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Air Fryer Blooming Onion (Healthier Recipe)

This Air Fryer Blooming Onion is an easier and healthier way to enjoy your favorite restaurant appetizer at home. Crispy and juicy, it will be the hit of your next party!

Try it with this Blooming Onion Dipping Sauce!

blooming onion in a blue enamel bowl

I know that if you haven’t been living under a rock your whole life that you have heard of, or most likely eaten, a Blooming Onion.

A large, fanned out onion that is perfectly seasoned, coated, and then deep fried to crispy perfection.

An appetizer that NO ONE CAN RESIST!

Who created the Blooming Onion?

Originally created at Outback Steakhouse, similar recipes are popping up everywhere.

Chili’s has the Awesome Blossom or Onion Peels from Applebee’s. You don’t have to wait until you visit one of these restaurants, I am going to show you how to make this famous bloomin’ onion in an air fryer.

Usually deep fried, this air fried version is better for you and makes less of a mess in the house which is always a plus.

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overhead pic of bloomin onion in a blue bowl on white backdrop

To get this blooming onion in air fryer recipe started, we need to talk about the most important part of the dish, THE ONION itself!

What kinds of onions does Outback use?

As long as it’s big it will work, right? Not always true.

Yellow and white onions are very strong in flavor which can be a bit much for some.

I prefer to use large Vidalia onions because they are milder and sweeter. Meaning they are perfect for more people to enjoy. Just be sure they are large.

labeled picture of blooming onion ingredients

Air Fryer Blooming Onion Ingredients

  • Onion
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Spices

Now that you have all your ingredients ready, let’s get started.

The most important part of the recipe is how to prepare the onion so it “blooms” correctly.

How do you cut an onion for a Bloomin’ Onion?

I would be sarcastic and say “very carefully” but there is a technique that will get you the perfect onion bloom.

How do you open a blooming onion?

  1. Start by cutting off 1/2 inch from the top of the onion, then peel the outer skin from the onion.
  2. Place the onion cut-side down. Starting about 1/2 inch from the root, make a downward cut all the way through to the board. Make sure your knife cuts into the middle of the onion. All your cuts should meet in the middle. DO NOT CUT THROUGH THE ROOT OR TOO CLOSE TO THE ROOT.
  3. Repeat to make four evenly spaced cuts around the onion.
  4. Make 1 additional cut between each section until you have 8 evenly spaced cuts.
  5. Turn the onion over and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the petals to relax.
  6. Prior to breading use your fingers to gently separate the outer pieces.

Now that the onion is open it’s time to bread it to get that crispy coating.

If any of the “petals” are stuck together, gently separate them so the onion can be in “full bloom.”

How is a Blooming Onion Made?

First: Make the dredges and washes. Whisk the flour and spices in a large bowl. In a small deep bowl, whisk the egg, butter, and milk.

Second: Bread the onion. Place the onion in a large clean bowl, cut-side up and separated. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the onion getting in between the layers.

I used a fork to sprinkle the flour mixture, and used my fingers to separate each individual layer and sprinkle the flour between every petal. Dump the remaining flour over the whole onion. Let it sit for a few minutes. 

Turn the onion over and gently pat off the excess flour back into the bowl. Reserve the remaining flour. You want to make sure the flour coats the petals without leaving large clumps of flour in between the petals. 

Third: Egg wash the onion. Transfer the onion into a large bowl and pour the egg mixture over the onion and coat evenly. Pouring over the onion helps it to get in between the petals and coat the flour.

Open each petal to make sure the egg mixture soaks every bit of flour between the petals. Let the onion sit in this mixture for a few minutes.  Remove the onion from the bowl and let the excess drip off.

Fourth: Second coat of breading. Add the packet of seasoned coating mix to the leftover flour mixture. Place the wet onion into an empty bowl or onto the aluminum foil and sprinkle the reserved flour and coating mixture over it.

Do not sprinkle in between those petals as it will be difficult to spray with cooking oil afterwards. However, sprinkle the flour and breading mixture over every part of the onion that is exposed to the air.

