Onion Pakoda Recipe | Onion Pakora

Step by StepJump to Recipe

Onion Pakoda is a deep fried Indian snack of crispy and tasty onion fritter snack made with gram flour (besan), spices, herbs and lot of onions. Also called Onion Pakora and Pyaz ke Pakode in Hindi, these are a popular Indian street food as well. Like many Indian recipes, Onion Pakoda is made differently in various regions of India. It is one snack that is easy to prepare and tastes good too.

onion pakoda on a black round platter served with ketchup and fried green chillies.

Why You’ll Love This Onion Pakoda Recipe

A basic Onion Pakoda recipe is made by mixing gram flour with sliced onions, choice of spices and herbs to make a medium-thick to medium consistency batter. Small portions of the batter are later deep fried to perfection.

Adding leavening ingredients to the batter, like baking soda gives a light and soft texture. While I do not add baking soda to the batter, feel free to add it if you prefer.

In the vast Indian Cuisine there are many ways onion pakoda is made. Thus the taste, texture and flavor differs with the kind of spices and herbs used to make the batter.

This recipe of Onion Pakoda is a North Indian Punjabi style recipe. It is made with fewer spices and is not overly spicy which brings out the sweetness and the flavors of the onions to the maximum.

Generally in many pakoda recipes, the spices and herbs that are added help in digestion. In this Punjabi style version, the spice that aids in digestion is carom seeds (ajwain). They also lend some bold fragrant notes to the Pyaz ke Pakode which tastes so good.

I also add some asafoetida (hing) but it can be skipped. The recipe makes for crispy pakora having the texture of some onions caramelized from the outside. While the texture inside the pakoda is in contrast with softened onions in a well cooked light and soft batter.

In my home, crispy and crunchy onion pakoda are very much in demand during the rainy season or during winters.

You can serve Onion Pakoda with some fried salted green chillies and a green chutney or sweet chutney. This whole combo can also be served with the Indian chai.

Which Type Of Onions For Pakoda

You can use any variety of onions to make onion pakoda – be it red onions, yellow onions or white onions.

Just make sure to slice the onions thinly to get a crisp texture. I always use a chef’s knife to slice the onions thinly. You can even use a food processor.

Some More Varieties

There are many onion pakoda variants that are made in regional Indian cuisine. I have shared some of them on the blog.

  • Ulli Vada – Kerala style recipe to make crunchy and flavorful fried snack.
  • Kanda Bhaji – Mumbai style Maharashtrian Recipe to make crispy onion pakora. This one is a popular street food as well in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.
  • Vengaya Bajji – South Indian style batter coated and deep fried onion rings.
  • Onion Fritters – These are spiced and savory fritters made in South Indian Tamil Nadu style and are crispy and very crunchy.
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Onion Pakoda

Slice Onions and Marinate

1. Slice 2 medium to large onions evenly and thinly and put in mixing bowl. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped green chilies.

If you do not have green chilies, then add red chili powder. You can also add chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves, if you want.

sliced onions and chopped green chilies in a bowl.

2. Add the spices – 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain), ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 generous pinch asafoetida (hing) and salt as required.

Asafoetida is optional and can be skipped for a gluten-free pakoda. You can even use gluten-free asafoetida.

spice powers, asafoetida and salt added to bowl.

3. Mix everything well. Cover and keep the mixture aside to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

onion mixture.

4. The onions will release its juices when mixed with salt.

After resting the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, when the onions release its juices, then you can add the gram flour (besan) as shown in the following step.

spiced onion mixture releasing water.

Make Batter

5. Add 1 cup gram flour or besan.

For a soft and light texture in the pakoda, you can add 1 pinch baking soda. Adding baking soda is optional. 

gram flour and baking soda added to spiced onion mixture.

6. Add the required quantity of water to make a medium-thick batter without any lumps.

adding water to onion-gram flour mixture.

7. Stir the mixture very well with a spoon or with your hands. The batter is ready to be fried. You can either shallow fry or deep fry.

