Air fryer onions are golden brown, sweet, and tender in minutes. Air frying is the best method to cook onions fast. They are the perfect topping for burgers, sandwiches, proteins, and more.
The air fryer makes cooking fresh or frozen vegetables quick and easy. In just minutes, the onions are soft and golden brown. Air frying is not only a faster cooking process but a healthier one too. Typically, caramelizing onions means lots of oil, but with this easy air fryer recipe, a little oil goes a long way.
Golden brown, flavorful air-fried onions are a delicious topping and mix-in for various dishes, especially burgers and sandwiches. See my serving suggestions for some additional ideas.
Cooking Onions in the Air Fryer
Air frying onions is simple, foolproof, and mostly hands-off cooking. With minimal ingredients and only one tool, onions are perfectly caramelized and tender with crispy edges. The delicious onions are the perfect topping or side dish.
- Quick Cooking - Cooking onions in the air fryer is the best method when you need softened onions quickly. In less time, onions come out golden and tender.
- Easy Recipe - This easy onion recipe uses only three simple ingredients and is easily customizable to other seasonings.
- Healthy Topping - Make sauteed onions with less oil in the air fryer. This healthy onion topping is flavorful and delicious.
- Large Onion - This easy air fryer recipe works with any kind of onion. My favorite onions to caramelize are Vidalia onions (sweet yellow onions). However, cook white onions and red onions with this recipe too.
- Olive Oil - Onions need oil so they do not dry out. Fat helps the onions cook, retain some of their moisture, and adds flavor. You can swap the olive oil for avocado oil or vegetable oil too.
- Salt - This recipe only calls for salt but is open to seasoning variations.
See the recipe card for the ingredient quantities.
How to Cut Onions
Cutting the onions into thin slices or wedges is up to you. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the onions. Make sure that the onions are uniform in size so they cook evenly. Cut onions in a few simple steps. Always use a sharp knife and tuck in your fingertips so the blade is parallel to your knuckles.
- Trim the ends. *Keep the root end intact if cutting the onion into wedges.
- Cut the onion in half.
- Peel the skin.
- Cut lengthwise (following the grain) or crosswise (against the grain).
How to Air Fry Onions
STEP 1 (SLICE) - Slice the onions to desired thickness.
STEP 2 (PREHEAT) - Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F.
STEP 3 (SEASON) - Toss the onion slices in olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Mix until the onions are well-coated.
STEP 4 (TRANSFER) - Grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place the sliced onions at the base of the basket, being careful not to overlap too much.
STEP 5 (COOK) - Air fry onions in the preheated air fryer for 10 minutes until softened and golden brown, stirring halfway through.
- Caramelized Onions - Add one teaspoon of granulated sugar with the oil and seasoning for sweet caramelized onions. Cook the onions for roughly 40 minutes at 325 degrees F in a preheated air fryer until tender and golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Crispy Onions - A healthy alternative to storebought, you can also make crispy onions in the air fryer. They have fewer ingredients and less fat than the crispy onions at the grocery store. Use the same ingredients as this recipe, but cook onions for about 20 minutes or until the onions are crisp, stirring periodically throughout the cooking process.
- Seasoned - Add black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, ranch seasoning, Italian seasoning, or cayenne pepper to this recipe.
How to Serve Air-Fried Onions
Sweet, golden brown onions are a great addition to all sorts of savory food items. Use them as a topping for burgers, sandwiches, and hot dogs. Try them with this sheet pan sausage and peppers dish or alongside your next batch of fajitas. Serve air-fried onions with cooked proteins like steak, chicken, or pork chops. Swap out the labor-intensive caramelized onions, and make a batch of this homemade French onion dip. Mix caramelized onions into BLT Pasta Salad or alongside a batch of slow-cooked BBQ chicken thighs.
While best served immediately after cooking, store leftover onions in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Favorite Air Fryer Recipes
- Frozen Asparagus in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Artichoke Hearts
- Air Fryer Cauliflower Tots (From Frozen)
- Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes
- Air Fryer Garlic Fries
- Slice the onions to similar sizes for even cooking.
- Cook onions in a preheated air fryer.
- Grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- Cooking time depends on the number of onions, the size of the air fryer basket, and the air fryer used. Overcrowding the air fryer basket with sliced onions means longer cooking time. For quick cooking, air fry onions in a single layer. Keep a close eye on the onions towards the end of cooking.
- Stir the onions halfway through the cooking time.
Frequently Asked Questions
All onions, including yellow, white, and red, can be air fried.
Yes, onions shrink as they cook due to lost moisture; they lose roughly ⅔ of their volume. While onions cook, the water inside of them evaporates. Similarly, sugars are released as they cook, making them sweeter and golden in color.
The length of time you air fry onions depends on the size the onions are cut into, the air fryer you use, and the desired finished texture. For a golden color and softened texture, cook sliced onions for approximately 10 minutes at 375° F.
Air Fryer Onions
- Slice the onions to desired thickness.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375° F.
- Toss the onion slices in olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Mix until the onions are well-coated.
- Grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Spread the onions out at the base of the basket, being careful not to overlap.
- Cook the onions in the preheated air fryer for 10 minutes until softened and golden brown, stirring halfway through.