Mom’s Onion Pakora Recipe

May 19, 2016 | 55 Comments

The best authentic crispy onion pakora recipe (pakoda) served with a delicious pakora sauce. Pakoras are delicious, easy, vegan, and gluten-free! |

Regardless of the season, this Pakora recipe calls for your attention on any day- sunny or dreary- and on any occasion. They are the best. This is my Mom’s Pakistani-Style Onion Pakora Recipe. Last week, I stared at a five-pound bag of Chickpea flour sitting in my baking cabinet (the first thing that came to mind was my mom’s onion pakoras). It cried to be opened. I immediately closed the cabinet, walked away, and within seconds, I ran back into our kitchen, opened the cabinet door, and grabbed the bag of flour off its shelf. I refused to ignore its cry and started preparing the pakora batter for this delicious Indian snack.

Often, on rainy days, I seek comfort food. I crave savory and sweet. And I adore quick and simple. Although I’ve held back on this onion pakora recipe for a week, when these were made, I was absolutely sure that it was Springtime in Heaven. You may not consider this delicious appetizer or Indian snack to be dinner, but with there being only two people in our house that day, dinner it was.

The best authentic crispy Indian onion pakora recipe (pakoda) served with a delicious pakora sauce. Pakoras are delicious, easy, vegan, and gluten-free! |


For those not familiar, Pakoras (pakodas) are a type of savory Indian fritter that is commonly enjoyed as an afternoon snack or as an appetizer. Usually with dips and with a cup of warm tea. For this pakora recipe, I made onion pakoras because it’s what I love, but you can use this batter recipe as a guide to make your favorite kind of vegetable pakora (more about veg pakoras in the recipe notes).

The best crispy Indian onion pakora recipe (pakoda) served with a delicious pakora sauce. Pakoras are delicious, easy, vegan, and gluten-free! |


Pakoras are incredibly easy to make. They require a few components: the chutney, the batter, and the fry.

THE CHUTNEY– The chutney I’ve shared in this recipe is far from complicated. It is a delicious ketchup chutney; simply mix together ketchup, water, chaat masala, some sugar, and a bit of salt.

THE PAKORA BATTER– Pakora batter comes together in no time, so you’ll want to heat the oil up while you’re preparing the batter. For the batter: chickpea flour, crushed red chili flakes, salt, baking powder, green chili, cilantro and vegetables (in this case, an onion) are mixed together with water until they reach the consistency of heavy whipping cream.

FRYING PAKORAS– The oil for the pakoras should be between 360ºF and 375ºF when you fry off spoonfuls of the pakora batter. I like the clean flavor of sunflower oil, but any neutral-tasting oil would work perfectly here. When frying the pakoras, make sure to not overcrowd them as they will end up greasy.

The best authentic crispy Indian onion pakora recipe (pakoda) served with a delicious pakora sauce. Pakoras are delicious, easy, vegan, and gluten-free! |


Use a candy thermometer– this will ensure your oil is at the perfect temperature before spooning the batter into the hot oil.

• Make sure to not over-crowd the pan– this will lower the temperature of the oil and you might end up with greasy pakoras.

• Don’t use paper towel to drain your pakoras– when it comes to fried foods, paper towel simply makes fried foods steam and get soggy. To ensure your pakoras stay crisp, drain them on a cooling rack placed over a baking pan. This will allow the excess grease to drain without making them soggy.

The best authentic crispy Indian onion pakora recipe (pakoda) served with a delicious pakora sauce. Pakoras are delicious, easy, vegan, and gluten-free! |


Pakoras are something I grew up on. We’d eat them as mid-day snacks with a cup of strong black milky tea. I love how how imperfect and rustic they are once out of the hot oil. And I love that they bring brightness to a dreary day. I also adore the sweet and spicy pakora sauce / chutney made from ketchup that is served with them.


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Yield: Makes 24 Pakoras

Mom's Best Onion Pakora Recipe

Mom's Best Onion Pakora Recipe

It’s amazing how we inherit recipes through family. My mother inherited this crispy onion pakora recipe through marriage. When she married my father, she learned how to cook Indian and Pakistani food and she’s very good at it. She can make a mean pakora and her curried chicken is out of this world. My mother learned this recipe from my aunt S., who is a phenomenal home cook.

Feel free to use your favorite quick-cooking vegetables in place of the onions to make your own delicious veg pakoras. Potato and sweet potatoes might not work very well here, unless they’re already pre-cooked (more about this in the Notes).

I prefer this ketchup chutney as the pakora sauce, for dipping, buy my grandmother loves eating pakoras with sriracha sauce, which is also lovely. I prefer the Shan brand of chaat masala, which can easily be found at an Indian or Pakistani grocery. If you can’t find chaat masala for the pakora sauce, a mixture of ketchup and sriracha sauce tastes just as great.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


Ketchup Chutney

  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ tablespoon chaat masala
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Pakora Batter

  • 2 cups / 250g Besan (also known as: Chickpea Flour or Gram Flour)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 green chili pepper, sliced
  • ½ cup Cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced into 1/8-inch half moons
  • 1 cup luke-warm water
  • Sunflower oil (or any neutral oil like vegetable, safflower, canola, etc.), for deep frying


Make the Chutney: Mix all of the chutney ingredients together in a bowl.

Make the Pakoras: Fill an 8-inch cast-iron skillet half-way up with oil. Heat the oil to 360-375ºF.

In a large bowl, mix together the besan, red chili flakes, salt, baking powder, sliced chilli pepper, cilantro, and sliced onion.

Slowly add in the water, while mixing with a wooden spoon or your hands. Vigorously mix for a couple of seconds. The batter should be thick, almost like heavy (double) cream and there should be air bubbles throughout.

Once the oil is heated, carefully place in heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Try not to overcrowd the oil because it will result in greasy pakoras. Fry until the pakoras are a pecan-brown. Drain on a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet.

Repeat with the remainder of the batter. Serve the warm pakoras right away with the Ketchup Chutney, and enjoy.


While I am partial to onion pakoras, feel free to experiment with the batter. Boiled potato slices, carrots, red bell peppers (capsicum), cauliflower, or spinach would work here.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 81Total Fat: 4.9gSaturated Fat: .5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 76mgCarbohydrates: 6.5gFiber: .9gSugar: .2gProtein: 2.5g

This post has been updated from the recipe archive, it was originally posted on March 24th, 2011.

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  • Reply Chris Waghorn June 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

    These look and sound so delicious. I really could go a bowl of them while sitting in front of the TV watching sport with mates.

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  • Reply Keith Hill September 27, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Recipe works perfectly. I had batter left over so kept it in the fridge overnight and it was great the next day.

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  • Reply Amit Pattnaik July 8, 2018 at 5:57 am

    The Onion pakodas do look really enticing. Now that the monsoon is here, the evenings (especially those of the weekends) call for such hot and spicy pakodas.. What could be better than just sitting by the balcony and enjoying the rains, sipping hot tea and such pakodas. Thank you so much for the recipe :)

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  • Reply Karthick November 1, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Wow. this is our favourite snacks in rainy season. Having this in the evening its awesome

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  • Reply Parveen May 24, 2020 at 6:09 am

    SO DELICIOUS. Just made your mum’s pakora recipe with a batch of strong chai for my family. Can’t wait to make these again. Pakistani Pakore are truly the best. Thank you to you and your mum! Sending many thanks from the UK!

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