Air Fryer Blooming Onion

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This air fryer blooming onion looks difficult to make, but it really isn’t. Once you learn how to cut the onion you can make this fun appetizer and amaze your family and friends! Make this restaurant quality appetizer at home.

Blooming onions are a popular deep fried appetizer! They are crispy and salty and a delicious take on fried onions.

But right now they aren’t that easy to get. Restaurants are mostly doing take out, and a blooming onion isn’t going to travel well.

I have had them at our state fair, but that is only a few weeks out of the year. So it seems like the best option is to make one at home!

Homemade Blooming Onion

Luckily I have an air fryer which means I can enjoy this crispy appetizer at home, without deep frying. The high heat of an air fryer is perfect for crisping up appetizers like the blooming onion.

Want more air fryer appetizer ideas? Check out air fryer sweet and sour chicken egg rolls and air fryer mac and cheese bites!

An air fryer uses less oil than deep frying, so it will also make this appetizer healthier. But I wouldn’t call this a healthy dish even with air frying – it is still an indulgence. But sometimes you want to indulge and make something special and unique.

Easier Than You Think

A blooming onion seems kind of intimidating, but it isn’t as difficult to make as you might think. The key to making it is cutting the onion into the blossom shape.

Everything else is simple. The recipe is kind of messy though. You should expect to get your hands messy and to use lots of bowls as you make this blooming onion.


The ingredients for this dish are:

  • Large onion – I like to use a sweet like a Vidalia onion for this. You can use a yellow onion or a white onion, but I think a sweet onion tastes the best. In addition a sweet onion has less of the sulfur compounds that make you cry as you cut the onion. Since you have to do a lot of cutting for this that is a big benefit!
  • Flour – The flour is used to coat the onion before air frying. You won’t use all the flour called for in the recipe – you need extra to get in all the nooks and crannies of the onion.
  • Eggs and milk – These ingredients also coat the onion and are what turns brown and crispy.
  • Seasoning – Paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper season the coating.
  • Spray oil – Even though this uses less oil than deep frying some oil is need to crisp the onion petals.

Find More Air Fryer Recipes!

Spray Oil

Like many air fryer recipes this recipe calls for oil in a spray bottle. It can be temping to just use an aerosol bottle of oil that you buy at the grocery store.

But the preservatives in the aerosol oils can damage the coating of the air fryer basket and cause it to peel. Since many air fryer manufactures don’t sell replacement baskets this can be an expensive mistake!

So I recommend you get an inexpensive spray bottle and fill it with oil. Then you can spray all your air fryer recipes without worry.

Fill the spray bottle with your favorite oil. I usually use olive oil, but an oil with a higher smoke point like canola oil can be a good choice too.

Step by Step Instructions

1. Slice the Onion

This is the key step in this recipe! The key to getting a good looking blooming onion is not cutting into the root area of onion. The root area will hold the entire onion together.

You can buy a blooming onion cutter, but it basically just holds the onion in place so you can make your slices consistent and even. So it isn’t really necessary unless you are planning to make them very frequently!

Make sure you use a knife that is very sharp for cutting the onion. First cut 1/2 an inch off the top of the onion. The peel the outer paper skin off the onion.

Place the onion on a cutting board with the cut-side down and the root on the top. Starting about 1/2 inch away from the root, make a downward cut all the way through to the board.

Repeat this to make four evenly spaced cuts around the onion, making sure to stay 1/2 an inch away from the root with each cut. Then make three additional cuts in each of the four sections to divide them evenly.

At this point you should have 16 evenly spaced cuts. Turn the onion over and set it aside for five minutes so that the onion petals can start to relax.

After five minutes use your fingers to gently separate the outer pieces and make the onion bloom.

2. Flour the Onion

In a large bowl mix the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, thyme and oregano. Whisk them all together.

Put the onion in a clean bowl with the cut side up. Then pour the flour mixture on top. Use your fingers or a spoon to coat the onion with the flour, making sure to get flour between the onion petals.

