Onions are probably one of my favorite pantry ingredients: they’re inexpensive, full of flavor and have a long shelf life. However, they don’t always get to be the star of the show—until now! The air fryer is a great tool for making a gluten-free version of traditional onion rings, here accompanied by an onion dip made with, yes, raw onions. Soaking the onions in buttermilk helps take away some of the bite!
For the onion rings: Separate the onion rings, place in a shallow dish with the buttermilk and soak for 5 minutes.
Preheat an air fryer to 375 degrees F. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Set out three shallow bowls for dredging. Whisk the potato flakes, ground chipotle and 1/2 teaspoon salt in one bowl. Whisk the egg, 2 tablespoons water and a little salt together in another bowl. Mix the panko, dried chives if using and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in the third bowl.
Spray the basket of the air fryer lightly with cooking spray. Drain the buttermilk from the onions; reserve 1/3 cup of the buttermilk for making the raw onion dip.
Dip each ring one at a time in the potato flake mixture, then in the egg mixture and finally in the panko mixture. Working in batches, put the onion rings in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Cook until golden and crisp all over, about 10 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. Transfer the cooked rings to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining rings.
For the raw onion dip: Stir the red onion, the buttermilk reserved from the onion rings, the sour cream, scallions, garlic powder, salt, pepper and lemon zest together in a large bowl until completely combined. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes for the flavors to blend. Garnish with the dried chives. Serve immediately with the hot onion rings or refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.