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How To Keep & Reheat Onion Rings [I Try 5 Methods]

Onion rings are always best fresh out of the fryer. (I think we all know that). But what happens if you’ve made just a few too many and don’t want to waste them?

In this article, I personally test every onion ring reheating method I can find, to let you know the best way to keep your leftover onion rings crispy and flavorful.

If you want to skip to a specific section, feel free to use these links:

Ready? Let’s dive right in.

What’s the best way to reheat onion rings?

The best way to reheat onion rings is in the oven. Place the onion rings on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and lightly spray them with oil. Reheat the onion rings for 3-5 minutes at 350°F (180°C) or until piping hot. Serve the onion rings immediately for best results.

A note on my experiment

I made my own onion rings at home following this recipe and stored them in the fridge overnight. The next day I reheated them using 5 different methods.

For each method, I tasted the onion rings and took notes on their appearance, flavor, and texture. Crispness was a particular focus.

Tip: I used quite thin onion rings and found that the onion was pretty dried out by the time I had reheated it. If you know you’re going to be reheating some, I’d use thicker cut onions.

Read on to find out my verdict on each of the methods.

Remember, only reheat your onion rings once. Once they’ve been cooled and reheated once, you won’t be able to recreate their texture a second time.

Reheating onion rings by re-frying

To reheat onion rings by refrying, heat 1-2 inches of oil in a pan to 350°F (180°C). Put the onion rings in the oil for 2-3 seconds, flip and heat for another 2-3 seconds. Take the onion rings out and place them on a wire rack to cool.

Refrying gave the crispiest results of all my tests, but you have to be really careful with your rings.

The problem is that it’s SO easy to overcook the onion rings. It only takes a few seconds too long for them to turn into hollow shells… you’ve been warned. 

You can deep fry or shallow fry the rings. I tested the shallow frying method.

To reheat onion rings by frying:

  1. Heat 1-2 inches of vegetable/canola oil in a pan until it reaches 350°F (180°C).
  2. Place the onion rings in the oil for 2-3 seconds.
  3. Flip the rings over and cook them for another 2-3 seconds. 
  4. Take the onion rings out and put them on a wire rack to let any excess oil drip off.
  5. Serve immediately.

To deep fry, simply heat up your deep-fat fryer, drop the onion rings in for 4-6 seconds and then take them out and let them rest on a paper towel.

The best way to measure the temperature of the oil is with a thermometer, but if you don’t have one to hand you can use a wooden spoon.

Put a wooden spoon into the oil. If lots of small bubbles form around the base and rise up to the top, the oil is ready for frying. If the bubbles are big or strong, the oil is too hot.

A second or two might not seem like a long time, but trust me it’s all you need. You aren’t trying to cook the rings again, just heat them up. Two seconds in 350-degree oil is more than capable of heating up a small onion ring. 

My verdict

My refried onion rings were super crispy, much more crispy than any other method I used. But there wasn’t much onion left inside them, it had dried up from the heat. 

Avoid this method if you have really thin onion rings (as I did), or your onion rings are already slightly too done. Try it if you have thick rings, or they’re slightly underdone, but be sure not to leave them in the oil too long.

I purposely chose my least cooked onion rings for re-frying, plus one well-cooked one for comparison. 

The first two I reheated I left for too long and the onions were shriveled up into nothing. All I could taste was batter. 

The third onion ring was better but there still wasn’t much onion left. And the well-cooked onion ring was just a hollow shell after it came out of the oil.

My onions were quite thinly cut which was my downfall. Thicker onions would fare better.

A trick I read on a forum was to re-batter the onion rings before frying them – but I expect this would throw the batter-onion ratio off.

Reheating onion rings in the oven (or toaster oven)

To reheat onion rings in the oven, place them on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and lightly spray them with oil. Reheat the onion rings for 3-5 minutes at 350°F (180°C) or until piping hot. For best results, turn the onion rings once halfway through reheating.

The oven is by far the most common suggestion when it comes to reheating onion rings.

It’s hassle-free, easy and gave me decent (but not amazing) results.

There are a few different methods floating around for reheating your onion rings in the oven, so naturally I tried them all out. I’ve given detailed instructions for the one that gave me the best results, then discussed the others below.

To reheat onion rings in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Put the onion rings on a baking tray and spritz them with a light coating of oil.
  3. Sprinkle some extra flavoring on the onion rings like parmesan or garlic powder to give them a little kick (optional).
  4. Put the onion rings in the oven and heat them for 3-5 minutes or until they’re warmed through.
  5. Serve immediately.

The other things I tested were:

  • Putting the onion rings in the microwave for a few seconds before heating them in the oven.
  • Covering the onion rings while they were reheating in the oven.
  • Cooking at a lower temperature for longer.
  • Cooking at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time.
Covering your onion rings when reheating in the oven just makes them soggy – yuk!

