From fast food eateries to expensive sit-down restaurants, onion rings have become a ubiquitous part of American cuisine. There's just something so indescribably heavenly about a hot, golden onion ring that pops with flavor when you take a bite. That's why it's not surprising that the average American eats approximately 20 pounds of onions per year, with a sizeable portion of that in the form of onion rings (via the National Onion Association).
The history of onion rings dates as far back as 1802 in the United Kingdom and to as far back as the 1920s in the United States. Today, with onion rings conveniently available in the frozen food section of grocery stores, it's never been easier to keep these onion-powered goodies on hand for when you get an unshakable hankering.
That said, be careful which brand you select. Not all frozen onion rings are as delectable as they may appear on the packaging. In this ranking, we've included all of the most popular options and listed them in order from the bottom of the barrel to the very best.
When it comes to frozen french fries, Great Value is a brand you can bank on. Their fries are a winning combination of yummy and inexpensive. Unfortunately, not all of their products in the freezer aisle are worthy of purchasing. In fact, Great Value Onion Rings are so bad that you may never trust this Walmart brand again.
The first problem you'll notice is the smell. These onion rings smell like a mix of plastic and glue. If you're brave enough to take a bite, you'll find that the rings taste even worse than what your nose foretold. It's like eating crusty Elmer's glue with a dash of salt on it. To make matters even more disheartening, the ratio of breading to onion is all wrong. Great Value Onion Rings are almost all breading and actual rings of onions are few and far between. While Walmart sells these rings at a low price, don't allow yourself to be tempted.
If you've ever been to Red Robin, you know that they offer endless refills on their french fries. That alone virtually guarantees that you'll leave the restaurant with a belly that's completely full and a grin spanning from ear to ear. Even though their onion rings aren't bottomless, they're so delicious that it's not a bad decision to switch out the fries for rings. Tragically, the tastiness of their onion rings at one of their restaurant locations doesn't translate to their frozen onion rings you can find at your local supermarket.
The fatal flaw of Red Robin Crispy Onion Rings is its fishiness. It has a fishy aroma and it tastes like the onion rings were accidentally prepared in the same oil as fish sticks. Unless you want fish-flavored onion rings, you should stay far away from these hoops of despair. No amount of seasoning or dipping sauces will remedy this calamitous situation.
When it comes to fast food onion rings, the ones available at the Burger King drive thru window are the worst of the worst. The primary complaint about Burger's King's onion rings is they are made from dehydrated onions instead of legitimate slices of onion, resulting in a paste-like interior. Unless you really want to get your hands on rings filled with that odd texture, Kroger Minced Breaded Onion Rings should be avoided. Kroger took everything that's wrong with Burger King's onion rings and made a version that's available as a frozen food.
The onion mush inside of these rings isn't terrible tasting but the texture is so off-putting that you won't even care about the flavor. It's slimy and lingers in your mouth no matter how much liquid you try to use to wash it away. Even the texture of the breading is suboptimal, as it's simultaneously too chalky and has bits that's too crunchy. Even if the price is right, just say no to Kroger Minced Breaded Onion Rings.
Onion rings that are coated with a sweet batter can be totally scrumptious and really memorable. For example, fans love Sonic onion rings thanks to a secret ingredient: vanilla ice cream! Regrettably, not all onion rings supercharged with sugar come out tasting great. Market Pantry Crispy Onion Rings tried to add a hint of sweetness to the breading but it ruined what would otherwise be a fine product.
Instead of a natural-tasting sweetness, the onion rings made by this Target store brand have a synthetic-tasting sweetness. When the aftertaste kicks in, the chemical flavor will make you cringe. Even if you have a sweet tooth that is always begging for more and more sugar, you won't enjoy these sweet onion rings. If you see Market Pantry Crispy Onion Rings in the freezer at Target, leave them alone and pick a brand that's higher in this ranking.
