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Air Fryer Onion Bhajis

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I tried the Instant Pot Dual Crisp and Air Fryer and couldn’t believe how good my air fryer onion bhajis were!

Many people have told me over the years that I should try air frying my recipes that are normally deep fried. 

I even tried some air fried chicken and chips at exhibition a year or so back and wasn’t impressed. After trying the Instant Pot to test a few of my recipes, however I have changed my mind. In fact, you might also like to try my air fryer chicken tikka too.

Air Fried Onion bhajis

Delicious and crispy. This air fried method of cooking onion bhajis gets excellent results.

I have spent the last two weeks testing the Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer. I didn’t just use the air fryer! I used it for almost everything, from perfectly cooked Basmati rice to tandoori chicken and lamb.

It cooked everything to perfection and also saved me a lot of time. No more mess when frying!

I think most people purchase air fryers for health reasons but another huge bonus is that you don’t have all that oil to clean up. Same for the tandoori chicken and lamb.

Using the grilling feature made making tandoori meat and vegetables half the job it usually is. 

So what’s the recipe?

The recipe I used was simple. It was the recipe from my book ‘The Curry Guy Bible’ but with a few other ingredients thrown in just to make it a little different.

I also added Kashmiri chilli powder but that is optional. If you like your food spicy though, it is a nice touch.

You’ll find the complete written recipe at the bottom of this page.

Is there a trick to making the perfect air fryer onion bhajis?

I have tried so many onion bhaji recipes over the year but always return to the recipes from my books. 

It is important to finely slice the onions and then sprinkle a bit of salt over them. Not everyone does this.

By sprinkling salt over your sliced onions, in helps release the water from them. This becomes the water you need to make the batter.

No additional water is used. Add water and your air fryer onion bhajis will be a bit stodgy. 

How did you come up with this recipe for air fried onion bhajis?

Trial and error. 

I found that air frying them for 15 minutes at 380f/176c was perfect.

I love my Instant pot so much, you will soon find many other ways to use it on my blog.

Are air fried onion bhajis as good as deep fried onion bhajis?

I wasn’t expecting to say yes when I started but yes!

In fact my family prefer them.

Air fried onion bhajis are deliciously crispy and cooked through to perfection.

I know I already mentioned that it is a lot less messy to air fry than deep fry but I’ll say it again now.

It’s so much nicer to take the onion bhajis out to serve and not have that deep frying mess to clean up. 

Just in case you like to cook from photographs, I included a few photos below. 

All the ingredients for air fried bhajis

Get your prepared ingredients together and add flour until you can easily form the bhajis.

Forming the onion bhajis

Form the bhajis into loose balls.

Place the onion bhajis in the air fryer

Place the onion bhajis in the Instant pot air fryer.

cooked bhajis

Air fry for 15 minutes at 176c/380f.

air fryer onion bhajis

Dig in to your super crispy air fryer onion bhajis. These are so good.

Looking for a good curry house style curry to go with your air fryer onion bhajis? Try a few of these!

Tikka masala sauce
Korma sauce
Pasanda sauce
Chasni sauce
Chilli garlic sauce
Pathia sauce
Jalfrezi sauce
Keema sauce
Bhuna sauce
Methi sauce
Madras sauce
Vindaloo sauce
Phaal sauce


Yield: 12

Air Fryer Onion Bhajis

air fryer onion bhajis
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours 1 second
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes 1 second


  • 2 white onions slightly larger than tennis balls
  • 1 red onion slightly larger than a tennis ball
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger - julienned
  • 3 green chillies - pounded to a paste
  • 1 tablespoon panch poran*
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tbsp rice flour
  • 140g (approx) sifted gram flour
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves


  1. Cut the onions in half and then finely slice them. Mix the salt into them and set aside for an hour or up to four hours.
  2. After an hour the onions will be limp and moist. Squeeze the onions to release the water into the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the onions, being careful not to add to much gram flour. You should easily be able to pick up a ball of the onion mixture.
  3. Divide the mixture in to small bhajis.
  4. Heat your air fryer to 176c/380f. Spray the basket with oil spray generously.
  5. Place the bhajis in the basket. You will need to cook these in batches.
  6. After 15 minutes, your first batch will be cooked to perfection.
  7. Serve hot or at room temperature.

* equal measures of cumin seeds, onion seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and black mustard seeds or use shop bought

Did you like this recipe?

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Disclaimer: I was sent my Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer to try with my recipes. I love it! I was under no obligation to write a positive review.

If you are interested in trying air frying or using the Instant Pot for easy stewing, steaming and/or grilling, you might like to know that Instant Pot UK has their Black Friday specials starting from the 20th of November.

Instant Pot Air Fryer


Wednesday 28th of September 2022

Hi there, I tried searching for other instant pot recipes but only this one came up. Did you post recipes with instant pot instructions or is my searching rubbish! Thanks. PS loving the site and books - have had great fun BBQing curries on a Big Pig and Kamado following your BBQ book.

Dan Toombs

Friday 30th of September 2022

Thanks for your message. I don't have any more instant pot recipes at the moment but plan on working on that next year. Dan


Tuesday 27th of September 2022

I didn't have any rice flour so substituted for coconut flour... OMG it actually worked. Was slightly messy creating bhaji balls might try cake cups next time and also include chilli powder.

Dave D

Saturday 1st of October 2022

@Dan Toombs, made more today, onions 30 sec in microwave seemed to do the same as waiting 2hrs. Used cupcake cases, turned over and remove cases after 8 min, much less mess.

Dan Toombs

Friday 30th of September 2022

I'm glad the substitution worked. Thanks Dan


Sunday 18th of September 2022

Hi Dan these look good but can you suggest an alternative to Garam flour - we have a family member with an allergy to legumes, so can’t use anything chick pea based :(

Dan Toombs

Friday 23rd of September 2022

You could use plain flour but you would get a very different flavour. Give it a go and let me know. Dan


Saturday 9th of April 2022

Wow what can I say? I made these Bhajis yesterday and can honestly say they taste better than the restaurant/take away ones.

My husband even said he was super impressed with them. I worked it out and made 8 onion Bhajis and they were 165 cals each which is so good and not using oil in a deep fryer using the air fryer even tasted better

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Great to hear, thank you for letting me know. Dan


Saturday 25th of September 2021

I started squeezing out the onion water in the sink and then realised it was needed for the batter as the ingredients didn't include adding any water. Fortunately had enough onion juice to keep the balls firm and am now waiting 15 minutes for the result. I only used standard size onions for this first attempt as I didn't have any large ones in my veg box. Thanks.

Dan Toombs

Friday 1st of October 2021

Thank you for your comment, I will change the recipe to make it more apparent the onion water should be retained. Dan

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