Onion Pakoda

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: January 1, 2024

Last Updated: January 1st, 20240 Comments on Onion Pakoda

Onion Pakoda (pakora) are a magnificent combination of texture and taste. Spiced with Indian flavours and fried to crisp perfection, they’re made more delicious with the most fragrant coriander chutney – quite possibly the most delicious Indian snack ever.

Fried onion pakodas on a platter with a small bowl of coriander chutney and a small spoon.

Indian street food snacks are incredibly varied and thousands of dishes are enjoyed across the country. One of my favourite recipes to enjoy at home are the simple and delicious Pakoda (pakora).

Pakoda are a textural and flavourful combination that are addictive! In this recipe, sliced onions are tossed in spiced Besan gram flour (chickpea flour) and deep fried to perfection. They're crisp and fragrant and packed full of flavour. The best pakora are not greasy or heavy, they're light and crunchy without a hint of oiliness.

They're the perfect snack when paired with a tasty chutney, like the Coriander chutney in this recipe - a herbal spicy sauce that compliments the sweet spiced pakoda. Pakoda are also a great side dish for a larger Indian feast of curries, meats and seafood.

The options are endless, as is the flavour! One of my all time favourite Indian dishes.

What's Ahead?

Fried onion pakodas on a platter with a small bowl of coriander chutney and a small spoon.

What are Pakoda?

Pakoda are also commonly known as 'Pakora', but similar recipes can go by many names like, 'Bhaji', 'Bhajji', 'Bhajiya', 'Bajji', 'Bonda', 'Pokora' and 'Pakodi'.

They're made by combining vegetables or meats with spices and herbs with flour, typically Besan flour/gram flour (made from chickpeas), and a little water, dropped into hot oil in little bundles to fry until crisp. Onion pakoda are common, but other vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, spinach or even chilli peppers are used too.

Why they work

  • They're easy - Pakoda are the easiest and most effective way to elevate the humble onion into the star of the show. The onions caramelise and become soft and sweet but the batter crisps up to give a perfect textural counter to that softness.
  • They're addictive - I could eat a bucket of these in all honesty, especially when paired with a fiery chutney. My recipe for a coriander chutney is a great accompaniment.
The ingredients for Indian Onion Pakoda (pakora)

Stuff You'll Need

There's not too much required to making the perfect onion pakoda, and the recipe is flexible enough to interchange ingredients. Here's what I typically use.

  • Gram flour - chickpea flour is traditional for pakoda, but wheat flour can be used too.
  • Onion - use whatever onion you like red, yellow, white or brown.
  • Ground Spices - chilli powder, cumin, turmeric and garam masala will bring an earthy spice with a little heat.
  • Fresh - aroma and heat comes in spades with fresh garlic, ginger, cilantro, chillies and fresh curry leaves.
  • Coriander Chutney - the chutney is a blended combination of fresh cilantro, garlic, ginger, cashews, cumin and lime juice to create a creamy herbaceous and spicy condiment. Think of it as the Indian version of pesto.
A stick blender, combining cilantro and chillies into a chutney.
Sliced onions are mixed with fresh coriander and curry leaves in a bowl
Combining the sliced onions by hand with gram flour and spices
Onion pakoda batter mix in a bowl
Four onion pakoda frying in oil in a pan
Onion Pakoda draining on paper towels

Step by Step

Making pakoda is not difficult, and can be made quickly. Here's how...

  1. Step 1 - Making the chutney is as simple as blending all the ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Step 2 - Cut the onion into thin half-moon slices and mix in the cilantro, curry leaves, garlic, ginger and chillies
  3. Steps 3-4 - Add the ground spices, salt and gram flour and begin mixing in with your hands. Add a few tablespoons (3-4) of water until the batter loosens but remains sticky and coats the onion.
  4. Step 5 - Heat the oil to around 160ºC/350ºF in a large pan or wok over a moderate heat. Take about 1 tbsp bundles of onion mix in your fingers and carefully drop into the oil. Drop in around 4-5 pakodas at a time. Be careful not to under or overheat the oil - under-heated oil will result in greasy pakoda, and overheated oil will result in the batter cooking too quickly and becoming bitter while leaving the onions raw. Fry them for 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown.
  5. Step 6 - Using a slotted spoon remove each pakoda from the oil and drain on paper towels. You can keep them warm in the oven if you like, while you cook the remaining pakoda.

That's it! Serve hot on a large platter with the chutney on the side.

Fried onion pakodas on a platter with a small bowl of coriander chutney and a small spoon.

