Fried Pickles Recipe

Fried Pickles Recipe

Fried pickles are a southern staple and the perfect appetizer for the pickle lover in your life. While chips are the most traditional, spears are also a great alternative. However, fried pickle spears won’t be quite as crisp as frying pickle chips, so be sure to choose the type of pickle based on your preference. You can dip fried pickles in virtually anything—Cajun-style dip, honey-mustard, blue cheese, or eat them plain on their own.

According to tales across the Internet, the first known printed fried pickle recipe was in the Oakland Tribune on November 19, 1962, titled "French Fried Pickles," which called for using sweet pickle slices and pancake mix. However, the salty and savory version was first made famous in the summer of 1963 by Bernell "Fatman" Austin, who owned the Duchess Drive-In located in Atkins, Arkansas. Now you’ll find fried pickles on all sorts of menus across the country.

If you’re keen to make your own, this recipe also includes a buttermilk ranch dipping sauce that can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

“I love fried pickles, but what I love most is anything that can be dipped in ranch sauce (it must be the Midwest in me). The homemade buttermilk ranch dipping sauce is easy to make and so much better than store-bought. Don’t skimp on the batter seasoning because it adds so much flavor. If you’re out of Cajun seasoning, be sure to make your own.”  —Carrie Parente

Fried Pickles Recipe / Tester Image A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Buttermilk-Ranch Sauce

  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, well shaken

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/3 cup sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

For the Pickles:

  • 1 (24-ounce) jar sliced dill pickles, drained

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 cup water

Steps to Make It

Make the Buttermilk-Ranch Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Buttermilk-Ranch Sauce ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream.

    Buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream in a bowl with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Add the dill, garlic powder, onion powder, apple cider vinegar, and salt, and whisk to combine. Alternatively, use a standard blender and blend until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.

    Dill, garlic powder, onion powder, apple cider vinegar, and salt added to the sour cream mixture in a bowl, with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. Adjust the seasoning to taste before serving.

    Buttermilk-Ranch Sauce in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

Make the Fried Pickles

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Fried Pickles ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. Spread the pickles out on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Pat very dry with more paper towels. Alternatively, use clean kitchen towels.

    Pickles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. In a large heavy-duty skillet, heat 1-inch of oil over medium-high heat until it registers 375 F on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. 

    Black skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, Cajun seasoning, salt, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and water. Whisk with a fork until the batter is smooth.

    Flour, Cajun seasoning, salt, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and water in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. Add the pickles to the batter in batches, shaking off the excess batter before frying.

    Pickles dipped into batter in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  6. Transfer to the skillet and fry in batches until golden brown on both sides, flipping halfway through, 3 to 4 minutes total.

    Battered pickles frying in a pan with oil

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  7. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

    Fried battered pickles on paper towels

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  8. Repeat with remaining pickles. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately with the buttermilk-ranch sauce.

    Fried Pickles with Buttermilk-Ranch Sauce on a platter

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

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