Skip to Content

Onion Bhaji Recipe (Indian Restaurant Style)

Onion Bhaji Recipe (Indian Restaurant Style)

Learn how to make light and crispy Onion Bhaji (Indian Restaurant Style) with this easy recipe.

I make these Onion Bhajis (Onion Pakora) with a secret ingredient for the crispiest texture – leftover bread!

Take one bite and you won’t be able to stop eating them. These are onion bhajis without egg.

What is an Onion Bhaji?

Onion Bhaji easy recipe how to

Onion bhajis (onion pakora or kanda bhaji) are a beloved Indian snack and side dish, consisting of thinly sliced onions dipped in a spiced batter and deep-fried until golden perfection.

In my Gujarati family we call them dungri na bhajia. The craggy, crunchy edges are my favourite part!

Their crispy exterior gives way to a soft, sweet oniony interior, making them an irresistible treat.

Serve these delicious, lightly-spiced Onion Bhajis with your favourite dips and chutneys.

They’re an excellent appetizer for parties and Indian fakeaway nights.

How to make Onion Bhaji with leftover bread

One way to put leftover bread to good use is to make Onion Bhajis. All you need to do is tear the loaf into small pieces, add sliced onions, gram flour, spices and bind to create a stiff, droppable mixture.

The onions usually contain enough water to bind the mixture without having to add extra water.

In order to extract all the onion juice, squeeze the mixture with clean hands (you can wear gloves if you like). If you can squeeze the mixture and form a ball that holds together, it’s ready. If not, keep mixing and/or add a small drizzle of water until it comes together.

It calls for a fair amount of squeezing but it’s worth the work, since this process extracts lots of flavour and makes the Onion Bhajis super tasty!

Deliciously light and crispy Onion Bhajis

How to make onion Bhaji Indian appetizer

Here are five of my best tips for making light and crispy Onion Bhajis at home.

  1. Use leftover bread to create an extra crunchy and feather-light bhaji.
  2. A pinch of baking powder will give the bhajis lightness and lift.
  3. Use a thermometer to ensure your oil temperature is between 180°C/355°F and do not overcrowd the oil with too many bhajis at once.
  4. Drain the bhajis in a colander with a plate underneath to remove excess oil.
  5. For extra crispness, allow the fried bhajis to cool slightly and then before serving, fry again, or in the air fryer or oven.

What’s the best type of onion to use for Onion Bhajis?

Onion Bhaji Recipe (Indian Restaurant Style)

There’s no single “best” onion for onion bhajis, as different types offer unique flavour profiles. Most often, they’re made with inexpensive brown onions.

Brown onions (brown skin, white flesh) have a strong flavour, deep, caramelised sweetness and hold their shape well during frying.

I like to use large brown onions and a handful of spring onions (scallions) for textural contrast and vibrant colour.

You could use red, yellow and white (sweet) onions but the results will be different depending on the variety you choose.

What to serve with Onion Bhajis

Onion Bhaji recipe
  • Snacks & appetizers: Serve them hot with chutneys, dips, raita, or even your favourite chilli sauce.
  • Fusion fun: Get creative! Tuck bhajis into burgers, wraps, or sandwiches for an Indian twist.
  • Main course: Bhajis can be enjoyed in soup-style dishes like Kadhi (kadhi pakora).

What are some good chutney options?

Mint chutney, tamarind chutney, raita, or even a simple yogurt dip with chopped coriander and spices are all delicious choices.

You can find all my favourite chutney recipes here: 4 Street-style Indian Chutney recipes.

Can Onion Bhajis be made gluten free?

Onion Bhaji recipe with bread

Yes! Substitute the bread in this recipe with your favourite gluten-free loaf and ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free.

Are Onion Bhajis vegan?

My recipe for homemade Onion Bhajis is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. If you’re ordering Onion Bhajis in a restaurant, check that no eggs or dairy have been added to the batter.

Can I make Onion Bhajis in the air fryer?

Deep fried onion bhajis will always taste better than their air fried counterparts but if you wish to cook these in the air fryer, be sure to make the batter a little more stiff and spray liberally with oil before cooking.

They’ll need around 10-12 minutes in a preheated air fryer set to 170°C/340°F.

Step-by-step instructions for making Onion Bhaji

1. Chop the onions

Peel and slice the onions finely using a sharp knife. I chop spring onions into 1cm chunks.

2. Tear or process the bread into small pieces

Try not to break these down too much. We are looking for small pieces, not breadcrumbs.

3. Add the gram flour and spices

ingredients for onion bhajis

Gram flour will help to hold the mixture together and is typical for bhaji recipes. If you cannot find this ingredient, you may also use plain flour.

