Fried pickles are a truly fun, crowd-pleasing appetizer, snack, or side dish. They’re a guaranteed hit at any gathering. Vegan & ready in less than 30 minutes, make fried pickles in the air fryer or pan fried.
Fried pickles never fail to entice whenever I see them on a restaurant menu. Unfortunately, they’re often not an option for vegans, unless I’m at a plant-based restaurant (like Bean in Charlotte, North Carolina).
That’s why I love making fried pickles at home. I can easily prepare them without eggs or dairy. And they can be fried in a pan on the stovetop or in my handy dandy air fryer.
Either way they get beautifully crisp with an addictive amount of salt, tanginess, and crunch.
For gatherings, they can even be made ahead of time & then just reheated in the air fryer! (Full details on how to do that below.)
If you really want to bring a smile to someone’s face, fried pickle chips are an excellent place to start.
What do fried pickles taste like?
Air fryer fried pickles (a.k.a. frickles) are briny, salty, and thanks to beer batter, a little hoppy.
Crunchy dill pickle slices are coated in a flour & beer mixture, and dredged in panko breadcrumbs. Then they’re air fried or pan-fried until perfectly crisp.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this fried pickles recipe.
Pickle slices: Thickly cut dill pickles from the refrigerated section are best. I especially like Grillo’s. They have more crunch more than the shelf stable variety.
But feel free to use any dill pickles that you enjoy. You can even use pickle spears!
Pantry staples: All-purpose flour, baking powder, and cornstarch.
Beer: Dark beer has a pronounced hoppy flavor, but use any beer you enjoy.
German beer is guaranteed to be vegan because of their purity laws. If in doubt, check out Barnivore to see if your preferred brew is vegan.
If you’d prefer not to use beer, replace with an equal amount of water.
Panko breadcrumbs: These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are ideal for breading, because they make a super crunchy coating.
Seasonings: Paprika, cayenne, and salt.
Oil: If you’re air frying, use oil spray. If you’re pan frying, use a high-heat oil like canola oil or avocado oil.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make the recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
Start by drying dill pickle slices on a clean towel. (Dry pickles work best for the coating to stick properly.)
Now it’s time to make a breading station.
In a small bowl combine the following:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
The batter should be thick but pourable, like waffle batter.
On one dinner plate, sprinkle cornstarch.
On a second dinner plate combine the following:
- Panko bread crumbs (A necessity for maximum crunch!)
- Cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt
Now it’s time to bread the pickles!
Coat each dried pickle in cornstarch, dip in beer batter, and dredge in bread crumb mixture.
To air fry: Put the breaded pickles into the air fryer basket in a single layer. Spritz with oil cooking spray.
Air fry at 360 degrees for 8 minutes, stopping once to flip.
To pan fry: Bring a non-stick skillet to a medium high heat with oil. Add breaded pickles and fry for 3 minutes on one side, flip, and fry for a couple more on the other side until brown and crispy.
Move the fried pickle slices to a towel lined plate to drain. Finish with a pinch of salt.
Make them your own
You can make these air fryer pickles your own by omitting the beer in the batter or varying the seasonings.
If you’d prefer to omit the beer, simply use an equal amount of water in its place.
Instead of paprika/cayenne/salt as the seasonings, use your favorite seasoning salt or Italian seasoning. Slap Ya Mama seasoning salt would be very good here.
Dipping sauce options
Fried pickles are best with a dipping sauce. I recommend any of the following. (Ranch dressing is my favorite dipping sauce!)
How to store & reheat
If you have any fried pickles left over, they are terrific reheated in the air fryer.
Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days. Then reheat by air frying at 360 degrees for 6 minutes.
More air fryer recipes
If you love this fried pickles recipe, here are more vegan air fryer recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
Crispy fried pickles in air fryer or pan
- 14 dill pickle slices Thickly cut refrigerated pickles are best.
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- 3 Tablespoons dark beer All German beer is vegan.
- Pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 Tablespoons panko bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Oil spray for air frying or organic canola oil (for frying in skillet)
- ¼ to ½ cup vegan ranch dressing
- Dry the pickle slices on a clean kitchen towel, making sure to dry each side. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine all purpose flour, baking powder, dark beer, pinch of salt, and 2 Tablespoons of water. The batter should be thick but pourable, like waffle batter. If it's too thick, add an additional Tablespoon of water. Set the beer batter aside.
- Put out two dinner plates. On one plate, sprinkle cornstarch. On the second plate, combine panko bread crumbs, paprika, cayenne pepper, and another pinch of salt.
- Now it's time to bread the pickles. Make an assembly line on your counter with pickles, then cornstarch, then beer batter, and then panko mixture. If you're air frying, put the air fryer basket at the end of the assembly line. If you're frying them, put an additional plate for battered pickles.
- One pickle at a time, put the pickle slice in cornstarch on each side. Tap to remove excess cornstarch. This will make it easier for the batter to stick to the slice. Then dip the slice in beer batter, making sure to evenly coat it. Allow the slice to drip off any excess batter before continuing to the panko. Dredge the slice in the panko mixture, fully covering it.
- TO AIR FRY PICKLES: Put the slice into the air fryer. Continue with all of the dill pickle slices, making sure that they are in a single even layer in the air fryer basket. Give a spritz with spray oil. Air fry for 8 minutes at 360 degrees, stopping once halfway through to flip all of the slices and give another spritz of oil. After 8 minutes, check that they are the desired amount of toasty brown. If needed, air fry for an additional minute.
- TO FRY PICKLES IN A PAN: Continue battering all of the dill pickle slices, and put each breaded slice on the final plate. Cover the skillet in a thin layer of organic canola oil. Bring to a medium high heat. Test the oil is hot enough by dropping a few panko crumbs into the oil. If the oil immediately bubbles around it, it's ready to go. Put the breaded dill pickle slices into the oil. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to work in batches. You don't want to overcrowd, or else they won't brown properly. Fry for 3 minutes on one side, flip all of the pickle slices, and fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until they are toasty brown. Move to a towel-covered plate to drain.
- Serve with vegan ranch dressing.
Content updated March 24, 2023. Originally posted February 2, 2017.
Delicious! I used Tupperware to shake them in the corn starch and a second for the panko mix, made coating a breeze. These are so good, made a double batch for the first go and ran out still!
Thanks for the great feedback, Megan! That’s a good tip on the Tupperware. I’m so glad you enjoyed the fried pickles.
I love fried pickles, but rarely get to have them. I hadn’t experimented with the “air crisp” feature of my Ninja Foodi until now. Thanks to you, I just found a way to make a healthier version of a favorite appetizer AT HOME! You provided clear, easy-to-follow directions. I followed the recipe, except I used a light domestic beer and baby dills because they were handy without a trip to the store. I’m excited to browse your site for more recipes – thank you!
That is so nice to hear, Joni! Thanks for the great feedback. I’m delighted you enjoyed the recipe!
I use this recipe on all kinds of veggies. We made portobello mushroom sandwiches, zucchini coins, and onion rings using just swapping out favorite spices! Thanks for this awesome recipe. We just use plain beer.
What a terrific tip, Cathy! No reason to limit yourself to pickles alone. I’m going to have to try some of your suggestions! I’m delighted you’re enjoying the recipe.
These air-fried pickles were so crispy and delicious, Cadry! What a great recipe for trying out my new air fryer. I look forward to trying the baked version as well.
I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Emily! Thank you for letting me know. Have fun with your new air fryer!
I have a Gotham Steel Air Crisper basket and tray and want to make these using that. Has anyone had any experience with cooking the pickles this way. The tray came with a recipe for fried pickles which basically consisted of only dipping them in crumbs, but this battered approach sounds way better.
Couldn’t wait for any replies so I went ahead and made them and they tuned out awesome! Really great, crispy and not geasey at all. The coating adhered really well. My husband already asked me when I would make more. Loved the coating and thinking of kicking up the spice profile and trying it with onion rings. Great recipe.
I’m so glad to hear that you and your husband enjoyed the pickles & that the recipe worked well in your air crisper basket. What a good idea to kick up the spices and use the same coating/breading for onion rings. Keep me posted on how it goes!