Turn the onion over and gently tap off any extra flour. Set the bowl of flour aside to use again later.

3. Dip the Onion

In another bowl mix the eggs and milk with 1 cup of water. Stir this to break up the eggs and mix everything together.

Dip the floured onion into this egg and milk mixture and coat it evenly. Then take it out of the bowl and let any extra drip back into the bowl.

4. Flour the Onion Again

Put the onion in another clean bowl and dump the flour over it again. Make sure to get flour all over the onion petals.

Gently tap off any excess flour and put the onion on a plate. There should be lots of excess flour left – you just want a thin coating on the onion.

5. Preheat the Air Fryer

Put the onion in the refrigerator while the air fryer preheats. Set the air fryer at 350 F and let it preheat for 10 minutes.

For some air fryer recipes preheating makes little difference. It does matter for this recipe, don’t skip it.

6. Air Fry the Onion

Take the onion out of the refrigerator and spray it with the cooking oil spray. Then make a sling out of aluminum foil for putting the onion in the air fryer basket.

If you try to just place the onion in the basket that is now hot you will burn yourself! So put the aluminum foil under the onion and gently transfer it to the basket.

Cook the onion at 350 F for 20 minutes. Open the basket and spray some more cooking oil on the onion 2 or 3 times as it cooks. Any spots where you can still see flour should be sprayed with more oil.

After 20 minutes check the onion and decide if it is brown enough. When it is done it will be golden brown and just start to get a little darker at the tips of the petals.

If it isn’t done yet put it back in for a couple more minutes, checking it carefully so it doesn’t burn. When it is done use the foil sling to lift it out of the basket.

How to Serve

You can serve this with your favorite dipping sauce. I included a recipe for Blooming Onion sauce, which is similar to what you’d get at your local steakhouse.

But you can also serve it with fry sauce, ketchup or mustard. Cheese sauce is another delicious idea for dipping!

Find More Air Fryer Appetizers

4.59 from 246 votes

Air Fryer Blooming Onion

Published By Anne
Learn how to make this restaurant quality appetizer at home for a fun game day snack that your family and friends will love!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings: 6
Print Save Rate Pin


  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil in a spray bottle


  • Slice the onion to make it bloom. 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 cutting board.
  • Repeat to make four evenly spaced cuts around the onion. Make 3 additional cuts between each section until you have 16 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.
  • Whisk the flour, paprika, cayenne, cumin, thyme and oregano in a large bowl. In a medium deep bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and 1 cup water.
  • Place the onion in a clean bowl, cut-side up, and pour the flour mixture on top. Using a large spoon to coat the onion with the flour mixture, especially between the onion petals. Turn the onion over and pat off the excess flour.  Reserve the bowl of flour.
  • Put the onion in the egg mixture and coat evenly. Remove and let the excess drip off.
  • Then transfer the onion back into the reserved flour mixture and repeat the flouring process. Be sure you gently tap off extra flour. There will be leftover flour in the bowl when you are done.
  • Place the onion in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the air fryer for 10 minutes to 350ºF.
  • Remove the onion from the refrigerator and spray generously with vegetable oil from a spray bottle.
  • After making a sling from a sheet of aluminum foil transfer the onion cut side up into the fryer basket.
  • Set the timer for 25 minutes and cook. Spray the onion with the cooking oil  2-3 times as you cook it. If any spots still have visible flour spray them with the oil.
  • After 25 minutes remove onion using the aluminum foil sling and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with the blooming onion dip.


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Nutrition Information

Serving: 1g | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 101mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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bowl of blooming onion sauce
4.55 from 37 votes

Blooming Onion Sauce

Published By Anne
This tasty sauce is perfect for dipping your blooming onion, french fries, onion rings, chicken or anything else you love to dunk.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Servings: 8
Print Save Rate Pin


  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon dried oregano
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste


  • Combine all the sauce ingredients into a bowl, then cover and place into the refrigerator.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1g | Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 132mg | Sugar: 1g

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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