Classic Onion Pakoda | Crispy Onion Fritters

Onion pakoda are basically onion fritters made with gram flour (besan). You can even make these with chickpea flour. Onion Pakoda are a popular Indian street food as well.

Like many Indian recipes, onion pakoda is made differently in various parts of India. It is one snack that is easy to prepare and tastes good too.

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onion pakoda

There are many variations of making onion pakora in the vast Indian Cuisine. In this post I am sharing 2 delicious variations.

  1. Classic Onion Pakoda – North Indian Punjabi Style
  2. Onion Fritters – Crispy South Indian Style (With Rice Flour)

About Classic Onion Pakoda

This recipe of onion pakoda is a North Indian style recipe. A basic onion pakoda will have gram flour (besan), onions, salt with some herbs & spices – though there will be variations with the type of spices and herbs used. 

Generally in the Indian pakoda recipes, the spices and herbs that are added help in digestion. In this punjabi style onion pakoda recipe, the spice that aids in digestion is carom seeds (ajwain). They also lend some sharp aromatic notes to the fritters. I also add some asafoetida (hing) but it can be skipped. 

The recipe makes for crispy fritters 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 batter. 

In my home crispy crunchy onion fritters 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 onion pakoda

You can use any variety of onions to make onion fritters – 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.

Onion fritters are made in a variety of ways in regional Indian cuisine.

Some more varieties

Tips for making Onion Pakoda

  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 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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Additional ingredients: 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, coriander leaves (cilantro). You can add some rice flour in the batter too. This will make the pakoda crunchy. You can add more red chilly powder to get a spicy pakoda. Basically, you can add your choice of spice powders in the batter.
  6. 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.
  7. Crisp vs softer pakoda: To get crisp onion pakoda, 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.
  8. Baking or air-frying: You can also bake or air fry them. Baked onion pakoda will taste differently than fried ones. Baked or air fried onion fritters won’t be as crisp as the fried ones. I have made onion fritters 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.
    A) if baking, then 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 onion slices.
    B) if air-frying, then 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.
onion pakoda, onion pakora

How to make Onion Pakoda

1. Slice the onions evenly & thinly. Take them in a mixing bowl. Also, add chopped green chilies. If you do not have green chilies, then add red chili powder. You can also add chopped coriander leaves if you want.

sliced onions for onion pakora recipe

2. Add the spices – carom seeds (ajwain), turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt as required. Asafoetida is optional and can be skipped for a gluten-free pakoda. You can even use gluten-free asafoetida.

spices

3. Mix everything well. Cover and keep the onion, chilies and spice mixture aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

onions spices mixture for onion pakora recipe

4. the onions would release water and then you can add water as required in the batter.

spiced onion mixture for onion pakora

5. Add gram flour (besan). For a soft and light texture in the pakoda, you can add 1 pinch of baking soda. Adding baking soda is optional. 

besan for onion pakora recipe

6. Add the required amount of water to make a medium-thick batter.

making onion fritters batter

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

onion pakora batter

Frying onion pakoda

8. In hot oil, add spoonfuls of the pakora batter.

add onion pakora batter to 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 onion pakoda while frying.

frying onion pakoras

10. When the pakora is a bit cooked, turn over with a slotted spoon and continue to fry.

frying onion pakoras or onion pakoda

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

frying onion pakora or onion fritters

12. Fry the onion pakoda, till they look crisp and golden.

frying onion pakora or onion fritters

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

onion pakora recipe, onion fritters recipe

14. In the same oil fry slit green chilies.

frying chillies for serving with onion pakora

15. Sprinkle some salt on the green chilies and mix well.

fried chillies for serving with onion pakora

16. Serve onion pakoda or kanda bhaji with the fried green chillies or coriander chutney or mint chutney or tomato sauce.

onion pakoda recipe

Serving onion pakoda

Onion pakoda is a tea time snack and can be served with some chutney or sauce and a few fried & salted green chillies. At my mom’s place they are served with bread or pav (bread rolls). So I am so used to eating these crispy & 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.

At my in-law’s place, onion pakoda is had with (hold your breath) – 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 sauce.

Few more pakoda recipes

Note: This onion pakoda recipe is from the archives (Aug 2009) and has been republished and updated on 14th June 2020.

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEMany of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Classic Onion Pakoda (Punjabi Style)

4.79 from 14 votes
Onion pakoda are onion fritters made with thinly sliced onions, gram flour or besan batter and some spices. This is a classic Punjabi style onion pakora recipe and one that I make at home as a tea-time snack.
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:5 mins
Cook Time:25 mins
Total Time:30 mins
Course:snacks
Cuisine:indian
Servings (change the number to scale):4

RECIPE VIDEO

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium to large-sized onions
  • 1 cup gram flour (besan) or chickpea flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon green chillies or ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves – optional
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder – 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
  • oil as required – for shallow frying or deep frying, sunflower oil or any neutral-flavoured oil
  • water as required to make a medium thick batter
  • salt as required

