Sorry to yet again not have a picture — I’m still in Seattle,  Here’s hoping I can get a picture once I’m back home, but no promises, sadly.  I’ve also done onion rings before, but, in keeping with my quest to make food my sister can eat on her new, even more restricted diet, here they are again, paleo.  🙂

The breading and frying is pretty straightforward; the only confusing part is what I call “coconut water” below.  You can’t just buy “coconut water” straight up at a store (that I know of); instead, you buy coconut milk.

Coconut milk is basically coconut meat and water, and it has some really great properties both on its own terms and as a dairy substitute.  It doesn’t have to be refrigerated, but, you want to anyway.  This is because refrigeration will encourage the coconut milk to separate:  Given a day or two, the thicker, creamier coconut “cream” will rise to the surface, where it can be skimmed off, leaving much thinner, waterier coconut “water” behind.  Coconut cream is easily the more prized of the two — you can even whip it like whipping cream — but coconut water is pretty useful, too, when you want to substitute for milk in a recipe like this one.  So, when I refer to coconut water below, that’s what I mean!  🙂

Okay — let’s get to some frying.  🙂

Paleo Onion Rings


  • one medium-to-large white or yellow onion
  • 1 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup coconut water
  • 1 egg
  • about 3 cups almond flour
  • extra virgin olive oil for frying


1.  First, prep the onion.  Peel it as usual, then cut it in thick slices perpendicular to the root, so that each slice has rings intact.  With your fingers, gently separate the rings from each other.  (You can see a good picture of this here.)  Set up a drain plate with paper towels or brown paper for later.

2.  In a small-to-medium mixing bowl, whisk together the tapioca and arrowroot starches.  Take 1 cup + 2 T of this mixture, and whisk it together in a medium mixing bowl with the baking soda, cream of tartar, parsley, salt, oregano, marjoram, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  Add the coconut water and egg, and whisk again until fully combined.  The result should be a thick but usable wet batter.  In a third medium mixing bowl, portion out a little almond flour.  (You don’t need to put the whole three cups in there at once; just add more as you need it while breading.)

3.  Preheat olive oil in a deep fryer or electric skillet to 365 degrees Farenheit.  While the oil’s heating, start breading the onion rings:  First, dredge each ring in the dry tapioca-arrowroot mix.  Then, dip it in the wet batter; let any excess drip off, then quickly dredge it in the almond flour.  Set it aside for frying, then start on the next ring.

The only hiccup here is that maybe halfway through the onion, the wet batter will start picking up just a little bit more arrowroot starch from the dry powder on the onion rings, and start getting more oobleck-ish and harder to work with.  Just add a little water or coconut water and whisk it back up to make it behave a little better.

4.  Fry each batch of onion rings in the hot oil for two minutes.  It’s best if you can flip them over with tongs halfway through, but if you can’t, that’s okay too.  These are very best fresh out of the fryer (but be careful not to burn your tongue!).  Enjoy!