Hot onion pakoras and a cup of masala chai is the first thing that comes to mind for most Indians when it rains. We can call pakoras India's favorite tea-time snack and is something every household in India has enjoyed for generations. Also called bhajiya or bhajji, there are so many varieties of pakodas and this onion pakoda is one of the most popular ones.
Why you will love this recipe?
This air fryer onion pakora recipe is very easy to make and gets done in 20 minutes.
It is healthier than regular pakoras as it does not involve deep frying.
They are crunchy, crispy, and oh-so-delicious. Enjoy crispy onion bajji on its own or serve it with mint chutney, sweet tamarind chutney, tomato ketchup, or your favorite dips.
More on pakoras
Onion bhajiya is really simple and easy to make and can get done in no time. While the most common way of making them is by deep frying them, this air fryer recipe gives you the perfect crispy and golden pakoras. Air fryer onion pakoda uses less oil, and is lighter and healthier than deep-fried pakoras.
Onion pakoras are naturally gluten-free and vegan and use just 2 spices. Make this guilt-free air fryer onion pakora and enjoy crispy onion fritters that are cooked to perfection. Read on for instructions, useful tips, and variations to this air fryer pakoda recipe.
Onions: Use thin slices of red onions for the best-tasting pakoda. Brown onions, white onions, and yellow onion slices can also work.
Flour: Besan is mainly used to make pakoras. It is also called chickpea flour or gram flour. A small amount of rice flour is also added to make it crispy. Both these flours are gluten-free.
Spices: I am using ground cumin and red chili powder.
Oil: We will need 2 tablespoon oil in the batter and some more oil to brush on the pakora. I have used olive oil, however, vegetable oil or any cooking oil can be used.
Water: We will need water to make the batter. Two things to keep in mind here are to use cold water (and not room temperature water) and to add water gradually.
Other ingredients: Green chilies and cilantro (coriander leaves).
In a large mixing bowl, add the onion slices, green chilli, cilantro, and salt. Mix well and squeeze the mixture so that the onion releases moisture.
To this, add the besan flour, rice flour, chili powder, ground cumin, salt, and hot oil. Give it a good mix. Slowly add one tablespoon of cold water at a time and bring it together to form a thick and sticky batter. You will not need more than ¼ cup of water.
Take small portions of the batter (around 2 tablespoons) and place it in the basket. Place more pakora batter in a single layer, making sure they do not touch each other.
Air fry at 350 F (180 C) for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye after 7 minutes mark. Spray oil on the top. Then, increase the temperature to 400 F (200 C) and air fry for another 2-3 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Before adding water, mix the onion and salt well. This will help the onions to release moisture.
It is important to add water gradually. The batter must be thick and come together easily. Thin or runny batter will make the bhajiya soggy and also difficult to air fry.
Do not mix the batter too much. Mix just until it comes together.
Place the bhaiyas in a single layer without overcrowding the air fryer basket.
Air fryer onion bhajis can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Leftover pakora can also be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
Other common spices used in making crispy onion pakoda are garam masala, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, carom seeds, fennel seeds, and curry leaves. These ingredients are added to the gram flour batter.
PRO-TIP: Use cold water to mix the batter. This will give the pakodas a crispy texture.
Onion pakora is the most popular variety of all; however, there are so many variations of it across the Indian subcontinent. Here are some variations to this air fryer onion pakora recipe that are our favorite:
Paneer pakora: Made with Indian cottage cheese, this variation is hugely popular. See the recipe to make the best paneer pakora here.
Spinach pakoras: Add finely chopped spinach to this recipe to make palak pakora.
Vegetable pakora: Add veggies like cabbage, potato, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli to make veggie pakora. Finely chop the veggies before using them.
Bhindi pakora: This lesser-known variation is made using okra and does not have onion or garlic. These okra fritters are one of the best ways to enjoy the flavor and texture of okra.
Bread pakoras: Also called bread bajji, it is a popular Indian street food where slices of white bread are stuffed with a spicy potato filling, dipped in chickpea flour, and deep-fried.
Mirchi pakora: Mirchi means chili and this variety of pakoda is made using banana chili which is dipped in chickpea flour and deep fried.
Gobi 65: Also called cauliflower 65, is a beloved street food and bar snack from Chennai, South India. This dish features deep-fried cauliflower florets sautéed in a blend of sauces and spices, similar to the American buffalo wings.
Pakora or bhajiya can turn soggy if the batter has too much moisture. Make sure you add water to the batter gradually so that the batter is thick and comes together easily.
Yes. Air fryer pakoda is freezer-friendly and can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Place them on a tray and flash freeze before transferring them to a ziplock bag and storing them.
This air fryer pakora recipe is:
- very easy to make and gets done in 20 minutes,
- healthier than regular pakoras as it does not involve deep frying,
- crispy and delicious.
If you liked this recipe, please don't forget to give a 5-star rating and leave a comment below.
Air Fryer Onion Pakora (Onion Bhajiya)
- 2 large red onion thinly sliced
- 1-2 green chilies finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- 1 cup besan
- 2 tablespoon rice flour
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust as per taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (hot)
- ¼ cup water approximately (cold)
- Oil spray
- Chaat masala
- Green chutney
- Thinly slice the red onions. Finely chop the chilies (deseed them if you prefer less hot).
- In a small pan, take one tablespoon of olive oil. Heat it and set it aside.
Making the batter:
- In a large bowl, add the sliced onions, green chili, cilantro, and salt. Mix well and squeeze the mixture so that the onion releases moisture.
- To this, add the besan, rice flour, chili powder, and ground cumin. Do not add any water at this stage.
- Add the hot oil and mix using a spoon. Once the oil cools down, mix using your hands.
- Slowly add one tablespoon of water at a time and bring the batter together. You will need around ¼ cup of water. Also, make sure the water is cold (and not room temperature) to get crispy pakoras.
Air fry the pakora:
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 F (200 C) for 5 minutes. Spray the air fryer basket with oil.
- Take some bhajiya batter (around 2 tablespoons) and place it in the basket. Place more pakora batter in a single layer, making sure they do not touch each other.
- Air fry at 350 F (180 C) for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye after 7 minutes mark.
- Spray oil on the top. Then, increase the temperature to 400 F (200 C) and air fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully take the parokras out and sprinkle chaat masala.
- Serve hot with green chutney or ketchup.
Sarita Harbour says
Pakoras in the air fryer - brilliant. I wonder what my Indian grandmother would think of this, lol!
These were simple, fast, and delicious.
I loved using my air fryer to make these delicious onion pakora. My new favorite snack!
Haha, I've wondered that too lol!
Man, were these tasty! We made them when we had a family over and they were loved by all. We served them with mint chutney and already cannot wait to make them again!
Sherry L Ronning says
I have been experimenting with different air fryer recipes and your air fryer onion pakora was delicious!!
Wow, are these good! These tasty bites are easier to make than I thought they'd be but they're addictive! Yum!
I order onion pakora anytime I go out for dinner, and this was just amazing! Now I don’t have to go out to enjoy them