You don’t have to go through the local diner to get high-quality fresh air fryer onion rings with this handy recipe. These are simple to make and don’t use any oil, so they’re easier on the stomach and to eat without a guilty conscious.
The origins of Onion Rings are largely contested, the concept of frying vegetables isn’t an original concept. One of the earliest examples comes from India all the way back in the 16th century, a dish called Pakora. Pakora is a dish where vegetables, like onions, are coated in chickpea flour batter, then deep-fried. The dish diffused from India to Japan, as the Spanish and Portuguese sailors sailed between the two nations, inspiring tempura.
Later on, in the 19th century, Onion rings pop up in a more traditional sense in The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined. The dish is called “fired onions with Parmezan cheese”, the recipe is much like modern-day onion ring recipes, plus a little bit of grated cheese.
Onion rings didn’t become hugely popular in America until the 20th century. Thanks to Etymologist Barry Popik, we know that in the early 1900s there was a few instances of “French Fried Onions” appearing in publications like the Fort Wayne Sentinel in 1908 and then again in the New York Sun in 1910. Then in 1921, the Texas-based Pig Stand opened its door and while it’s considered the birthplace of Onion rings, we know that that’s not true but they were pioneers in several ways. They did popularize the modern term “onion rings” eventually.
What really sent Onion rings soaring into the American eye, was an advertisement for Crisco. The ad simply featured two women sharing their love for onion rings, and how Crisco made it easier for them to digest the fried treat. But no matter the origins of these crispy air-fried onion rings, they’re sure to be a favorite companion to your next hamburger.