The Absolute Best Onion Rings In The US, According To Customers

Onion rings on paper
Onion rings on paper - Gmvozd/Getty Images

A popular staple in diners and fast-food restaurants across the U.S., onion rings combine the tenderness and sweetness of onions with the crunchiness of fried coating. The snack is made by slicing onions into loops or strips, dipping them in batter or breadcrumbs, and deep-frying them until crispy and golden brown. Onion rings are often served as a side dish or an appetizer and are typically accompanied by dipping sauces such as ranch, ketchup, or BBQ sauce.

Although the exact origin of onion rings is somewhat unclear, a recipe for a version of the dish comprised of Parmesan cheese was published in an 1802 cookbook entitled "The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined." However, the advent of restaurant-style onion rings can be traced back to the 1920s and the now defunct restaurant chain called The Pig Stand. Onion rings gained widespread popularity as a fast food snack thanks to A&W, which started serving them in the 1960s.

There's nothing not to love about onion rings. When prepared correctly and dipped in a zesty sauce, the little morsels of goodness deliver a tantalizing blend of flavor and texture. In our quest to unveil America's best onion rings, we looked at countless restaurants renowned for their ability to transform onions into delicious fried loops. We also consulted hundreds of patron reviews, since there's nothing quite like firsthand experience. For more information on how we gathered our data, check out the methodology slide at the end of this article.

Read more: Steakhouse Chains Where The Sides Outshine The Steaks

Meacham's Restaurant, Arkansas

Meacham's onion rings
Meacham's onion rings - Meacham / Facebook

Described on the menu as the "Best Ever," the onion rings at Meacham's Restaurant set high expectations. Luckily, the golden loops live up to the hype. In fact, the restaurant's onion rings are one of its most famous dishes. Hand-cut and hand-breaded, the crispy onion hoops are a testament to the eatery's commitment to high quality and freshness. While we can't be sure that Meacham's served onion rings when it first opened in 1979, over the years, the family-run restaurant has garnered various accolades for its fare. One of the most recent being a finalist in the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame in 2023.

The onion rings at Meacham's have been recommended by its patrons, who compliment the dish for its stand-out quality and generous portions. One diner says that the onion rings arrived at their table perfectly fried while another Tripadvisor reviewer calls them "the world's best onion rings." Quite a few patrons also comment about the dish's size, with one Yelp reviewer saying, "[The] onion rings were amazing and you get an entire tower of them. [...] Glad we had a big table of people!"

Mustards Grill, California

Mustards Grill onion rings
Mustards Grill onion rings - Mustards Grill / Facebook

Mustards Grill stands out in the fast food culinary scene not just for its delicious American-style menu and Napa wines, but also for its distinctive take on classic onion rings. Unlike the typical thickly cut versions of the dish found at many other dining establishments, Mustards Grill serves their onion rings shoestring cut, offering a crispier and lighter dining experience. This unique preparation method adds a delightful crunch and a modern twist to this traditional snack. Additionally, each serving of Mustards Grill's onion rings comes with a tomato apple ketchup made in-house.

Mustards Grill's skinny onion rings have captured the hearts and taste buds of its patrons, with one Yelp reviewer saying: "You'll see everyone get the onion rings and you'll see why. They're thin strips (spiralized) and amazingly crispy and crunchy. Their dipping sauce is fantastic as well." Several other diners also rave about the dish, describing it as one of a kind, crispy and well-seasoned, and large enough to share as a starter between four people.

Hodad's, California

Hodad's onion rings
Hodad's onion rings - Hodad's Ocean Beach / Facebook

Way back in 2009, Guy Fieri of "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" said that Hodad's in San Diego served the best burgers in the entire country. While we aren't sure whether Fieri's statement still holds true for the restaurateur and television presenter, we do know that Hodad's serves some of the best onion rings in the country. When it comes to the crunchy snack, the restaurant delivers numerous options: the Onion Ring Basket for those flying solo, Half-O-Ring for two to three people, and Full-O-Ring for three to five people. There's also the option of ordering a mix of onion rings and potato wedges, or the Half Fring for two to three people or the Full Fring for three to five people. All the dishes come with either BBQ sauce or ranch dressing.

