Cheese Battered Onion Rings and Stout Chocolate Malt – Recipe

Cheese Battered Onion Rings and Stout Chocolate Malt

I don't eat onion rings nearly enough, considering how much I love them. I guess I'm eating in the wrong restaurants. In fact I think maybe onion rings could be the next big 15 minute trend in fine dining (unless I already missed that one while I was cooking my Cheerios sous vide).

Anyhow, I was dreaming about rings on my drive home from work, and it got me wondering if I could give them a little twist. What if I could somehow get cheese in the batter? I didn't want it to create a melty mess and ruin the crunch though, just contribute the flavor. I ended up broiling the cheese like you would for a frico (cheese crisp), and then grinding it into a powder to add to an otherwise standard tempura batter.

(The basic batter is based on Morimoto's small-batch tempura, with a pinch of xanthan gum added. That is optional but really helps with cling.)

The result was pretty darn good! There was a distinct cheesy undertone in an otherwise classic onion ring. It would be fun to play around and see how much more cheese you could pack in there, but I'll give you my initial recipe. Definitely let me know if you push the idea further.

Since we are playing with our food, I made a chocolate / stout / malt shake to go with the rings. If you like dark beers and you like chocolate malts, I think you will dig the shake. The malt in the beer and the malt powder complement each other. You wouldn't necessarily want a pint of it, but a small glass is very tasty. Maybe you would want a pint.

If I'd had time, I would have added a little grilled apple slider on a brioche French toast bun to complete the Alice in Wonderland diner meal.

So here's a question. If I served a tiny portion of this in a multi-course meal, would it be an appetizer or dessert?

Cheese Battered Onion Rings

Serves 4 (?)
Vegetarian; not vegan nor gluten-free

  • about 2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 big pinch xanthan gum (optional, see above)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup seltzer water + more as needed
  • 2 large white onions, peeled and cut into thick rings
  • flour for dredging
  • oil for deep frying
  • sea salt
  1. Preheat oven (or toaster oven) broiler. Spread the cheddar cheese in a thin layer on a silpat or parchment paper. Watching rather closely, broil until starting to brown. This is pretty cool to watch, it looks like a boiling alien planet as all of the moisture cooks off and the oil separates. Allow to cool. Pat off excess oil. Grind in a coffee or spice grinder to a powder. I used about 50 grams of powder but next time I'd try 75 grams. Eat excess crispy cheese.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolk, 2 tablespoons of oil, teaspoon of salt, xanthan gum, 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of seltzer. It should be rather thin, the consistency of crepe batter, not thick pancake batter.
  3. Heat oil for deep frying to 360 degrees. Working in small batches, dredge each onion ring in flour, shake off the excess, dip in the batter, drip off the excess and add to the fryer. I find this easiest to do with chopsticks. Cook until golden brown and remove to paper towels to drain. Pat lightly to remove excess oil. Season with sea salt.

Stout Chocolate Malt
Makes 4 six ounce servings
Vegetarian; not vegan nor gluten-free

  • 2 1/2 cups milk chocolate ice cream
  • 4 ounces stout or porter; I used Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout but anything you like is fine
  • 5 tablespoons Carnation malted milk powder
  1. Blend all ingredients until creamy. Can be held in freezer for a little while before serving.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, July 20th, 2009 in Appetizers, Desserts, Experiments, Recipes.

9 Responses to “Cheese Battered Onion Rings and Stout Chocolate Malt – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    July 20, 2009 at 8:07 am #

    Love the idea of the ground, broiled cheese! That could be used all kinds of ways. I’m leaning toward appetizer for this, but it could go either way.

  2. Reply
    July 20, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    Wow! I’m loving the onion rings! What a great idea to put cheese in the batter! Where do you buy xanthan gum?

  3. Reply
    July 20, 2009 at 6:22 pm #

    “Question: appetizer or dessert?” How about the cheese course AND dessert?! Either way, definitely at the end of the meal, I think. After all those lovely complex flavors, anything else would be anti-climactic.

  4. Reply
    July 22, 2009 at 6:04 am #

    yummy ! my grandma is making similar onion rings, each time i try them they make me eat my fingers lol.
    Seeing that tasty pic , thinking about the afternoon breakfast…im kind of drooling .
    When i got free time , would buy the products and give them a shot. The recipe dont seem to be hard to be done.

  5. Reply
    July 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    Oh my goodness, this sounds heavenly! (I’m a huge fan of Guinness floats with chocolate ice cream…kind of a similar beast.) Yum!


  6. Reply
    July 29, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    Sounds delicious, what pity I am a vegetarian who doesn’t eat eggs. Any idea how I can make them without eggs?

  7. Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    I love Onion Rings!!!!

  8. Reply
    January 17, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    Great recipes!

    Stout chocolate malt is a classic…

  9. Reply
    January 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    We used a mixture of cheddar and parmesan and it was incredible!

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