I don’t really know how I feel about onion rings.

I just… don’t know. Or at least, I didn’t know before I made these. Now I know. And you need to know.


Talk much?


I used to highly dislike onions. I was weird. And missing out. Onions are like… one of the best flavor enhancers in the universe. Not even joking. I thought I didn’t like them, but then my husband went through a phase where he ate caramelized onions everyday for 67 straight days. Looking back, that was lovely. It taught me to love onions. And air fresheners. And breath mints.

Turns out I wasn’t really utilizing them to the best of their ability. Now don’t even tell me that I’m not cooking broccoli slash cauliflower slash carrots slash zucchini incorrectly people. I don’t want to hear it.


FYI: I do not consider onions a vegetable. I mean, they are a vegetable, they grow in the ground (I think?) but whatever… they are not a real vegetable. They are not like spinach and broccoli that I should be consuming with regularity so I can chew vitamins and see more clearly and keep my skin soft and peachy creamy. They are just… there. For my taste buds. To make them happy.


So. Onion rings. I made these one weekend. I do really important things on weekends. Bake cupcakes for breakfast, avoid cleaning any and all bathrooms in my general surroundings, plow through the US Weekly that I strategically hid in shame from my husband, but that he found anyway because he loves trash as much as I do… you know. Things like that. And sometimes we watch TV. We once watched an entire marathon of America’s Next Top Model the first year we were dating. 12 hours. 12 hours of my life I will never get back. The only redeeming quality to come from watching trash TV marathons is that they occasionally involve food. And last week Ina made Jeffery some fried onion rings and juicy filet with creamy blue cheese sauce so rich that it could instantly induce a heart attack. I LOVE that!

We could not stop thinking about that meal. Seriously. It was all we talked about. We almost ate it on Memorial Day at 10 am. This is my life.


I figured I could bake the onion rings and make them super crispy and crunchy, much like the chicken fingers we love. Success! And a bonus? They don’t get soggy like deep fried onion rings do. Not.at.all. They stay super crunchy and sweet. Just how I like them. I like my onion rings like I like my… apples slash granola slash other inappropriate phrase that has no relevance to this recipe.


These are currently the best thing in my life. Ever.

Healthy Crunchy Onion Rings

serves 2-4

2 large vidalia onions

1 quart of buttermilk

4 egg whites

1 cup medium ground cornmeal

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

12-24 hours ahead of time, slice onions into 1/2-inch thick rings. Season the onion rings with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper each. Place in a baking dish and pour buttermilk over top. Let soak for 12-24 hours.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour and panko with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon paprika. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the wire rack with non-stick spray.

Remove each onion ring from the buttermilk and dip in egg whites. Immediately dip in the breadcrumb mixture and press to coat. If bread crumbs won’t adhere, dip in egg whites and try again. Lay each ring on the wire rack. When all rings are ready, give each a quick spritz with olive oil or non-stick spray. Bake for 15 minutes, then gently flip with tongs and spray again with olive oil or non-stick spray. Bake for 10 minutes more.


Grilled Flank Steak

serves 2-4

1 pound flank steak, about 1 inch thick

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup sherry wine

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

12-24 hours before grilling, combine olive oil, sherry, soy, ginger, garlic and sugar in a baking dish and whisk. Place steak in the dish and flip a few times to coat. Let marinate for 12-24 hours, turning every so often.

When ready to cook, preheat grill or grill pan. Grill steak about 6 minutes on each side for it to be medium/medium well. Remove from grill and let sit for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain to ensure tenderness. Serve with onion rings!

Oh, I made that steak too. It was fancy fancy and fabulous. You should try it.

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163 Responses to “Healthy, Crunchy Onion Rings [& Grilled Flank Steak.]”

  1. #
    Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet — June 8, 2011 @ 7:04 am

    You almost knocked me over with the “healthy” in your title!

    I’m pretty sure that onions are in at least 90% of the dishes I cook. Love them! What do you think about adding shredded coconut to the bread crumbs??


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 7:09 am

      Not sure… I’ve never tried an onion ring with coconut. It would probably be delicious but my husband reallllly hates coconut and realllly loves these onion rings, so I couldn’t do that!


      • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — June 8th, 2011 @ 7:34 am

        I think Outback Steakhouse does those. Or used to? I know I’ve been with my hubs before and he has ordered onion rings battered in coconut breading somewhere and pretty sure it was Outback back in the day. Right along w/ shrimp also breaded in coconut.

  2. #
    Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli — June 8, 2011 @ 7:05 am

    Oooh, I am defrosting a flank steak and there are beautiful onions at my market. Yum!


  3. #
    Katrina — June 8, 2011 @ 7:06 am

    Love this. Onion rings are some of my favs!


  4. #
    The Teenage Taste — June 8, 2011 @ 7:12 am

    Flank steak is my favorite! Thanks for another great recipe, Jessica! I LOVE onion rings!


  5. #
    Gigi Cuccaro — June 8, 2011 @ 7:17 am

    This is a great looking dinner. Looking forward to making this meal on Father’s Day! May have to make a trial run the onion rings. I’m going to make a Chipotle ranch dressing to serve on the side.
    Have a great day!