Diners have consistently complimented Hodad's for its exceptional onion rings. One diner, who indulged in the onion rings, as well as a cheeseburger and a strawberry shake, said that everything they sampled at the restaurant was amazing and advised others to come hungry. Another patron on Yelp agrees, saying, "The onion rings were [...] really good, super crisp, tasted fresh, not soggy on the inside." Numerous other online reviewers have also said that the establishment's onion rings hit the right spot, describing them as terrific, the best, and nice and crisp.

Clear Springs Restaurant, Multiple Locations

Clear Springs Restaurant onion rings
Clear Springs Restaurant onion rings - Clear Springs Midland / Facebook

Housed in a historic 1873 building that once served as a dance hall, the Clear Springs Restaurant is named after its first location in Clear Springs of New Braunfels, Texas. The cafe's popularity led to the opening of additional restaurants in nearby towns, each retaining the home-style cooking that made the first restaurant so popular. Today, there are four Clear Springs Cafes that serve seafood, Texas favorites such as chicken fried steak, and a range of side dishes. One of these treats is the chain's World Famous Onion Rings.

Although it's unlikely that the onion rings at Clear Springs Cafe have achieved global renown, they are, without a doubt, quite satisfying. The chain's patrons keep coming back for more, often claiming that the restaurant's onion rings are the highlight of their meal. A case in point, one Tripadvisor reviewer says, "Moved away 10 years ago but being back in town to visit family recently we decided to go check it out again. It's still just as good as 10 years ago! You just can't get onion rings like these anywhere else." Another Tripadvisor diner agrees, commenting, "The star of the meal was the large onion rings. The best in the world, lightly breaded and crunchy and cooked to perfection."

Mahony's Po-Boy Shop, Louisiana

Mahony's Po-Boy Shop onion rings
Mahony's Po-Boy Shop onion rings - mahonyspoboys / Instagram

True to its name, Mahony's Po-Boys & Seafood specializes in po-boy sandwiches and fresh Louisiana aquatic fare. However, this doesn't prevent the New Orleans restaurant from also excelling in other culinary areas. According to the restaurant's menu, its onion rings have been voted "the nation's best thin-cut rings." While it's unclear who conducted the voting — possibly MSN Lifestyle, which once ranked the eatery's crispy loops among the 10 best onion rings in America — the dish has definitely been turning heads.

Unlike many other restaurants that offer round onion loops, Mahony's Po-Boys & Seafood offers a unique take on the crispy fritters, cutting them into paper-thin onion ribbons. Interestingly, Ian McNulty of the Gambit notes that they are so delicate, they can be "twirled on a fork like spaghetti." As such, it's not surprising that one Tripadvisor patron refers to these onion rings as "tiny slivers of flavor," while another diner on Tripadvisor describes them as "not heavily breaded and served heaped on a platter." A number of other customers agree, calling the starter amazing, awesome, and tasty.

Hil's Burgers, Texas

Hil's Burgers onion rings
Hil's Burgers onion rings - Hil's Burgers / Facebook

We don't know much about the history of Hil's Burgers beyond a burglary incident at the Canyon, Texas location in 2020. Nevertheless, it's clear that this burger joint has established itself as a local favorite, renowned for its high-quality fare. Over the years, Hil's Burgers has become particularly famous for setting high standards, boasting a slogan proclaiming that they serve the "world's best onion rings."

So, what's the verdict? The onion rings at Hil's Burgers were once evaluated by National Geographic — not an easy publication to get into — with very positive results. In fact, the renowned magazine called them the "very best onion rings on planet Earth." Just some of the adjectives used by the renowned publication to refer to the hand-battered loops of goodness include wonderful, flawless, perfectly round, and evenly fried. Some more recent assessments of the dish show that Hil's Burgers has maintained its high standards throughout the years. For instance, one Tripadvisor diner proclaims: "The onion rings are truly the best in the area ... my favorite." Other impressed reviewers also praise the dish, calling the crispy onion wheels excellent and tasty.