These frozen rings are so strange that it almost makes sense to buy a bag just so you can get a firsthand taste of the weirdness. Green Giant Veggie Rings are billed as a version of onion rings that are better for your health. In a supposed effort to make this snack healthier, the onion slices were replaced by cauliflower pulp. But considering that onions have many health benefits including potentially lowered risks of Alzheimer's, cancer, stroke, and heart disease (via Nourish), it's highly questionable whether making that switch improved anything health-wise.
The oddities don't stop there. While the cauliflower pulp has a slight onion-like flavor, it still mostly tastes like cauliflower. The breading is yummy but the lack of onion flavor in these faux onion rings is one of many elements that will leave you scratching your head as you try to figure out why these Green Giant Veggie Rings were invented in the first place.
If you judge Simplot Bent Arm Ale Onion Rings with your eyes and nose, you'd think these rings would deserve a spot near the top of this ranking. The smell is wonderful and they're so aesthetically-pleasing that the onion rings look like they're straight out of a television commercial. But when you put one of these bad boys to your lips, you'll soon feel a smidgen of disappointment.
Simplot Bent Arm Ale Onion Rings simply have too much going on. These rings are not only beer battered, there's also a lot of sweetness in the breading. At first, you may enjoy the molasses-like flavor. But after you eat a handful of these onion rings, the sweetness will overwhelm your taste buds and have you begging for a break. If the molasses flavor was a little bit lighter, these onion rings would be a winner. As is, the beer battered goodness is lost in the shuffle.
Unless you're an expert when it comes to using a deep fryer, purchasing Fred's Batter-Dipt Thick Cut Onion Rings will likely be a frustrating experience. While most frozen onion rings can be prepared in an oven, air fryer, or deep fryer, the instructions on the packaging state that only a deep fryer should be used.
If you don't remove these onion rings from the deep fryer at the exact right moment, you'll either be facing rings that are too soggy and crumbly or too hard and crunchy. If you happen to time it right, you'll love the extra thickness and the abundance of flavors that these Fred's Batter-Dipt Thick Cut Onion Rings have to offer. The problem is that timing it perfectly is much easier said than done. If you're not a deep fryer professional, it's a good idea to go with a more forgiving brand of frozen onion rings that offers multiple modes of preparation.
If you're in the market for a bag of frozen french fries, there's no question that Ore-Ida is the best brand you can find. They sell more than a dozen varieties of fries and they're all amazing. That should mean that their onion rings are also really good, right? Unfortunately, that's not the case. Ore-Ida's onion rings are only average.
This brand sells two different types of onion rings. Ore-Ida Onion Ringers are made with diced onions, which makes them similar to the Burger King and Kroger rings. The better option is Ore-Ida Gourmet Onion Rings because these rings are made from slices of whole onions. That said, even this "gourmet" version is mostly forgettable. These onion rings will do in a pinch but the breading produces too many crumbs and the onions have a rubbery texture. As it turns out, Ore-Ida is masterful when it comes to potatoes but the story is different when onions are involved.
At Whole Foods, you never know quite what to expect if you pick up one of their 365 products. This store brand has a lot of studs but also a number of duds. If you pick up a bag of 365 Crispy Breaded Onion Rings, you'll be pleased with your purchase — if you know how to prepare them.
First of all, you need to deep fry these rings. While the packaging lists baking instructions, it's worth the extra effort to use a deep fryer. Second of all, 365 Crispy Breaded Onion Rings need seasoning. Start with adding salt and a little bit of black pepper. Finally, you'll want to use a dipping sauce with these rings. We suggest checking out our Outback's Bloomin' Onion Homemade recipe and whipping up a side of sauce, but ketchup or mustard would also do. Once you've done all these steps, you'll adore these onion rings from Whole Foods. But if this seems like too much trouble, pick a higher ranked brand.
If you want a healthier version of frozen onion rings to bring home to your family, skip the aforementioned Green Giant Veggie Rings and instead opt for Ian's Onion Rings. These attractive rings are made using cornflake crumbs and contain no artificial colors or artificial flavors. This product is also gluten-free, wheat-free, milk-free, and egg-free. Most importantly, Ian's Onion Rings don't taste like something you'd eat only when you're on a strict diet. Rather, these rings are so flavorful that you'll always be in the mood to eat them.
