Air Fryer Onion Pakoda

These crispy golden brown Onion Pakodas are cooked to perfection in the air fryer! Seasoned with turmeric, coriander, fresh cilantro, chillies, they make the perfect snack to be enjoyed with a cup of chai!
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Onion Pakoda are onion fritters made with onion, gram flour (besan) and spices and are a very popular Indian snack. They are traditionally deep fried but this air fryer version of onion pakoda turns out just as good! These are crunchy, so flavorful and make a delightful snack with a cup of chai!

onion pakoda in a plate with a bowl of cilantro chutney

Most Indians will have fond memories associated with pakoda and rains. I remember whenever it would start raining during monsoon season, mom would make all sorts of pakodas made with potatoes, cauliflower and of course onion and we would all relish them with cups of chai.

Pakodas are also known as bhajiya or bhaji in different parts of the country. And though they might have different names, their popularity remains same everywhere. They are one of Indian’s favorite tea time snacks and I cannot simply resist them.

Even though I love them so much, I would not make them often. But having an air fryer has definitely changed things.

Why We Love This Air Fryer Version!

There are several reasons why are are hooked to these air fryer onion pakodas!

  • Easy to make!
  • Makes a great snack any time of the day.
  • Healthier alternative to the deep frying version.
  • Naturally vegan and gluten-free.

I honestly would not make these pakodas very often before I had an air fryer. But ever since I started making them in the air fryer, I make them at least once in 10 days (just like these masala fries!). Earlier the whole idea of deep frying would appear very cumbersome but the air fryer makes it so easy!

Not to to forget, it’s relatively guilt-free and I am all up for such snacks. To make them brown and crisp, I like to air fry these at a lower temperature first, then spray with oil and air fry at a higher temperature until they turn golden brown in color. They come out very similar to the deep fried version this way.

Ingredients

ingredients for onion pakoda arranged on a board

Onion: I like using red onion for this recipe but you can also use yellow onion. You would need 1 large or 2 small onions for this recipe.

Besan (gram flour): for binding the ingredients and flavor we use besan and I like roasting the besan before adding it to the batter. Makes it even better. There’s also some rice flour to make the pakodas crispy.

Spices & seasoning: these onion pakodas are flavored with spices like ajwain, turmeric, coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala. Addition of cilantro, fresh green chilies add extra depth of flavors.

I also add a teaspoon of oil inside the batter, it makes the pakodas soft and light from inside.

Step by Step Instructions

1- Take 1 large red onion (around 250 grams) and slice into thin slices. They don’t need to be super thin but they shouldn’t be thick. Transfer the slices into a large bowl and separate them while doing so.

2- Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt and using your hand massage the onion slices. Don’t smash them whole doing so, just massage gently for 2 minutes. This helps in releasing moisture from the onions.

3- Cover the bowl with a plate and let it sit for 10 minutes for the onions to release moisture.

4- While the onions are resting, heat a pan on medium heat. Then add 1/2 cup besan to it and dry roast the besan for around 4 minutes until it’s fragrant. You want to get rid of that raw smell and taste of besan. Remove pan from heat and transfer besan to another plate. This step is optional and you can use besan straightaway but I recommend roasting the besan for better flavor.

step by step picture collage of making onion pakoda in air fryer

5- After 10 minutes, remove the plate. The onions would have released moisture by now. To the bowl now add the roasted besan along with-

  • 1 tablespoon rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 to 2 chopped green chili
  • 1/4 teaspoon ajwain
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • pinch garam masala

6- Also, add 1 teaspoon oil. I have used avocado oil here, you can use any oil of choice. This helps in keeping pakoda soft from the inside.

7- Start adding water little by little so that all the onion slices get well coated with the spices and seasonings.

8- You don’t want a thin batter, it should be thick. You can need anywhere around 3 to 5 tablespoons water (start with 3 and then add more as needed).

step by step picture collage of making onion pakoda in air fryer

9- Pre-heat your air fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions. Then spray with a non-stick spray so that the pakodas don’t stick to the plate.

10- Hold some of the batter in your hands and then drop on the air fryer plate. You can make bigger or smaller pakodas. You would get around 7 to 8 big pakodas from this batter, more if you make these smaller. Air fry at 340 F degrees for 10 minutes.

11- Then open the air fryer, spray the pakodas with oil spray again.

12- Now, air fry at 400 F degrees for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Serve them hot with chutney!

step by step picture collage of making onion pakoda in air fryer

Air Frying At 2 Temperatures

I like air frying these at a lower temperature (340 F) first for 10 minutes then then air fry at a higher temperature (400 F) for 4 to 5 minutes. The increased temperature along with the spray of oil gives then a nice brown color and makes them quite crispy.

They turn out very similar to the deep fried version this way.

Oven Baked Version

To bake in the oven, bake at 400 F degrees for around 20 minutes. Spray with oil and flip at the halfway mark.

Serving Suggestion

I love serving these onion pakodas with cilantro chutney or mint chutney. It’s also good with sweet tamarind chutney and you can also serve it with ketchup.

And of course you can’t enjoy these pakodas with a cup of chai!

