Vidalia Onion Rings and Festivals for the Onion Groupies

American appetizer



3 medium Vidalia onions or other onions
1¼ cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 egg
¼ cup beer (8 ounces left in that bottle for drinking, eh?)
½ cup milk
3 cups peanut oil


electric skillet

Makes 40 onion rings. Takes 45 minutes.


Peel onions. Slice onions into rings ⅓” thick. Punch out onion rings from slices. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to first mixing bowl.. Mix with whisk until well blended. Separate egg yolk from egg white. Add egg yolk, beer, and milk to second mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add egg yolk/beer/milk mixture to bowl with flour mixture. Blend with whisk until smooth. Add egg white to third mixing bowl. Whip with whisk until peaks form. Fold egg white into bowl with flour/beer/milk mixture. Mix with whisk until well blended.

Add enough peanut oil to completely cover onion rings. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Dip onion rings into batter. Turn onion rings until they are completely covered in batter. Make enough battered rings to cover skillet. Sauté at 375 degrees until onion rings turn golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Place paper towel on plate. Place onion rings on towel. Put towel on top on onion rings. Gently push down on towel to remove oil.


1) Onion-festival groupies will want to know that the Vidalia Onion Festival is held in late April in Vidalia, Georgia and features: onion tasting, cooking demos, concerts, chef competitions, and an onion run. Onions are historically rather sedentary, so this last event is only for the patient.

2) Walla Walla, Washington’s onion festival is held during the first week in June. Go there and watch an onion grow. Again, this is an activity only for the persevering and independently wealthy.. They also have onion bowling. If your onion gives you a 7-10 split, why just eat it. Woot!

3) Go to Weslaco, Texas in late March for its onion festival. It’s the only one with dancing horses.

– Chef Paul


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6 thoughts on “Vidalia Onion Rings and Festivals for the Onion Groupies”

  1. Dear Chef Paul,

    Thank you so much for publishing your deeply touching recipe. I cried and cried.

    Hatta Catharsis

  2. Dear Chef Paul,

    I never got past your first direction: “Peel onions.” I peeled a layer off, and there was just another layer. I kept peeling until there was no onion left. I tried another onion, and the same thing happened.

    Is all this just some kind of metaphor? Are you trying to teach us some kind of zen lesson about life?

    One of the Koan brothers

    1. Indeed, the humble onion can teach us much about patience and our eternal quest for knowledge. I had a physics teacher in college who said our studies in physics were just like peeling apart an onion. We’d never stop learning as there would always be another layer. I switched majors to economics.

  3. In my county the oldest town, Wolf Lake, has an annual Onion Days. In the late 1800s and early 1900s we were the top onion exporter in the Midwest, but the smell got to be too much … now we’re a major producer of hogs and dairy cows. They never had any onion bowling, though.

      1. Oh, they do publicize it — and for a town their size they get a pretty good crowd, too. I think it started getting better for them when they decided all their fair food didn’t have to have onions in it.

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