Copycat Chili's Awesome Blossom Recipe

It's always fun to try out new appetizers to share when you're out to dinner for the evening. Restaurant options can be very creative, featuring dishes we would never think to make at home. Well, just because you aren't a restaurant chef it doesn't mean you can't act like one in your own kitchen! Kristen Carli, registered dietitian, owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness, and a Mashed recipe developer, has got you covered. Carli has created a copycat recipe of Chili's Awesome Blossom Petals. No edible flowers are served here — in fact, it's a fried onion.

The appetizer is often called a blooming onion because, as the onion fries in oil, it begins to open up much like a flower in bloom. Aside from its impressive appearance, the dish is delicious, and as Carli remarks, "Is there anything better than fried onions?" 

The fried blossom has the perfect, crispy crunch to enjoy with a tangy dip and a cold drink before your main meal. Thanks to Carli's tasty recipe, there's no need to wait for your next Chili's visit to enjoy a homemade Awesome Blossom. 

Get all the ingredients

To start off, you'll definitely need an onion. Carli opts for a yellow onion for this dish since the stronger flavor shines through the fried batter. Next, you'll need flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to elevate the batter. In case you can't use regular all-purpose flour, there's no need to miss out. Carli thinks it would be successful with gluten-free flour and she recommends Pamelas Products or Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flours. 

Next, you'll need liquid in order for the flour to stick to the onion. Carli chooses buttermilk (but there are some substitutes you can use if you're out of buttermilk). If you're aiming to keep this recipe vegan, Carli thinks that "Plant-based milk would probably work here too." Skip the sweetened chocolate soy milk, though. "Use an unsweetened almond milk to keep it neutral in flavor," recommends Carli.

Next, whip up a quick dip with three basic ingredients: sour cream, ketchup, and horseradish. They're an unexpected combination, but the balance of sour, sweet, and spicy makes for a delicious dip. Finally, you'll need enough oil to fry the onion — choose an oil with a high smoke point to avoid burnt flavors. Some good options are canola oil, sunflower, avocado, or peanut oil.

Slice the onion into eight connected pieces

The first step is fundamental and requires cutting the onion so that it creates a blooming effect when it fries. 

Start by cutting off the stem and an additional quarter-inch from the end of the onion. With the help of your knife, carefully peel away the onion's outer skin. Next, lay the onion root side down and slice it in half, without cutting all the way through. Make sure that about a quarter to a half of an inch remain intact. Then, turn the onion 90 degrees and repeat the slice, cutting the onion in half again, without actually slicing through to the other side. Once again, turn the onion 45 degrees and repeat the slice, never cutting through completely. Finally, turn the onion 180 degrees and cut it part way through. Carli notes, "You should have eight pieces — similar to how you cut a pie, but do not cut any all the way through."

Place the onion in an ice bath

Once you've cut your onion in such a way to facilitate blooming, you'll want to soak it in ice cold water for 45 minutes until the layers start to peel back. This step helps to reduce the pungency of the raw onion, since spending time in water helps eliminate sulfur compounds (via The Kitchn). The sulfur compounds contribute to the intense flavors and aromas, and are therefore lighter thanks to the ice water bath.

Heat the oil and make the batter

Meanwhile, pour a generous amount of oil into a large pot and heat it on the stovetop on medium high until it reaches 300 F. 

As it heats, set out a medium bowl for the batter ingredients. Add the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika and whisk everything together to combine. 

Set out a separate bowl and add two cups of buttermilk. Now your battering station setup is ready!

Dip the onion into the batter ingredients to coat

Now, dip the onion into the flour mixture so that it is properly coated. Next, dip the onion into the buttermilk and then, place the onion into the flour mixture once again. Roll it around until it is thoroughly covered with the batter mixture to ensure maximum crispiness. 

Now that the onion is well coated, check the temperature of the heating oil to make sure it has reached 300 F. If the oil is not sufficiently hot, the onion won't get crispy because the batter will just end up absorbing a lot of oil. 

Fry the onion in the hot oil

When the oil reaches a temperature of 300 F, carefully lower the onion into the pot, avoiding too much splatter. Tongs can be especially helpful to prevent any oil burns! Let the onion fry in the oil for about five minutes — you will know it is ready when it becomes golden brown in color. Be sure to keep an eye on the pot while the onion deep fries to avoid any potential mishaps. 

Prepare the dipping sauce

While the onion is frying, set out a small bowl to make the tasty dipping sauce to serve alongside the crispy snack. 

Add the sour cream, ketchup, and prepared horseradish to the bowl and stir everything properly until the ingredients are smoothly combined. 

There you have it — a tangy dipping sauce with a spicy kick to cut through the grease. It certainly makes a perfect match for the crispy fried onion. 

Serve the fried onion with dipping sauce

The onion should be a golden brown color by now, so turn off the heat and carefully remove it from the oil. If you want to drain away some of the oil, place the onion on a paper towel to absorb the excess. 

This copycat Chili's Awesome Blossom recipe is not made to eat later! You'll want to serve it right away with the tasty dipping sauce. Forget about leftovers — once you've had a first bite, you'll know you're going to want to finish this fried onion. 

"I would serve this as an appetizer," says Carli, which is the perfect way to relive the restaurant experience at home, enjoying this delicious fried onion to start off the evening. 

Copycat Chili's Awesome Blossom Recipe
5 from 7 ratings
This copycat Chili's Awesome Blossom recipe has the perfect, crispy crunch to enjoy with a tangy dip. There's no need to wait for your next Chili's visit!
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
5
minutes
Servings
8
servings
fried onion blossom on plate
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons horseradish
  • oil, for frying
Directions
  1. Slice off the stem and another ¼-inch from the onion. Then, peel the onion carefully, removing the skin.
  2. Lay the onion root side down and slice it in half without cutting all the way through. Leave about ¼-inch to ½-inch that isn't cut.
  3. Turn the onion 90 degrees and repeat the same slice, without cutting all the way through.
  4. Turn the onion 45 degrees and repeat the slice.
  5. Again, turn the onion 180 degrees and repeat the slice. You should have 8 pieces, without cutting any slice all the way through.
  6. Place the onion in a large ice water bath for about 45 minutes until the layers start to peel back.
  7. Heat a large pot of oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 300 F.
  8. In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.
  9. Whisk the ingredients together to combine.
  10. In a separate medium-sized bowl, add the buttermilk.
  11. Dip the onion into the flour mixture, then dip it into the buttermilk, and finally dip it back into the flour mixture.
  12. Next, carefully lower the onion into the hot oil and fry it for about 5 minutes, until it is golden brown.
  13. In the meantime, add the sour cream, ketchup, and horseradish to a small bowl, and stir everything to combine.
  14. Carefully remove the onion from the hot oil and serve it with the dipping sauce.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 392
Total Fat 24.6 g
Saturated Fat 3.6 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 9.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 36.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Total Sugars 5.6 g
Sodium 369.2 mg
Protein 6.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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