Ian's is a brand that was founded in 2001 with the mission of creating tasty food that's also good for your health and free of common allergens. If you end up loving these onion rings and you want to try a couple of their other products, Ian's Breaded Chicken Nuggets and Ian's Fish Sticks are equally as awesome — both in terms of being healthy and being delicious.
If your favorite type of onion rings are those that taste like they've been lovingly battered in a pool of beer for minutes on end, look no further than Brew City Beer Battered Thick Cut Onion Rings. These rings have such an unmistakable beer flavor that you'll be worried that you'll feel tipsy after you eat a handful of these bad boys. Why is the flavor so strong? It must be because these onion rings got dipped twice in beer batter prior to being frozen. Thankfully, though, there's only a minimal amount of alcohol in the beer batter, so you don't have to worry about actually getting tipsy (via Our Everyday Life).
The only thing to keep in mind with regard to these rings is the fact that they're not the best for dipping. The beer flavor is just too fierce and it would overpower any sauce that you use. Additionally, these onion rings are big and thick, which also works against you when attempting to dip.
For onion rings that look and taste like they're straight out of a fancy restaurant's kitchen, get your hungry fingertips on Cavendish Farms Crispy Sweet Onion Rings. Light gold in color, these rings are reliably the perfect texture no matter if you make them in a deep fryer, oven, or even an air fryer. The breading is always crispy and the whole onion slices are never too mushy or never too chewy.
Interestingly, the batter is made with amaranth and quinoa. The amaranth gives these onion rings a slightly nutty flavor that your taste buds are sure to appreciate. The quinoa, on the other hand, adds a bit of earthiness to the mix and also comes with a host of health benefits. The amaranth and quinoa combine to make these onion rings super hearty, which makes this a perfect choice if you want the rings to be the central part of a meal.
When you need to buy onion rings in bulk, there's no better option than Member's Mark Battered Onion Rings. These rings come in a 10-pound box at Sam's Club and you can be supremely confident that the quality of this product is just as impressive as the quantity. Pound for pound, there's no way to complain about the price — as long as you can go through the entire box prior to the expiration date, of course.
The batter on these onion rings is so scrumptious that you'll be tempted to peel it off and eat it by itself. The crispiness is sublime and it has been seasoned to perfection. You can even taste a little bit of sugar in the batter, so these are the onion rings to acquire if you like them sweet. One thing to remember is that Member's Mark Battered Onion Rings lose some of their luster if you allow them to cool off — so eat the rings when they're piping hot.
We ranked Alexia as the second best frozen french fry brand, and once again it's one spot from the top when it comes to frozen onion rings. Even though Alexia has only been around for about 20 years, per Food Business News, it's safe to say that they've become a trustworthy brand in the world of frozen food. If you see their name on a product, you know you're in for a yummy time. In fact, Alexia Crispy Onion Rings are better than you'd predict even if you have sky-high expectations.
What sets these rings apart is the one-of-a-kind breading. Instead of being what you typically find on an onion ring, the breading is similar to what you'd discover on katsu and other Japanese dishes. It's relatively light but there's a satisfying crunch and the flavor is immense. Additionally, the delectable onion slices in the middle of the rings taste spectacularly fresh.
Without question, Nathan's Famous is primarily known for their hot dogs. (We ranked them as a our favorite grocery store hot dog brand for a reason.) But who would have guessed that they would also earn the title for the best frozen onion rings? All it will take is one mouthful for you to agree that Nathan's Famous Thick Sliced Battered Onion Rings are the crème de la crème and deserve the number one spot.
These onion rings are thick, juicy, and bursting with a borderline obscene amount of flavor. It's a mystery how so much juiciness and flavor is stuffed inside of each ring. Just like the top rated fast food onion rings from Culver's, these golden Nathan's Famous rings are also just as beautiful as they taste. From the immaculate breading on the outside to the succulent whole onion slices in the middle, onion rings don't get better than this.