Ensure that the batter is with a medium-thick consistency. The batter must not be very thick; this will make the pakora doughy and dense.

If the batter is thin and runny, the pakora will splutter and burst while frying and absorb a lot of oil.

onion pakoda batter in a bowl.

Fry Onion Pakoda

8. Heat oil as required for deep frying in a kadai (wok). Let the oil become medium-hot. In hot oil, gently and carefully, add spoonfuls of the batter.

Fry the pakoda on medium heat to medium-high heat. You can adjust the heat as needed while frying.

adding spoonful of prepared onion pakora batter in hot oil.

9. Depending on the size of the kadai or pan, you can add less or more. Just make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan while frying.

frying onion pakoda in hot oil.

10. When the pakoda is a bit cooked with the batter firmed up and lightly crispy, turn over with a slotted spoon and continue to fry.

frying onion pakoda in hot oil.

11. You will have to turn the pakoda a few times for even frying.

frying onion pakoda in hot oil.

12. Fry the pakoda till crisp and golden.

frying onion pakoda in hot oil till crisp and golden.

13. Remove fried Onion Pakoda with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper towels for excess oil to be absorbed.

fried onion pakoda placed on kitchen paper towel.

Fry Green Chilies

14. In the same oil, fry some slit green chilies. Make sure to slit the chilies before frying or else they burst in oil.

frying green chilies for serving with pakoda.

15. Keep the fried green chilies aside. Once the chilies cool or become warm, sprinkle some salt on them and mix well.

salt sprinkled on fried green chilies on a plate.

16. Serve Onion Pakoda with the fried salted green chilies, coriander chutney, mint chutney or tomato ketchup.

onion pakoda served on a black granite platter with tomato ketchup and fried green chilies.

Serving Suggestions

Onion Pakoda is a tea time snack and can be served with some green chutney or a dipping sauce and a few fried and salted green chillies. You can pair this snack with your Chai or Coffee.

At my mom’s place they are served with bread or pav (bread rolls). So I am so used to eating these crispy and crunchy onion pakoda with soft bread slices or bread rolls.

We sandwich the pakoda between the bread and have them dipping in some spicy coriander chutney or any spicy sauce. It also pairs well with tomato ketchup.

At my in-law’s place, onion pakoda is served with Roti or Chapati. So they make pakoda for lunch or dinner and not as a snack.

Onion pakoda, chapati and some coriander chutney is their favorite combination. In my home, I just serve these plain as an evening snack with some chutney or dipping sauce.

Customizations and Variations

  1. Choice of Spices and Herbs: You can add a variety of herbs and spices in the gram flour batter – like crushed coriander seeds, red chilli powder, red chilli flakes, ginger-garlic paste, mint leaves, ground cumin powder, curry leaves, coriander leaves (cilantro). You can add more red chilly powder to get a spicy pakoda. Basically, you can add your choice of ground spice powders in the batter.
  2. Incorporating Greens: Sneak in some healthy greens like spinach, amaranth or fenugreek (methi) in the pakoda.
  3. Adding Rice Flour: You can add some rice flour in the batter too. This will make the pakoda very crunchy.
  4. For a gluten-free pakoda: Store brought asafoetida (hing) has some amounts of wheat in it. To make a gluten-free pakoda, skip the asafoetida or use wheat-free asafoetida.
  5. Crisp vs softer pakoda: To get crisp onion pakora, slice onions thinly and add less water in the batter. To make soft pakoda, add some more water in the batter. Addition of baking soda or baking powder also helps in making pakoda soft and light.
  6. Adding hot oil in the batter: in the gram flour batter, you can also add 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil. This makes the onion pakoda crisp and it absorbs less oil while frying.

Bake and Air Fry

You can also bake or air fry these pakoda. Keep in mind that baked onion pakoda will taste differently than fried ones. Baked or air fried onion pakoda won’t be as crispy as the fried ones.

I have made onion pakoda both in the oven and in an air fryer. In terms of crisp texture, the pakoda fried in oil were better.

If you want to have a fried version, then just best to make that and enjoy the hot onion pakoda with a steaming cup of Indian chai.

