These vegan baked onion rings have a super crunchy coating thanks to the toasted quinoa and panko breadcrumbs. With a few spices in the onion ring coating, this is a flavorful, light and crispy onion ring recipe that’s eggless and dairy free!
Get the Veg Out newsletter for vegan recipes + nutrition content!
This post contains affiliate links (including Amazon Associates) and I earn from qualifying purchases.
Are Onion Rings Vegan?
There’s a few restaurants or grocery store brands of onion rings that are vegan, however a majority are not.
Eggs are commonly used to help the coating stick to the onion ring and milk is also a common ingredient for breading. Luckily, there’s an easy way to coat onion rings with breadcrumbs that doesn’t involve eggs or dairy!
Ingredients to Make Quinoa Onion Rings
The star ingredient of these onion rings is toasted quinoa. This provides a delicious crunch and extra flavor compared to a plain bread crumb coating.
- Onion: it’s best to select a very large onion for this recipe as you’ll get more rings from it. Choose whichever type of onion you prefer; I use a regular cooking onion since it has a strong flavor, but many people prefer a sweet onion. You can also try red onions for a fun, colorful twist!
- Soy milk: soy milk is used with cornstarch to stick the breadcrumb mixture onto your onions. I haven’t tried this recipe with another type of plant-based milk but assume other types of plant-based milk also work.
- Corn starch: dipped into soy milk, corn starch creates a thick layer that allows breadcrumbs to stick. I prefer this method of breading, and it works for many recipes, like buffalo tofu nuggets! Corn starch with soy milk replaces eggs that typically stick breadcrumbs to the onion.
- Toasted quinoa: quinoa is a plain tasting grain, but toasting it creates a beautifully nutty flavor that works perfectly as an onion ring coating. Quinoa adds plenty of crunch to the final product!
- Panko breadcrumbs: breading pretty much anything with panko works well! They create a lighter coating that becomes very crunchy when baked.
- Nutritional yeast: nutritional yeast brings a great depth of flavor to the breadcrumb coating, creating deliciously savory onion rings.
- Garlic powder: garlic and onion go hand in hand, so adding some to the breadcrumbs brings a great taste.
- Old Bay seasoning: I really enjoy the flavor of Old Bay seasoning salt. This is the only salt in this recipe, and salt brings out the flavors of everything else! You can substitute this for any type of seasoning salt you prefer.
- Smoked paprika: smoked paprika is such a flavorful ingredient and one I regularly use. This adds smokiness to the onion rings which provides even more depth to the flavor!
- Oil spray: please do not bake these onion rings without spraying them with oil first. They will come out unbelievably dry and less flavorful! Oil spray keeps the breadcrumb coating moist, allows it to crisp and turn golden brown, and the fat provides flavor!
How to Make Eggless Onion Rings
Creating eggless onion rings may seem like a daunting task as many people believe eggs are essential to properly bread onions. No worries, there’s plenty of other ways to achieve delicious, well coated rings and I’m here to show you how!
Step 1: Toast Quinoa
Since these are quinoa onion rings, the first step in this recipe is to toast quinoa. Toasting quinoa is simple; just place into a dry, non-stick pan over medium heat.
Toss the quinoa around as it begins to heat and brown. You’ll hear some small popping noises while this happens; it’s the sound of quinoa puffing.
Not all the quinoa will puff, but pieces that do provide a slightly different texture that’s a great addition to the onion rings.
Keep a close eye on the quinoa as it can burn easily. Make sure to continue moving the quinoa around and take the pan off heat when most of the quinoa appears browned.
Step 2: Prep the Onion and Breading Ingredients
Set aside the toasted quinoa so it can cool while you prepare everything else.
Preheat the oven to 400 °F then cover a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for easy clean up.
Next, peel and slice the onion. Slice into thick layers, about ¾ inch thick. Once the onion is cut, carefully pull apart each ring and set aside.
It’s best to use only the larger outer rings for this recipe, but don’t waste the inner pieces. Just save them up for another recipe!
Use three bowls for the breading ingredients. In one, mix the breadcrumbs, toasted quinoa and spices in a medium bowl. Then in a separate medium-sized bowl, scoop in the corn starch. In a third bowl, pour in the soy milk.
