Onion rings are one of those sides that can be undeniably delicious or undeniably atrocious. A bad batch of onion rings often ends up limp and soft, and may even feel a bit slimy. The key to avoiding such a disaster? A nice, crispy breading that enhances the slightly sweet side without completely masking the onion's light bite. Surprisingly, even some of the best restaurants don't seem to be able to master this skill, leaving customers better off ordering french fries or a side salad than taking the risk with onion rings. So, when you find an expert (or a restaurant) who seems to be able to turn out crispy, crunchy onion rings every single time, you know they're doing something right, and you'll naturally want to know their secret.
To that end, Casey Bumpsteed, a food writer, chef, and the editor of Ceramic Cookware Review offered a surprising tip to Tasting Table for making perfectly crunchy onion rings: ice-cold batter. According to Bumpsteed, batter temperature makes all the difference when it comes to achieving that crispy breading. "[Cold batter] helps create more steam when frying, leading to a lighter, crispier texture," Bumpsteed said.
Cold Batter Is Better Than Room Temperature
Most people (especially onion ring-making novices) aren't thinking too much about batter temperature when whipping up a batch at home. But it's worth thinking through how you're going to keep the batter cold as you batter your rings. After all, as Bumpsteed explained, the colder the batter, the more prevalent the steam when hitting the hot oil -- and the more successful the light and crispy onion ring effect.
You could start by making the batter ahead of time and storing it in the refrigerator. Or, although you don't want it to actually freeze, but to hit that near-freezing level of cold, you could simply use the freezer to chill your batter liquids to get them extra cold before mixing up your batter. You may also want to batter and fry the rings in batches, returning the batter to the freezer between batches to help keep it cold.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.