We are skipping our annual deep fry party this year just because we don’t have a great free weekend to do it thanks to a massive yard project!
I love the party though so I might try to squeeze it into the fall… I’ve had these little guys floating around in my brain for a while now and thought I would try them at the deep fry party this year. Since it got postponed I figured I would just try them for the blog.
These bite-sized blooming onions turned out being one of those lucky recipes where I kept thinking a step would go wrong, but they all worked! It’s amazing when that happens. It means these were a huge success on the first try!
Sure, I’ll admit that they are a bit of work, but I actually liked them more than the full-sized version. Each bite has a crispier crust and there’s no fighting for pieces of the onion. There’s also no weird wilted leftovers on a plate! The work is worth it, people. Bite-sized is better.
Bite-Sized Blooming Onions
- 2 pounds cipollini onions, peeled and sectioned
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- ¼ cup mayo
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Prep onions by slicing off the root end. Slice off as little as possible. Carefully peel onions. Use a sharp knife to cut the onion into eighths, vertically, being careful not to cut all the way through the onion so it stays together. I think it’s best to leave what was the tip end intact.
- After you slice each onion, press on it gently to separate the sections. Toss all the prepped onions in the buttermilk and egg mixture. Let them sit for at least 5-10 minutes to soak. You could also prep the onions in advance and let them marinate overnight.
- Stir together flour with paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. Remove onions from buttermilk mixture and dust heavily with flour mixture. Be sure to get it in all the cracks of the onions so they “bloom” a bit as they fry. Move coated onions to a clean plate.
- Heat frying oil to 350 degrees F. Fry bite-sized onions for about 4 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove onions and let drain for a minute. Serve while hot with dipping sauce!
Did you make this recipe?
Bite-Sized Blooming Onions
Prepping the Onions
The first part of this is making sure you buy the right onions! You can’t use frozen onions or pearl onions. They are a bit too small. You need these cipollini onions. You can usually find them by the pound in most supermarkets near the onions!
Normally, when you make a large blooming onion you want to leave the root on to keep the whole thing together. I was torn here because I wanted the onions to stay together but also wanted to be able to eat it in one bite and not have to worry about the root. I decided to try cutting off the root and see how it goes.
It turns out you can do this! Trim off just enough to get rid of the dirty root, but keep as much as possible intact. Instead, leave the tip end intact! Then just peel the onion with a sharp paring knife or you fingers.
Next, slice into the onion to make sections (like in the full sized version). If you slice into what used to be the root section, the tip section will keep the onion together. This wouldn’t work with a full-sized onion, but works fine with the little ones. Just be careful not to cut all the way through. A sharp knife helps!
Real talk: This is a pretty annoying prep. I put on some tunes though and worked through two pounds of onions in about 15 minutes. They go fast once you get the hang of it.
Once each onion is cut into sections, press on them a bit to separate the sections.
Flour and Fry
Make sure you spice up your flour mix!
Also you can make the dipping sauce in advance. It’s a simple version and feel free to make it your own! Taste and adjust. You know the deal.
When your onions are prepped, add them to a mixture of egg and buttermilk. This will take some of the bite out of the onions and also make sure lots of flour can stick to them. You could prep these in advance and let them sit in this mixture overnight if that’s easier.
I did a test onion just to make sure this whole process would work. It turned out better than expected. Perfectly fried with tiny sections even!
Now it’s time to scale up! You can dip the drained onions in the flour, but take time to work flour into each onion so there is some in the cracks. That’s what will help the onions “bloom” while it fries. If you just coat the outside of the onion you’ll have something edible, but not as cool.
Once you have all your onions prepped and floured, heat your frying oil to 350 degrees F. and drop them in! About 4 minutes should do the trick.
How cool are these?!
A little bit of work, for sure, but who doesn’t love the idea of bite-sized blooming onions?!