A few years ago, one of my sorority sisters got married in coastal South Carolina. As bridesmaids, another close friend/sister and I arrived a few days early to help with wedding preparations. The first night we were in town, we went out to eat at a local seafood restaurant with a few other members of the wedding party. While perusing the menu, my fellow bridesmaid/partner in crime noticed fried dill pickle chips on the menu and commented, “Fried pickles? That sounds weird.” She’s from northeast of Philadelphia and unfamiliar with most elements of southern cuisine. Personally, I love fried pickles, so I insisted that we not only order them, but that she must give them a chance. When the fried pickles arrived at the table, she tentatively tasted one…then another…and another…and she became obsessed! Everyone had a few, she had the rest.
I feel it’s pertinent to mention that I also love fried zucchini. I mean, you are taking one of my favorite vegetables and frying it—everything is better (albeit less healthy) when fried! A few months ago, I came across a recipe for Quick Pickled Zucchini and had to try it (because I love pickled everything, too…this post is quickly becoming a list of my favorite things). Anyway, after enjoying the cool crisp pickled zucchini with dinner one hot summer night, I thought to myself, “Why not fry it?!”
So here we are. The results of this mashup turned out so well, I may never go back to plain old fried pickles again. Who am I kidding? I will never turn down a fried pickle in any form. But these are really freaking good.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 extra-large egg
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Fill a large pot or cast-iron skillet with about 2-inches of vegetable oil. Conversely, fill a deep fryer with vegetable oil according to its specified instructions. Heat the oil to 375-degrees—if you are doing your frying on the stovetop, the temperature can be monitored with a candy thermometer clipped onto the edge of your pot.
2. While the oil heats, whisk together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika and garlic powder in a shallow bowl (a pie plate works well for this, too).
3. In another shallow bowl (or pie plate), whisk together the buttermilk and egg.
4. Pat the pickle slices dry with paper towels.
5. To prepare the pickles, dredge each one in the flour mixture and shake off the excess.
6. Dip the pickle slice in the buttermilk-egg mixture and shake off any excess.
7. Return the pickle slice to the flour mixture to dredge a second time, shaking off the excess flour mixture.
8. Once the vegetable oil reaches 375-degrees, fry the pickles, 3 or 4 at a time, turning them over once the first side is golden brown. Once the second side becomes golden, remove the pickles from the oil using a spider basket or slotted spoon and place them on a wire cooling rack set on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Cooking times vary, so do not walk away, but if I were to estimate, it would be about 90-seconds to 2-minutes per batch. Do not try to fry more pickles at a time than suggested—it will drop the oil temperature, making the product soggy and greasy.
9. Serve the fried pickle chips immediately, or keep them warm for up to half an hour in an oven set at 200-degrees.
🍽 I like to serve Ree Drummond’s Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing on the side, but you can use whatever you want as a dipping sauce.
🍽🍽 You can do steps 5-7 in advance and place the prepared pickle slices on a wire cooling rack set on a baking sheet, or you can have helpers complete this task while you do the frying.