I’ll put onion in any dish. I’ll double any amount of onion in a recipe. My family pokes fun at me for it. Raw red onion on a sandwich? Delightful, in my opinion. Hell, I’ll snack on a raw slice as I chop it up.
But even I cannot understand the need to air fry a massive batch of pearl onions. That’s the TikTok recipe I tested out for this week’s AirFryDay. Nothing further…just roasted, previously frozen onions. The recipe comes from TikTok user @cook.clean.shop.repeat. It’s not that the final product is bad. It’s just that I don’t totally understand what purpose it serves. Who needs a big bowl of roasted onions? Without anything else?
Anyway, here are the details, in case you’re super into snacking on onions.
1 bag of previously frozen, thawed pearl onions.
seasonings of your choosing — I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried herbs, and smoked paprika.
Dump a bag of pearl onions in a bowl.
Coat with oil and seasonings. Mix well.
Air fry at 375 degrees for about 13 minutes or until the onions thoroughly blacken.
Here’s how the final product looked in the original TikTok recipe.
Credit: Screenshot: TikTok / @cook.clean.shop.repeat
While this recipe’s utility — or, rather, lack thereof — befuddles me, I will say it is wildly simple. All you do is dump some seasoned onions into an air fryer. It’s about as foolproof as foolproof gets.
The end result? I mean, it’s not bad. It’s not super tasty, either. The outside of the onion is blackened, roasted, and crispy. That’s great. The interior of the onion is still very oniony and sort of…pops…when you crunch into it. It’s a somewhat strange blast of onion shards into your mouth, which is not as great.
Frankly, I would never make this exact recipe again. I just don’t get it. It’s not a meal. It’s not a snack. It’s just a basket of roasted onions. Unless you want to alienate your loved ones with intense onion breath, I just don’t understand the need for this recipe.
Another note: The TikTok suggest cooking the onions for a total of 25 minutes. Unless your air fryer is the weakest in history, that is a truly bonkers amount of time to air fry onions. You will almost certainly end up with hardened onions that taste like soot. For most air fryers, I think 10-15 minutes will suffice. Here’s how my onions looked once finished cooking.
Now, if you’re someone who happens to keep pearl onions on-hand, I think there might be some utility to this recipe. i wouldn’t make it on its own. But tossing some pearl onions in with other vegetables, perhaps as a side for your dinner? I could see it. I’ve long said that the air fryer is best used as a veggie roaster. It does a nice job with the onions.
Cooking is about balance, mixing together savory, sweet, acid, spice, salt, and fat into something tasty and coherent. A heaping plate of onions alone is…not that. But using those onions as a component in another dish is a fine idea.
So while this TikTok recipe might not be my favorite, it’s worth bookmarking the idea for use in another, more balanced, dish.