Fried Onions and Jalapenos

Our favorite place in town for a steak is Holdren’s Steaks and Seafood in Santa Barbara. They have a signature steak sandwich that features a topping of fried onions and jalapenos, which they also use to top several of their other offerings. Holdren’s calls them onion straws and they are killer dynamite. I had to learn how to make them so I could use them at home. When I deep fry anything, I strain and save the oil to use another time. That way I don’t feel bad about using so much costly oil. We use avocado oil because we can get it through our former business. Avocado oil has the highest smoke point of any oil (510 degrees). So you can get it really hot and fry stuff very crispy. Avocado oil is also very healthy for you; very similar to olive oil. If you can’t find avocado oil, use peanut or canola oil. I use my trusty mandoline to slice the onions and jalapenos thinly. This is the same mandoline that you see all the chefs using on cooking shows like Chopped.

Benriner Mandoline Slicer, with 4 Japanese Stainless Steel Blades, BPA Free, 12.75 x 3.625-Inches, New Model


Used on top of the steak sandwich at Holdren’s in Santa Barbara. I had to learn how to make them myself

Serves: 4

Holdren’s Fried Onion and Jalapeno Rings


2 medium, yellow onions – rings sliced 1/4″ thick
6 medium, jalapenos – seeded and sliced in 1/4″ thick rings
1 cup, flour
1 tablespoon, cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons, table salt
kosher salt – to taste
1/4 teaspoon, ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon, baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup, milk
1/2 cup, club soda
12 ounces, avocado oil – or other neutral tasting oil such as peanut or canola


  1. Heat oven to 250. Prepare a cookie sheet covered with paper towels.
  2. Wash and peel onions and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Separate rounds into rings.
  3. Wash and cut the stem end off of the jalapenos. Using an apple-peeler, core out the inside of the jalapeno and slice into rings 1/4-inch thick.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend well.
  5. In a large measuring cup, combine eggs, milk and club soda. Whisk together.
  6. In a large, high sided pot heat oil over medium high heat until thermometer reads 375 – 400 degrees.
  7. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients, blending well.
  8. In two batches, dip onions and jalapenos into batter then directly into hot oil being careful not to splash.
  9. Fry until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Place on paper towels on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Place in warm oven while you fry second batch.
  10. Wait until oil returns to temperature then repeat frying and salting.
  11. Serve immediately.

Avocado oil works best for this recipe because it can be heated very hot. It has the highest smoke point of any oil. Be sure to use a big burner that will recover the heat quickly. Monitor the temperature for the crispiest results.


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