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Can you eat blooming onion?

Yes, you can definitely eat a blooming onion! A blooming onion is a popular appetizer found at many steakhouse chains and restaurants, especially Outback Steakhouse. It consists of a large onion that is cut to open into petals, resembling a flower, which is then battered and deep fried. While it may look pretty, a blooming onion is completely edible and makes for a tasty, sharable appetizer.

What is a Blooming Onion?

A blooming onion, sometimes also called a blossom onion, is a large onion, usually a Spanish or Bermuda onion, that has been cut in a special way to open up into petals that look like a flower. The onion is cut vertically from the top to the bottom several times, but not all the way through, so the onion can open up into separated petals while still holding together at the base.

The cut onion is then dipped into a batter, which usually contains flour, eggs, beer, and seasonings. It is then deep fried at a high temperature to become crispy on the outside. The blooming onion is served as an appetizer alongside dipping sauces like ranch, ketchup, or barbecue sauce.

Is it Safe to Eat?

Yes, absolutely! A blooming onion may look quite fancy, but it is perfectly safe and normal to eat. The batter and frying process does not change the fact that it is a regular onion underneath.

Onions are a common vegetable that are present in many savory dishes. When an onion is batter-fried into a blooming form, it simply becomes a crispy, flavorful appetizer. There are no toxic or dangerous chemicals involved in its preparation.

Some people may worry that the battered coating or deep frying process could make a blooming onion unhealthy. However, in moderation, it can still be part of a balanced diet. The key is to avoid eating a whole blooming onion by yourself and to accompany it with healthier side dishes. Overall, there are no risks or safety concerns that should stop someone from enjoying this popular appetizer.

Nutrition Information

Here are the nutrition facts for a standard blooming onion appetizer:

Serving Size: 1/4 blooming onion (203g)
Calories: 640
Fat: 35g
Carbs: 46g
Protein: 8g

As you can see, a blooming onion is high in calories, fat, and carbs, as might be expected from a fried appetizer. The batter coating and frying significantly increases the calories and fat compared to a plain onion.

However, a blooming onion also contains nutrients from the onion itself, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. It provides antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds as well.

Taste and Texture

So what does a blooming onion actually taste and feel like to eat? Here is a description:

Crispy exterior: The batter coating and deep frying gives the onion petals a crispy, crunchy outside that provides textural contrast.

Tender interior: The inside of each onion petal remains relatively tender and soft. When you bite through the crispy outside, you get to the smooth, juicy onion inside.

Onion flavor: You can still taste the onion itself, though the batter slightly mutes the sharp onion flavor. Overall, it has a mild sweetness.

Seasonings: In the batter, you may detect seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. These add to the savory flavor.

Saltiness: The salt in the batter makes blooming onions taste salty, which balances the sweet onion flavors.

Oiliness: The frying oil gives the blooming onion a slightly oily, fatty mouthfeel and flavor.

How to Eat a Blooming Onion

Blooming onions are often served as a shareable appetizer for 2-4 people. Here are some tips for eating it:

– Use your hands to break off sections of the onion petals. You can also cut slices with a knife, but using hands feels more fun and casual.

– Dip the onion pieces into the accompanying sauce. Ranch and ketchup are common dipping sauces. The sauce provides moisture and extra flavor.

– Take care when biting into the crispy onion, as the shards can be sharp in your mouth. Try to bite off smaller pieces.

– Start with the outermost petals first, since these tend to be the crispiest. Work your way gradually inwards to the base.

– Don’t feel compelled to finish the whole thing! A blooming onion is very filling. Eat until you feel satisfied, and take home any leftovers.

Where to Get Blooming Onions

Blooming onions are available at various chain restaurants and diners, but the most famous is the Aussie-Tizer at Outback Steakhouse. The Aussie-Tizer is a signature menu item and what put blooming onions on the map in the U.S.

You may also find blooming onions at:

– Texas Roadhouse
– Chili’s
– Applebee’s
– TGI Fridays
– LongHorn Steakhouse

Some local restaurants and bars may serve their own versions as well. You can also make a homemade blooming onion following recipes available online.

Other Flowering Onion Appetizers

In addition to the classic blooming onion, some restaurants have creative variations:

Awesome Blossom – Chili’s extra large blooming onion with sliced chips inside the petals.

Xooming Onion – Outback’s version topped with chili and cheese.

Bloomin’ Petals – Smaller individual portions of fried onions.

Onion Strings – Thinly sliced onions fried into crispy strings.

Onion Rings – The non-flowering version, just fried rings.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Traditional blooming onions are not vegetarian or vegan because they contain eggs and milk products in the batter coating. However, restaurants may be able to customize a veggie version.

For a vegan blooming onion, request one fried in veggie oil without eggs in the batter. At home, use milk substitutes like almond milk and egg replacements like flax eggs. Pair your vegan blooming onion with dairy-free ranch dressing or vegan mayo-based sauces.

Low Carb Blooming Onion

To make a blooming onion lower in carbs, you can skip the batter and use plain Greek yogurt instead. Simply coat the opened onion in nonfat Greek yogurt, then roll it in a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese, chopped nuts, and seasonings. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese and bake it until browned and crispy. This gives you the blooming shape without deep frying or flour.

You can also enjoy just the innermost few petals of a blooming onion to limit your portion and carbs. Accompany it with low carb dipping sauces like guacamole.

Blooming Onion Calories vs Onion Rings

How does the blooming onion compare to onion rings in terms of calories and nutrition? Here is a rough comparison per serving:

Blooming Onion
– 1/4 appetizer = 640 calories, 35g fat, 46g carbs

Onion Rings
– Medium size order = 460 calories, 24g fat, 46g carbs

While onion rings have a bit less fat and calories, the carb count is very close. This makes sense since both dishes rely on fried battered onions. However, you may consume more onion rings than blooming onion petals in one sitting. Overall, both should be seen as higher calorie treats.

Are Blooming Onions Healthy?

While blooming onions make for an indulgent, tasty appetizer every once in a while, they are not particularly healthy due to being deep fried. Some reasons they should only be enjoyed in moderation:

– High in calories, fat, refined carbs, and sodium.
– Fried food has been linked to increased inflammation and health risks.
– Onion’s nutrients diminished through frying method.
– Large portion size encourages overeating.

Ways to make blooming onions healthier:

– Share with others to limit portion size.
– Choose lower calorie dipping sauces.
– Eat slowly and mindfully to avoid overeating.
– Balance with more nutritious foods in your meal.
– Limit to an occasional treat, not regular indulgence.

In short, blooming onions can be part of a balanced diet, but they qualify as a high fat, high calorie fried food best enjoyed occasionally and in reasonable portions. Focus on the company and experience rather than overdoing it on the unhealthy appetizer.


Blooming onions make for a dramatic, visually stunning appetizer by taking a whole onion and fanning it out into a flower shape before deep frying. While they are high in calories and fat, they are safe and normal to eat as an occasional indulgence. Focus on sharing the blooming onion, dipping it into flavorful sauces, and enjoying the novel experience. Pair it with healthier sides to balance the meal. Although not a health food, it’s fine to eat a blooming onion in moderation while dining out or celebrating. Just be mindful of your portion size.