spices, which I tried… but have since removed from the recipe…. I frankly couldn’t taste the spices and feel they’re unnecessary. I also find the batter needs more beer to get the right consistency.
TIP: Use a large skillet as opposed to a deep pot…. the surface area is larger and will make it easier to fit the onion rings in the oil.
So here is the best beer batter onion ring recipe I have yet to come up with…. If you like that doughy thick batter fried onion ring… this recipe is for you.
Recipe: Beer Batter Onion Rings
All you need:
1 large sweet onion, sliced (1/2 inch slices)
2 cups Aunt Jemima Original Complete Pancake Mix
1 ¼ cups beer
¼ teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil or shortening for frying
All you need to do:
Line a large cookie sheet with paper towel and set aside.
Melt vegetable shortening or heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Make sure you have about 1-1 ½ inches of oil. NEVER LEAVE THE OIL UNATTENDED.
In a medium bowl, combine the pancake mix, salt and beer. Stir until you have a thick batter.
Test the oil by dropping a tiny drop of batter in it… when it floats and bubbles… your oil is hot.
Dip the onion rings in the batter. Make sure the ring is completely covered…. as you pull it out of the batter… let the excess drip off.
Drop the battered onion ring in the hot oil.
The rings will puff up and brown on the bottom side, carefully flip them over to brown the other side.
When both sides are browned, remove the onion ring to the paper towel to drain.
When all onion rings have been fried, remove skillet from heat and allow the oil to cool completely before discarding.