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How can you make fried onions yourself - and is it worth it?

It's time for a crispy test kitchen experiment

For some people, fried onions are just a nice topping to treat yourself to on a hot dog when visiting IKEA. For me, however, fried onions are crispy memories of special moments. One of those memories comes from my childhood when I thought it would be a good idea to combine my two favorite snacks from the time - soft cake with fried onions.

Let's put it this way: It was the first and last time that I was able to enjoy this extraordinary combination, because it made my stomach protest all night. Years later, my grandmother still remembered that moment when she gave me a 1 kg pack of fried onions for Christmas. Since I've been vegan, she doesn't know what kind of chocolate I can still eat because of all the lactose and other ingredients. “But fried onions, you always liked them!”. She is right - as is so often the case. My bulk pack of fried onions is slowly coming to an end, however, and so the thought occurred to me: Can you actually make fried onions yourself - and is it worth it? It's time for the test in the kitchen!

How do you make fried onions yourself?

As the name suggests, fried onions are fried onions - is it that simple? It is not at all. In various cookbooks and on the Internet I have come across numerous recipes that show great differences. However, they all promise super crispy fried onions. Only one thing helps: test all preparation methods and evaluate them according to effort and result.

For this process, I was ready to go beyond my limits. Fifteen large onions were waiting to be peeled and cut by me. Believe it or not, not a tear flowed from the undertaking. Perhaps the onions were comparatively mild, but just in case you have to cry, the “Roasted Onion Project” is also a great way to try out all of the tips against crying while chopping onions. From water in the mouth, sitting in the slice to putting onions in cold water beforehand or wear protective goggles. Do you also have an ultimate secret trick? Tell us about it in the comments!

Why choose when you can try a little bit of everything. With the “roast and bake” method, the cut onions are first sweated in a pan, dusted with flour, then fried until golden and then baked in the oven until crispy. Frying works particularly well with a neutral oil, but if you prefer to use butter, you can add even more flavor. In comparison, this method is the longest and not the optimal choice for impatient people.

That's how it's done:
1. Cut the vegetable onions into thin slices or rings and then separate them into the individual layers.
2. Heat some vegetable oil in a pan and sweat the onion rings in it until they are translucent. Dust with flour, mix and continue to fry until the onions are golden brown.
3. Place the onions on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and roast at 85 ° C for about 90 minutes, or until they are crispy and deeply browned. Turn them regularly on the baking sheet.

If you are looking for a very uncomplicated solution for homemade fried onions, you should just throw it in the oven. This is also the variant with the least fat, so you could save calories here - but who wants to eat “light fried onions”? To make them crispy, however, the sliced ​​onions should be turned in a little flour and panko beforehand. Panko is a type of coarser breadcrumbs that can be found in Asian supermarkets. They have more texture than breadcrumbs, so it creates more crispy spots. With this method, however, speed is required, because the sliced ​​onions should not lie too long in the salted flour mixture, otherwise they will become too soft.

That's how it's done:
1. Cut the vegetable onions into thin slices or rings and separate them into the individual layers. Put in a bowl and mix with the flour, panko and salt.
2. Place the onions on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Bake at 230 ° C for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn them regularly on the baking sheet.

This approach probably makes sense to everyone: fried in fat, onions can't help but turn into crispy little fried onions, right? However, many people like to avoid deep-frying at home - what happens to the remaining oil, how hot does oil have to be, which pot do I need for it? Here is a relaxed variant for at home: Take a deeper pan and fill it about 2 to 3 centimeters high with oil. The oil should be around 180 ° C - you can put the end of a wooden skewer into the oil to test it. If bubbles form around the wooden skewer, the fat is hot enough. You can deep-fry the sliced ​​onions in it. You can then filter and reuse the oil.

That's how it's done:
1. Cut the green onions into thin slices or rings and place in a bowl. Season with a little salt and massage in briefly to soften the onions. Express it vigorously.
2. Heat enough vegetable oil in a deep pan or saucepan and fry the sliced ​​onions in portions until golden brown.
3. Then drain briefly on kitchen paper.

An interesting test was the refined deep-frying, in which the onions are briefly steeped in hot water beforehand. The purpose behind this is similar to massaging the onions, so this technique is more advisable for anyone who wants to deep-fry their fried onions, but doesn't necessarily want too much physical contact with the raw onion. In addition, thorough work is required - the onions should really be dried thoroughly before frying so that no water gets into the hot fat.

That's how it's done:
1. Cut the vegetable onions into thin slices or rings and separate them into the individual layers.
2. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the cut onions and simmer for approx. 3 - 4 minutes with the lid closed. Then drain and pat dry thoroughly.
3. Heat enough vegetable oil in a deep pan or saucepan and fry the onion rings in portions until golden brown.
4. Then drain briefly on kitchen paper.

Homemade fried onions - is it worth it?

It is definitely more convenient, often cheaper and simply more reliable to buy a pack of fried onions. But of course it also has its charm to enjoy your own small, crunchy pieces with pride. I also don't miss any opportunity to deep-fry, which is why method 3, simple deep-frying, is the perfect preparation for me. It's straightforward, quick, and the result is crispy, dark fried onions. Incidentally, if packed airtight, they will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 - 3 weeks. In my opinion, roasting and baking is not necessarily worth the time, because the result is no better than with faster methods. The fried onions in the flour-panko mixture did not get crispy through and through, but were still a bit soft in some places, which I can also imagine as a good topping for various dishes.

What to do with the fried onions

Clearly: eat soft cake with fried onions. I already appreciate my colleague Kristin, but she did the incredible thing during the photo shoot for this article: She tried it. My childish finger food madness. Unfortunately, she advises against the combination, my childish taste was apparently not too demanding.

Now I just enjoy fried onions with others, especially with hearty dishes. They are of course a classic as a crispy hot dog topping. On mashed potatoes or cheese spaetzle, they provide a wonderful crunch as a counterpart to the otherwise creamy consistency, many also know green beans with roasted onions from the American kitchen. They are even extremely popular as a topping for Indian dishes.

Are you a fan of fried onions too? In which dish do you think they shouldn't be missing?

Published on February 23, 2020