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Onion Bhajis (Plain Flour Recipe)

Crispy, chewy, salty, it’s the onion bhaji. These glorious takeaway superstars have long been a favourite of mine. They’re such a delicious side to have with a curry. Like most Indian food they’re naturally vegan and so great!

Don’t be intimidated by how intricate they look. Onion bhajis are really easy to make, and I’ve made it even easier. Traditional onion bhaji recipes call for gram flour (chickpea flour), but I realise most of us don’t have that lying about at home (if you do, great job!). So I created this no-gram flour recipe using just plain flour so you can whip up a batch of onion bhajis with pantry ingredients.

The key to onion bhajis is to slice the onion very finely. This allows the onion to cook properly when frying. Thick onions won’t cook all the way through and you’ll end up with them raw in the middle. But, other than that, these are super simple and take no time at all to make. Enjoy.

Looking for some curries to go with these bhajis? Why not try my easy chickpea curry with carrot and parsnip or my spinach and kale saag. They’re both wonderfully flavourful and go great with these crunchy bhajis!

When to eat

Red onions store very easily year round. So you can enjoy these flavourful bhajis whenever you want. If you are looking for the freshest and best onions, I’d recommend eating from July to September when the majority of European onions are harvested.

Onion Bhajis (Plain Flour Recipe)

Crispy, chewy, salty, it's the onion bhaji. These glorious takeaway superstars have long been a favourite of mine. They're such a delicious side to have with a curry. Like most Indian food they're naturally vegan and so great!
4.5 from 159 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 5
Course Side Dish

This meal is around 94% less polluting than the average UK meal.

Eating this recipe will save around 2.75 KG CO2e per person.

That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 22.71 KM in a modern car.

How do I calculate this?


  • 4 Medium Red Onions
  • Sunflower Oil for frying (about 200 – 400ml)


  • 150 g Plain Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Turmeric
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Cumin Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Ginger Powder


  • Peel and chop the red onions in half. Then finely slice them into thin half moon crescents.
  • Mix all the batter ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then, whilst whisking the bowl contents, pour over 180 ml of water. Mix until the batter is smooth. It should be thick and gloopy. Add a splash more water if the batter feels too stiff.
  • Tip the chopped red onion into the mixing bowl. Mix well until the red onions are well incorporated into the batter.
  • Ready an oven tray or large chopping board. Then scoop a 2 inch ball of bhaji batter out of the mixing bowl and shape into a rough patty with your hands. Place the patty onto your tray or board. The patty should be about 4 – 5 cm in width. With patties this size you should get 12 shaped bhajis out of the batter, but, feel free to make them as big or small as you want.
  • Once all the bhajis are shaped. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan (I like to use a dutch oven or Le Creuset pot) over a medium-high heat. You need enough oil in the pan to cover about half the thickness of your bhajis. This is normally about 200 – 400 ml depending on the width of your pan.
  • After a few minutes, pluck an excess red onion slice from your batter bowl or one of your bhajis, and toss into the pan. Once the red onion starts to vigorously bubble and spit, your oil is hot enough to cook with.
  • Using a metal spatula, scrape about 4 – 5 bhajis (one at a time) into your pan. Fry for around 3 minutes or until the underside side begins to crisp and take on a lovely golden brown colour. Flip the bhajis and cook the opposite side for 3 minutes more until evenly crisp and golden brown.
  • When the each batch of bhajis are cooked, remove from each from the pan and place onto a fresh oven tray cover with a kitchen towel or paper. Salt them immediately.
  • Repeat the frying process until all your bhajis are nicely fried.

Hi i'm Hugo

I started Lowly to help more people discover sustainable food. Planet-friendly food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. My recipes celebrate how diverse and flavourful it truly is.

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Amelia Wood

June 29, 2021 at 5:07 pm

Love this onion bhajis plain flour recipe! I had plain flour in the cupboard and wondered if it was possible, they came out perfect! Simple and easy but so tasty, thanks so much!


    June 29, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Great to hear a mélia. I’m glad you enjoyed it.


October 31, 2021 at 6:12 pm

Tried this, very tasty, but don’t forget the salt. YUMMY.

Sylvia Marwick

March 4, 2022 at 6:25 pm

My husband is gluten free and I made these to have with our curry. I used GF plain flour and they were delicious. Thank you for the recipe


    March 8, 2022 at 9:38 am

    I’m so happy to hear that Sylvia, thanks for your kind words!


August 30, 2022 at 5:10 pm

I tried this in the air fryer, it worked just fine I reduced the amount of water so it wasn’t too gloopy. I also put the onions in the flour first to allow the water from them to start to hydrate the batter.


October 7, 2022 at 6:06 pm

Can these be frozen after cooling down and if so what’s the best way to warm them Uk again.


    October 22, 2022 at 8:30 am

    Hi Karen, I haven’t tried reheating these from frozen, so I’m not 100% confident of the best way. However, I normally find that baking works best similar tempura-style veggies I’ve frozen.

Talia Lewis

March 29, 2023 at 3:08 pm

I made wild garlic bhajis using this recipe and they turned out amazingly! Thankyou for the fab recipe-I think that I’ll be trying out your nettle pesto next!


May 19, 2023 at 7:50 pm

Having tried another recipe, i found this one far better. I have to admit I forgot the salt, whoops


    May 26, 2023 at 11:11 am

    oh dear! Glad you enjoyed it none the less.

Emmy Hargreaves

November 7, 2023 at 1:29 pm

I wonder if this would work using ground oatmeal instead of flour?