Instructions

making pakoda batter

  • 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 if you want.
  • Add the spices – carom seeds, turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt.
  • Mix everything well. Cover and keep the onion, chillies and spice mixture aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • The onions would release water and then you can add water as required in the batter.
  • Add gram flour (besan). If you plan to add baking soda, then add at this step.
  • Add the required amount of water to make medium-thick batter.
  • Stir the whole mixture very well with a spoon or with your hands. The batter is ready to be fried.

making onion pakoda

  • In hot oil, add spoonfuls of the batter.
  • Depending on the size of the kadai or pan, you can add less or more. Just make sure you don’t over crowd the onion pakoda while frying.
  • When the pakora are a bit cooked, turn over with a slotted spoon and continue to fry.
  • You will have to turn them a few times for even frying.
  • Fry them till 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 sauce.

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
Classic Onion Pakoda (Punjabi Style)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 132 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Sodium 608mg26%
Potassium 274mg8%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 15IU0%
Vitamin C 4.4mg5%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
GOOD KARMAAll our content & photos are copyright protected. Please do not copy. As a blogger, if you want to adapt this recipe or make a youtube video, then please write the recipe in your own words and give a clickable link back to the recipe on this url.
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About South Indian Onion Fritters

These onion fritters are crispy, crunchy and made in South Indian style. You can make these crispy fritters for a delicious tea time snack. 

The taste and texture of these onion fritters are very different than the Classic Onion Pakoda I have shared above.

onion pakoda recipe

Addition of rice flour makes these fritters crispy and crunchy. The addition of curry leaves, coriander leaves and fennel seeds make these fritters very flavorful and also help in digestion. 

These are truly crispy and taste too good with coconut chutney. Though you can also serve with tomato chutney, mint chutney or coriander chutney.

They are best served hot and a cup of hot ginger tea or filter coffee also goes very well with them. You can also sandwich them with bread slices or dinner rolls (pav).

How to make Crispy South Indian Onion Fritters

1. Take ½ cup besan (gram flour or chickpea flour) and ¼ cup rice flour in a mixing bowl.

making onion fritters recipe

2. Add ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, a pinch of turmeric powder and ¼ teaspoon red chili powder.

making onion fritters recipe

3. Next add the sliced onions, 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves, 1 teaspoon chopped curry leaves and 1 or 2 green chilies, chopped. also add salt. You can also add some ginger in the recipe. You can even consider adding more onions.

making onion fritters recipe

4. Mix well.

making onion fritters recipe

5. Sprinkle 3 tablespoon water all over.

making onion fritters recipe

6. mix well. Cover and keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

making onion fritters recipe

7. The onions will release their juices and the batter will become more moist. Then add 1 to 2 tablespoon more water and mix well again. I added 2 tablespoons water. I usually keep the onion fritters batter more moist than what is the norm for this recipe. As I feel some moisture helps in making these fritters not too dense. The batter has to be of thick dropping consistency.

making onion fritters recipe

Frying Onion Pakoda

8. Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or pan. When the oil becomes medium hot, drop spoonfuls of batter in the kadai.

making onion fritters recipe

9. Flip each fritter when they become pale golden.

making onion fritters recipe

10. While frying you can regulate the flame from low to medium.

making onion fritters recipe

11. Continue to fry till the onion fritters are golden and crisp, turning over them as required.

making onion fritters recipe

12. Once they are fried to perfection, then remove them with a slotted spoon.

making onion fritters recipe

13. Keep the fried onion pakoda on kitchen paper towels so that extra oil is absorbed. Fry in batches this way.

onion fritters recipe

14. Serve these Crispy Onion Fritters hot with tomato chutney or coconut chutney or pudina chutney or tomato ketchup. You can also have them with a cup of tea or coffee. Some people like to stuff them between bread slices and then have them with any green chutney.

onion fritters recipe
Few more Pakora Recipes

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEMany of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Onion Fritters (Crispy South Indian Style)

4.75 from 8 votes
Crisp and crunchy South Indian style onion fritters made with onions, gram flour, rice flour, herbs and spices.
crispy south indian onion pakoda recipe
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:20 mins
Total Time:40 mins
Course:snacks
Cuisine:south indian,tamil nadu
Difficulty Level:Easy
Servings (change the number to scale):2 to 3
(1 CUP = 250 ML)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced or ½ cup tightly packed thinly sliced onions or 100 grams onions
  • ½ cup besan (gram flour) or 56 grams besan
  • ¼ cup rice flour or 30 grams rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped curry leaves or 7 to 8 chopped curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 or 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 5 tablespoon water or add as required
  • salt as per taste
  • oil for frying (can use peanut oil or sunflower oil)

Instructions

Making Onion Pakoda Batter

  • Take 1/2 cup besan and 1/4 cup rice flour in a mixing bowl.
  • Add onions, spices, herbs and salt, except oil.
  • Then sprinkle 3 tablespoon water all over.
  • Mix well. Cover and keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • The onions will release their juices and the batter will become more moist. Then add 1 to 2 tablespoon more water and mix well again. I added 2 tablespoons water. 
  • I usually keep the batter more moist than what is the norm for this recipe. As I feel some moisture helps in making these fritters not too dense. The batter has to be of a thick dropping consistency.

