The thing about onion rings that really frustrates me is that since the onion has a smooth skin on it, it never really absorbs the fried-ness. The batter simply coats the onion slices and doesn't penetrate the skin of the onion, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. But when I try to eat the onion ring, I always have the problem of the piece of onion slipping right out of its "sleeve" of crispiness, and I find myself with a mouthful of nothing but warm onion. These rings were no exception.
We followed the cooking instructions on the bag, heated them in the oven, and still, we felt they weren't particularly crispy. They seemed to have larger slices of onion than most varieties I've tried. These Trader Joe's Onion Rings are like the steak fries of the onion ring world. They're thick and bulky. It really bothered Sonia, because she's used to onion rings being thin and crispy. That's certainly one way to have them, but I'm always open for something new. I thought the thickness made them heartier in a way. Not only were the onion slices bigger, but there seemed to be a thicker layer of batter on the outside, too, making them kind of doughy. They were more like a meal by themselves this way, as opposed to just a side dish. I think in part due to their size, they retained a greater amount of moisture than most onion rings. Not quite to the point of sogginess, but certainly to the point where it detracted from their crunch-factor.
Flavor-wise, what more could you want from onion rings? Big, sweet vidalia onions, covered in a really nice beer batter. They tasted great to both of us. We dipped them in some ranch dressing, which added a little bit of tang. Personally, I think the crème de la crème of the fried onion world is Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion. So good, it has its own Wikipedia page, yet so bad for you, it has an entire day's worth of calories. I've never been huge on Funyuns or really cheap onion rings. And I've been meaning to try White Castle's, after hearing some good things about them. But there again, they get a nutrition grade of D+. Trader Joe's Onion Rings have only 130 calories and 60 fat-cals per serving...oh, but wait, there are five servings in the bag. Hmmm, I would have guessed there were only about two and a half servings in the bag. That's tricky. Still not good for you, but maybe not quite as fattening as other brands.
Sonia gives these circular snacks 2.5 stars. I think that's a bit too low. I've gotta give 'em at least a 4. They tasted great to me, even if they were a little over-sized and lacking in the crispiness department. That'll earn them a final status of "not bad."
Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.