Re-heating

To re-heat, put the pakodas back in the air fryer. Re-heat at 300 F degrees for around 10 minutes, they become as good as fresh. 300 F degrees is the default temperature setting for re-heating on my air fryer. If you have a re-heat pre-set on your air fryer, just use that.

onion pakoda cut in half to show the inside

Tips & Notes

  • Using a little bit of rice flour helps in making these pakodas crispy.
  • I highly recommend roasting the besan (gram flour) in this recipe. Sure, you can use it straight away but your pakodas will taste so much better if you roast the besan for 4 to 5 minutes until the raw smell goes away and then use in the recipe.
  • Do not skip on the 1 teaspoon of oil in the pakoda batter, it makes them softer/lighter from inside.
  • Every air fryer is different so you may need to adjust the time and temperature accordingly.
  • Do not over-crowd your air fryer when placing these pakodas into the basket. They should all be in single layer and have enough space between them.
  • Make sure to spray the basket with oil spray before placing the pakodas inside else they might stick to the air fryer basket and it will be difficult to take them out. You can alternatively also use parchment paper (with holes) to prevent sticking.
  • Make sure to spray the pakodas with oil spray once they are cooked at the 10 minutes mark. Before air frying them at higher temperature, a spray of oil makes them nice golden brown in color and crunchy. Do not skip this step.

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Air Fryer Onion Pakoda

onion pakoda in a plate with a bowl of cilantro chutney
Manali
These crispy golden brown Onion Pakodas are cooked to perfection in the air fryer! Seasoned with turmeric, coriander, fresh cilantro, chillies, they make the perfect snack to be enjoyed with a cup of chai!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Resting Time 10 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Indian
Servings 7 pakoda
Calories 51 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 large red onion sliced, around 250 grams
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup besan 60 grams
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour 12 grams
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 green chili chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ajwain carom seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • pinch garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon oil 5 ml, I used avocado oil
  • water around 4 tablespoons, as needed

Instructions
 

  • Take 1 large red onion (around 250 grams) and slice into thin slices. They don't need to be super thin but they shouldn't be thick. Transfer the slices into a large bowl and separate them while doing so.
  • Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt and using your hand massage the onion slices. Don't smash them whole doing so, just massage gently for 2 minutes. This helps in releasing moisture from the onions.
    Cover the bowl with a plate and let it sit for 10 minutes for the onions to release moisture.
  • While the onions are resting, heat a pan on medium heat. Then add 1/2 cup besan to it and dry roast the besan for around 4 minutes until it's fragrant. You want to get rid of that raw smell and taste of besan. Remove pan from heat and transfer besan to another plate. This step is optional and you can use besan straightaway but I recommend roasting the besan for better flavor.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the plate. The onions would have released moisture by now. To the bowl now add the roasted besan along with- 1 tablespoon rice flour, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro,1 to 2 chopped green chili, 1/4 teaspoon ajwain, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder and pinch garam masala.
  • Also, add 1 teaspoon oil. I have used avocado oil here, you can use any oil of choice. This helps in keeping pakoda soft from the inside.
  • Start adding water little by little so that all the onion slices get well coated with the spices and seasonings.
    You don't want a thin batter, it should be thick. You can need anywhere around 3 to 5 tablespoons water (start with 3 and then add more as needed).
  • Pre-heat your air fryer according to manufacturer's instructions. Then spray with a non-stick spray so that the pakodas don't stick to the plate.
  • Hold some of the batter in your hands and then drop on the air fryer plate. You can make bigger or smaller pakodas. You would get around 7 to 8 big pakodas from this batter, more if you make these smaller. You may spray them with oil spray at this point (optional). Air fry at 340 F degrees for 10 minutes.
  • Then open the air fryer, spray the pakodas with oil spray again. You must spray with oil at this point. Now, air fry at 400 F degrees for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Serve them hot with chutney!

Video

Notes

  • Using a little bit of rice flour helps in making these pakodas crispy.
  • I highly recommend roasting the besan (gram flour) in this recipe. Sure, you can use it straight away but your pakodas will taste so much better if you roast the besan for 4 to 5 minutes until the raw smell goes away and then use in the recipe.
  • Do not skip on the 1 teaspoon of oil in the pakoda batter, it makes them softer/lighter from inside.
  • Every air fryer is different so you may need to adjust the time and temperature accordingly.
  • Do not over-crowd your air fryer when placing these pakodas into the basket. They should all be in single layer and have enough space between them.
  • Make sure to spray the basket with oil spray before placing the pakodas inside else they might stick to the air fryer basket and it will be difficult to take them out. You can alternatively also use parchment paper (with holes) to prevent sticking.
  • Make sure to spray the pakodas with oil spray once they are cooked at the 10 minutes mark. Before air frying them at higher temperature, a spray of oil makes them nice golden brown in color and crunchy. Do not skip this step.

Nutrition

Calories: 51kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 278mgPotassium: 101mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 37IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

One thought on “Air Fryer Onion Pakoda

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Manali
    Wow your air fryer onion Pakoda its looks so yummy especially no frying i will be trying.
    thx u

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