The idea behind the microwave is that you heat the middle of the onion ring up so it has to spend less time in the oven. I put my onion rings in the microwave for 5 seconds, then gave them a few minutes in the oven. The onion rings came out soggy.

And even if the onion rings weren’t soggy, it would probably only save you about a minute. This trick works better for thicker things like onion bhajis (yes, that links to my reheating experiment on onion bhajis, feel free to check it out!). 

DO NOT cover the onion rings in foil while they’re in the oven. I saw this advice on a few websites and was curious to try it because normally covering things prevents them from crisping up. I can confirm my gut feeling was right, the covered rings came out soggy.

There was debate over the temperature and time that worked best for maximum crispiness so I tested three different temperatures, 300°F (150°C), 350°F (180°C) and 400°F (200°C).

There wasn’t much difference between them, but I did think the lower temperature dried the onion rings out slightly more, while the highest temperature shriveled the onion a bit too much.

The middle temperature gave the best results so that’s the one I’ve recommended.

My verdict

The onion rings weren’t as fresh as the day before – but they were still fairly good.

They were crispy and you could still taste the onions.

The downside was that they were a little chewy, but that could have just been my batter.

The oven is also a great option if you have lots of rings to reheat at once.

Reheating onion rings in an air fryer

The air fryer is a great way to reheat onion rings. You have to be a bit careful not to burn them, but it gives really crispy results.

How to reheat onion rings in an air fryer:

  1. Heat your air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Lightly coat your onion rings in oil.
  3. Put the onion rings in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

Don’t forget the light spritz of oil when you’re air frying. It helps the outside of the rings crisp up and aids heat transfer so the onion rings heat up nice and fast.

A few minutes will be more than enough to heat your onion rings all the way through. If you leave them for any longer you risk the onion rings drying out or the onion becoming non-existent (and leaving what feels like just a ring of batter)

My verdict

One of the best options here. You get the crispness of the fryer with less risk of the rings becoming a hollow shell. Of course, you do need to have an air fryer on hand.

Reheating onion rings in a broiler (grill)

To reheat onion rings by broiling, place them on a baking tray in a single layer and lightly spray them with oil. Reheat the onion rings for 2 minutes on each side on a medium-high heat. For best results, crimple some tin foil and place it underneath the onion rings when reheating.

To reheat onion rings in a broiler:

  1. Lay the onion rings flat in a single layer and place them under a medium-hot grill.
  2. Spritz the onion rings lightly with oil.
  3. Heat the onion rings for 2 minutes.
  4. Flip the rings over and heat on the other side for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately.

The flip halfway through makes sure both sides crisp up. I always put a layer of tin foil under the rack with the onion rings on to catch any oil that drips off. This saves you having to clean the grill every time.

My Verdict

The broiler gave pretty similar results to the oven but the rings were slightly crispier. Overall, I’d say I enjoyed the onion rings from the broiler more than I did the oven but only slightly, and it was more effort because I had to flip the rings halfway through.

If you opt to flip the onion rings in the oven too, the effort is no different. With the broiler, you need to flip them to get the best results.

Reheating onion rings in a toaster

The toaster is an interesting option for on-the-go heating. 

When you’re at work you often only have a toaster or a microwave. Microwaves are a no-go for onion rings (you’ll see why later), so that leaves the toaster as a potential option. 

To reheat onion rings in the toaster:

  1. Put the onion rings in a toaster bag
  2. Toast the onion rings for 2-3 minutes

A toaster bag is crucial here. They make sure the onion rings don’t drip any greasy into the bottom of the toaster as well as making sure they don’t get stuck.

There’s nothing worse than putting something in the toaster only to find it’s too small to get out again.

My verdict

I tested this one as a bit of an afterthought, so didn’t get pictures.

It was okay. The onion rings heated up but they didn’t get particularly crispy. I guess the bag trapped some steam which stopped them crisping up.

I’d probably just leave the onion rings at home unless they’re absolutely vital to your dish.

Reheating onion rings in the microwave (don’t do this)

Please don’t reheat your onion rings in the microwave. They’ll be soggy, limp and greasy. Exactly the opposite of how you want an onion ring to be.

Microwaves just can’t deal with crispy food.

I tested it so I could give an accurate picture of the taste and texture of the onion rings and I can safely say I will never use the microwave to reheat onion rings again. 

My verdict

When the onion rings came out of the microwave they were so soggy they couldn’t hold their shape at all. Completely unappetizing.

Then, after a minute or so, the onion rings had started to cool down and became so tough and chewy it was hard to believe it was the same onion ring. It was like eating cardboard.

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

Can you cook onion rings without oil?

Yes, you can make baked onion rings that don’t require oil. Baking works best with breaded onion rings and you need to make a sticky batter. The trick here is to skip any milk or water which will just thin your batter out and to use finer breadcrumbs.

Adding a dollop of mayonnaise to the batter won’t hurt either!

