Tasty Tuesday: Onion Rings and Fried Chicken Fingers

By now it’s probably clear that I’m always looking for ways to make things myself instead of relying on restaurants or large manufacturers. Sometimes it’s a cost issue, sometimes it’s a healthy-choice issue, and sometimes it’s just plain satisfying to know how to do things myself! This post reflects the last reason.

My son, Michael, and I decided that we needed to learn how to make fried chicken fingers. Then once we got going on that, it became clear that we also needed to make onion rings…mostly because we LOVE onion rings and with all that hot oil, it’d be foolish not to try to make some.

The major disclaimer that I need to make here is that I am not from the South. I fry food on average once every three years. I didn’t grow up eating fried chicken (or fried ANYTHING really.) I ate my first-ever homemade fried chicken shortly after New Years a few weeks ago at a friend’s house.

I was a little put off by the chicken skin underneath that crispy crumb coating. It also seemed to sit in the oil for a LONG time while it was cooking. (I TOLD you, I’m not from here!) So Michael and I decided that we needed to try this fried chicken thing with boneless, skinless chicken tenders. We were pleased enough with the results. The big home-run, however, were the onion rings. Ooooh, we loved those!

Here’s what we did for fried chicken tenders. I should mention that I’m working on providing a gluten-free alternative for a couple of my sons these days, so I used non-wheat flours for this. If you want, you can use regular flour and I suspect the results will be quite similar.

We had two shallow containers. In one, I poured about a cup of buttermilk. In the other container, I stirred together:

  • 1/2 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 c. potato starch/flour
  • 1/2 c. rice flour
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. ground pepper
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. pepper flakes
  • 1 t. smoky paprika

I dipped the chicken tenders in the buttermilk and then dredged them in the flour mixture. I let them sit on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes and repeated that process.

Meanwhile, the oil was heating up. When it was hot, we slid the battered chicken tenders in and watched them fry. It took 8-10 minutes to cook the chicken tenders until they were completely cooked in the middle. The frying time will depend on the thickness of the tenders and the temperature of your oil. Be sure to cut open a tender to check doneness because the outside coating can be golden brown but the inside chicken still quite raw.

Drain the cooked tenders on a paper towel.

Now, on to the onion rings. We sliced a very large onion into thick rings. Just like the chicken tenders, we dipped the onion rings into the buttermilk and then into the flour mixture. We repeated this.

Then we fried the onion rings in the hot oil. The onion rings took less than a minute to cook.

And they were amazingly good! Simply scrumptious. In fact, it was hard to get enough onion rings cooked to serve because they kept disappearing just as soon as they came out of the hot oil.

We brainstormed a lot as we were cooking these two things because there are plenty of other fun foods that we could batter and fry. And like I said at the beginning, it’s sometimes satisfying just to know that we CAN make these things ourselves.



  1. Thanks for the idea, especially with alternative flours. A quick commnent spelt- it is not gluten free. It is “wheat-free” and a “wheat alternative” but does contain gluten for those who specifically need to avoid gluten because of celiacs or other reasons. I’ll replace the spelt with potato starch/flour or tapioca starch/flour.

  2. Thanks for pointing that out, Tiffany. You’re so right about spelt being in the wheat family (although not wheat) and having gluten. My kids are wheat-intolerant and spelt doesn’t bother them. Therefore, I use a lot of spelt. For a celiac, spelt would be a real problem though. I’ll change the recipe to potato flour. Potato flour makes a GREAT texture.

  3. Thanks for the gluten free recipe! My son eats gluten free & I am always looking for good gluten free recipes that he will enjoy!

  4. This is awesome Barb! Onion rings are my all time favorite!! With some chipotle ranch dressing? Mmmmmm…I’ve heard you get a great crisp if you coat the item in corn starch before dipping into the buttermilk. We do this for zucchini and okra and get a really great crispness!

  5. me and my sister are both allergic to Gluten and we were always on a gluten-free diet ever since we were teenagers. *