Onion Rings Vs French Fries: Which To Choose?

Onion rings and french fries are both tasty side dishes, but how do you determine which one you should choose? You may be wondering which of the two is healthier. Nobody claims that french fries or onion rings are healthy, but one of them has to be less unhealthy. This article will break down the differences between these two side dishes and help you figure out which one to choose.

French fries are lower in fat, calories, and sugar than onion rings. Onions contain higher levels of vitamin E, phosphorous, and calcium. Potatoes and french fries contain higher levels of iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. French fries are the better choice unless you prefer the flavor of onion rings. 

Now that you know that french fries edge out onion rings as being slightly less unhealthy, you might have more follow-up questions. You probably want to know why onion rings have more sugar. You might also wonder to what extent air frying french fries or onion rings reduces the high fat and caloric value. This is a comprehensive post on the comparison of these two tasty but unhealthy foods. Keep reading to learn more.

Top view of wooden spoon over wood surface with homemade onion rings and french fries on it, Onion Rings Vs French Fries: Which To Choose?

Onion Rings Vs French Fries: Which To Choose?

This is an important question you may have to ask yourself when visiting a restaurant or making your own from home. The ultimate choice between onion rings and french fries is yours to make.

There are a few different comparisons we can make between the two foods so that you can make an informed decision at your favorite eatery or grocery store. The choice of flavor is subjective, but the quality of the ingredients or the restaurant can also make a big difference.

crispy onion rings with ketchup on parchment paper close up and in horizontal composition

Onion Rings Vs. French Fries: Calories And Fat

Burger King sells a 91-gram small serving of onion rings. This contains 320 calories and 16 grams of fat. The 89-gram value serving of french fries from Burger King contains 220 calories and nine grams of fat.

Comparing the nutritional information from two products at the same restaurant gives us the most accurate comparison. French fries are significantly lower in calories and fat than onion rings.

Close-up of fast food - Onion rings and french fries.

Nutritional Benefits

People don't tend to think of onion rings or french fries as having nutritional benefits, but these products are made with potatoes and onions. Onion rings have higher values of vitamin E, phosphorous, and calcium. French fries have higher values of iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin E. So, french fries have more nutritional benefits than onion rings overall.


French fries are more popular and likely to be found at nearly any restaurant. There are many different varieties of french fries, such as crinkle, waffle, curly, regular, steak fries, and wedges.

The only difference for onion rings is the thickness of the ring. Since onion rings are not as available, you may want to choose them over french fries when they are available. This will provide more diversity to your palate.

Easier To Make From Home

Onion rings and potatoes both require a certain amount of cutting to prepare. Onion rings require a batter for the circular onion pieces to be dipped into. You will make the best french fries by soaking the potatoes overnight before preparing the dish. This means that onion rings might be the best option if you forgot to soak potatoes the night before.

Using a spiralizer can also make cutting potatoes easier when making french fries. You can buy a spiralizer or use an attachment with your food processor.

For more information about using a food processor to spiralize vegetables, check out this post: Can A Food Processor Spiralize?

Are Sweet Potatoes Fries Healthier Than Regular?

Healthy Homemade Baked Orange Sweet Potato Fries with ketchup, salt, pepper on white wooden board.

Sweet potato fries have a higher carbohydrate and calorie value than an equal serving of regular french fries. Sweet potatoes contain a large amount of vitamin A that you will not find in regular french fries.

Vitamin A is good for your long-term vision, bone health, and immune system. It has also been shown to decrease the likelihood of certain cancers in observational studies, including Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Do Onions Turn To Sugar When Cooked?

Pyrolysis is a process that occurs when cooking or carmelizing onions. This breaks down the sugars into smaller units, which makes the cooked onions taste sweeter. In reality, the sugar content does not increase in onions after cooking them. There is some water that evaporates in the process, which slightly increases the amount of sugar relative to the weight of the onion.

Why Onion Rings Are Better Than French Fries?

Basket of Onion Rings

Onion rings are more suitable and delicious to eat without condiments like ketchup. The average American eats 30 pounds of french fries a year for a total of 4.5 billion pounds per year in the United States. French fries are everywhere, so onion rings are a unique side choice in a country that is dominated by french fries.

What Is Healthier Than French Fries?

French fries are healthier than onion rings, but certainly not something we consider healthy. If you are looking for alternatives that are lower in calories and fat, then fries or chips made from other vegetables are the best options.

You can make or purchase baked vegetable chips that will be produced with a smaller amount of oil than french fries. Most of these vegetables are lower in carbohydrates than potatoes.

What Oil Should I Use For French Fries?

Frying French fries in cooking oil in a deep-fryer in kitchen

When frying your own french fries from home, you want to make sure you are using an oil with a high smoke point. You may also want to choose an oil with a neutral flavor, so you can add whatever seasoning you would like. Some of the best oils in this category include corn, peanut, and canola.

For more information about choosing the best oil, check out this post. 5 Best Oils To Use For Making French Fries.

Is Air-Fried Food Healthy?

Air frying is healthier than deep-frying. According to nutrition data from Fat Secret, the number of calories in one cup of deep-fried french fries is 156. That serving of deep-fried french fries contains eight grams of fat. Air-fried french fries contain only 90 calories and 2.9 grams of fat in the same serving size.

Instant Vortex Air Fryer

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Does Air-Fried Food Lose Nutrients?

Air-fried food cannot be labeled as healthy or unhealthy because it depends on the food you are cooking with. Air-fried food retains nutrients well compared to deep frying. Any amount of exposure to heat or water during the cooking process will remove nutrients. Boiling the water can retain the nutrients if you use the water for broth; otherwise, the food loses nutrients in the process.

Air-fried food retains nutrients as well as any other cooking method. Fried food is unhealthy because of the added oil, which creates higher amounts of fat.

For more information about this topic, check out this post. Does Frying Vegetables Remove Nutrients?

What To Eat If You're Craving French Fries?

Close up of of smiling woman hands having a healthy breakfast at home with fruit and yogurt. Cheerful girl tasting yoghurt with blueberries and raspberries.

A craving for french fries is a desire for salty food. This kind of craving may also mean that you are dehydrated. Drinking some water can help calm the craving you are having. If you still crave salty food after drinking some water and allowing a little time to pass, then you may have a calcium deficiency. This is according to a study about strategies to reduce sodium intake.

Calcium-rich foods include cheese, yogurt, almonds, beans, and leafy greens. These are all healthier alternatives to french fries and will provide more nutritional benefits for your body. The increase in calcium intake may reduce your cravings for salty foods. If you are looking for a salty alternative, keep reading for more.

Salty Alternatives To French Fries

Potatoes are high in carbohydrates and fat, especially when they are deep-fried. A healthy alternative will include a vegetable that contains fewer carbohydrates and will be prepared without the use of excessive oil or deep frying.

Kale chips, zucchini fries, avocado fries, or parsnip fries. If you purchase a store product, make sure the ingredients do not include potato starch or dehydrated potato. The ingredients should only include vegetables, salt, and oil.

Root Foods Vegetable Chips 100 Percent Veggies

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In Closing

French fries and onion rings are both delicious but not healthy to consume on a regular basis. French fries have lower caloric value and fat when compared with onion rings. Additionally, french fries have slightly more nutritional benefits. You may want to eat something with high calcium or drink some water when you have cravings for french fries. Otherwise, vegetable chips without added ingredients can serve as a healthier salty snack alternative.

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