If memory serves me right, the first time I ate fried pickles was like six years ago at a Five and Diner restaurant. A friend heard I was going there for the first time, and she said I must try the fried pickles. I admit, the idea sounded kinda strange to me at first, but I gave ’em a go. Two words: Holy crap. Two more words: So good. I was hooked from that point on. Anytime I go to a restaurant that has fried pickles on the menu, you can bet I’ll be ordering some! Making my own was something that only recently crossed my mind. This way, I can literally have fried pickles any time I want. Wouldn’t you like to have fried pickles any time you want? Salty, crunchy, briny, they’re really a damn fine snack if you prefer salty snacks over sweet ones. Dip them into some cool, creamy homemade ranch dressing that’s made with Greek yogurt and packed full of herbs, and you’re in business! Deep-frying in a giant pot of oil can be intimidating to a lot of people, and rightfully so. There are a lot of things that could go wrong, but if you just apply a bit of common sense, you’ll have these crispy fried pickles as your reward for braving that bubbling oil.
crunchy fried pickles with herby ranch
yields one big bowlful
1 – 46 oz jar whole dill pickles, drained and sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
1 c (141 g) all purpose flour
3 1/2 c (182 g) panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp (2 g) garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp (2 g) onion powder
1/4 tsp (2 g) salt
1 1/2 tsp (2 g) fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs (1 g) dried parsley
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 gallon (2 quarts) vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
herby ranch dressing
yields 2 1/2 cups
1/2 c (112 g) Greek yogurt (I like Fage 2%)
1 c (200 g) mayonnaise
1 c (260 g) buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs (6 g) dried dill weed
1 Tbs (1 g) dried parsley
2 Tbs (7 g) fresh minced chives
1/2 tsp (1 g) fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp (4 g) salt
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
To make the ranch, combine all ingredients in a blender jar (or a tall, narrow jar if using an immersion blender) and blend until completely smooth. The dressing will be very thin, but that’s okay! Chill until needed; keeps up to 7 days.
For the pickles: Pour the oil into a 6 quart pot and place over medium-high heat, making sure there is at least 4 inches of space between the surface of the oil and the top of the pot. Allow the oil to heat until the temperature reads 360 degrees on a digital thermometer (this took about 14 minutes for me). While the oil is heating, prepare the breading mixture by stirring together the flour, panko, herbs and spices, and baking soda in a large bowl until well blended. Slice the drained pickles and place the slices in another large bowl. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a whisk or a fork until combined. Pour over the pickle slices and toss to coat.
Working in handful-sized batches, scoop up some of the egg-coated pickles and place them into the bowl of breading. Toss well, pressing the breading mixture into the pickles. Shake off some of the excess coating and place the pickles in a separate bowl. Repeat the coating process until all the pickles are coated. Line a sheet pan with a double layer of paper towels and set aside. Once the oil is hot, carefully drop two handfuls of pickles at a time into the pot. The oil will bubble vigorously, so watch out! Allow the pickle slices to fry for 4 minutes over medium-high heat (try to maintain the oil at 350-360 the entire time) until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon or a shallow wire strainer, carefully lift the fried pickles from the oil and scatter them on the paper towels to drain. Repeat until all the pickles have been fried.
Taste a pickle and, if desired, sprinkle the hot fried pickles with a bit more salt or pepper. Serve piping hot with a side of the chilled homemade ranch dressing! These pickles are obviously best enjoyed when fresh from the fryer, but they’re really not at all terrible if they are served at room temperature. Any extras (psssh, as if you’ll have extras) can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, you can quickly re-fry them until crispy, or place them in a single layer on a foil-lined sheet pan under the broiler and heat til crispy, stirring them around partway through. Delicious, homemade fried pickles anytime I want? Yes, please! They’re a great party snack, and just may convert some pickle-hating weirdos into fried pickle fans (they may still be weirdos, though)!