in the kitchen with: gabriela iancu’s beer-batter onion rings

I admit that for me, onion rings are synonymous with Burger King. There, I said it! French fries = McDonald’s, onion rings = Burger King. And as with most fast food/junk food, there is a homemade recipe out there waiting to put the store versions to shame. This week we have just that recipe for Beer-Batter Onion Rings by freelance photographer Gabriela Iancu. It comes all the way from Czech Republic via a lovely summer spent in Ocean City, Maryland. Gabriela, author of the blog What Liberty Ate, tried to re-create her memories of the USA and finally came up with a recipe she likes. Find out what her no-longer-secret ingredients are after the jump! — Kristina

About Gabriela: Romanian-born Gabriela Iancu is an IT professional and freelance food photographer based in Czech Republic. She is the author and photographer behind the food blog What Liberty Ate, a journal of photographic stories celebrating that freedom of speech that we sometimes lose. Her work has been featured in Romanian wine and craft magazines as well as food design websites. In the fall of 2011, she launched What Liberty Ate Magazine, an online project that aims to speak about and promote food photography around the world and lifestyle design projects. In addition to her blog, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Guinness Onion Rings with Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper


  • 3 large onions, cut crosswise into thick slices
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 12 oz. Guinness
  • vegetable oil, for frying



1. Using a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add beer and whisk until smooth; let sit for 20 minutes.

2. Cut the onion crosswise into thick slices, separating them in rings. Pour the vegetable oil in a deep pan. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.

3. Working in batches, dip the onion rings in the batter, and then carefully place them into oil. Fry them for about two minutes or until golden brown, turning them over halfway. It may be necessary to adjust the frying time according to the thickness of your onion rings.

4. Transfer the onion rings to paper towels to absorb the excess oil, and season with more salt, to taste.

5. Serve immediately.

Why Gabriela Likes This Recipe

When I first discovered the onion rings treat during my stay in Ocean City, Maryland, I fell completely in love. I used to eat them on late summer days on the boardwalk. Those onion rings were synonymous with vacation and cheerfulness: crisp on the outside, full of flavor, soft on the inside. When I got home, I tried various recipes, but the taste was never the same. My grand-ma suggested I add some carbonation to the batter to make the final result puffier and sustain its crispness. Guinness was the perfect beer for this task, considering its powerful taste, and I added some heat with Indian spices. We demolish these onion rings with Dijon mustard and horseradish sauce.


I was seriously just wishing for an onion ring recipe last night! Thank you!!

Modern Country L:ady

It always tastes better when you make things yourself! But I admit I always have a bit of a laugh when I hear ” onion rings” too- with me it’s even worse I I always think of Eminem- don’t even go there!!! hahaha


Modern Country Lady I can’t believe you said that. I thought I had erased that image from my head forever. Re-scarred.

Cindy M.

Okay I’m officially feeling like a crack addict who just realized they are addicted. I am head over heels for this recipe. Thanks so much!

Melissa Kojima

I’m an email subscriber to Design Sponge and I always get a lot of inspiration from your posts. I just wanted to thank, Grace and the whole team at Design Sponge for the the beautiful, and thoughtful articles they put together. Thank you!


I’m really excited, as long as I substitute Guiness for a vegan beer these can be totally vegan!