I will even brush more egg mixture over drier parts of the onion to get as much mixture there as possible. Place the onion into the refrigerator to set while you preheat the air fryer.

Fifth: Prepare the onion for frying. Preheat the air fryer to 300F. After ten minutes, remove the onion from the refrigerator and spray generously with cooking oil.

Be sure to soak all the flour mixture you can see. You can also check in between the petals and wet any other flour spots you see. Don’t skimp on the cooking oil. This is necessary to get the onion to crisp up.  

Sixth: Air fry the onion. Place the onion bloom in air fryer basket cut side up (on a piece of foil if desired).

Air fry for 20 minutes at 300 degrees, spraying the onion with cooking oil a few times as it cooks. Remove onion and season with salt and pepper.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

close up of air fried onion

Can you freeze a blooming onion?

No you can’t, not that you will have any left once you pull it out of the air fryer! LOL;)

Why is a Bloomin’ Onion so bad for you?

Because they are usually deep fried which makes it soak up a lot of extra oil. That’s probably why I can’t stop eating them and my waistline hates me.

This version is much better for you as you use the air fryer which doesn’t need oil other than the tiny spritz on it.

Air Fryer Blooming Onion Calories

Making this in the air fryer cuts the calories significantly which is why I love it so much. Remember that calories shared with friends don’t really count 😉

For more insider tips & tricks, and a candid behind the scenes look follow me on social media! Check use out on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter (yes, people still use Twitter, LOL!)

Tapas Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure you coat the individual layers of onion in flour to maximize the crispy outside. You might have to help them open to get the best spread.
  • You can get 12-20 slices depending on the size of the onion if you want, but I found it to be more difficult to deal with that many petals. I prefer 8 petals for maximum crispness.
  • Slicing the onion is dangerous so make sure you are doing it on a flat surface like a cutting board for stability.
  • Give the onion plenty of time to open so each onion petal gets coated.
  • You can substitute some or all of the milk for beer in the egg wash for a slightly different flavor.
  • Spray the onion multiple times during the cooking process and use a fork to pry the petals open if they look like they aren’t spreading enough or the inside will be gluey.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

pinterest image for onion bloom with text "air fryer blooming onion"

More Easy Appetizers

square photo of blooming onion on foil

Air Fryer Blooming Onion Recipe

An air fryer blooming onion is the best way to enjoy your favorite appetizer but healthier!
4.47 from 156 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Easy Finger Foods
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 44kcal
Author: Jennifer Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 packet seasoned coating mix 2.5 ounces
  • salt & pepper optional
  • blooming onion dipping sauce
  • oil for spritzing

Instructions

Prepare the onion

  • Start by cutting off 1/2 inch from the top of the onion, then peel the outer skin from the onion.
  • Place the onion cut-side down. Starting about 1/2 inch from the root, make a downward cut all the way through to the board. Make sure your knife cuts into the middle of the onion. All your cuts should meet in the middle. DO NOT CUT THROUGH THE ROOT OR TOO CLOSE TO THE ROOT.
  • Repeat to make four evenly spaced cuts around the onion.
  • Make 1 additional cut between each section until you have 8 evenly spaced cuts.
  • Turn the onion over and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the petals to relax.
  • Prior to breading use your fingers to gently separate the outer pieces.
  • Now that the onion is open it’s time to bread it to get that crispy coating.
  • If any of the “petals” are stuck together, gently separate them so the onion can be in “full bloom.”

