One appetizer that I almost always order (when I can find it) is fried pickles. A good fried pickle is juicy on the inside, briny, and has a crackling, crispy breading. With a few drinks on the side, they are one of my favorite snacks.
As with many delicious things, making fried pickles at home is fairly straightforward and will save you some serious money. You can make a huge batch for a few bucks while sports bars will charge $10+ for a plate.
How to Make Fried Pickles
Once you have dried off your pickles, the process is pretty straightforward. Add the pickles to the seasoned flour mixture, then dust them off and add them to the buttermilk mixture. Finally, coat them in breadcrumbs.
Once they are breaded, fry in small batches until they are golden brown. I usually shoot for about 1/2 cup of pickle slices per batch (you could do more depending on the size of your pot, just don’t overcrowd the pan).
The Best Pickles for Frying
There’s no brand loyalty when it comes to fried pickles, but definitely go for sliced pickles and not spears. I’ve tried spears for fried pickles and find them lacking. They don’t capture enough breading, making them underwhelming once fried.
While you can buy whole pickles and slice them yourself, I would recommend saving some time by just buying the pre-sliced jarred pickles. Use crinkle-cut pickles for a thicker, more pickle-y version or use thinly sliced pickles for extra crunch.
If it’s your first time frying pickles, start with dill pickle slices. If you are feeling adventurous, try substituting bread and butter pickles for an interesting sweet fried pickle.
Tips for Crispy Fried Pickles
Here are my tips for really delicious, crispy fried pickles
- Dry the pickles well. This is probably the most important step. Pickles live in liquid and they need to be very dry before frying if you want the breading to stick well.
- Keep the oil hot. These fry very fast and if you don’t have your oil hot enough, they will soak up some oil and won’t get nice and crispy. Give your oil time to reheat between fry batches.
- Use a breading station over a batter. A batter seems easier since it’s one dunk and you’re done, but it doesn’t result in the same crispy exterior as a breaded pickle.
How to Serve Fried Pickles
I wouldn’t overthink the serving options for these pickles. Serve them piled high, sprinkled with a little salt, with some ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing on the side.
Since you’ll have buttermilk on hand for the breading station, mix up some homemade ranch dressing—the perfect dipper!
Simple Recipe Variations
If you want to play around with these fried pickles, they are pretty flexible once you get the hang of it. Here are a few ideas:
- Change up the flavor of pickle. Try a spicy pickle or a bread and butter pickle.
- Instead of breadcrumbs, try panko for a lighter breading option.
- Air fry the pickles if you don’t want to set up a full fry station. You can air fry in batches for 5 to 6 minutes. They won’t be as crispy as traditional frying, but still good.
Serve Them Fresh
I’m not one to lie—fried pickles are best within 20 or 30 minutes of frying them. They start to get pretty soggy after that. Personally, I would only fry enough to eat and wouldn’t worry about saving them.
If you somehow had a huge amount of leftover fried pickles, you could save them. However, you will probably want to fry them again to re-crisp the breading or they will be soggy coming out of the fridge.
Make It a Pickle Party
1 (16-ounce) jar sliced pickles
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
4 cups canola oil, for frying
Ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing, for dipping
- Frying or candy thermometer
Prepare the pickles:
Drain the pickles from the jar and lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a clean towel or paper towels. Add a second layer to the top of the pickles and press down on them, drying them very thoroughly.
Prepare the breading station:
Working in 3 separate bowls, whisk together the flour with the Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Finally, add the seasoned breadcrumbs to the third bowl.
Heat the oil and bread the pickles:
Add a few inches of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Make sure to leave a few inches of space at the top of the pot to ensure the oil doesn’t overflow. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350˚F. Prepare a platter or baking sheet by lining it with paper towels.
While the oil preheats, bread the pickles. Working in batches, add about 1/2 cup of pickle slices to the flour and toss well to coat completely. Shake off any excess flour and transfer the pickles to the buttermilk mixture. Coat well and then transfer to the breadcrumbs. Coat the pickles well with the breadcrumbs.
Fry the pickles:
When the oil is hot, carefully add the first batch of pickles to the hot oil and use a slotted spoon to make sure they are separated in the oil. Fry the pickles for 2 to 3 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the prepared platter or baking sheet to drain. Sprinkle with salt.
Allow the oil to reheat while you bread the next batch of pickles. Repeat until all pickles are fried.
Serve warm with ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 31g||40%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||14%|
|Total Carbohydrate 24g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||12%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|