Mayonnaise is super sticky and will make sure none of the breadcrumbs fall off the rings. 

Panko breadcrumbs vs normal breadcrumbs

Panko breadcrumbs are traditionally used for onion rings but they’re quite big so don’t always adhere to the onion rings well. A finer breadcrumb works better for baked rings.

How do you keep onion rings warm?

To keep onion rings warm, put them in a warm oven (200°F/90°) and close the door. Lay the onion rings in a single layer on a paper towel and don’t cover them. Covering the onion rings will create steam and render them soggy. The paper towel will soak up any excess moisture.

If you don’t want to use a paper towel, lay the onion rings out on a rack with a tray underneath so any drops of grease can fall through the gaps.

The oven is the best place to keep the onion rings warm because it uses dry heat and won’t introduce any moisture.

Keep the door closed as much as possible to stop moisture getting into the oven from outside, and avoid putting anything else in the oven apart from the onion rings. 

You don’t want moisture to transfer from another dish to your onion rings.

You can keep the onion rings warm this way for up to an hour. After this, the onion rings will start to dry out and become tough. If you need to store the onion rings for more than an hour, I suggest freezing them and then reheating them just before serving.

How to store onion rings

You can keep onion rings in the refrigerator for 3-4 days but they’ll go soggy so you’ll need to crisp them up again before eating them. Keep the onion rings in an airtight container with layers separated with paper towels. This helps to soak up any excess moisture.

Single layers work better because the onion rings will get extra soggy where they’re touching each other.

Battered onion rings tend to keep better than breaded onion rings because the breadcrumbs are more prone to absorbing moisture.

To prolong the life of breaded onion rings, store them submerged in dry breadcrumbs. This helps to prevent the breadcrumbs from becoming flat and turning into one big mass.

Another option is to freeze your onion rings. Flash freeze them for 30 minutes before transferring to a freezer bag. More on freezing later.

How long do homemade onions rings last?

Homemade onion rings will last for 3-4 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. Keep the onion rings in an airtight container and wrap them up well if you’re freezing them to protect against freezer burn.

Can you freeze homemade onion rings?

Flash freezing the onion rings prevents them from sticking together in the freezer

Onion rings freeze pretty well. Lay cooled onion rings out on a baking tray so they’re not touching each other and freeze them uncovered for 30-45 minutes. Once frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag, suck all the air out, and leave them for up to 3 months. 

Only freeze the onion rings once, if you freeze them for a second time they will fall apart. 

If you know in advance that you’re going to freeze the onion rings it’s best to undercook them by around a minute. This ensures that they won’t overcook or burn if you plan on re-frying them. Par cooking them is less important if you want to reheat them in the oven. 

Always allow the onion rings to reach room temperature before you flash freeze them. If you put warm onion rings in the freezer, they’ll take longer to freeze and there’s more chance of ruining their texture.

You can also freeze onion rings before you’ve cooked them. Simply blanch the raw onions for 10-15 seconds in boiling water before submerging them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking.

After blanching the onion rings, batter them as you normally would, then place the battered onion rings on a baking tray and freeze them uncovered for 30-45 minutes. Once frozen, transfer the onion rings into a freezer bag, suck all the air out, and freeze them for up to 3 months. 

Blanching the raw onion rings ensures they don’t lose their texture in the freezer.

There is no need to thaw the onion rings before you cook or reheat them. You can heat them straight from frozen, just allow slightly longer.

How to cook onion rings in advance 

Onion rings are the perfect party food, but you don’t always want to be stuck behind the fryer at your own party. 

So can you cook onion rings in advance and still keep them crispy?

The best way to prepare onion rings in advance is to cook them as you normally would and then freeze them. You can prepare them up to 3 months in advance this way.

Make sure to undercook the onion rings by a minute or two so that when you reheat them you don’t end up overcooking them.

Then, when it’s time for your party, take the onion rings out and reheat them in the oven. Heating them this way is quick and easy, and you can keep them warm and crispy in the oven for up to an hour.

You can also re-fry the onion rings if you want to. Re-frying will give you the crispiest results, but you have to be very careful not to burn the rings.

Freezing the onion rings will alter the texture a bit, but luckily, there’s a clever trick you can use to make sure your batter is extra crispy.

Adding some potato starch to your batter will give you extra crunchy onion rings, and they’ll hold their crunch well through reheating.

How To Keep & Reheat Onion Rings

Onion rings are always best fresh out of the fryer. (I think we all know that). But what happens if you’ve made just a few too many and don’t want to waste them?
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person
Calories 411 kcal

Equipment

Paper towel
Wire rack

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion onion rings
  • 2 sprays oil optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Put the onion rings on a baking tray and spritz them with a light coating of oil.
  • Sprinkle some extra flavoring on the onion rings like parmesan or garlic powder to give them a little kick (optional).
  • Put the onion rings in the oven and heat them for 3-5 minutes or until they’re warmed through.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 411kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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