These are the best!!
Thanks, Laura! So glad you enjoyed them!
These are so much fun to make and seriously addictive.
That’s great to hear, Becky!
Thank s for your recipe. I want to make the recipe but I don’t want to add beer. Can I make it without beer?
Hi, Sutlana! Yes, you can easily make it without beer. Just use water instead.
Newish vegan here. Really glad I found your blog. I love your writing and the recipes look great. Can’t wait to try. I particularly love your essays and entries in the “being vegan” section. I feel like I’ve found a real resource there.
You’re also seriously making me want an air fryer! 😆
Lucy, you have made my day with your lovely comment! I’m so glad that the “being vegan” section resonated with you. It’s always my hope that those posts will be a help to new vegans especially. While an air fryer isn’t an essential, they are fun to have! I use mine daily.
A friend and I made these not too long ago, and they were so easy and good! I want to make them again and do a mix of dill and sweet pickle chips. The batter is delicious!
That’s great, Becky! I’m so glad that you enjoyed them and found the process to be easy & delicious.
We just bought our air fryer this weekend and I am truly sorry that this is the recipe I picked to do first. OMG!!!! This was the most messy, most time consuming project on the planet, and yes I cook a lot and I love to cook and don’t mind dishes that are time consuming, but this was horrible!!!!! For one thing you can’t mix up the panko and stuff on a plate without it going everywhere, The panko plus the batter plus the corn starch makes the goopiest mess ever. I had to stop and wash my hands a million times, then tried tongues and had to keep stopping to get the goop off of them, then moved on from plates to using zip lock bags which made it a little bit better, but still, this was one horrible nightmare of an experience. I will never make these again.
Wow, that sounds like quite the ordeal, Patricia! This is my most popular recipe, and this is the first time I’ve heard from anyone who has had these issues.
Since you don’t plan on making these fried pickles again, my help is probably unnecessary. However, since you took the time to comment, I’d like to help in case you change your mind.
First off, I’d recommend watching the video first. That should give you a clear idea of the order and how thick the batter should be. Perhaps yours was too thick? It also helps to knock off any excess cornstarch and batter before moving on to the next step.
Second, if the panko is going everywhere, perhaps a bigger plate is in order, or you could put the panko in a bowl instead.
Lastly, when I’m making battered things, I like to use one hand for dry ingredients only and one hand for wet. That minimizes the amount of time that you’ll have to wash your hands, because ingredients won’t become a paste on your fingers.
I hope your next air fryer project goes better. Maybe try a baked potato next. They are wonderful in an air fryer, and there’s no batter involved. Best of luck!
Oh dear! Did you mix the corn starch, batter, and panko all on one plate, or use separate plates? It shouldn’t be that much of a mess!
I love frying anything with panko and this is a real treat – the air fryer makes everything so much healthier, too! Thanks for the recipe!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Linda! Thanks!
I got an air fryer yesterday, and this is the first thing that I made! I didn’t have any beer which is sad because I’m sure that added a nice flavor, but they were still delicious, and they looked just like yours in the picture 🙂 I had them as a side with chickpea salad wraps. Thanks for the yummy recipe!
Yay! I’m so happy to hear that, Mae! I’m glad you enjoyed the fried pickles, and I hope that you love your air fryer as much as I love mine. What a good idea to serve the fried pickles with a chickpea salad wrap. That sounds like the perfect lunch.
Hello and thank you by the way for your open letter to new vegans – that is me and its a message I needed to hear this week. I took your advice and identified that I had a salt craving this weekend. I love deep fried pickles and enjoyed learning how to cook up a delicious and vegan version at home as good as any I’ve had in a restaurant. And I can not believe how easy it is to whip up a vegan ranch dressing! Thanks for all of the great recipes – I plan to try many more.
Thanks for letting me know that the open letter resonated with you. I’m so glad to hear it! Best of luck on your vegan journey!
The pickles turned out perfectly in the air fryer! Absolutely fantastic recipe!
I’m so glad to hear it, Karissa! Thank you for letting me know.