Katie's Restaurant & Bar, Louisiana

Katie's Restaurant onion rings
Katie's Restaurant onion rings - katiesinmidcity / Instagram

After suffering a huge setback following decades of operations when Hurricane Katrina flooded the establishment in 2005, Katie's Restaurant & Bar finally reopened its doors in 2010. Today, the restaurant continues to thrive, serving a blend of classic and contemporary dishes. Listed among appetizers such as Bacon Bleu Fries and Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms, the onion rings at Katie's Restaurant & Bar may not sound overly exciting. However, passing the starter by would be a mistake. Triple battered and served with remoulade, Michael's Famous Onion Rings are comfort food at its best.

Katie's Restaurant proudly proclaims: "Comfort food is our love language, baby! It all starts with quality ingredients, lovingly made into our favorite dishes." Onion rings are definitely one of the restaurant's favorite dishes. Even the Lonely Planet mentions the dish as one of the eatery's highlights, describing them as "taken over the top to new levels of decadent enjoyment."

The restaurant's patrons are also partial to the dish, with one Tripadvisor diner saying, "I decided to start with an order of onion rings because I had read some raves about them [...]. The onion rings were piled high with a super generous serving and the batter was thick and the onion was cut thick as well. These were great for dipping and they came with a sauce on the side." Yet another patron on Yelp says: "The onion rings were big and yummy. [...] The remoulade sauce served with the rings was divine."

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, Multiple Locations

Black Tap onion rings
Black Tap onion rings - Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer / Facebook

Black Tap has locations in California, Florida, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, and Texas, as well as a substantial international presence in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Initially launched in SoHo with a cozy 15-seat setup, Black Tap exudes an artsy, vintage New York City vibe. The restaurant also features an American-inspired menu of burgers, sandwiches, wings, and shakes. More specifically, the chain's Housemade Onion Rings are served with a huge selection of sauces including buttermilk-dill, salsa verde, chipotle mayo, Texas BBQ, truffle mayo, and creamy horseradish.

What makes Black Tap's onion rings stand out from the pack are their delicious flavor and gigantic size. In fact, Mia Disano from Spoon University has called them "the biggest and crunchiest onion rings I have ever seen," adding that you definitely won't regret ordering the snack. Another Tripadvisor reviewer agrees that the chain's onion rings are one of the highlights of the menu, saying, "The onion rings were amazing — thick and sweet — the best we have ever had." It also doesn't hurt that other customers have called the onion hoops life-changing, beyond great, and superb.

Kopp's Frozen Custard, Multiple Locations

Kopp's Frozen Custard onion rings
Kopp's Frozen Custard onion rings - Kopp's Custard / X, formerly known as Twitter

Kopp's Frozen Custard specializes in exactly what its name implies — homemade custard with a huge variety of additions and toppings. The Wisconsin mini chain also offers a special "Flavor of the Day" and even creates flavors for special occasions. Those wishing to stay on top of Kopp's new inventions can download its Flavor Alerts app. Aside from custard, the restaurant is also well-known for its jumbo burgers, especially when served with a side dish. One of the restaurant's only two sides — the other being french fries — the onion rings seem to be the winning accompaniment with customers.

Guests rave about the deliciousness of the onion rings at Kopp's, praising them for their crispness and flavor. One customer recommends ordering the fried loops instead of french fries, adding that they won't disappoint. Another Tripadvisor diner agrees, saying, "Great onion rings. Not soggy. Crispy. Perfect. Fries were standard. Nothing to brag about." Yet another reviewer highlights that the onion rings make a great addition not just to the chain's burgers, but also to its cookies and cream custard.

The Habit Burger Grill, Multiple Locations

The Habit Burger onion rings
The Habit Burger onion rings - The Habit Burger Grill (Las Vegas II) / Facebook

Despite being owned by a huge corporation — more specifically, the Yum! Brands — The Habit Burger Grill hasn't lost its commitment to delivering top-quality burgers and sides. The brothers who opened the first Habit Burger Grill back in 1969 in Goleta — and are the visionaries behind its success — sold the remaining few outlets of the chain to Yum! in 2021. Today, with over 350 locations, The Habit Burger Grill dishes out a range of charbugers, signature sandwiches, and fresh salads. Some of the sides listed on the chain's menu include crispy chicken bites, sweet potato fries, tempura green beans, and onion rings with ranch dressing.

