Onion Pakoda | Onion Pakora | Indian Onion Fritters

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Onion Pakoda is a deep fried Indian snack of crispy and tasty onion fritters made with gram flour (besan), spices and herbs. Also called Onion Pakora 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. I share two flavorful variants of the recipe.

onion pakoda served with tomato sauce

About These Onion Pakoda Recipes

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.

Here in this post I am sharing 2 delicious variations.

1. Onion Pakora – North Indian Style

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 flavor 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 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.

2. Onion Fritters – South Indian Style (With Rice Flour)

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 North Indian style Onion Pakoda recipe.

onion pakoda recipe served on a white plate with chutney

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).

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.

There are many onion fritters variants that are made in regional Indian cuisine. I have shared some varieties earlier.

  • Ulli Vada – Kerala style recipe to make crunchy and flavorful fritters.
  • Kanda Bhaji – Mumbai style Maharashtrian Recipe to make crispy onion pakora.
  • Vengaya Bajji – South Indian style batter coated and deep fried onion rings.
onion pakoda served on a plate with tomato sauce
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Onion Pakoda – North Indian Style

Prep Onions

1. Slice the onions evenly and thinly. Take them to 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 and green chilies in a bowl

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 added to bowl

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

onions spices mixture

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

spiced onion mixture releasing water

Make Batter

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 and baking soda in a bowl

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

water added to besan

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 in a bowl

Fry Onion Pakoda

8. Heat oil as needed for deep frying in a kadai (wok). Let the oil become medium-hot. 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 and lightly crispy, turn over with a slotted spoon and continue to fry.

frying onion pakoras

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

frying onion pakora in oil

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

frying onion pakora till crisp and golden in oil

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

fried onion pakora on kitchen paper towel

14. In the same oil fry slit green chilies. Do make sure to slit the chillies before frying or else they burst in oil.

frying chillies for serving with onion pakora

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

fried chillies on a plate

16. Serve onion pakoda with the fried salted green chillies or coriander chutney or mint chutney or tomato ketchup.

onion pakoda served with tomato sauce
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Onion Fritters – South Indian Style

Prepare Batter

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

gram flour and rice flour in a bowl

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

fennel seeds turmeric powder and red chili powder added

3. Next add the sliced onions, 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves, 1 teaspoon chopped curry leaves and 1 or 2 green chilies, chopped. 

Also add salt according to taste. You can also add some ginger to the recipe. You can even consider adding more onions.

coriander leaves curry leaves and green chilies added

4. Mix thoroughly.

mix to onion fritters batter

5. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water all over.

water added to onion fritters batter

6. Mix well. Cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

onion fritters batter in the bowl

7. The onions will release their juices and the batter will become more moist. Then add 1 to 2 tablespoons more water and mix well again. I added 2 tablespoons of 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.

prepared onion fritters batter in the bowl

Fry Onion Fritters

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

frying onion fritters in hot oil in a kadai

9. Flip each fritter when they become pale golden.

frying onion fritters in hot oil in a kadai

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

frying onion fritters in hot oil in a kadai

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

frying onion fritters till crisp in hot oil in a kadai

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

fried onion fritters on a slotted spoon

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

fried onion fritters on kitchen paper towels

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 a green chutney.

onion fritters served on a white plate with a side of tomato sauce

Serving Onion Pakora

Onion pakoda is a tea time snack and can be served with some chutney or a dipping sauce and a few fried and 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 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.

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

Expert 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 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 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.
  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.

More Pakora Varieties To Try!

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Onion Pakoda | Onion Pakora (North Indian Recipe)

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.
4.85 from 20 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine Indian
Course Snacks
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

  • 2 onions – medium to large-sized
  • 1 cup gram flour (besan) or 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 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (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
  • 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.

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 | Onion Pakora (North Indian Recipe)
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.

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crispy south indian onion pakoda recipe

Onion Fritters (Crispy South Indian Style)

Crisp and crunchy South Indian style onion fritters made with onions, gram flour, rice flour, herbs and spices.
4.75 from 8 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cuisine South Indian, Tamil Nadu
Course Snacks
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 2
Units

Ingredients

  • 2 onions – medium-sized, thinly sliced or ½ cup tightly packed thinly sliced onions – 100 grams
  • ½ cup gram flour (besan) – 56 grams
  • ¼ cup Rice Flour – 30 grams
  • 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 or cayenne pepper
  • 1 or 2 green chilies chopped or ½ to 1 teaspoon
  • 5 tablespoon water or add as required
  • salt as per taste
  • oil – for deep frying(can use peanut oil or sunflower oil)

Instructions
 

Making Onion Fritter Batter

  • Take the gram flour and rice flour in a mixing bowl.
  • Add sliced onions, spices, herbs and salt, except oil.
  • Then sprinkle 3 tablespoon water all over.
  • Mix well. Cover and set 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 Pakora

  • 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.

Notes

  • Deep fry on medium-hot oil making sure that the oil is not warm or very hot. 
  • Slice onions thinly so that they cook evenly and give a crispy texture. 
  • The recipe can be scaled to make a small batch or a large batch.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Onion Fritters (Crispy South Indian Style)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 381 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Sodium 255mg11%
Potassium 446mg13%
Carbohydrates 49g16%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 303IU6%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.2mg13%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1mg6%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 58mg290%
Vitamin B6 0.4mg20%
Vitamin C 115mg139%
Vitamin E 6mg40%
Vitamin K 5µg5%
Calcium 70mg7%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 732µg183%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 72mg18%
Phosphorus 152mg15%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Onion Pakoda recipe post from the archives first published in Aug 2009 has been republished and updated on 22 June 2022.

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25 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.

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