Burger King’s New Onion Rings: Blech!


Cooking them a little more probably wouldn’t help.

I love onion rings, and invariably order them whenever they appear on a menu. The trouble is — 95 percent of the rings found in restaurants suck, which means I’m often disappointed. By comparison, 50 percent of restaurant french fries could be classified as decent or better, and of those, 15 percent go all the way to exemplary. The main defects of restaurant onion rings include breadiness, greasiness, and the use of onions with no flavor whatsoever.

So I didn’t have much hope when I sprinted to Burger King to try their new, extensively hyped onion rings, samples of which were being given away free one week ago. The small size ($1.99 plus 18 cents, or $2.17 total) contained 16.5 onion rings, which means that each puny ring costs 13 cents.

Now, onion rings can be either coated with flour, cornmeal, or some combination, or enrobed in a thick batter, often containing beer, which makes them shiny and greasy. BK takes the first route, creating a coating that contains both cornmeal and flour. The rings are not bad to look at, despite a startling smallness.

The problem is, they’re very low on oniony flavor. It made me suspect at first that there was no actual onion in there, but when I surgically dissected one with the help of a penknife, I found what appeared to be botanical material inside. It was pale and broken, but nonetheless actual onion. Maybe freezing had deprived it of flavor, or maybe onions had been selected that were naturally low on flavor, which is weird, because one of the predominant flavor notes of the Whopper is raw onion.

So, look elsewhere for good onion rings. These have only one advantage: relative cheapness.