Onion bhajis are one of my all-time favourite snacks. I love them served with green chutney or spicy ketchup, and they’re the perfect side dish or starter for a curry night in. Tonight we ate our bhajis as a side dish to my favourite chicken jalfrezi.
They’re so much easier to make than you’d expect, once you’ve mastered making them from scratch you’ll never buy from a supermarket ever again. With simple ingredients, these bhajis are guilt-free and vegan-friendly. You’ll likely have all the ingredients already in your cupboards to whip up a batch today!
The key to a great onion bhaji is to slice the onion very finely – this is important so the onion has time to cook within the batter when frying. If your onions are too chunky they’ll end up raw inside the bhaji, missing out on the delicate, sweet taste of thinly sliced onions.
In this recipe, I have chosen to use plain flour instead of gram flour. I am to make all recipes on my site with easily accessible, fuss-free ingredients. Whilst gram flour is the traditional flour used when making bhajis – it is not always readily available in all UK supermarkets. And you might what to make onion bhajis with what you have in without having to make a special trip to the supermarket.
Is there a difference between using gram flour and plain flour for bhajis?
The taste does differ slightly. Gram flour has an earthier, nutty flavour which works really well in Indian cooking. It also holds liquid better and becomes a batter very easily. To make up the difference we’re adding some extra spice to our plain flour mixture and a little more water. These bhajis turn out great every time using plain flour – practice makes perfect.
Leftover Onion Bhajis?
These onion bhajis will last around 3 days when stored in the fridge. To reheat simply place in your Actifry for a couple of minutes, or the oven for around 5 minutes on 180C. They’re also amazing cold the next day in lunch boxes.
If you make too many and have leftovers (we never have leftovers haha) you can freeze these onion bhajis. Simply place in a zip-lock freezer bag and store in the fridge for up to a month. Defrost thoroughly and reheat in the oven to get them crispy again.
How to make Onion Bhajis at home with plain flour
Scroll down for printable recipe card and ingredient list
1. Cut two onions in half
2. Slice as finely as you can, lengthways
3. Then, in a bowl, measure out the flour and spices – then mix to combine
4. Add water gradually (tbsp at a time) to the flour mixture and stir until a batter forms
5. The batter should be thick and gloopy, slowly dripping off the back of a spoon
6. Add the chopped onions to the batter mixture and stir to evenly coat
7. Then, heat oil in a deep frying pan
8. Add a small drop of batter into the oil once heated, it should bubble and rise to the top
9. Take 1 tbsp of the onion batter mixture at a time – for each bhaji
10. Drop each bhaji into the hot oil – one at a time. Make sure to not crowd the pan. Cook for 2 mins on each side, or until brown and crisp
11. Place onto a sheet of kitchen roll to drain any excess oil – and turn off the heat.
Delicious onion bhajis made easily at home with plain flour and spices. An Indian classic which is perfect served with dips or alongside curry.
- Vegetable Oil
- 7 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion granules (optional)
- 1 tsp garlic granules (optional)
- 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
- 2 white onions (medium/large in size)
- Slice the onion(s) into thin strips - make them as thin as you can
- Then, in a bowl combine the flour and spices
- Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, until a thick batter is formed
- Add the sliced onions into the batter and mix to thoroughly coat each piece
- Next, pour oil into a deep-frying pan, to cover the bottom of the pan
- Heat oil to 190C - test this by dropping a little bit of the batter into the oil, it should rise to the top and bubble. Once this happens, take a tbsp of the bhaji mix and drop it into the oil, one at a time, to form the bhajis
- Cook each bhaji for 2 minutes on each side
- Once browned and cooked, remove from the oil and turn the heat off
- Place the bhajis on some kitchen roll to drain off any excess oil
- Serve with dips as a starter, or alongside curry for a delicious side dish
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Amount Per Serving Calories 66Carbohydrates 8gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 1g
This is the recipe I choose to follow, seems the easiest method. I’m going to try and surprise my husband, and hopefully serve along side the curry I’ve made. ☺
So great to hear – hope you and your husband enjoyed! 😀
Simple and delicious, I decided to try slicing some mushrooms as well and they worked a treat.
Thanks for this – just made a prawn curry, and made the bhajis using a mix of plain flour and ground coriander (learned this in Kerala at a cookery class when on a tour of the region) and instead of water used fresh orange juice, apart from that just a bit of Kashmiri red chilli powder. I didn’t make enough 🙂
Yup this works really well and comes with guaranteed success. I did exactly as Helen says. Then I fried one. Tried it. Adjusted flavouring, amount of flour or water, as required. Fried. Tried …. until perfect. I did this process many times with a glass of wine until perfection attained. I enjoyed the process.
I learnt that I needed to add some salt for our tastes. And best keep them small (as Helen demonstrates) so there is no risk of uncooked middles.
This is a very low cost dish that, with a few dips/sauces, has real impact at a dinner party. Tx Helen.
So glad you enjoyed Nigel 😀
Absolutely delicious and so easy to make, thanks for the recipe.