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 7:20 am

      That sounds delicious!


  6. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — June 8, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    holy heaven, this is what i’m doing with the Vidalia in my CSA box this week!


  7. #
    Holly @ The Runny Egg — June 8, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    I used to hate onion rings too — and I don’t know wnat changed but now I love them.

    An ANTM marathon is a great way to spend your day!!!


  8. #
    Laura @ LauraLikesDesign — June 8, 2011 @ 7:27 am

    I used to hate onions too–and would always order a happy meal at McD’s sans onions. Funny how your tastes change when you grow up.

    I know you mentioned you don’t like photography, but would you ever be interested in doing a photography post to show how you take your photos?


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 7:40 am

      I might at some point. The thing is, I never take them in the same way or in the same place!


  9. #
    kaila @ healthy helper! — June 8, 2011 @ 7:30 am

    THESE LOOKS AMAZING! I have been wanting to make healthy onion rings forever and now I finally have a recipe to use!!!!


  10. #
    shannon — June 8, 2011 @ 7:32 am

    i’m strange. i love onion rings, but hate onions. i don’t use them to cook with or on salads or burgers or anything else. (unless its an onion ring on a burger then HELL YEAH! lol) same with mushrooms. i love deep fried mushrooms, but don’t put them on my salad or pizza. love ketchup, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, etc. but slice up a tomato and i won’t touch it! what is wrong with me!!?? :)


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 7:39 am

      Oh my gosh I love the burgers topped with onion rings too. Ummm… I think I’m making that for dinner tonight.


  11. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — June 8, 2011 @ 7:32 am

    “I used to highly dislike onions. I was weird. And missing out. Onions are like… one of the best flavor enhancers in the universe. Not even joking.”

    I highly dislike them b/c they linger! No matter how many breath mints I have, the smell just comes out of my pores! I can’t “mint” my pores :) I am super sensitive to the scent of onions and garlic, weird but true. And I can smell onions on Scott 4 days and 4000 miles and a biz trip later. lol

    Your recipe looks awesome. Last pic. That rustic table? log? I want it!


  12. #
    N. — June 8, 2011 @ 7:33 am

    WOW! I didn’t think you could make good-looking onion rings in the oven, but those look amazing! I’ll have to try that when the weather is cooler!


  13. #
    Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] — June 8, 2011 @ 7:35 am

    I LOVVVE ONIONS. i have a problem.


  14. #
    Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews — June 8, 2011 @ 7:36 am

    Those look awesome! Whenever I’ve tried to make onion rings, the coating never sticks on there all the way.


  15. #
    Kim in MD — June 8, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    I laughed out loud reading this post, Jessica! You and Mr. How Sweet are so cute!

    This looks like the best meal EVER! I loved that you garnished your plate with lettuce and tomatoes…that’s healthy, right? ;-) I am going to try these onion rings tonight…maybe the steak, too! :-)


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 8:58 am

      Kim… you seriously make my day.


      • Kim in MD — June 8th, 2011 @ 9:16 am

        I’m glad, because then it’s mutual! You seriously make my day every morning when I read your blog! I <3 How Sweet It Is! :-)

  16. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — June 8, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    I love onion rings and am going to make these! I love how the flank steak is kind of the afterthought of this post… I’d much rather a meal of onion rings:-)


  17. #
    Kelly — June 8, 2011 @ 7:56 am

    I love onion rings…so good. But I am suuuuper picky about them. Like they can’t be too thick and they can’t get soggy! I have actually never made onion rings. I always order them out….usually as an appetizer. But…I might have to give these a whirl.


  18. #
    Katie — June 8, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    Great timing with your post. I’ve been craving onion rings and need to make them ASAP. Your recipe looks a lot like the one I’ve used in the past as does the steak recipe. I may just have to change my meal plan and make this tomorrow night before my husband leaves on his fishing trip.


  19. #
    Rachel @ NotRachaelRay — June 8, 2011 @ 8:02 am

    These look awesome! I’m getting quite the list of not-fried things to try off your blog! Mushrooms, chicken nuggets, these. What will you (not) fry next?


  20. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — June 8, 2011 @ 8:03 am

    Onion rings at 10am… you’re my hero! :P


  21. #
    KRISTY — June 8, 2011 @ 8:07 am



  22. #
    Erica — June 8, 2011 @ 8:07 am

    mmmm book marked. I used to dislike onions too, now I’m obsessed. I like them raw or cooked. And caramelized onions? I’m with your husband- after I discovered these I ate them almost daily until they made me sick haha. Josh does not like onions. He likes the flavor of them in some dishes, but only if I chop them up into micro sized pieces. Onion straws on the other hand? He loves. men…


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 8:58 am

      I can’t really do them raw. Unless it’s in salsa or on tacos with lots of guac and cheese!


  23. #
    Blog is the New Black — June 8, 2011 @ 8:10 am

    This entire meal… swoon!


