Are you craving a crunchy and flavorful snack? Look no further! In this article, we will guide you through the process of making a mouthwatering homemade bloomin' onion. This fried delicacy, with its crispy exterior and tender interior, is sure to satisfy your snack cravings. Skip the trip to the restaurant and create your own version of this popular appetizer in the comfort of your own kitchen. Let's get started!
What is a Bloomin' Onion?
A bloomin' onion is a unique and delicious snack that is made by carving an onion to resemble a blossomed flower. The onion is then coated in a breading or batter and deep-fried until golden. This process creates a fried onion with a crispy, seasoned exterior and a sweet and tender interior. The bloomin' onion rose to fame in 1988 when it was introduced on the menu of Outback Steakhouse, where it has become a long-standing staple.
The Best Type of Onion for a Bloomin' Onion
When making a traditional bloomin' onion, it is recommended to use sweet onions such as Vidalia, yellow, or white onions. These varieties are large and crisp up nicely when fried. However, if you prefer miniature-sized bloomin' onions, you can use smaller varieties like pearl onions. The choice of onion variety will depend on your personal preference and the size of the bloomin' onion you want to create.
Tips for Making a Tasty Bloomin' Onion
To ensure that your bloomin' onion turns out perfectly crispy and delicious, here are three tips to keep in mind:
Soak the onion to balance the taste: If you have time, soak the unsliced onion in a large bowl filled with water overnight in the fridge. This step helps draw out any harsh onion taste and allows the onion to fan out better into the blossom shape once cut. Remember to completely dry off the soaked onion before carving it.
Keep the root attached to the onion: To create the blossom shape on a bloomin' onion, make sure to keep the root intact. The root will keep all of the onion pieces attached, preventing them from falling off during cooking. Additionally, leaving the root intact makes it easier to serve the bloomin' onion in one whole piece.
Cover the onion with foil for more even cooking: When air frying a bloomin' onion, cover it with a piece of foil after about 10 minutes of cooking to prevent the top from cooking faster than the bottom. This will ensure that your fully cooked onion is tender on the inside and has a crisp coating.
Two Delicious Outback-Inspired Bloomin' Onion Recipes
Now that you know the basics of making a bloomin' onion, let's dive into two delicious recipes that you can try at home. These recipes provide a healthier alternative to the traditional deep-fried version by using an air fryer or baking in the oven. Get ready to enjoy all the flavors and textures of a bloomin' onion without the excess grease!
Air-Fryer Bloomin' Onion with Smoky Sauce
- ½ cup bottled Thousand Island salad dressing
- 1 Tbs. prepared horseradish (not drained)
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 large sweet onion, about 1 lb.
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup half-and-half
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- In a bowl, mix the dressing, horseradish, and paprika. Chill the sauce in the refrigerator.
- Preheat your air fryer to 300°F and coat the crisper plate with cooking spray.
- Peel the onion, leaving the root intact. Trim ¼-inch from the bottom of the onion. Cut the onion into 16 wedges, making sure not to cut all the way through. Gently pull the layers away from the center.
- Whisk the egg and half-and-half together. Mix the flour and Old Bay seasoning in a separate bowl.
- Coat the onion with some of the flour mixture, then brush it with the egg mixture. Coat it in the remaining flour mixture and spray it with cooking spray.
- Air-fry the onion for 10 minutes, then cover it with foil and continue cooking for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the onion is tender and the coating is crisp.
- Serve the bloomin' onion with the smoky sauce.
Blooming Onion Bites
- Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
- 24 white pearl onions (about 1½ inches in diameter)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbs. ketchup
- 2 tsp. horseradish
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cut the pearl onions into blooms by removing the pointy end of each onion and peeling away the outer skin. Do not cut off the base, as it will hold the onion together.
- Lay the onion cut side down and make vertical cuts downward from ⅛ inch below the top, creating 5 or 6 slits, depending on the size of the onion. The intact base will hold the onion pieces together. Separate the layers with your hands to make them bloom out.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 Tbs. of water. Transfer the mixture to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the onions to the bag and toss them to coat in the egg mixture.
- In a separate medium bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, flour, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper for the coating. Pour the mixture into another large resealable plastic bag. Transfer the onions to the bag, seal it, and toss until the onions are completely coated.
- Place the onions on the prepared baking sheet, bloom sides up, and spray them with cooking spray. Bake them on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crisped all over. If they are not crispy enough, turn on the broiler and broil them for 3 to 4 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. Let the onions set for 3 to 4 minutes on the pan before serving.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the dipping sauce ingredients until well combined.
- Serve the blooming onion bites with the dipping sauce or keep them warm in a 200°F oven until ready to serve.
Seasoning Ideas for a Homemade Bloomin' Onion
To add even more flavor to your homemade bloomin' onion, here are five seasoning ideas that you can try:
- BBQ Bloomin' Onion: Lightly sprinkle the air-fried or baked onion with BBQ seasoning for a smoky and sweet taste.
- Ranch Bloomin' Onion: Add ranch seasoning to give the snack a tangy and savory flavor.
- Lemon Pepper Bloomin' Onion: Sprinkle a dash of lemon pepper seasoning on top of the onion for a citrusy zing and a hint of spiciness.
- Spicy Bloomin' Onion: If you enjoy spicy snacks, sprinkle crushed or whole red chili flakes on top of the onion for an extra kick.
- Truffle Salt Bloomin' Onion: For a gourmet twist, top the onion with truffle salt to add an earthy and pungent flavor.
Making a delicious homemade bloomin' onion is easier than you might think. With the right onion variety, a few simple tips, and flavorful seasonings, you can create a crispy and flavorful snack that rivals any restaurant version. Whether you choose to use an air fryer or bake in the oven, the result will be a mouthwatering bloomin' onion that is sure to impress your family and friends. So why wait? Grab an onion, gather your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy this irresistible treat!