A gluten-free copycat French's fried onions recipe that is baked to perfection and unbelievably crispy. My gluten-free fried onions are perfect for topping your gluten-free green bean casserole, salads, or burgers. But we even like them on their own for the easiest gluten-free shoestring onion rings ever!
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When working on an updated green bean casserole recipe (i.e. deconstructed, from scratch mushroom pecorino sauce- yum!) for Thanksgiving I wanted something crunchy on top.
I tried almonds and gluten-free bread crumbs but at the end of the day, nothing is better than fried onions.
I found myself eating them non-stop and had to make another batch. That is when I realized these babies were basically gluten-free onion rings and I had to share my technique for homemade french fried onions.
📖Why This Recipe Works
Baked Not Fried- This recipe utilizes cornmeal rather than plain flour to create a crispy coating that doesn't need to be deep fried.
Allergy Friendly- Dairy-free/ vegan option (see variations below)
Versatile Recipe- More than just a casserole topping, nosh on these as a healthy snack or steakhouse-style side dish.
This recipe contains easy-to-find ingredients. The key is to not overdo in on seasonings and let the onion be the star of the show.
Onion- I prefer to use a white onion or yellow onion. Avoid Vidalia onions if used as a topping, it will be too sweet. But Vidalia onions are great for onion rings. Yum!
Red onions are fine, but they don't hold up to reheating as well so not great for the holiday season.
Buttermilk- See below for dairy-free options.
Flour- This recipe uses a rice flour and cornmeal mixture. You can also use plain gluten-free flour and cornmeal.
Oil- I recommend using either olive oil or avocado oil in this recipe.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Dairy-Free Fried Onions
Soak the onions in oat milk (or other unsweetened non-dairy milk) with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled vinegar.
Spicy Fried Onions
Add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper or 1//2 teaspoon cajun seasoning. Highly recommend the cajun seasoning for burgers!
⏲️ How to Make Gluten-Free Fried Onions
Now that we have our ingredients let's review step by step how to make gluten-free french's fried onions from scratch. It is a simple recipe but as will simple recipes the key to success is in the details.
The primary use for this recipe is a fried onion topping for casseroles. Therefore the raw onion needs to be sliced very thinly. I prefer in half-moons but you can also quarter.
If you plan on serving them as onion straws, cut them into very thin rounds.
Soak the onions in buttermilk for 10 minutes. Soaking the onions in buttermilk will tone down the sharp bite that the sulfur gives off.
It also helps the crunchy coating to adhere to the onion.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl (or for less clean up a ziplock bag).
Remove the onion slices from the buttermilk using a slotted spoon or tongs. Give them a good shake.
Or you can drain in a colander. You don't want them totally dry but also not sopping wet.
Add the onions to the bag or bowl. Toss to coat thoroughly. There shouldn't be much if any, excess coating left.
Preheat the oven to 425 F degrees. Brush half the oil on a sheet pan.
Don't worry about shaking off excess breading, we want it all! Spread out the onions in a single layer. They may overlap a bit. but more air flow will increase the crispiness and prevent clumps.
Use a pastry brush to brush the remaining oil over the onions.
Bake in the preheated oven, tossing onions occasionally, until crisped and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Expect a few pieces to get burnt, onions tend to do that. You can discard them.
Air Fryer Fried Onions
Just like the baked onions, you will need to divide the oil between the air-fryer basket with oil and the flour-coated onions. Add the onions to the basket and place them in the air fryer.
Depending on your air fryer you will likely need to cook in batches. Cook the onions at 375 F for 10 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through.
Even if you bake the onions, the air fryer is a great way to reheat.
🥗 How to Use Fried Onions
Adding delicious onion flavor to your favorite green bean casserole might be the most obvious way. But to me, they give steakhouse vibes and I put them on top of cast-iron seared bavette steaks and fancy Wagyu burgers.
Use fried onions in place of croutons on your favorite salads. Eat plain, with ketchup or siracha mayo.
Or reheat leftover onions and sprinkle over fried eggs for breakfast!
Note: Easy siracha mayo is ¼ mayonnaise mixed with 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
The high heat is one of the reasons I recommend making these in advance if serving on Thanksgiving, easter, or another holiday. Nothing else will cook at this high of a temperature (425 F).
🌡️ Making Ahead and Storage
Gluten-free French fried onions can be made ahead and stored in a sealed container at room temperature.
To reheat spread on a dry baking sheet and bake at 350 F until heated through. Microwaving is not recommended.
There is no need to reheat if baking on top of a casserole. Just put the cold fried onions right on top!
🧾 Best Store-Bought GF Fried Onions
I am partial, I think crispy fried onions are best made from scratch. BUT... we all have time constraints. Luckily at the busiest times of the year (i.e. around major holidays), many stores carry fried onions in gluten-free variations.
Here are my favorites:
They are typically only seasonal items so stock up.
🍴 Gluten-Free Onion Recipes
Big fan of onions? Check out these savory recipes!
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Gluten-Free French Fried Onions
- Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Brush half the oil on a baking sheet.2 tablespoons olive oil
- Soak onions in buttermilk for 10 minutes.1 large onion, 1 cup buttermilk
- While the onions soak, mix rice flour, cornmeal, salt, and garlic powder together in a large plastic bag or bowl.¼ cup rice flour, ¼ cup cornmeal, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Remove the onions from the buttermilk. Shake off the excess liquid and add to the cornmeal-flour mixture. Toss the drained onions in the flour mixture until coated.
- Spread the onion mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle or brush the remaining oil over the onions. Bake in the preheated oven, tossing onions occasionally, until crisped and golden, about 30 minutes.
- Air Fryer: Cook the onions at 375 F for 10 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Gluten-free fried onions can be made ahead and stored in a sealed container at room temperature.
- To reheat spread on a dry baking sheet and bake at 350 F until heated through.
- Serving size:
- Makes a snack for 4
- A side dish for 2
- Topping for 8-10