Frying Onion Pakoda

  • Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or pan. When the oil becomes medium hot, drop spoonfuls of batter in the kadai.
  • Flip each onion fritter when they become pale golden.
  • Continue to fry till the onion fritters are golden and crisp, turning over them as required.
  • Once they are fried to perfection, then remove them with a slotted spoon.
  • Keep fritters on kitchen paper towels so that extra oil is absorbed. Fry in batches this way.
  • Serve these crisp onion fritters hot with tomato chutney, coconut chutney, mint chutney or tomato ketchup.
GOOD KARMAAll our content & photos are copyright protected. Please do not copy. As a blogger, if you want to adapt this recipe or make a youtube video, then please write the recipe in your own words and give a clickable link back to the recipe on this url.
LIKE OUR VIDEOS!Then do follow and SUBSCRIBE to us on youtube to get the latest Recipe Video updates.
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Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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25 comments/reviews

  1. You have a passion for cooking5 stars

    • thank you.

  2. 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

    • 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.

  3. It was sooo tasty . love it !4 stars

    • Thanks Mohammad

  4. Gracias! After cooked, could they be frozen for storage? And re-heat in oven or microwave or sautee pan?

    Much obliged.

    • gerard, onion pakora do not freeze well. at room temperature the crisp texture goes away, but they still taste good. you can reheat in oven and microwave.

  5. awesome

    • thanks.

  6. Hi Dasanna, Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    Great recipe! I am wondering, if I use only chickpea flour, will the pakoras come out crunchy or do I need to add rice flour or corn starch? If so, how much should I add? I like only crunchy fritters. Never a fan of those soft variety. Thanks

    • rom is any indian pakora recipe add 1 or 2 tbsp of rice flour along the gram flour which aids in making crispy fritters hope this helps’ you and thankyou.

  7. Hi Dasanna,

    Just wanted to say a Big thank you! for sharing such amazing recipes on your blog. I am now a regular visitor to your site and look forward to trying new recipes. I now show off my culinary skills in front of friends and family 🙂4 stars

    • surely sushma do try recipes but do share your views on it 🙂 all the best thankyou and welcome.

  8. Your recipes are just saviour for me… 80% I cook your recipes. .. so easy with ingredients available at home. .. I get a compliment that it tastes like hotel5 stars

    • thanks vaishali for sharing positive feedback. glad to know this.

  9. Dassana – You are awesome!

    Thank you for your awesome recipe – Now everyone in my family n friends know – I make wickedly delicious pakora – all thanks to you

    I’m trying your idli, coconut chutney and tomato rasam this weekend

    Sonam5 stars

    • welcome sonam. glad to know this. thanks for your kind words and positive feedback.

  10. Good job

  11. dassana, add some dried onion or fried onion to the batter nearly abt 5 to 10% of total batter. just feel the difference.

    • thanks for the tip seema. will try this tip next time.

  12. Thanks for the swift response!

    I never realized you should use hing like that! You learn something new every day. I made these pakora’s just now (but I put the hing in the oil, as I didn’t see your response in time). They were delicious.

    May I also recommend a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds? I love the aniseed flavour in combination with the sweet onions.

    Oh, I shallow fried them in the end, though next time I might try your baking method.

    On a side have you tried this batter on radishes? I wonder how shredded mooli would be?

    • thats cool… the oil must have been fragrant with the aroma of the hing… yes crushed fennel seeds do add a lot of flavor & taste. sometimes even i add these to the pakoras.

      i have never ever tried the same batter with radishes. but i have made pakoras with shredded lauki aka bottle gourd – a kind of indian squash. you can also make pakoras with green bell pepper. aubergines slices, potato slices, bitter gourd/karela, shredded cabbage, cauliflower. mixed grated veggies and even bread.

      i guess they don’t make mooli pakoras in india as the mooli might lend it not so good aroma to the batter and eventually to the pakoras. so the result would be no one having the mooli pakoras.

  13. Hello,

    I see you advocate the use of hing in this recipe, since it is in the ingredients list, but you don’t show it’s use on the method.

    Can I assume, like always, that the hing is added to the oil when is hot, and just before you add the pakora’s?

    What is your feeling on deep frying?

    Regards,

    Gary

    • thanks gary for pointing out the error. i have forgotten to mention about hing in the post. will update the post.

      the hing is added to the batter and not to the oil. when we deep fry indian snacks, we never add hing to the oil. the hing is added to the batter or to the stuffing. only when we make stir fried or sauted dishes or when tempering for dal etc, we add the hing to the oil.

      in pakoras i always add hing as they help in digestion since they are fried & also the chickpea flour can become heavy sometimes on the stomach.

      instead of deep frying you can also shallow fry. you can also bake the pakoras with some oil brushed on them. baking will be healthy option but sometimes one can go for indulgent options like deep fried pakoras 🙂