4. Squeeze the mixture together until thick and droppable

The process of squeezing the mixture together releases the natural liquid from the onions and shold be enough to bind the onion bhaji batter. If it feels to dry and doesn’t hold it’s shape, add a few splashes of water.

5. Fry the Onion Bhajis

In a deep pan, suitable for frying, heat the oil to 180C/355F. Carefully drop ping-pong ball sized lumps of batter into the oil, trying not to overcrowd the pan. It’s okay if they look messy and craggy – those are the best parts!

Do not move them for 60-90 seconds to allow them to firm up a little.

Then, use a perforated spoon to move the bhajis around in the oil so that they brown evenly, about 4 minutes.

Remove the cooked bhajis from the oil and allow to drain in a colander with a plate underneath or on a plate lined with kitchen towel.

Onion Bhaji Recipe (Indian Restaurant Style) | How to make onion bhajis | Onion Pakora Recipe

Yield: Makes 10-12 pieces

Onion Bhaji Recipe (Indian Restaurant Style)

Onion Bhaji easy recipe how to

Learn how to make light and crispy Onion Bhajis, just like the ones from Indian restaurants. I make these Onion Bhajis (Onion Pakora) with a secret ingredient for the crispiest texture - leftover bread! Take one bite and you won't be able to stop eating them. The craggy, crunchy wisps and edges are my favourite part! Serve these delicious, lightly-spiced Onion Bhajis with your favourite dips and chutneys. They're an excellent appetizer for parties and Indian fakeaway nights.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 200g bread, torn into very small pieces
  • 3 large brown onions, finely sliced (about 500g)
  • 5-6 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and cut diagonally in 1/2cm pieces
  • 100g gram flour (besan)
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1-2 large red chillies, cut into fine rings
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, coarse ground
  • 1 tsp ajwain, rubbed between your palms
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi, rubbed between your palms
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2-3 tbsp water (if required)
  • Enough oil for deep frying

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, tear the bread (including crusts) into very small pieces. You can also use a food processor but don't blitz too much as we don't want fine breadcrumbs.bread for onion bhaji
  2. Add the onions, spring onions, gram flour, ginger, chillies, coriander seeds, ajwain, kasoori methi, turmeric, lemon juice, baking powder, salt and 1 tbsp oil.ingredients for onion bhajis
  3. Using clean hands (or wear food-grade gloves), squeeze the mixture together to extract as much liquid as possible from the onions. This will take 8-10 minutes. You should be left with a thick mixture that holds together when squeezed into a ball. It's fine if some wispy bits of onion remain. If the mixture doesn't hold well, add a few drops of water and continue to mix until it does.Batter for bhajis
  4. In a deep pan, suitable for frying, heat the oil to 180C/355F. Carefully drop ping-pong ball sized lumps of batter into the oil, trying not to overcrowd the pan. It's okay if they look messy and craggy - those are the best parts! Do not move them for 60-90 seconds to allow them to firm up a little. Then, use a perforated spoon to move the bhajis around in the oil so that they brown evenly, about 4 minutes.How to cook onion bhajis
  5. Remove the cooked bhajis from the oil and allow to drain in a colander with a plate underneath or on a plate lined with kitchen towel. Serve hot.Onion Bhaji easy recipe how to

Notes

How to freeze onion bhajis:

Allow the cooked onion bhajis to cool and then pack into a resealable freezer bag. Reheat from frozen in the oven or air fryer. They'll need 8-10 minutes in a preheated air fryer set to 170C/340F.

How to air fry onion bhajis:

If you wish to cook these in the air fryer, be sure to make the batter a little more stiff (and spray liberally with oil before cooking. They'll need 10-12 minutes in a preheated air fryer set to 170C/340F.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 314Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 882mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 12g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Pin this recipe for later!

onion bhaji recipe sanjana feasts

If you like this, you’ll love my recipe for Vegetable Samosas

Up Next: Indian Appetizers for a Party (25+ Vegetarian Recipes)

Indian Appetizers for a Party (25+ Vegetarian Recipes)

Looking for a list of Indian appetizers for a party? You've come to the right place! Explore incredible Indian flavours with my collection of Indian vegetarian appetizer recipes that are perfect for parties, potlucks, festivals and well... any celebration! Not only are there loads of quick Indian starters for a crowd, there are also easy Indian starters to make ahead. That means you'll have more time with friends and family. From Air-Fryer Samosas to the most mouth watering Paneer Tikka, there's something for everyone.

Share this recipe

Skip to Recipe