The Quarantine Cookbook: Frying the perfect pickle at home

As we settle in to self-isolation, we're sharing some of our favorite delicious, easy-to-make recipes for the hungry at home.

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Most foods are better when they’re fried — potatoes, eggs, onion rings, chicken, mozzarella cheese in stick form, shrimp, the list goes on. Some people overlook the beauty of the fried pickle, but I firmly believe that there is no better snack. I’ve tested out every fried pickle that Pittsburgh restaurants have to offer and have concluded that Primanti’s and Pizza Pronto have the best ones. 

When quarantine began, I was craving some good fried pickles. I’ve been spending this time at my parents’ house in suburban Pittsburgh, so though there is a Primanti’s about 20 minutes from here, it’s a little bit too far for an Uber Eats order. This was when my journey to find the perfect homemade fried pickle began, and folks, I’m here to bring good news — you don’t need a deep-fryer or an air-fryer to make a good batch of fried pickles at home. Just a large pot and some canola oil.

When it comes to making homemade fried pickles, you have plenty of options. Spears? Chips? Spicy? Mild? Bread crumbs? No bread crumbs? The possibilities are endless. I’ve found that pickle chips work a bit better than spears when you’re trying to fry them at home, just because they’re smaller and easier to manage. I’ve tested out multiple recipes, but finally hit the jackpot with this one from a blog called She Wears Many Hats. It is much easier to follow than I expected, and all of the ingredients are things I already had around the house — no grocery trip needed! This recipe is also vegan (for my fellow plant-based foodies).

Ingredients: 

  • 16 ounces of dill pickle slices — I prefer Mt. Olive pickles. They are superior to most other pickles. Looking at you, Giant Eagle store brand
  • Oil for frying — I prefer canola oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce — I use Cholula hot sauce, and I am extremely generous with it. I love some spicy pickles
  • 1/2 cup water
  • The original recipe does not say this, but you NEED ranch with your fried pickles. It is simply the law. I recommend the ranch dip from Kite Hill or the ranch dressing from Follow Your Heart — if you’re looking for some delicious, vegan alternatives

Directions

  1. Heat about two inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. The original recipe recommends getting the oil to 375 degrees before frying your pickles.
  2. Dry your pickles out on paper towels — excess pickle juice will make it more difficult for the batter to stick.
  3. Whisk the flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper together in a small mixing bowl. 
  4. Add hot sauce and water. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Add the pickle slices to the batter in small batches and toss to coat.
  6. Using a spoon, remove pickles from the batter and let the excess drip off. 
  7. Add the battered pickles to the oil one at a time and let them fry for about two minutes or until golden. 
  8. Remove the pickles and let the excess oil drain on paper towels.
  9. Enjoy with your ranch!

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