While the origin of fried pickles must certainly be southern, the when and the where is disputed. Several restaurants throughout Mississippi and Arkansas have been credited with establishing the bar snack sometime in the 1960s, but southerners have been dredging food in flour and deep-frying for so long, it’s hard to imagine this decadent treat could possible be so young. Wherever they began, the salty, sour and crunchy fried pickle has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity as restaurants re-imagine southern classics. Even a well-known fast food chain has gotten into the act.
After a summer of diligent picking, there are few ways to use those homemade dills that rival the tasty decadence of the fried pickle. Pickles can be fried whole, cut into spears or sliced into chip (as we do here) and if you’ve got other crunchy pickled produce like green beans or okra, they can be fried up using this same simple recipe. Fried pickles can be served anywhere chips or fries make sense and may be dipped in anything from barbecue sauce to ranch dressing. We include our favorite fried pickle dip here – a blend of mayonnaise, ketchup, chili sauce and spices called comeback sauce. Fried pickles do just fine all by themselves, but this poor-man’s remoulade will make sure they, mmm hmm, come back for more.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 quart dill pickles
Combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper in a wide, shallow bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg.
Slice pickles to thickness of about 1/4” and add to buttermilk.
Pour vegetable oil into a heavy skillet to a depth of at least an inch and heat to 375 degrees over medium-high heat.
Working with about a dozen slices at a time, toss pickle slices in flour mix to fully coat and transfer to hot oil to cook about 4 minutes or until golden brown.
Using a spider strainer or slotted spoon, remove fried pickles from skillet and place on paper towels on a plate to drain and cool.
Serve hot with comeback sauce for dipping (see recipe below).
Makes one pint
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup chili sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients process in a blender or using a stick blender until smooth. Store refrigerated in a jar with an airtight lid up to one week.