Makes 3
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Onions are often the silent, under-appreciated ingredient that enhances the flavours of our creations, but the humble root vegetable takes centre stage in this easy yet eye-catching recipe. While tastefully named ‘blooming’ onions, these take next to no effort to make. Pair it with our cheesy tomato and horseradish sauce, and you’ll have yourself a crispy, spicy and undeniably piquant snack or side dish.


  • 3 large red onions (900 g)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (150 g) plain flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying


  • 25 g butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) milk
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) apple cider
  • 50 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (60 g) grated vegetarian cheddar
  • ½ cup (50 g) grated vegetarian mozzarella
  • 3 tsps wholegrain mustard
  • ⅓ cup (100 g) mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsps sour cream
  • 2 tbsps horseradish cream
  • 1 tsp tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
Slice 1 cm off the pointed end of the onions; peel, keeping the root end intact. Using a sharp knife, cut the onion into quarters, almost all the way down to the root end. Continue cutting each section in between the first cuts until you have 16 evenly-spaced cuts, taking care not to cut all the way through. Using your fingers, separate the sections into petals (be quite vigorous when separating the petals, as each onion should resemble an open blooming ‘flower’).

Whisk milk and egg in a medium bowl. Combine flour, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and oregano in a medium bowl; season. Dip onions in milk mixture, then coat well in flour mixture. Refrigerate.


Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan one-third full with oil; heat to 180 C(or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 secs). Working in batches, deep-fry one onion at a time and turning once, for 8 mins or until golden. Drain on paper towel.


To make warm cider cheese sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook, stirring, for 1 min. Gradually add milk, stirring continuously, for 3 mins or until mixture thickens. Add cider; cook for 1 min. Remove from heat; whisk in cheeses and mustard until smooth. Season to taste. For creamy tomato and horseradish sauce, whisk ingredients in a bowl until combined.


Serve blooming onions with sauces for dipping.

TIP The creamy tomato and horseradish sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container until serving. Use white or brown onions instead of red onion, if you like, depending on what you have on hand.

Photo: bauersyndication.com.au

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