These easy fried pickles are a cinch to make and call for cornmeal, hot sauce, buttermilk, and seasoned salt. They go perfectly with beer.
We’re told that fried pickles first gained acclaim at state fairs throughout the South, where recipes varied from simple beer battered dills to these, the best fried pickles we’ve ever experienced, which sorta mimic fried chicken in that they’re first dredged in buttermilk and hot sauce before being breaded and fried. This particular recipe comes from Willie’s Duck Diner in the author’s hometown of West Monroe. They go with anything and everything and everyone, including those who swear to not like pickles.–Renee Schettler Rossi
What To Do With Leftover Pickling Liquid
If, like us, you hate to waste anything edible, then don’t you dare let that jarred pickling liquid from the pickles for this recipe slip down the drain. Instead, pour it back into its jar (or your favorite vintage Mason jar with a lid) and toss in whatever veggies you’ve got on hand—some sliced carrots, cauliflower florets, halved radishes, cucumber slices, or so forth. Screw the lid back on tight and stick the jar back in the fridge. In a few days, you’ll have subtly yet surely flavored pickle impostors.
Special Equipment: Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer
Easy Fried Pickles
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 15 M
- Serves 6 to 8
- Peanut oil, for deep-frying
- 1 cup buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat is fine)
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Crystal or Cholula
- One or two (32-ounce) jars dill pickle slices, drained*
- 1 cup finely ground cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned salt, such as Tony Chachere’s, Lawry’s, or even store-bought or homemade Old Bay, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- Ranch dressing, for dipping (optional)
- 1. Pour the oil in a large, deep cast-iron skillet or deep-fryer to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat the oil until it reaches 365°F (185°C) on a deep-fry or instant-read thermometer.
- 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and hot sauce. Add the pickle slices and gently toss to coat.
- 3. In a shallow dish, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, seasoned salt, paprika, pepper, and cayenne.
- 4. Use a fork, slotted spoon, or tongs to remove anywhere from 5 to 8 pickle slices from the buttermilk mixture and let the excess goop drip off. Then toss the pickles in the cornmeal mixture and turn each one and ensure its coated lightly and evenly. Slip the coated pickles, 1 at a time, into the hot oil, making sure not to fry too many at once since you want them to float freely rather than be crowded. Fry until the coating is golden brown, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes, depending on how lightly or darkly golden you like your fried things. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried pickles to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle the hot pickles with a little more seasoned salt, if desired. Repeat until all the pickles are fried. Between batches, skim and discard any large clumps of cornmeal mixture that accumulate in the oil. Also bear in mind that the most important thing about this entire process is to make absolute certain the oil returns to 365°F (185°C) before adding the next batch of pickles.
- 5. Serve the fried pickles hot. If desired, set out a dish of ranch dressing on the side for dipping.