Indeed, the trickiest part of making a blooming onion is cutting it, but it’s not actually that hard. Just make sure you have a good sharp chef’s knife with a pointed end. The first step is to cut a nice flat surface off the top of the onion (the stem end). Then, cut as little as possible off the root end – just enough to allow the onion to sit flat. The root is the key to success in cutting the blooming onion properly. You want there to be enough root to hold the onion together AND you need to never cut through the root. Place the onion stem side down on the countertop and make four slices down the onion at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock, BUT DON’T CUT THROUGH THE ROOT. Then, make 3 slices down the onion between each of the original four slices, but again… DON’T CUT THROUGH THE ROOT.
If you’re good at following instructions and were successful, when you turn the onion over, the onion will open up, but not fall apart because the root will still be intact. Use your fingers to help separate all the petals of the onion gently.
Blooming Onion Batter
Next, you’ll need a series of bowls to make this messy job as tidy as possible, but even then, dredging a blooming onion is a pretty messy task. Stay patient and do your best. If an onion petal falls out, don’t worry about it. Everything looks different once it’s cooked. Place the onion in one bowl and sprinkle the seasoned flour over the top. Do your best to get the flour on all the petals of the onion. It doesn’t have to be exact or precise, but generally covered is better.
Then, transfer the onion to a second bowl (reserving the unused seasoned flour) and pour the egg mixture over the top. Again, use your fingers to spread the onion petals apart and get all the floured onion coated in egg.
Transfer the onion to a third bowl and pour the remaining seasoned flour over the top. One last time, do your best to get the flour on every petal of the onion, coating as evenly as you can.
Then, tip the onion over to shake off any excess flour and get ready to air fry.
Air-Frying over Deep-Frying
Traditionally, blooming onions are deep-fried, which is why you usually only see them in restaurants. Deep-frying at home tends to be more challenging – it requires a lot of oil, which has to be heated, then cooled, then drained, and then stored or disposed of. Plus, deep-frying at home can leave that frying odor in your house and some people find it intimidating. Then… there’s the guilt associated with deep-frying.
Air-frying the blooming onion is quick, easy and comes with a lot less guilt. Use an aluminum foil sling (a piece of aluminum foil about 18 to 20 inches long, folded into a strip about 3-inches wide) under the dredged blooming onion to get the onion into and out of the air fryer. Be generous when you spritz the onion with oil. Remember, you’re not submerging the onion in deep-frying oil but it does need some oil in order to brown and crisp properly.
Blooming Onion Sauce
While the onion is air-frying, you have time to whisk together the ingredients for the sauce or dip. It’s very easy and straightforward and you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now – mayonnaise, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, paprika and a little cayenne. Then all that is left to do is serve it to your guests who will undoubtedly be very impressed.
But wait… There are Mini Blooming Onions Too!
If a whole blooming onion feels like too much for you (or your guests), why not try Bite-Sized Blooming Onions? They are a little easier to make and feed more grabbing hands!