“Blooming Onion”


I have always liked deep fried battered onion rings. Something about the crisp fried outer coating that reveals a soft, squishy, sweet onion slice hiding within. It’s a classic combination that always gets my salivary glands going. But I had never heard of a “blooming onion” and when we spotted several spectacular looking plates of what appeared to be specially cut, battered and deep-fried onions, we traced our way to the booth that was selling them at the Annual Hampton Beach Seafood Festival.


They start with these huge, scarily uniform white onions, possibly vidalias, but more likely just extra large and consistently sized yellow/white onions that they kept pulling out of huge wholesale sacks. They remove the outer layers of skin, and trim the root end, taking care to leave as much of that end of the onion intact, so that the sliced onion doesn’t completely separate. Then a special cutting machine is used to slice the onion from the top, making what are now almost “petals” of a large flower, such as a large chrysanthemum, perhaps.


Some care is needed to ensure that the onions are properly sliced… meaning deep enough cuts but not too deep that the onion falls apart. There were several onions that failed the cut, and were set aside for other purposes, I gathered.


The specially cut onions were then dipped into a batter and coated with cornmeal and carefully placed into a deep fryer filled with hot vegetable oil. After several minutes, just as they started to turn golden brown, they were extracted and piled onto a plate, and some mayonnaise based dipping sauces were provided. I prefer ketchup, however.


They tasted very similar to onion rings, but just a different shape. And frankly, I have no idea how any one person could eat such a huge serving of friend onions… This portion could easily have served 4 people!

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25 Responses

  1. Blooming Onions are a specialty of (and supposedly creation of) the Outback Steakhouse–one of those mediocre chains along the lines of Chili’s, Tony Roma’s, etc. Chili’s used to have its own version, too, which was “ranked Worst Appetizer in America by Men’s Health Magazine in 2008 for the unusually high totals of calories and fat, with 2,710 calories, 203 grams (1,827 calories) of fat, 194 grams of carbohydrates, and 6,360 miligrams of sodium, with as much fat as 67 strips of bacon.” (quotation from Wiki). The original Blooming Onion has a touch fewer calories, though.

    I love them (the only thing I like at Outback), but I love anything fried. :-)

  2. Just checked–there are Outback Steakhouse in Glorietta 4, Alabang Town Center, and on E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue if you’re craving a Bloomin’ Onion in the Philippines!

  3. Yup, the missus and I are big fans of Outback’s Bloomin’ onions. Unfortunately Outback closed down here in Calgary! But thanks MM, now I’m really having a bad craving for it…and nope ordinary onion rings just won’t cut it (pun intended)!

  4. i tried this at the outback restaurant in manila a few years back. the onion fries were good, but what turned me off was the pasty and artificial-tasting dip.

  5. everything dish in the US (for me) always seem to be for more than 4 people! even a whole barangay can feast on one cone of ice cream :-D exaggerating, of course…!

  6. Hi, MM!

    Thanks for your reply to my e-mail… will await eagerly for your answer.

    I have to say… I love fried potatoes more that I love fried onions… funny but I feel fried onion rings are more oily than french fries (a statement which might not sit well with my bestfriend’s cardiologist brother.. hahaha)…

    Btw.. you have a typo –

    “have no idea how any one person could eat such a huge serving of “friend” onions…”

  7. I got to try blooming onions at outback steakhouse in Tampa last July. So this is how it’s made.

    Was it okay for them that you took pics? Just curious :)

  8. So far I’ve encountered 3 types of servings for fried battered onions; regular onion rings, blooming onions, and onion loaf. I prefer a sour cream dip.

  9. I love blooming onions! I have never tried to do it myself though. I wonder if anyone here has tried doing it.

  10. i think racks used to serve blooming onions. it was there that i first had it. the batter/coating was good, too. it’s the taste that i gauge other fried onions with. the palate still remembers how it tastes, though it’s been almost a decade. another fried appetizer or pica-pica that i like are the fried green tomatoes. yum!

  11. I think Chilli’s in Manila also has blooming onions. Tony Roma’s used to have that fried log of onions, small stack or large stack.

  12. Wow! Lightly battered just the way I like it. Best I’ve tried was at Peter Luger- although they were the regular ‘rings’. Most onion rings have too much batter/coating so you can hardly taste the wonderful/sweet onions…

  13. I love love my onion rings too! when I was watching Iron Chef months ago I remember seing bobby flay doing this and I couldn’t help but salivate *drool*

  14. Yes, “Blooming Onions” is a specialty of the Outback chain. Thery used to cut the onions by hand. Now, through their auspices, there’s a special onion cutter designed to do the job. I understand, Outback purchases tons of a special variety of onion developed too for this menu item – that consistently yields onions of the desired shape & size. I tried it just once – just to say I’ve tried it; but I found it too greasy & the dipping coat just too much. I prefer quick sauteed sweet onion rings (like Vidalia) to fried ones. Or even caramelized onion slices. But that’s just me!

  15. i would think you need to brush your teeth twice and use enough mouthwash to get the onion “breath” out from your mouth….hehehe….

  16. Many stores in the usa sell the chopper….
    Wal Mart
    Bed Bath & Beyond
    Or it can be found online if searched…..
    Quite easy to do infact.
    But best to drain them on paper towles or napkins a few minutes and can be reheated in microwave if cooled to long…..
    RE: izang….hehehe Onion Breath…. This comming from a person born where GARLIC is used in 98% of the food ….Sooooo Funnny…….

  17. Is there any way to Google the resturant menus near the Barrington, IL 60010 area to find those locations where they are served? We are great fans of the Outback offerings, but would like to look for additional, closer locations….

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