Finely sliced onion smothered in a simple, fragrantly spiced batter and fried to crispy perfection.
This recipe uses gram flour – which is a flour made from chickpeas. This means they’re also naturally gluten free!

The gram flour is pretty inexpensive (and you can use it for my chicken pakora too!)

Close up of Onion bhajis on a white plate

Jump to:

A really fantastic side dish or starter to serve with that Indian fakeaway!
We love a crispy onion bhaji dipped in sweet chilli sauce.

I find onion bhajis can be a little hit and miss when eating out. Sometimes they can be a little greasy and flavourless. But when they get it right? Oh yes!! That’s when I eat too many and can’t fit in the main course.

That perfectly crispy, slightly salty and mouth-wateringly spicy combo is what we’re getting with this recipe.

📋 What do we need?

Ingredients for onion bhaji on a wooden table
  • Onions – use 2 large brown (or yellow) onions to make around 10-12 bhajis. Brown onions are best as they have a stronger onion flavour than white or red onions which mellows out during cooking to give the pakoras a sweet & savoury flavour.
  • Gram (besan/chickpea) flour – gives the bhaji a mild, nutty taste and beautiful crunch. Plus it also happens to be gluten-free, so it’s a great option if you have gluten-free guests or family members.
  • Spices – we’re going in with lots of lovely spices plus a little chilli heat and some dried coriander (cilantro) leaf.
  • Bicarbonate of soda and cornflour (cornstarch). These ingredients help to lighten the batter, and to ensure the bhajis are crispy rather than having a heavy, thick crunch.

🔪 How to make Onion Bhaji

**Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post**

  1. Finely slice the onions – you can do this with a mandoline or a knife. I use a knife as I quite like having some bits of onion that aren’t too uniform in size to give the bhajis a more rustic look.
  2. Place the onion in a bowl and add the spices, gram flour, cornflour (cornstarch) and bicarbonate of soda. Mix together to coat the onion.
  3. Add water a splash at a time and mix. Keep going until you have a thick batter on the onions.
  4. Take a rounded spoonful of the batter, place in your hands and squash it together to compact it a little, then place back on the spoon and lower into a waiting pan of hot oil. Repeat, until you have 4-5 bhajis in the pan (you’ll need to work in a couple of batches).
  5. Fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden. You’ll need to turn them over once so they cook evenly.
8 image collage showing how to make onion bhaji

👩‍🍳PRO TIP The gram flour can go a little hard if the batter is left to sit too long, so it’s important to fry the bhajis right after mixing the batter.

Serve with sweet chilli sauce.

Onion bhajis on a white plate. Small white bowl filled with chilli sauce just in shot.

🍽️ More Indian sides

Pile up the table with these Indian-inspired extras:

Overhead of Onion bhajis on a white plate.

📺 Watch how to make it

YouTube video

🍲 Delicious Curries to serve with your
Onion Bhaji

Stay updated with new recipes!
Subscribe to the newsletter to hear when I post a new recipe. I’m also on YouTube (new videos every week) and Instagram (behind-the-scenes stories & beautiful food photos).

Want to save this recipe to your email?
Just enter your email and get it sent straight to your inbox!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
5 from 10 votes

Onion Bhaji

Finely sliced onion smothered in a simple, fragrantly spiced batter and fried to crispy perfection. They're also naturally gluten free!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 -12 golfball-sized bhajis
Course: side dish
Cuisine: Indian


  • vegetable oil for deep frying approx. 3-4 cups (720-960ml)
  • 2 large onions peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp dried coriander leaf
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 130 g (1 ½ cups + 2 tbsp) gram flour also known as chickpea flour or besan
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda baking soda
  • 135 ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) water

To Serve:

  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • sweet and sour sauce or sweet chilli sauce for dipping


  • Heat the oil in a wok or large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. You need at least 3 inches of oil but do ensure the pan or wok is less than half full of oil as you don’t want it to bubble over.
    vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Place the sliced onion in a bowl.
    2 large onions
  • Add the minced ginger, chopped green chilli, cumin, ground coriander, dried coriander leaf, chilli flakes, ground fenugreek, salt, garlic salt, gram flour, cornflour (cornstarch), and the bicarbonate of soda.
    1 tbsp minced ginger, 1 green chilli, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp dried coriander leaf, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp ground fenugreek, 3/4 tsp salt, ½ tsp garlic salt, 130 g (1 ½ cups + 2 tbsp) gram flour, 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch, ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Mix together to coat the onion.
  • Add in the water, a splash at a time, until you have a thick batter that coats the onion. You may not need all of the water.
    135 ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) water
  • Test the heat of the oil by dropping a little blob of the batter in the wok. It should sizzle and rise to the top.
  • Carefully add a rounded tablespoon of the onion bhaji mixture into the oil. I like to squeeze the mixture in my hand to compact it, then put it back on the spoon to lower it in the oil – this will help give you a uniform shape that doesn’t fall apart in the oil.
  • Repeat, so you have 4 or 5 bhaji’s frying at the same time (don’t add more than this as the oil may boil over and also too much mixture will cool the oil – resulting in greasy bhajis that aren’t as crisp).
  • Fry for 3-4 minutes until the coating is dark golden brown.
  • Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Repeat, frying further bhajis, until the mixture is used up.
  • You can keep cooked batches warm in a warm oven (approx. 130C/250F (fan)) whilst cooking the remaining bhajis.
  • Once all of the onion bhajis are cooked, place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh coriander.
    1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • Serve with sweet and sour or sweet chilli sauce.
    sweet and sour sauce or sweet chilli sauce


YouTube video


Can I make them ahead?
The onion bhajis will be at their crispiest when freshly cooked, but you can make them ahead if you prefer.
Make the bhajis, then cool, cover and refrigerate for up to two days.
Reheat on a tray (uncovered) in the oven at 200C/400F for 5-6 minutes, until hot throughout.
Can I freeze them?
Yes, make the bhajis, then cool, cover and freeze for up to a month. I find it’s best to freeze them on a tray, so they’re not touching, then after a couple of hours (when they’re fully frozen), transfer to a sealed container or freezer bag.
Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat on a tray (uncovered) in the oven at 200C/400F for 5-6 minutes, until hot throughout.
Ingredient swaps
  • Use red onions for a milder onion flavour and hint of colour.
  • Add grated carrot, parsnip or courgette (zucchini) for extra veg
  • Change up the spices if you fancy a change – add more chilli flakes to make them hotter, swap out the cumin and coriander for your favourite curry powder, add more ginger for a bit of zing!
Nutritional information is approximate and is for one onion bhaji – based on this recipe making 12 onion bhajis.
I’ve estimated 1/3 cup of oil is absorbed during the frying process – you may find your onion bhajis absorb more or less than this.


Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 64IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

Welcome to Kitchen Sanctuary

Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate the recipe

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Didn’t have gram flour, but still tastiest bhaji’s I’ve ever made.
    Excellent recipe, Nicky. Will use the gram next time.

  2. 5 stars
    This was the best recipe I’ve tried. Crisp on the outside and not dense. I made double the quantity for 10 of us and they were not enough!

  3. 5 stars
    Doubled it as had hungry teens in the house! Great recipe, start off with oil too hot and they didn’t cook inside properly but soon got hang of it, awesome.

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious, the bhajis came out crisp on the outside and lovely and light on the inside. I will be cooking these again for sure.