If baking, then bake at 180 degrees C/356 degrees F in a preheated oven till the pakora looks crisp and golden. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in the batter. Add less water just enough to coat the onion slices.

If air-frying, then air-fry at 180 degrees C/356 degrees F. Preheat air fryer for 10 minutes and then air fry till crisp and golden. In between remove the air-fryer pan and shake or turn over each pakoda a few times.

More Tips

  1. Slicing onions: The onions have to be sliced thinly and not thickly as thin slices will get cooked faster than thick slices. If the slices are thick, then while frying the gram flour batter gets cooked but the onion slices remain half cooked. Thinly slices also give a crispy texture in the pakoda.
  2. To add or not to add baking soda: Some cooks use a pinch of baking soda in the batter to add that extra fluffiness to the onion pakora. We don’t like the taste and flavor of baking soda, so I have not used it. Adding baking soda helps the pakoda to have a soft texture.
  3. Frying temperature: The temperature of the oil has to be correct while frying. The oil should not be too hot or cold. If it is hot, then the outside of the onion pakoda will get fried but the inside will be undercooked. If it is not hot, then the pakoda will absorb oil while frying and will be too oil-laden once fried.

FAQs

Can I freeze to store these pakodas and reheat before consuming?

Onion Pakoda does not freeze well. Also, at room temperature too, the crispiness is lost but the pakoras still taste good. You can reheat in an oven or microwave before serving.

What can I add along with the gram flour to make the onion pakora even more crispy?

In any Indian pakora recipe, you can add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of rice flour along with the gram flour (besan) to make the pakoras even more crispy.

Can I use the same batter to make pakoras with other veggies?

Yes, you can certainly make Vegetable Pakora. Using the same batter, you can make veggie pakoras with shredded bottle gourd (lauki), brinjal/eggplant slices, potato slices, capsicum (green bell pepper), shredded cabbage, bitter gourd (karela) slices, cauliflower, etc.

Can I skip the asafoetida in this recipe?

You can skip the asafoetida (hing) in this recipe. However, I would recommend adding it to the batter as it makes the pakodas even more flavorful and also helps in digestion as the pakodas are fried and the gram flour can become heavy on the stomach.

Is it possible to shallow fry or bake onion pakora?

To make the pakoras healthier, you can definitely shallow fry or bake the pakoras with some oil brushed on them, instead of deep frying.

More Pakora Recipes To Try!

Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

Onion Pakoda Recipe | Onion Pakora

Onion Pakoda also called Onion Pakora are deep fried fritters made with plenty of thinly sliced onions, gram flour (besan), and a few spices. This recipe is a classic Punjabi style version which is flavorful, tasty, crispy and tastes best with a side of coriander chutney, mint chutney or ketchup.
4.88 from 24 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine North Indian, Punjabi
Course Snacks
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

  • 2 onions – medium to large-sized
  • 1 cup gram flour (besan) or substitute with chickpea flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon green chillies – about ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped green chillies or swap with ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons coriander leaves – chopped (cilantro), optional
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala – optional
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder – optional
  • 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 1 generous pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional or use gluten-free asafoetida
  • 1 pinch baking soda – optional
  • water as required to make a medium-thick batter
  • salt as required
  • oil as required – for shallow frying or deep frying, sunflower oil or any neutral-flavoured oil

Instructions
 

Making and Marinating Onion Mixture

  • Slice the onions thinly and take them in a mixing bowl. Also, add chopped green chillies. 
  • If you do not have green chillies, then add red chilli powder. You can also add chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves if you prefer.
  • Add the spices – carom seeds, turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt.
  • Mix and marinate everything well. Cover and keep the onion, chillies and spice mixture aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, the onions would release water after resting the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes.

Making pakoda batter

  • Next add gram flour (besan). If you plan to add baking soda, then add at this step.
  • Add the required amount of water to make a medium-thick batter. Ensure not to make a very thick batter or a thin runny batter.
  • Stir the whole mixture very well with a spoon or with your hands. The batter is ready to be fried.
    Make sure there are no lumps of flour in the batter.

