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Frozen Onion Rings in Air Fryer: How to Get Perfect, Crispy Onion Rings Every Time

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Frozen onion rings in air fryer is the secret to perfect onion rings, every time. Step-by-step instructions for easy air fryer onion rings.

Onion Rings Are an Ultimate Comfort Food!

When I want pub grub, most of the time I’ll choose french fries as my side.

There’s something so delicious about a great burger with fries…it’s hard to beat!

Once in a while, however, I love (LOVE!) to add onion rings to my order. Or, my favorite “I need a treat” move, half fries and half onion rings.

Stack of air fryer onion rings on a white dinner plate, with a dipping dish of ketchup partially in view in the background

Frozen Onion Rings and a Side of Nostalgia

For some reason, onion rings remind me of my childhood.

I have this very specific, random memory from my childhood about getting a small fast food burger with my mom, and sharing a side of onion rings instead of french fries.

It’s one of those strange memories, because I have no idea when the moment happened. Add to that, I’m pretty sure it was an ordinary, insignificant day.

I guess those onion rings must have been really, really good though, because they have stuck in my head and I remember them even now, 30 years later!

These days, I rarely have onion rings. But when the craving strikes? I NEED them!

Frozen onion rings after being cooked in an air fryer on a dinner plate

Air Fryer Frozen Onion Rings Are Yum!

Since this last year has been all about staying home, cooking more, and getting more creative in the kitchen, I figured I’d experiment with making air fryer frozen onion rings.

You see, onion rings are an absolutely perfect once-in-a-while treat.

If I could master making air fryer frozen onion rings (and using frozen onion rings instead of making them from scratch) … well let’s just say my once in a while treat would be way more convenient!

Of course, the real challenge is to make frozen onion rings in my air fryer that are BETTER than takeout or sitting at a restaurant.

Personally, I think I’ve done a pretty good job, and hope you try out my air fryer frozen onion ring method in your kitchen!

Stack of air fryer onion rings on a white dinner plate, with chicken tenders and carrot sticks in the background out of focus

Why Air Fryer Onion Rings Are the Best

When it comes to making onion rings at home, your first choice is whether to make them from scratch (which is a bit of a process) or use frozen onion rings.

The downside of making onion rings from scratch is the effort involved, and the difficulty in getting them super crispy on the outside without a deep fryer.

Prior to the popularity of the air fryer, frozen onion rings had some big cons too. Despite being precooked in oil, they still never got all that crispy on the outside.

And despite best efforts frozen onion rings were a mere shadow of what restaurants could deliver.

Onion rings on a wooden board on a countertop

I Demand Perfection for my Air Fryer Frozen Onion Rings

Here’s the thing about onion rings. They’re a treat!

And whenever I’m having a treat, I want it to be perfect, not just okay. 

If I am going to justify the calories of enjoying a burger or chicken tenders and onion rings, those rings better be darn delicious!

And that means golden and crispy on the outside, and soft and sweet on the inside.

Unfortunately, that’s almost impossible to achieve when dealing with frozen onion rings in the oven.

Why Air Fryer Onion Rings are Superior

Compare oven-baked to cooking air fryer onion rings, it’s no competition.

The benefits of air fryer rings is no more soggy bits where the breading mushes together.

And no more breading falling off, leaving the poor onions naked and without their delicious crispiness.

Finally, no more extra oil. Seriously, frozen onion rings have enough oil as it is from being pre-cooked in the manufacturing facility. You don’t need to add even more when you cook frozen onion rings at home!

Nah….air fryer frozen onion rings are the bee’s knees, friends!

Crispy! Golden! Soft! Sweet Perfection!

Stack of air fryer onion rings on a white dinner plate with chicken tenders in the background and out of focus

How to Get the Perfect Air Fryer Frozen Onion Rings

The brilliance of air fryers all comes down to how air fryers cook your favorite frozen food. They heat evenly with super hot air, and keep the need to use extra oil (aka: calories) to a minimum.

Preheat Your Air Fryer

Start by pre-heating your air fryer to 400F.

I bang on about preheating air fryers quite a bit, but I really do find it makes a difference. Even though air fryer companies insist you don’t need to pre-heat, doing so helps things cook more evenly in my experience!

If you have a digital air fryer display, then pre-heating is easy – just heat until it reaches 400F on the digital display.

If, however, you have one of the most simple models, just pre-heat it for 3 to 4 minutes – that’s enough!

Place Frozen Onion Rings in Air Fryer Basket

Layer your onion rings into the air fryer basket. It’s okay if they overlap slightly, but you don’t want too much overlap.

Frozen onion rings in air fryer basket

The beauty of the air fryer is in the name – the air! So you want to make sure the hot air has plenty of surface area available on each frozen onion ring, so it can work it’s magic.

One nice thing about making air fryer frozen onion rings is one bag of onion rings tends to have a ton of different sized rings within.

You can see in the photo that my bag was full of large, medium and small onion rings, and some of the small ones nestled into the big ones.

It worked, so don’t stress too much!

Air Fry

Air fry for 8 to 10 minutes, until crispy, not soft.

frozen onion rings after being cooked to a golden brown in an air fryer basket

Enjoy immediately, and don’t be afraid to pair them with some of your favorite dipping sauces!

What Sauce Goes with Onion Rings?

Speaking of your favorite dipping sauces, here are a few good dipping sauce for onion rings, if you feel like getting a bit creative!

  • Ketchup
  • Ketchup-Mayo Mix
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Honey Mustard
  • Blooming onion dipping sauce (a horseradish dipping sauce)
  • Ranch
  • Garlic Aioli
  • Blue Cheese Dip
  • Ceasar Dressing

How to Serve Onion Rings?

While onion rings are an obvious side for pub grub, you can also add an onion ring or two to your burger to make an awesome topping! They work well with “normal” burgers or cheeseburgers, but are also great with my pineapple pork burger!

And for a really fun way to serve onion rings, I love these diner style fry and burger baskets with checkered paper.

It gives you the greasy spoon experience at home, and is an easy way to add a bit of fun an whimsy to your meal (they’re also great for serving fries and chicken wings!).

How to Reheat Onion Rings?

If you don’t need to cook onion rings all the way through, and just need to reheat them in the air fryer, it will be even faster.

Preheat your air fryer to 400F, and heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until piping hot throughout.

This is great if you have leftover onion rings cooked via my method above. However, I also love this to heat up food that is being delivered, and has gotten a bit cool in the Uber Eats driver’s car!

Final Thoughts

I hope you found these instructions to cook frozen onion rings in air fryer helpful!

Stack of air fryer onion rings on a white dinner plate.

If you know an onion ring lover, or know someone who recently got an air fryer and needs some inspiration, I hope you’ll share this post.

And be sure to check out my other air fryer recipes for frozen food, including burritos, pot pies, chicken tenders, and fries!