You want all three bowls to be large enough for the onion rings to fit in and have space to become coated. Place these bowls in a row next to the cut onion so you can begin breading.
Step 3: Bread the Onion Rings
To bread onion rings, first dip them into soy milk. Allow excess milk to drip off, then place the ring into corn starch.
Toss corn starch around the ring so it’s completely coated, then tap the ring against the bowl to remove excess starch.
Place the starch-covered ring back into the milk and make sure all the starch becomes wet.
Move the onion ring into the bread crumb mixture and press the breadcrumbs into the onion ring so it’s completely coated.
Place this quinoa coated onion ring onto the prepped baking tray and repeat for all others. If your onion was extra large, there may be some leftover rings.
Use one hand for dry ingredients and one for wet ingredients. Specifically, use your “wet” hand for grabbing onion and for the two dips into milk.
Keep the dry hand for coating with starch and breadcrumbs. This helps prevent your fingers from building a layer of starch and breadcrumb which can be messy and wasteful.
Step 4: Spray with Oil and Bake
Once all rings are breaded, spray with a generous amount of oil. Flip the rings and spray the other side.
Place tray(s) into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. I typically have two trays for this recipe. Half-way through baking I move a tray from the top shelf of the oven to the bottom shelf and vice versa.
In my oven, this allows for even baking on both sides of the onion rings. If you have an oven with more even heat distribution, keep each tray where it is an flip the onion rings on the pan at the halfway mark (after 8 minutes of baking; then put them back in for another 7 minutes).
Step 5: Serve (with a Yummy Dip)
After the onion rings are golden brown, they’re ready to come out of the oven and you can serve right away!
Onion rings are best with a dip. You can simply use ketchup or mix some vegan mayo into ketchup.
Some other dips that onion rings go perfectly with are:
- Vegan Caesar salad dressing
- Homemade cashew sour cream
- Beer and cheese dip
- Roasted red pepper hummus
- The sour cream dip from my vegan crab cake recipe
- Buffalo sauce if you like it spicy!
How to Store and Reheat Onion Rings
Onion rings are best served fresh out of the oven, but you can also store leftover rings in a container in the fridge for up to a week.
Reheat leftovers in the oven or toaster oven at 350 °F until heated through (about 10 minutes). Using a microwave to reheat often results in soggy, sad onion rings.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Onion Rings (Quinoa Crusted)
- Non-stick pan , medium-sized
- 3 Bowls , medium-sized
- Parchment paper (or silicone baking mat)
- Place quinoa into a medium-sized non-stick pan over medium heat.⅓ cup quinoa
- Allow quinoa to toast to a golden brown color, about 5 minutes. Frequently move the quinoa around your pan to prevent any pieces from burning.
- Once browned, remove from heat and set off to side to cool.
Prepare Onions and Coating
- Peel and cut the large onion into ¾ inch thick slices. Carefully pull apart each onion ring and set aside (center pieces that are too small can be used for other recipes).1 large onion
- Gather 3 medium bowls. In the first, measure out corn starch. In the second, soy milk.½ cup corn starch, ½ cup soy milk
- In the third bowl, toss together the toasted quinoa, panko breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, Old Bay seasoning and smoked paprika.⅓ cup quinoa, 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Cover a baking tray with parchment paper or silicone baking mat to prevent sticking.
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
Bread Onion Rings
- To bread, take one ring of onion and dip it into the soy milk. Allow excess milk to drip off then coat with corn starch. Tap the onion ring on the edge of the corn starch bowl to knock off excess.
- Dip the ring back into soy milk and ensure all cornstarch is wet.
- Place the onion ring into the breadcrumb mixture and press breadcrumbs onto the ring so it’s evenly coated.
- Place onto baking tray and repeat until all rings are breaded.
- Spray a generous amount of oil onto the onion rings then flip them over and spray the other side.Oil spray
Bake and Serve
- Bake onion rings for 15 minutes. You can flip the rings halfway through for even browning.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
More Vegan Appetizer Recipes
Like this recipe? You should also try:
About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.