Move over, onion dip. Fried pickles need some room on the snack table. They are coated in beer batter, and finished with panko bread crumbs. Vegan & ready in under 30 minutes.
They can be made in a skillet or “fried” in an air fryer. I have directions for both in the recipe below.
When I was in high school, I attended almost every varsity football game. It wasn’t because I was a huge sports fan or because I had a boyfriend on the team. (My high school boyfriends were more concerned with curtain calls than quarterbacks.)
I was there on Friday nights, with the bright lights shining down on the field, because I performed with the band at halftime. I was a flag twirler (a.k.a. a member of the color guard.)
You may recognize me as Miss Flag Iowa 1992… Please, save your applause.
There was always some stress during the first half of the game, as we waited for our chance to get on the field.
See, we practiced in the wee hours of morning when the air was calm and still. At 6:30 a.m. it was fairly easy to toss and catch a flag without a drop.
But in the evenings, the wind would pick up. Surrounded by stands full of classmates and parents, the stakes were higher.
So after the halftime show, we could all relax. My girlfriends and I would gab in the stands, and drink hot cocoa under blankets. (It got cold sitting on metal seats in October.)
Finally, the buzzer would blast, and I was reminded that there had been a game going on. That was our cue to pick up our coats and flags, and head back to the band room to pack up.
Since no one is counting on me to twirl a flag at the Super Bowl on Sunday, you can feel very confident that I won’t be watching any football. (It’s too bad, though. I still have a flag in my hall closet.)
However, if there’s one thing I can get behind for game day, it’s appetizers. I love making a meal of snacky foods.
Whether you’ll be having friends over to watch the game, or the Puppy Bowl, or a Bob Ross marathon on Netflix, I know just the thing for your snacking needs – crispy fried pickles. (They’re also known as frickles.)
Served with a side of vegan ranch, they are crazy dippable.
Crisp on the outside, briny on the inside, they are double coated. First in beer batter and then in panko bread crumbs.
The hoppy beer batter doesn’t overwhelm. But it rounds out the flavor and adds some warmth.
Japanese-style panko bread crumbs give the vegan fried pickles an extra crisp exterior. And they make this appetizer air fryer material.
Wet batter doesn’t work too well in an air fryer. The hot air moving at a frantic speed makes the batter fly off like a flag going awry in the wind.
Panko holds the batter down and keeps it secured to the pickle.
If you’d like to make these fried pickles ahead of time, they reheat well in the air fryer. (Find directions for reheating in the notes of the recipe box below.)
Don’t have an air fryer? No worries. I’ve also included directions for shallow frying these vegan fried pickles in a skillet.
Either way, they come out beautifully. And you know that Miss Flag Iowa wouldn’t lie to you.
Crispy fried pickles
- 14 thickly cut dill pickle slices Crunchy refrigerated pickles are best.*
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 Tablespoons dark beer All German beer is vegan.
- Pinch salt
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 Tablespoons panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Oil spray for air frying or organic canola oil (for frying in skillet)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegan ranch dressing Follow Your Heart ranch is my favorite.
- 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.
- If air frying: 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.
- If frying in skillet: 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.
Still hungry? Here are more vegan air fryer recipes you’ll love!