Vidalia onion strings might just be the world’s most perfect appetizer ~ these thin sweet onions rings are fried to perfection in minutes!
Vidalia onion strings are the ultimate fried onion!
Onion strings are such fun. They’re kind of miraculous, actually. One lone onion will explode into enough crispy strings to satisfy a hungry foursome. Add a few cold beers and you’ve got a party. Use a sweet Vidalia onion and make a peppery horseradish sauce to go alongside them, and you’ve got an even better party.
my fried onion recipe is simple and foolproof
Onion strings are so thin that they don’t need a lot of batter or a full-on deep fryer to make them fry up light and crispy. Pick a frying pan or Dutch oven and heat up several inches of oil. You’ll get delicious homemade onion rings without a huge amount of oil to dispose of.
what you’ll need
I use a simple buttermilk soak and seasoned cornmeal dusting before the onions go into the hot oil (it’s a nod to their Southern heritage.) They fry up in about a minute and a half.
- a large Vidalia onion
- salt and pepper
- plus vegetable oil for frying
dipping sauce ideas for fried onion strings
Anyone who loves onion rings knows you don’t need anything to go with them, they taste just perfect on their own. But I always like to take it a step further and serve them with a creative dip of some sort. It helps to reinforce the feeling that I’m in a fun bar or pub somewhere, getting away from it all, even if I’m actually watching the 6 o’clock news on the couch. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I am a huge fan of horseradish. I keep a bottle of this amazing horseradish cream in the fridge at all times. For this dip I mixed it with some of my homemade mayonnaise (or mayo from a jar) a squeeze of lemon, and lots of fresh cracked black pepper. That basic concept can be tweaked to make a sauce for steak or beef, a sandwich spread, and even a zesty salad dressing. I use it a lot when I want a real punchy flavor.
the nice thing about onion strings?
They don’t get soggy if you have to make them ahead of time (like thicker onion rings sometimes do.) Reheat them in a warm oven and they’ll be perfect.
do you love Vidalias?
- Sweet Vidalia Onion Dip
- Vidalia Onion Pie
- Sweet Vidalia Onion Cornbread
- Quick Pickled Vidalia Onions
- Creamy Vidalia Onion Dip
- Sweet Vidalia Onion Slaw
Vidalia Onion Strings with Horseradish Aioli
- vegetable oil for frying Note: you'll need enough to fill your pan to a depth of at least 3 inches.
- 1 large Vidalia onion
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp prepared horseradish or horseradish cream
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- a dash of salt
- lots of freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Peel and thinly slice the onion. I use my mandoline slicer set between 1/8 and 1/4 inch.
- Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl and add the onions, carefully separating the rings with your fingers.
- In a pie plate or similar dish toss together the cornmeal, salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large pot to a temperature of 340-350F. A clip on thermometer helps. Note: make sure to bring your oil up to the correct temperature for best results.
- When the oil is hot, grab a handful of rings from the buttermilk and let the excess drip off. Toss them in the cornmeal, coating all surfaces. Shake off any excess before dropping them in the oil. Fry for about a minute and a half, until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Note: fry the onions in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
- Mix the horseradish aioli ingredients together and serve with the onion strings.
- Double or triple the recipe if you like, but make separate batches of the cornmeal mixture because it will get increasingly clumped as the wet onion rings are dredged in it.
- It’s important that you get your oil hot enough before frying your rings. I use an inexpensive clip on thermometor to insure I get the right temperature. You can find them on Amazon.
Questions and Reviews
Oh wow! A favorite of mine, and these look amazing! Love the aioli, too!
Thanks Patricia — the dip is so good!
I was wondering if you could use Pando bread crumbs instead of corn meal? Do you think it would be too heavy for the delicate onions?
That would be Panko….of course ????
You know, Paul, I think the panko crumbs would be a little too heavy, and they might actually burn in the hot oil. You could use plain flour if you don’t like or can’t use corn meal.
Corn meal will work just fine. Being a Southern Boy, corn meal is good in just about everything ????
I’ve just been on a Panko kick lately.
Yes, sure, that would work.
Once I get settled into the new place, I’m going to give these a try. I still have some Vidalias in the basement that have held up quite well, and with the mandolin trick I look forward to these. And did I mention how much I love horseradish??? Thanks for sharing and pinned.
Glad to meet another fellow horseradish lover!
I just saw a picture of a dish that had onion strings on top that looks so good, and I thought “but I don’t know how to make onion strings”. And then your recipe showed up in my feed reader! And now I know 🙂 These look delicious!
Thanks, Jennifer— I started making them after I had an amazing steak salad that had them piled high on top…they are addicting!
I haven’t had onion strings in years but these look fabulous!
I never had good success with homemade onion rings but these really make we want to give them another try! I think my husband would marry me all over again if I made these for him 🙂 Love the horseradish aioli too!
I find that the really thin cut ones, like these, are much easier to make, and you’re right, these are definitely man magnets…
These are dangerous just to look at! i love anything onion!
Yum! I’ll have this for lunch please!! They look amazing Sue, I don’t usually fry anything but I would make an exception for these.
Sue, these onion strings look very inviting. One onion won’t be enough for us as we LOVE onions!
How totally divine looking, Sue. Wow. I wish I could eat these….a couple will be all my old tummy allows. Next time the kids come, I’m going to make them and steal a few away. Your photos are so tempting! What a fab aioli!