Feedback about The Habit Burger Grill's onion rings has been overwhelmingly positive. Irene Jiang, who reviewed the chain for Business Insider, has even said that she would cross oceans for the restaurant's version of the fried wheels. Diners rave about the side's crunchy, light texture, with one customer proclaiming that the onion fritters have been among the best they've ever had. An impressed Yelp patron also applauds the crispy hoops, saying, "The onion rings were lightly breaded, piping hot, and fresh."

Lucky Beaver Bar & Burger, Nevada

Lucky Beaver onion rings
Lucky Beaver onion rings - Lucky Beaver Bar & Burger Reno / Facebook

Open 24 hours, Lucky Beaver Bar & Burger, a two-outlet restaurant with locations in Reno and Lake Tahoe, probably isn't the best place to bring the family. Nevertheless, it's a great spot for other friendly gatherings, watching sports, having a go on a poker machine, and, of course, grabbing some grub. While the restaurant's claim to fame is its Pat LaFrieda prime beef steaks and burgers made with a blend of chuck roast and short rib, it also has plenty of other notable treats to offer, including beer-battered onion rings.

Listed in the starter section of Lucky Beaver's menu, alongside offerings such as Jalapeño Poppers and Ahi Poke, the Tower of Onion Rings is served with ranch dressing and BBQ sauce. And it isn't difficult to see that many online reviewers believe that the dish is a stand-out option. For instance, one satisfied Tripadvisor diner says: "I had the seasoned fries which were great, but was totally jealous of my husband's tower of onion rings. Crisp, not greasy and so, so, so good." A Yelp diner concurs, saying, "I [...] subbed the french fries for onion rings and that was the best decision because the onion rings were top tier." Several other customers are also partial to the dish, calling it the best onion rings they have sampled in Tahoe, crispy delicious, and very tasty.

The Varsity, Multiple Locations

The Varsity onion rings
The Varsity onion rings - 1 day in the United States / Facebook

The Varsity holds the title of being the largest drive-in restaurant in the world. Founded in 1928 in Atlanta, Georgia, it covers two city blocks and can play host to 800 diners. Today, The Varsity operates multiple outlets in the Atlanta area. Known for its classic American fast food, the restaurant chain serves up favorites like hot dogs, burgers, and frosted orange shakes. The regional chain also serves hand-battered onion rings that consistently receive high praise. Indeed, the menu boldly states that these onion rings are "world famous."

Even if some diners have been critical of several of Varsity's menu options, more reviewers agree that the restaurant's onion rings are a must-try. This is exemplified by one Yelp patron who comments: "The food is good, not great. However, their onion rings are solid. Worth the experience and [they hit] the spot." Another impressed customer on Yelp echoes this sentiment, saying, "They make the best onion rings on the planet."

The Mason Jar By Fatboys, South Carolina

The Mason Jar onion rings
The Mason Jar onion rings - The Mason Jar by Fatboys / Facebook

With the slogan "Preserving Lowcountry Traditions," The Mason Jar by Fatboys in Charleston focuses on classic Southern food. The restaurant's hearty fare encompasses such dishes as BBQ pulled pork, blackened fried fish, and buttermilk fried chicken. To enhance the robust flavors of Southern comfort foods, the restaurant also serves a range of side dishes such as onion rings, french fries, rice and gravy, potato salad, coleslaw, and collards.

Fans of traditional country cooking have praised The Mason Jar by Fatboys' fare and tasty onion rings. One satisfied Yelp diner advises patrons not to skip the crispy hoops, adding, " If I could give [them] more stars I would. Bring an empty stomach. Southern cooking at its finest!" Another Yelp reviewer calls the fried wheels "perfectly breaded and seasoned," while yet another says that the side was one of the best renditions of the dish they have ever tried. Several other diners also rave about the virtues of the dish, describing it as delicious, fantastic, and massive.


Onion rings in a fryer
Onion rings in a fryer - Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

Getting onion rings right involves several steps including slicing them into uniform loops, preparing a flavorful batter, and frying them at the correct temperature to achieve a crunchy, golden-brown finish. Restaurants differ in their ability to master this process. To bring you a comprehensive roundup of the eateries that serve the best onion rings across the U.S., we analyzed a wide array of restaurants renowned for their skill in preparing these golden loops. Additionally, we sifted through countless customer testimonials to ensure a well-rounded perspective on the flavor and texture of these popular morsels.

Read the original article on Mashed