You’re welcome Rachael – I’m so glad you enjoyed them 😀
Thank you! I have never had any success doing onion bhajis before but this time I did! I used a mandoline for fine slicing which made things easier even if I did lose a bit of skin!! I would recommend to everyone to do one tiny one first to taste and then you can adjust the seasoning and spices as you like. I did them in teaspoon sizes to keep them small. Fennel seeds are a lovely addition and whatever other spices you fancy! This made loads of bhajis too yum!
Hi Helen, have you tried these in the Actifry, would it be possible?
Hi Louise – they would 🙂 I’d brush them with oil and cook them on a high heat for 12mins (at a guess)
Excellent recipe, we loved them and very easy to make.
Hi Helen – made these today (added black onion seeds and cooked in deep fat fryer) – went down an absolute treat – many thanks for sharing… I’ve shared the recipe on Facebook as a lot of guys were asking about it so hope you don’t mind…
So glad you enjoyed them Les! Black onion seeds are a great addition 🙂 thanks for sharing
I’ve just made these as a change for lunch on lockdown, and needing to do something a bit different, didn’t have gram flour then found this recipe, which was perfect for us, and I’ll definitely do them again so easy, tasty and light
I’m glad these turned out nicely for you Yvonne! What a lovely ‘lockdown’ lunch 🙂
Just made these for dinner tonight and they are fab, just need to be a bit braver with the heat in the pan and maybe add some salt to the mix before cooking. Great thankyou.
So glad you like them Pauline! 🙂 Frying and oil temperature are one of those things which practice will help with… it’s not something I particularly enjoy and don’t do very often, but I’m certainly a lot more confident with it than I used to be 🙂
I am.making onion bhaji’s and do not have any cumin is there anything else I can use instead?
Hi Vanessa 🙂 yes you can leave it out all together, but it does add some flavour – add a pinch more chilli if you’re using 🙂
Perfect! Thought it was going to harder than this but nope. Taste great.
So glad you enjoyed them Jordan 😀
Hi just made these and have some left over I’m wondering if they can be reheated next day and how you would do it
Hi Jakki 🙂 You can reheat them in the oven, about 220C for 5 mins (or until hot through)
What a lovely recipe! And so convenient at the moment, during this lockdown, that I don’t have to make a separate trip to try and find some chickpea flower and I can use all the ingredients I have at home. Thank you!! xx
I’m so glad you enjoyed Carolina! And yes – I always aim to make recipes with as little ‘special’ ingredients as possible (meaning, likely ones which people don’t have in normally – chickpea flour being one of them!). Thanks for getting in touch 😀
Very easy recipe just made these with gram flour which I found easier to purchase than plain flour. None in supermarket I just went into an Asian shop they where very helpful too.
All the family loved them and want to know when I am making them again. X
Hi Carolina, I’m so glad you and the family enjoyed the bhajis! Isn’t it an odd time where essentials such as flour are so hard to come by – imaginable a few months back! Hope you’re all well and thanks for the positive feedback 🙂
I’ve made these this afternoon and admit it’s my first time BUT they turned out brilliant. I didnt use cumin as I’m not keen on the taste and I also added chopped coriander to the batter…a whole packet finely chopped…… they went down very well and I’ve been asked to make extra next time 😀😀
I’m SO glad to hear you and the family enjoyed them Thelma 😀 the fresh coriander is a great addition, yum!
Onion bhaji are amazing. I make them almost every week and make plenty for my neighbours. So easy and very tasty.
I’m sooo happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipe Sonia – you have some lucky neighbours! 😀
[…] with pakoras, onion bhajis are my other favorite Indian snack food or appetizer. This recipe for onion bhaji by Hint of Helen will guide you through all the steps to make onion bhaji, and it’s not as […]
Just made these, absolutely delicious! I added extra chilli powder (as we like quite spicy food) & seeds from several cardamom pods. Having had distinctly average onion bhajis from some restaurants and supermarkets before can’t believe how easy they are to make. Thank you for posting.
Well done on the recipe will try with a pinch of salt next time goes great with mango chutney or lime pickle such a short time to make so easy
I made these and they were utterly delicious, highly recommend this recipe
I’m about to give this a try . I have never made them before I’m only going to make half as it’s only myself that will eat them .
Have made these this evening and they were a great success! Thumbs up all round! I’ve always thought it would be very difficult to produce restaurant-quality bhajis but this recipe was so simple (I did add salt as suggested by some reviewers) and the results were delicious. Much better than supermarket versions. Will definitely make them again. Thank you Helen!
So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe Karen! Soo much better than shop bought! x
These were gorgeous! So easy to make too. Having friends round for a whole Indian meal with your recipes this weekend!
Thank you so much, mine turned out amazing.
I’m taking my new batch to the bar for my friends.
Hi, I’m only 12 years old but I found these really easy to make and they were really nice.
These were so good they never made it to the dinner table!
Looks awesome. When you say plain flour do you mean all purpose or wheat flour?
Yes plain flour 🙂
OMG what a fantastic recipe!!!Easy and so flavourful.I added ground coriander,more salt,nigella seeds.Also added extra chilli will i will not repeat.It was sooo good,we didnt even cook the curry to go with them!!! Perfect.Thank you
Exceptionally well written & straightforward recipe / instructions and they came out great! Will definitely be refering back here every curry night 😁