Onion Bhajis (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Meet the onion bhaji: a delicious, crispy, golden snack that’s hard to resist. Onion bhajis are super tasty, and they’re also vegan and gluten-free! So, if you’re hunting for the perfect onion bhaji recipe, you’re in for a treat. Nevertheless, this recipe is your ticket to a world of crunchy goodness.

Reasons to make onion bhajis

There are countless reasons to make onion bhajis, here are a few:

  1. Delicious
  2. Vegan
  3. Gluten-free
  4. Fun to make
  5. Popular

What are onion bhajis?

Onion bhajis, sometimes called pakoras or pakodas, are a classic Indian snack. Basically, these golden-brown delicacies are fried fritters, chiefly made with a base of onions and gram flour, also known as besan. They are undeniably a popular appetizer in Indian cuisine and are also enjoyed by many as a snack.

Where do onion bhajis come from?

They originated from the Indian subcontinent. Unquestionably, they are an integral part of South Asian cuisine but have also gained popularity worldwide due to their irresistible taste and easy preparation method.

Onion bhaji history

While the precise history of onion bhajis is somewhat elusive, it’s believed that this delectable snack has been part of Indian culinary traditions for centuries. Also, they have evolved over time, with different regions adding unique spins to the recipe.

Equipment needed to make onion bhajis

To make your delicious onion bhajis at home, you’ll need the following equipment:

  1. Large bowl
  2. Mixing spoon
  3. Deep frying pan 
  4. Slotted spoon
  5. Kitchen paper
  6. Knife
  7. Colander or bowl

Onion bhaji ingredients

The following ingredients will yield a large batch of delicious vegetable bhajis:


  • Large onions, sliced
  • Large potatoes, chopped into small thin pieces
  • Baby spinach, chopped
  • Red pepper, chopped


Other ingredients:

  • Gram flour (Besan)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt

What makes bhajis gluten-free?

Traditional onion bhajis are gluten-free because they use gram flour (made from chickpeas), a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.

How to make onion bhajis

Below is the step-by-step method to create mouth-watering Indian bhajis.

Mix the ingredients

Firstly, prepare the vegetables before mixing them with spices and gram flour in a large bowl.

Rest the batter and heat the oil

Subsequently, leave the mixture to rest for 5 minutes – it will continuously release moisture and form a batter. Then, ensure the batter isn’t too runny or too thick. In the meantime, heat the vegetable oil on medium heat to 160 degrees.

Check the consistency of the batter

If the batter is too thick, let it rest for a little longer. Conversely, if the batter is too runny, transfer part a small amount into a small bowl and gradually add more gram flour in small amounts until you reach the desired consistency. Thereafter, fry this batch first and repeat the process.

Fry the bhajis

Next, gather a tablespoon or small handful worth of batter and gently place it in the oil. Turn occasionally to cook on both sides. Fry until golden brown.

Drain and serve

Finally, transfer the bhajis into a colander or bowl lined with kitchen paper to soak up excess oil. Let them rest for a few minutes, and enjoy straight away with your favourite sauce or dip! And there you have it, beautiful bhajis!

Why are my onion bhajis falling apart?

Occasionally, onion bhajis might fall apart due to a lack of binding. If this happens, add more gram flour to the batter. The consistency of the batter plays a crucial role in keeping the bhajis intact.

Other types of bhaji

Though onion bhajis are the most popular type, there are other varieties of bhajis, like:

  • Brinjal (eggplant) bhaji
  • Bread pakora
  • Cauliflower bhaji
  • Kale pakora

How to serve bhajis

Indeed, bhajis are a great appetizer, snack, or side dish. They’re particularly delightful when paired with mint-coriander chutney or tamarind chutney. Furthermore, they’re a great addition to a ‘thali’ – a traditional Indian meal with many dishes on a single platter.

Overall, if you liked this recipe, you’ll love these:

Golden crispy onion bhajis resting in a colander lined with kitchen paper.

Onion Bhajis

Meet the onion bhaji: a delicious, crispy, golden snack that's hard to resist. Onion bhajis are super tasty, and they're also vegan and gluten-free! So, if you're hunting for the perfect onion bhaji recipe, you're in for a treat.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 12 people


  • 1 Large bowl
  • 1 Mixing Spoon
  • 1 Deep frying pan
  • 1 Slotted spoon
  • 1 Kitchen roll
  • 1 Knife
  • 1 Colander or bowl



  • 4 large onions sliced
  • 5 large potatoes cut into small thin pieces
  • 250 g baby spinach
  • 1 red pepper

Seasoning and spices

  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds (ajwain)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds crushed
  • 0.5 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 kg gram flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped green chillis or powder to taste
  • 2 litres vegetable oil for frying


Prepare the Batter

  • In a large bowl, combine vegetables, spices, and gram flour.
  • Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes until it moistens and forms a batter. The batter shouldn't be runny or very thick, it should be inbetween.

Adjust the Batter

  • If the batter is too thick, let it sit longer.
  • For runny batter: In a separate bowl, gradually add more gram flour until the desired consistency is achieved. Fry these portions first and adjust the main batter accordingly.

Fry the bhajis

  • Heat the vegetable oil on medium heat to around 170°C
  • Scoop a small handful of batter and gently lower it into the hot oil. Turn occasionally until evenly golden brown.

Serve and enjoy

  • Drain the fried bhajis in a colander lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
  • Enjoy your crispy bhajis with your favorite sauce or dip!
Keyword asian, blogger, curry, desi, gluten-free, indian, onion bhaji, pakora, south asian, vegan, vegetarian

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