Bread the onion

  • Whisk the flour and spices in a large bowl. In a small deep bowl, whisk the egg, butter, and milk.
  • Place the onion in a large clean bowl, cut-side up and separated. 
  • Sprinkle the flour mixture over the onion getting in between the layers. I used a fork to sprinkle the flour mixture, and used my fingers to separate each individual layer and sprinkle the flour between every petal.
  • Dump the remaining flour over the whole onion. Let it sit for a few minutes. 
  • Turn the onion over and gently pat off the excess flour back into the bowl. Reserve the remaining flour. You want to make sure the flour coats the petals without leaving large clumps of flour in between the petals. 
  • Transfer the onion into a large bowl and pour the egg mixture over the onion and coat evenly. Pouring over the onion helps it to get in between the petals and coat the flour.
  • Open each petal to make sure the egg mixture soaks every bit of flour between the petals. Let the onion sit in this mixture for a few minutes. Remove the onion from the bowl and let the excess drip off.
  • Add the packet of seasoned coating mix to the leftover flour mixture. Place the wet onion into an empty bowl or onto the aluminum foil and sprinkle the reserved flour and coating mixture over it. Do not sprinkle in between those petals as it will be difficult to spray with cooking oil afterwards. However, sprinkle the flour and breading mixture over every part of the onion that is exposed to the air. I will even brush more egg mixture over drier parts of the onion to get as much mixture there as possible. 
  • Place the onion into the refrigerator to set while you preheat the air fryer.

Air fry the onion

  • Preheat the air fryer to 300F.
  • After ten minutes, remove the onion from the refrigerator and spray generously with cooking oil. This is important to help get that "deep fried" flavor and texture. Be sure to soak all the flour mixture with cooking oil that you can see. You can also check in between the petals and spray any other flour spots you see. 
  • Place on a piece of foil for easy removal after cooking.
  • Air fry 20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Open and spray at least once with more cooking oil during the cooking process.
  • Remove gently and serve with Blooming Onion Dipping Sauce.

Video

Notes

  • Make sure you coat the individual layers of onion in flour to maximize the crispy outside. You might have to help them open to get the best spread.
  • You can get 12-20 slices depending on the size of the onion if you want, but I found it to be more difficult to deal with that many petals. I prefer 8 petals for maximum crispness.
  • Slicing the onion is dangerous so make sure you are doing it on a flat surface like a cutting board for stability.
  • Give the onion plenty of time to open so each onion petal gets coated.
  • You can substitute some or all of the milk for beer in the egg wash for a slightly different flavor.
  • Spray the onion multiple times during the cooking process and use a fork to pry the petals open if they look like they aren't spreading enough or the inside will be gluey.
  • Nutrition

    Serving: 1g | Calories: 44kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 107mg | Sugar: 1g

    ©TakeTwoTapas.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

    Recipe Rating




    Nean

    Friday 2nd of February 2024

    I don’t usually comment but I followed this recipe exactly and it was excellent! The steps were written perfectly. I made the sauce too and it tasted exactly like the restaurants. We’ll worth the work!

    Jennifer Stewart

    Saturday 3rd of February 2024

    Thank you so much! I am glad you liked it:)

    Abe

    Friday 1st of September 2023

    Thank you.

    Abe

    Saturday 26th of August 2023

    5 minute prep time? That's completely unrealistic. There're 16 ingredients to pull; 11 need to be measured. 2 bowls are to be gathered. Butter needs to be melted. I count 3 steps to coat the onion, after the time consuming cutting. and separating. There are 3 rounds of letting the onion "sit". Kindly post a video of you accomplishing this remarkable feat in 5 minutes; or alternatively give your readers realistic expectations. It's as easy to be truthful as it is to mislead.

    Jennifer Stewart

    Monday 28th of August 2023

    I'm sorry about that. It was a typo in the recipe card. I have corrected it:) thanks for letting me know:)

    Ryan

    Monday 13th of February 2023

    So you're saying there's 2,848 calories in total for one blooming onion even when air fried?!

    Vannessa

    Sunday 20th of August 2023

    @Ryan, 16 servings per onion at 44 calories per serving so 16 x 44 = 704 cal per onion

    Jennifer

    Tuesday 14th of February 2023

    Technically no, the recipe card generates based on all the ingredients and when I put oil for spritzing it doesn't know how much oil. Same with the dipping sauce. I have removed them from the ingredient list and recalculated the calories. I added the removed items back in but didn't include them in the calculation. I hope this helps. The total calories is now 700 total.

    Evan

    Tuesday 13th of September 2022

    The bloomin onion was orignally served in 1985 at New Orleans restaurant Russell's Marina Grill, where future Outback Steakhouse founder Tim Gannon worked at the time.

    AKA. He stole the concept and went on to tell people it was his idea.

    Just sharing! Love this