  24. #
    jenna — June 8, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    those onion rings look perfect!!!! i adore the fact that they are baked and not fried.


  25. #
    Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen — June 8, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    Ohhh – these look amazing!!


  26. #
    Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn — June 8, 2011 @ 8:30 am

    I miss onion rings so so much — panko breadcrumbs make everything betta!


  27. #
    Allison @ Novice Life — June 8, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    Hmmm. I am not really a fan of onion rings, however, hubby is. So maybe I should try this recipe and it will change my mind and make him happy!


  28. #
    Michelle — June 8, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    I saw that episode on Barefoot Contessa, and my mouth was watering. I can’t believe you saw it too!!!My husband and I LOVE LOVE LOVE onions, especially caramelized onions and onion rings. I’ve never made them, because I’m not so into frying, but I’m really jazzed to try your recipe!

    Also, flank steak is the bomb. Can’t wait to make this meal this weekend!

    Am also impressed that your hubby can eat a double cheeseburger with a kielbasa on it, and THEN eat peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate cheescake frosting!!!!


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 8:57 am

      Please don’t be impressed. That only encourages him. ;)


  29. #
    Alaina — June 8, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    Cornmeal on onion rings is devine!


  30. #
    Melissa — June 8, 2011 @ 8:53 am

    You never fail to make me crave odd things for breakfast. The muffin I’ve got today doesn’t hold a candle to these onion rings . . .


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 8:57 am

      Haven’t you heard? Onion rings are the new oatmeal. ;)


  31. #
    Heather — June 8, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    I felt the same way about onions until two years ago, now I love them, strange huh. I can’t wait to try these, thanks for sharing.


  32. #
    Taryn — June 8, 2011 @ 8:59 am

    GAHHHH!!!! Love.


  33. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — June 8, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    Love onion rings when they’re crispy. Nothing worse than soggy onion rings. Anything Ina makes for Jefferey you know is gonna be good! Am I the only one bothered by their marital arrangement? He’s going the entire week and then she shoves food in his face the second he comes home? A little too 1950’s for me.


  34. #
    Courtney @ LivingABonaFideLife — June 8, 2011 @ 9:03 am

    Um yes please! these look so good! definitely bookmarking this recipe :)


  35. #
    Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food — June 8, 2011 @ 9:03 am

    Love this! I despise onions but onion rings are one of my favorite things! Go figure!


  36. #
    Stephanie @cookinfanatic — June 8, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    Ohhhh onion rings, how I adore thee!! What a great healthy version of these, and I’d still consider it “eating your vegetables” ;)


  37. #
    Amanda (Eating Up) — June 8, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    So good, so good, so goooood!


  38. #
    Erin — June 8, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    I used to hate onions too! And onion rings, until I found a really good onion ring recipe. Now I have to try yours.


  39. #
    Jenn — June 8, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    OoO! Looks delish, will have to try this.

    My fave onion rings to date are quinoa-battered (from a Vegan resto in Canada), divine!


    • Jenn — June 8th, 2011 @ 9:34 am

      errr, Toronto, Canada.


  40. #
    Shannon — June 8, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    Ooooh. I love onion rings but never get them. I just picked up some vidalia onions at WF the other day… hello $.49/lb?! Maybe I’ll make some of these this weekend!


  41. #
    Shari @ Chicago Cuisine Critique — June 8, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    This looks delicious! I now want this for dinner!


  42. #
    Maria — June 8, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    Love the onion rings!


  43. #
    Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — June 8, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    So where’s this “creamy blue cheese sauce so rich that it could instantly induce a heart attack”?????


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 10:19 am

      I know. I need to make that.


  44. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story — June 8, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    These look absolutely perfect. I often have lofty goals of making onion rings this pretty — but the breadcrumbs rarely adhere. I’ll have you try your approach!


  45. #
    brandi — June 8, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    I’ve seen that episode too many times :) Also, I always get sucked into ANTM marathons. I don’t know what it is!

    We LOVE onion rings. I need these.


  46. #
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — June 8, 2011 @ 9:54 am

    Oh my, you’ve answered my prayers. I’m making these soon! :)


  47. #
    Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen — June 8, 2011 @ 9:59 am

    I love you. Really. It’s like you know me. I’m going to go buy some onions now.


  48. #
    Andrea @ Vegvacious — June 8, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    Healthy & Onion Rings in the same sentence. Yep, I’m sold :-)


  49. #
    Melanie — June 8, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    A couple of things…..

    1.) I LOVE how you refer to Ina and Jeffery like they are your neighbors!
    2.) My husband and I spent 12 hours of our life watching a reality competition show on Outdoor Living Network a few years ago. I, too, lost that whole day!! Sad, really.
    3.) I DO NOT FRY…. for both health AND safety reasons. I love this recipe.
    4.) I’m sorry that I voted for sweet yesterday.


    • Jessica — June 8th, 2011 @ 10:19 am

      Love this comment Melanie!


  50. #
    Gen — June 8, 2011 @ 10:15 am

    Loove onion rings!!!! Can’t wait to try to make these! :D


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