Pro Tips

Mixing up your ingredients for pakoda is common. Use whatever you have at hand to create endless flavour combinations. I've included substitutes for the main ingredients:

  • Onions - try other vegetables like grated potatoes, carrots or zucchini (squeeze out any excess water). also try cauliflower, spinach leaves, fenugreek leaves, cabbage and more.
  • Ground Spices - Try combinations of ground spices using chaat masala, mustard powder, coriander, cardamom, black pepper, paprika, mango powder, clove and more.
  • Fresh - mixing in fresh chillies, curry leaves and fresh herbs can change the flavour. Try cilantro or mint to lighten the fragrance.
  • Chutney - there are countless varieties of Indian chutneys from delicious coconut to fiery chilli and sour tamarind chutneys.

Make in advance

Pakoda are best eaten right away, but they're actually good to make in advance and gently reheat until crisp in the oven when you need them. Just keep them covered with a dry tea towel in a cool, airy place and then reheat in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Serving & Storage Suggestions

  • Pakoda are an ideal little snack to eat watching tv or as part of a larger Indian feast.
  • Leftover pakoda are best kept in an airtight container outside of the fridge for 1 day. They will soften but should crisp up again in the oven when reheated.
  • They're not suitable for freezing.
Fried onion pakodas on a platter with a small bowl of coriander chutney and a small spoon.

Ready to get cooking?

If you're a fan of crisp, crunchy spice bombs then pakoda are the only recipe you need to know! I love to serve them as part of a larger Indian offering and they sit perfectly alongside pretty much any other Indian offering.

Next time you're entertaining Indian-style add these little bundles of flavour to the menu. You'll be glad you did - hope you enjoy!

A plate of Indian onion pakoda with a dollop of coriander chutney
Fried onion pakodas on a platter with a small bowl of coriander chutney and a small spoon.

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about onion pakoda? Let me know in the comments.

How do you make pakodas crispy?

To achieve crispy pakodas, ensure the batter is of a moderately thick consistency. Fry them in hot oil no higher than 360ºF/182ºC, turning occasionally until they turn golden brown and crispy.

What are the best vegetables for pakodas?

Vegetables like onions, potatoes, spinach, and cauliflower work well for pakodas. Their textures complement the crispy batter, creating delicious snacks. Experiment with different veggies to discover your favorite combinations.

Are pakodas spicy?

Pakodas can be spicy, depending on the spices used in the batter. Typically, they contain spices like chilli powder and fresh green chilies, adding a moderate to high level of heat. However, the spiciness can be adjusted by controlling the amount of spice added to the batter. Any spicy element can also simple be omitted from the recipe.

Are pakodas healthy?

Pakodas, while delicious, aren't considered the healthiest option due to the deep-frying process. They absorb oil, increasing their calorie content. However, they do contain vegetables and chickpea flour, offering some nutrients like fiber and protein. Enjoying them occasionally as part of a balanced diet is recommended.

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Fried onion pakodas on a platter with a small bowl of coriander chutney and a small spoon.

Onion Pakoda

Rate this recipe

5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save Recipe
Recipe by Lee
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 135


For the pakoda

For the chutney

  • 100 g bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 50 g unsalted cashew nuts or peanuts
  • ½ lime juice of
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp salt


For the chutney

  • Blend all the chutney ingredients together in a blender or using a stick blender until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

For the pakoda

  • Peel and cut the onions in half and cut into thin half-moon slices. Add to a large bowl and mix in the garlic, ginger, cilantro, curry leaves and thinly sliced fresh chillies.
  • Add the ground chilli, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and gram flour and salt.
  • Using your hands, massage the onions to combine, add 3-4 tbsp water to create a thick batter consistency that coats the onion.
  • Heat the oil to around 160ºC/350ºF in a large pan over a moderate heat. Be careful not to over heat the oil as this will cook the pakoda batter too quickly and leave the onion raw. Too cool and the pakoda will be greasy.
  • Pick up around 1 tbsp of the onions with your fingers and carefully drop into the oil. Add around 4-5 pakoda at a time. Let them sizzle for 2-3 minutes then turn and sizzle for a further 1-2 minutes until golden brown.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove each of the pakoda and drain on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  • Repeat with the remaining pakoda batter until you've used it all. Keep the cooked pakoda on a tray in a warm oven if you like.
  • Serve hot with he coriander chutney on the side to dip or drizzle over the pakoda.


Calories: 135kcal (7%) | Carbohydrates: 19g (6%) | Protein: 6g (12%) | Fat: 5g (8%) | Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 436mg (19%) | Potassium: 371mg (11%) | Fiber: 4g (17%) | Sugar: 5g (6%) | Vitamin A: 1208IU (24%) | Vitamin C: 16mg (19%) | Calcium: 44mg (4%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)
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