Onion Bhaji Recipe | Easy Plain Flour Method | Hint Of Helen (2024)

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Onion bhajis are one of my all-time favourite snacks. I love them served with green chutney or spicy ketchup, and they’re the perfect side dish or starter for a curry night in. Tonight we ate our bhajis as a side dish to my favourite chicken jalfrezi.

Onion Bhaji Recipe | Easy Plain Flour Method | Hint Of Helen (1)

They’re so much easier to make than you’d expect, once you’ve mastered making them from scratch you’ll never buy from a supermarket ever again. With simple ingredients, these bhajis are guilt-free and vegan-friendly. You’ll likely have all the ingredients already in your cupboards to whip up a batch today!

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The key to a great onion bhaji is to slice the onion very finely – this is important so the onion has time to cook within the batter when frying. If your onions are too chunky they’ll end up raw inside the bhaji, missing out on the delicate, sweet taste of thinly sliced onions.

In this recipe, I have chosen to use plain flour instead of gram flour. I am to make all recipes on my site with easily accessible, fuss-free ingredients. Whilst gram flour is the traditional flour used when making bhajis – it is not always readily available in all UK supermarkets. And you might what to make onion bhajis with what you have in without having to make a special trip to the supermarket.

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Is there a difference between using gram flour and plain flour for bhajis?

The taste does differ slightly. Gram flour has an earthier, nutty flavour which works really well in Indian cooking. It also holds liquid better and becomes a batter very easily. To make up the difference we’re adding some extra spice to our plain flour mixture and a little more water. These bhajis turn out great every time using plain flour – practice makes perfect.

Leftover Onion Bhajis?

These onion bhajis will last around 3 days when stored in the fridge. To reheat simply place in your Actifry for a couple of minutes, or the oven for around 5 minutes on 180C. They’re also amazing cold the next day in lunch boxes.

If you make too many and have leftovers (we never have leftovers haha) you can freeze these onion bhajis. Simply place in a zip-lock freezer bag and store in the fridge for up to a month. Defrost thoroughly and reheat in the oven to get them crispy again.

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How to make Onion Bhajis at home with plain flour

Scroll down for printable recipe card and ingredient list

1. Cut two onions in half

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2. Slice as finely as you can, lengthways

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3. Then, in a bowl, measure out the flour and spices – then mix to combine

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4. Add water gradually (tbsp at a time) to the flour mixture and stir until a batter forms

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5. The batter should be thick and gloopy, slowly dripping off the back of a spoon

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6. Add the chopped onions to the batter mixture and stir to evenly coat

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7. Then, heat oil in a deep frying pan

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8. Add a small drop of batter into the oil once heated, it should bubble and rise to the top

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9. Take 1 tbsp of the onion batter mixture at a time – for each bhaji

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10. Drop each bhaji into the hot oil – one at a time. Make sure to not crowd the pan. Cook for 2 mins on each side, or until brown and crisp

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11. Place onto a sheet of kitchen roll to drain any excess oil – and turn off the heat.

Yield: 8 bhajis

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Delicious onion bhajis made easily at home with plain flour and spices. An Indian classic which is perfect served with dips or alongside curry.

Prep Time5 minutes

Cook Time5 minutes

Total Time10 minutes


  • Vegetable Oil
  • 7 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion granules (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic granules (optional)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 white onions (medium/large in size)


  1. Slice the onion(s) into thin strips - make them as thin as you can
  2. Then, in a bowl combine the flour and spices
  3. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, until a thick batter is formed
  4. Add the sliced onions into the batter and mix to thoroughly coat each piece
  5. Next, pour oil into a deep-frying pan, to cover the bottom of the pan
  6. Heat oil to 190C - test this by dropping a little bit of the batter into the oil, it should rise to the top and bubble. Once this happens, take a tbsp of the bhaji mix and drop it into the oil, one at a time, to form the bhajis
  7. Cook each bhaji for 2 minutes on each side
  8. Once browned and cooked, remove from the oil and turn the heat off
  9. Place the bhajis on some kitchen roll to drain off any excess oil
  10. Serve with dips as a starter, or alongside curry for a delicious side dish

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per ServingCalories 66Carbohydrates 8gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 1g

See more: By Ingredient, Easy Dinner Recipes, Indian, Indian Take Away, Lunch, Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian

Onion Bhaji Recipe | Easy Plain Flour Method | Hint Of Helen (2024)


Can I substitute plain flour for gram flour? ›

You can substitute the gram flour for plain/all purpose flour if you would prefer and they would work just as well, but I like the interesting 'nutty' taste of the gram flour.