Oh my, these look so good! Do you think this recipe would work on parchment paper in the oven? And is there anything I can use to replace the beer? My family really hates beer lol. I think I need to be saving up for an air fryer next…
It’s certainly worth a shot in the oven! I haven’t tried it on parchment, but it seems like it would work. If you’re not against it, a little spritz of oil once you’ve laid them on the parchment would probably help with browning. As for the beer, I’d just use water instead. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
I was in the color guard too! Co-captain my junior and senior years. 🙂
I’ve been incommunicado for a bit and am excited to be jumping back in during the air fryer craze. I just might have to get one. Is it significantly better than baking in the oven?
Yay! That’s so fun that you were in the color guard too! And well done on your co-captain position. I was the treasurer my senior year. 🙂
That’s a good question about whether or not air frying is considerably better than baking. I’d say that things like french fries, for example, are about the same as if you’d baked them on parchment. Things that are already oily, like tater tots, are a little better in the air fryer. Some things I just wouldn’t bake, like these pickles, and so for that, an air fryer offers something that baking wouldn’t.
Here are the pros to an air fryer:
1. No warm up time. You don’t have to wait to put your fries into it, and so it saves you that time.
2. Food cooks in roughly half the time in an air fryer versus the oven. So if you’re cooking Gardein, for example, instead of waiting 20 minutes for something to be done, it’s ready in 10. Tonight I made tacos in the air fryer, and they were ready from start to finish in about 5 minutes.
3. Food can go into the air fryer straight from frozen. Often if I’m making something like a breakfast patty, I’d thaw it before frying. You don’t have to worry about that with the air fryer.
4. It’s much less oil than frying. Some people use no oil at all, but I use an oil spray. So if I’m making potstickers, for example, I just give a spritz, and the potstickers are totally brown and crisp as if I’d drenched them in oil. I never deep fried my potstickers, but now I get that great texture without the added calories.
5. No parchment paper. I buy the parchment paper that is unbleached, and that can run about $5. In the air fryer, I don’t have to use it, which is a savings.
6. Easy clean up. When I am shallow frying things on the stove, food can get kind of stuck on the pan. That doesn’t happen in the air fryer basket.
7. You’re saving on energy costs since you don’t have to heat up the oven, which could make your house warmer in the summer. And because it cooks so much faster, it’s also less time that you’re using energy.
So long and short of it, I wouldn’t at all say that an air fryer is essential, but it’s lots of fun.
Seriously??? These look absolutely amazing… It’s definitely on my “MUST” try list. After getting a fryer that is!
Thanks, Kate! You could always do the shallow fry version of the recipe until you get set up with an air fryer. 🙂
YESSSSS! Cadry, I MUST make these. You know I just got an air fryer, so I’m trying out all kinds of things. Was already planning to make DIY corn chips in the air fryer for SuperBowl this weekend. Now I need to make these as well!
Also, I was in band too! I played clarinet in the marching band for awhile, and I was also a majorette for a time! 🙂
Yay! I think they will totally be up your alley, Bianca. I hope you love them! That’s so fun that you were a majorette. Somehow, I can see you doing that!
Seriously starting to think that I need to get an air fryer! These look amazingly delicious and crispy. I recently tried the Just Ranch and it’s my favorite one yet (have not tried Follow Your Heart yet, though).Like you, I’m craving snack foods right now despite having no interest in football, so we’ve been having a batch of baked-something-or-other with ranch regularly – I want to try these next 🙂
If you have the counter space, I think you’d really enjoy an air fryer. I use mine multiple times a day. It’s going to be great in the summer too that I’ll be able to cook without turning on the oven. And yes, it gets the pickle chips so crisp!
I’ve tried Just Ranch, and I thought it was pretty good. I prefer FYH, but Just Ranch would work too in a pinch. Have you tried the one from Daiya? I did not like that at all. Even though it was about $5/bottle, I barely used it, because I didn’t want to ruin the food it touched.
The air fryer continues to amaze me! These look so delicious!
The air fryer does a really impressive job of getting food crisp, and with just a spritz of oil, it browns nicely too. Plus, you can’t beat the clean-up!