Making onion pakoda

  • Heat oil for deep frying or shallow frying in a wok (kadai) or pan. Let the oil become moderately hot.
  • In hot oil, then add spoonfuls of the batter.
  • Depending on the size of the wok or pan, you can add less or more. Just make sure you don't over crowd the pan while frying.
  • When the pakora are cooked and the batter has firmed up or has become light golden, turn over with a slotted spoon and continue to fry.
  • You will have to turn them a few times for even frying.
  • Fry them until they look crisp and golden.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper towels for excess oil to be absorbed.
  • In the same oil fry slit green chilies.
  • Sprinkle some salt on the green chilies and mix well.
  • Serve Onion Pakoda with the fried green chilies or coriander chutney or tomato ketchup.

Video

Notes

  • Baking & Air-frying: You can also make baked onion pakoda or air-fry them. But the taste and texture of baked onion pakora will be different than the fried version. For both baked and air-fried onion pakoda, add less amount of water which just about coats the flour mixture on the onion slices. The mixture should look kind of dry and should not have a batter like consistency. 
    • For baking: Bake at 180 degrees celsius in a preheated oven till the pakora look crisp and golden. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in the batter. Add less water just enough to coat the mixture on the onion slices.
    • For air-frying: Air-fry at 180 degrees celsius. Preheat air fryer for 10 minutes and then air fry till crisp. In between remove the air fryer pan and shake or turn over each pakoda.
  • Texture:  For a softer pakoda, add some more water. For a crisp pakoda, slice onions thinly and evenly. 
  • Scaling: Recipe can be halved or doubled or tripled. 
  • Slicing onions: The onions need  to be sliced thinly and not thickly. Thin slices will get cooked faster than thick slices and also give a crispy texture in the pakoda.
  • Baking Soda: You can choose to add baking soda or avoid it completely. We don’t like the soapy taste and flavor of baking soda, so I do not add it in the recipe. Though adding baking soda helps the pakoda to have a soft texture.
  • Adding hot oil in the batter: in the gram flour batter, you can also add 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil. This makes the onion pakoda crisp and it absorbs less oil while frying.
  • Frying temperature: The temperature of the oil has to be correct while frying. The oil should not be too hot or cold. If it is hot, then the outside of the onion pakoda will get fried but the inside will be undercooked. If it is not hot, then the pakoda will absorb oil while frying and will be too oil-laden once fried.
  • Additional ingredients: You can add a variety of herbs and spices in the batter – like crushed coriander seeds, red chilli powder, red chilli flakes, ginger-garlic paste, mint leaves, ground cumin powder, coriander leaves (cilantro). 
  • For a gluten-free pakoda: To make a gluten-free pakoda, skip the asafoetida or use wheat-free asafoetida.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Onion Pakoda Recipe | Onion Pakora
Amount Per Serving
Calories 209 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Sodium 99mg4%
Potassium 339mg10%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 21IU0%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.2mg13%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.05mg3%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 0.2mg10%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 4µg4%
Calcium 29mg3%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 142µg36%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 56mg14%
Phosphorus 112mg11%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This Onion Pakoda recipe from the archives was first published on Aug 2009. It has been updated and republished on May 2024.

Share This Recipe:

WhatsAppPinShares2

Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

Get My Secrets to Great Indian Food
Sign up for my FREE Beginners Guide to Delicious Indian Cooking

More Vegetarian Recipes You'll Love

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. We moderate comments and it takes 24 to 48 hours for the comments to appear. We thank you for your understanding and patience. If you have made the recipe, then you can also give a star rating.

Your Recipe Rating




26 Comments

  1. Thank you for the recipe!! The video and pictures were so useful. The pakodas came out really well and I added rice flour as you mentioned in one comment. I’m a student abroad and was so happy to make my favorite childhood dish by myself for the first time.5 stars

    1. welcome. so glad to read your comment. i am happy that the video and pictures were helpful. rice flour makes the pakoda more crunchy and crispy but can be skipped if you do not have it.