Copycat Sonic Onion Rings Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Copycat Sonic Onion Rings

Total Time
Prep: 20 min. + soaking Cook: 5 min./batch
If you've ever made homemade onion rings, they may not have tasted like Sonic onion rings. That's because they use an ingredient you wouldn't suspect to be in this fan-favorite fried food. This copycat recipe for Sonic's onion rings let's you in on the secret.

Updated: Mar. 26, 2024

Onion rings are a fan favorite. You can pair them with burgers, hot dogs, wings—even other appetizer-style fried foods like mozzarella sticks or french fries. If you’ve made baked onion rings or fried onion rings, though, you probably haven’t used melted vanilla ice cream. It might sound odd, but that’s the trick to creating a true copycat of Sonic onion rings. The popular drive-in restaurant also uses cornmeal in their crispy coating. With two secret ingredients, it’s no wonder we love their onion rings so much.

Copycat Sonic Onion Rings Ingredients

  • Spanish or yellow onion
  • All-purpose flour
  • Vanilla ice cream, melted
  • Cornmeal
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • Seasoned salt, optional


Step 1: Prep the onion

Cut the onion into 1/4-inch slices and separate into rings. Soak the rings in cold water for 30 minutes. Then, drain the onions and pat them dry with paper towels. Set aside. Heat oil to 375°F in an electric skillet or a deep fryer.

Step 2: Make a coating station

Line up three shallow bowls side-by-side. In the first one, place flour. In the second one, place melted ice cream. In the third one, place cornmeal. One by one, coat the onion rings with flour, then dip in the ice cream, and then coat with the cornmeal. Press the onions into the cornmeal to make sure it adheres to the ice cream.

Step 3: Fry

Fry the coated onion rings, a few at a time, until golden brown. This will take about 30 seconds on each side. Drain on papers towels, and sprinkle with seasoned salt, if desired.

Copycat Sonic Onion Rings Tips

Copycat Sonic Onion RingsTMB Studio

How else can you make onion rings?

For starters, you can use different types of onions if yellow onions aren’t your preference. Since Sonic onion rings are on the sweeter side due to the ice cream, they might not be for everyone. If you’re looking for a more savory and classic taste, try burger joint onion rings or even copycat Burger King onion rings.

What do you serve with Sonic onion rings?

There are so many good restaurant copycat recipes, but if we’re sticking with the Sonic theme, this copycat bacon cheeseburger is perfect for pairing with crispy onion rings. If you just need a snack, these sweet onion rings go well with french fry dipping sauces. And, of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say you could serve these onion rings with homemade milkshakes for the ideal summer snack. Really, pair them with any one of these Sonic copycat recipes!

Copycat Sonic Onion Rings

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 5 min
Yield 4 servings.


  • 1 large Spanish or yellow onion
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • Seasoned salt, optional


  1. Cut onion into 1/4-in. slices; separate into rings. Soak in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain onions; pat dry with paper towels. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°.
  2. Place flour in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, place melted ice cream. Place cornmeal in a third shallow bowl. Coat onion rings with flour, then dip in ice cream. Coat with cornmeal, pressing to adhere.
  3. Fry onion rings, a few at a time, until golden brown, 30 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels. If desired, sprinkle with seasoned salt.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 416 calories, 15g fat (3g saturated fat), 11mg cholesterol, 26mg sodium, 64g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 3g fiber), 7g protein.

If you like Sonic's onion rings, you'll want to try this unique recipe using vanilla ice cream. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen