Skip to Content

Lighter Air Fryer Onion Bhaji or Bhajia Quick and Easy

My air fryer onion bhaji recipe is a thing of great beauty, it is simply an onion fritter made from a spiced batter and they taste fantastic.

I like to cook these in an air fryer as maintaining a clean deep fat fryer is a chore, but I have instructions for frying too.

Portrait image of crispy air fryer onion bhaji or pakora served with a curry and mint and yoghurt dip

The Great Onion Bhaji

My love of Indian food is scarcely hidden here on my site, there is however a lack of Indian starters, sides and snacks.

Now that is not because I do not like them, but it is because they are often fried.

It is not the frying that causes me concern, it is having oil in the fryer hanging around all of the time.

Also the spicing in Indian food means that the oil really is only of future use with similarly spiced food.

As a result, I was always going to follow up my air fryer chicken wings and air fryer arancini with this pakora recipe.

I was already making plans for this air fryer onion bhaji recipe before I hit the “add to cart” button.

Portrait close up image of crispy air fryer onion bhaji or pakora

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Bhajia cooked in an Air Fryer worth it?

Yes… Well, of course, that was going to be the answer or they would not be here!

Are they as good as a fried pakora? Sadly not, however, that does not mean that they should be discounted.

I have not eaten any form of homemade bhaji for far too long, and the reason is that whole oil hanging around ‘thing’.

Cooking them in this way means that I am more likely to cook them which is a good thing!

Are these onion bhaji spicy?

My version is heavily spiced, however, they are not spicy hot.

I have no idea why, but I have never put chilli in any form into mine. I guess it is a habit, if you wanted you could shred fresh chilli and add them to the mix.

Alternatively, you could add chilli powder to the batter mix.

Can I use plain flour?

You could but in my testing, I found that plain flour led to bhaji that were quite “stodgy”.

The combination of rice flour and gram flour gave crispy bhaji with just the right amount of batter. If you have too much the centre of your bhaji will be stodgy and gloopy.

That is not good, you need to have just enough batter to loosely hold together the onions.

Portrait overhead image of crispy air fryer onion bhaji or pakora served with a curry and mint and yoghurt dip

Serving Suggestions

I’ve always known onion bhaji as a starter with an Indian Chutney in a British Indian restaurant. Something like this green tomato chutney would be perfect.

However, I love dipping them in curry! In fact, you will see a take on my pork vindaloo in the background of these pictures.

And yup, I use them in lieu of naan bread, because, well because I can!

I always add a yoghurt and mint sauce too, essentially it is my mint raita recipe without the cucumber.

Landscape image of crispy air fryer onion bhaji or pakora served with a curry and mint and yoghurt dip

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Air fryer, I have also given instructions for frying as a result you can use a wok or deep-fat fryer.
  • Stovetop or microwave to melt the ghee.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Mixing bowl.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Square image of crispy air fryer onion bhaji or pakora served with a curry and mint and yoghurt dip
Yield: 4 Bhajis

Air Fryer Onion Bhaji Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes

An onion bhaji or bhajiya as an Indian snack, starter or side that is in all but name a pakora. My version is generously spiced although not hot with chili and is cooked in an air fryer. Don't worry though I have frying instructions too!

Ingredients

  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Onion
  • 45g (¼ Cup + 1 Tbsp) Gram Flour
  • 15g (1½ Tbsp) Rice Flour
  • ½ Tsp Turmeric
  • ½ Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ½ Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • ½ Tsp Onion Seeds
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • 10g (¼ Cup) Chives
  • 100ml (⅓ Cup + 1 Tbsp) Water
  • Oil Spray

Instructions

  1. Melt the ghee over a low heat.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Mash the garlic clove, grate the ginger, snip the chives and add them to the dry ingredients.
  4. Pour in the melted ghee and the water.
  5. Top and tail a small-medium onion and remove the skin, cut it in half and finely slice from the top to bottom and add it to the bowl, then stir to combine.
  6. Spray the air fryer basket with oil.
  7. Wet your hands and form into 4 fairly loosely formed 'balls'.
  8. Place the balls in the air fryer, spray them with oil spray and then cook for 12 minutes at 180°C or 350°F.
  9. After 12 minutes increase the temperature to 200°C or 400°F respray with oil and cook for a further 4 minutes.

To Deep Fry

Follow my instructions to point 6.

  1. Drop into hot oil at 180°C or 350°F and cook for 4-6 minutes, flipping over halfway through.
  2. Transfer to a piece of kitchen paper and allow to cool a little before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

2

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 143Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 297mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Joanne

Monday 4th of September 2023

Lovely, thanks! I used a splash of oil in place of the ghee (I just didn’t have any to hand but as an aside it makes them vegan if anyone needs that). I also added a bit of garam masala to the spicing, just because I fancied it. A great alternative to deep fried restaurant/take away ones, much easier to justify as an everyday thing!

Brian Jones

Thursday 7th of September 2023

Glad you enjoyed them Joanne... your last point is exactly why I came up with these, deep fried bhaji are not the sort of thing that you can do everyday, or even every time it's curry night but these are perfect for increasing my bhaji intake :)

Julie Ann Leverett

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

Have been looking for a good bhaji recipe, so might try this. Just a couple of questions,

if using gram and rice flour, this WOULD make them gluten free wouldn't it?

Have you ever pre-made and kept them for a future meal. How long will they keep and how should I keep them. Assume that they would not freeze well? Anybody out there tried this?

Thanks

Julie

Brian Jones

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

Hi Julie...

Gram flour and rice flour are gluten free (I believe) although you do need to be careful to ensure that it is processed in a way to avoid cross-contamination if you are GF for medical reasons.

As for freezing them I am not a fan personally speaking. I have tried, but they become soft and doughy which I am not keen on.

Enjoy

Brian

Chris

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

Although I have gram flour I don’t have rice flour is there a substitute please

Jason

Sunday 31st of December 2023

@Brian Jones, would coconut flour work?

Brian Jones

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

Use regular all-purpose flour, it will make the dough a little heavier so just add it a little at a time until it gets to a good texture similar to the one in my video and you should be good to go.

Nanda Almond

Friday 21st of August 2020

These are really tasty, but they stick to the bottom of the air fryer. I sprayed with olive oil, a lot, it still stuck.. any advice??

Brian Jones

Saturday 29th of August 2020

Hi Nanda, glad you like them... Mine did not really stick at all, but if they are an easy solution would be to cut some small rounds of baking parchment the same size as the bhaji and cook them on that.

Choclette

Friday 3rd of July 2020

You're a genius. I adore good onion bhajis. I have an air fryer and gram flour so looks like I'm going to have to try making some.

Brian Jones

Sunday 5th of July 2020

Now that's not a word I am associated with often ;) Enjoy :D

Skip to Recipe