Why are my onion bhajis falling apart? ›

The best fix is to make sure your onion is as finely sliced as possible – the finer the mixture, the better it will bind. If your bhajis are still falling apart in the oven, we'd recommend trying a muffin tray lined with low calorie cooking spray to separate the mixture into 12 individual moulds.

Do onion bhajis contain flour? ›

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.

What happens if you use plain flour instead of all-purpose flour? ›

Substituting Plain Flour in Your Recipes

For each cup of all-purpose flour, simply use one cup of plain flour. Keep in mind that plain flour in the UK has a slightly lower protein content, which may affect the texture of your final baked goods.

How do I substitute plain flour? ›

My top 4 replacements
  1. Rice flour. A traditional ingredient in many eastern recipes, rice flour is gluten free and a great alternative that you might have in your cupboard. ...
  2. Quinoa flour. ...
  3. Almond flour. ...
  4. Pulse flours.
May 26, 2020

What is the difference between onion bhaji and pakora? ›

The differences come in the ingredients that are deep fried and the spices that are added to the flour. If you're interested in a spicier version that can also include meat, then opt for pakoras. If you want a traditional onion fritter, then bhajis might be best for you.

What are onion bhajis made of? ›

  • 2 onions, finely sliced.
  • 100g gram flour.
  • ½ tsp gluten-free baking powder.
  • ½ tsp chilli powder.
  • ½ tsp turmeric.
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped.
  • vegetable oil for frying.

What is the difference between bhaji and pakora? ›

It can mean different things dependent on whether you are in North or South India. Pakora is a Punjabi word, and refers to vegetables, meat or fish deep fried in a spicy batter. Bhajis can refer to deep fried vegetables as well as other vegetarian dishes.

What flour do Indian restaurants use? ›

Suji or Rava: Semolina (wheat)-based and often used as a batter for Indian dishes such as Upma and Rawa Ladoo. Maida: Refined wheat flour found in some Indian desserts, breads, and other menu items.

How healthy are onion bhajis? ›

It also contains fiber, manganese, nutrient B6, potassium, copper. Onion bhajia are very low in calories one more valid justification is to eat it as a guide to weight loss, likewise known to assist with killing microbes that might cause colds and other nasties throughout the cold weather months.

Can you use plain flour instead of gram flour for pakora? ›

Traditionally, pakoras, or pakodas, are made using gram flour (besan) as the primary ingredient for the batter. Gram flour gives pakoras a distinctive flavor, texture, and golden color when fried. However, it's possible to make pakoras using maida (all-purpose flour), although the texture and taste will be different.

Why do you soak onions in water? ›

When preparing raw onions, soak in cold water before hand to remove some of the pungency and soften the flavor. However since soaking too long will dilute the flavor, soaking in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes is recommended.

Do you eat onion bhajis hot or cold? ›

Gently fried onion fritter spiced with cumin, turmeric and coriander. Can be eaten cold or reheated in the oven.

Do onion bhajis contain egg? ›

Combining thinly sliced onions with a spiced chickpea flour batter and pan-fried until crispy, these onion fritters are gluten-free, egg-free, vegan, and a healthy appetizer, snack, or side! There's nothing quite like a portion of onion bhaji to complete an Indian meal.

How do I substitute chickpea flour for regular flour? ›

As I said, chickpea is hearty. So, if you are going to use chickpea flour in a recipe that calls for all purpose flour, use half. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of all purpose flour you would then just use 1/2 cup chickpea flour.

What flour is the same as gram flour? ›

Besan flour, gram flour, and garbanzo bean flour are all chickpea flours; they're just made from different varieties of chickpeas. Chickpea flour or garbanzo bean flour is milled using whole white chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Besan or gram flour is made by grinding split brown chickpeas (chana dal) into a fine powder.

What is the gram conversion for flour? ›

A cup of all-purpose flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces or 120 grams.

Is gram flour the same as white flour? ›

High in fiber and protein: Gram flour is a good source of fiber and protein, making it a nutritious alternative to refined flour. Versatile: Gram flour can be used in a variety of recipes, from savory dishes like pancakes, dumplings, and curries to sweet dishes.


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