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 a pan on the stovetop.
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 to make them 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 pickles are an excellent place to start.
What do fried pickles taste like?
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.
What kind of pickles should I use?
For this fried pickle recipe, I recommend thickly cut dill pickle slices. The beauty of a fried pickle is getting some of that pickle crunch along with the crispiness of the batter.
I especially like Grillo’s pickle slices, which are sold in the refrigerated section. That makes them extra crunchy. But feel free to use any pickle slices that you enjoy. You can even use spears!
What kind of beer should I use for the batter?
For these beer battered pickles, I recommend a dark, hoppy beer. It has a maximum amount of beer flavor. But any beer that you enjoy drinking will work here.
I usually opt for a German beer. They are guaranteed to be vegan because of their purity laws. If in doubt, check out Barnivore to see if your preferred brew is vegan.
How to make fried pickles in air fryer or pan
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for fried pickles.
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 breadcrumbs (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 seasoned panko.
To air fry, put the breaded pickles into the air fryer basket, and spray with oil. 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.
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 fried 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.
What sauce should I serve with fried pickles?
Fried pickles are best with a dipping sauce. I recommend any of the following:
- Vegan ranch dressing
- Vegan blue cheese dressing
- Sriracha mayo
- Special sauce
- Creamy cashew salad dressing
- Lemon garlic aioli
How to store & reheat
If you have any fried pickles leftover, 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 air fryer pickles recipe, here are more vegan air fryer recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Air fryer asparagus
- Vegan fried ravioli
- Roasted garlic
- Vegan BBQ Soy Curls
- Air fryer stuffed peppers
Crispy fried pickles in air fryer or pan
- 14 dill pickle slices Thickly cut 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.
- 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, recipe, and photos updated March 1, 2021. Originally posted February 2, 2017.