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Fried Pickles Recipe

Whether you prefer your pickles in the shape of spears or chips, you won't be able to resist biting into these irresistibly juicy fried pickles!

From "Smoke and Pickles"
October 2018

  • Fried Pickles
    Ketchup serves as a top-notch side to these tasty fried pickles.
    Photo by Grant Cornett
  • Smoke and Pickles
    “Smoke and Pickles” by Edward Lee redefines modern American food with incredible recipes and stories from a new Southern kitchen.
    Cover courtesy Artisan Books
  • Fried Pickles
  • Smoke and Pickles

Yield: 4 servings

Fried Pickles Recipe

One of the great food debates is what shape makes a better fried pickle: spears or chips. I am sympathetic to the arguments of both parties. The spear gives you a higher hot-pickle-juice-to-batter ratio, making each bite a juicy, briny mess, but the batter tends to fall off the pickle before you get to the end.

The chips have more surface area to grip the batter, but too much batter can lead to dipping into too much ketchup, which can overpower the pickle inside. Either way, fried pickles are delicious. I've made all sorts of fancy condiments to accompany fried pickles, but, as it turns out, there's nothing better than straight-up Heinz ketchup. You can use the Quick Caraway Pickles or good-quality artisan pickles.

Serve the pickles hot on newspapers with ketchup and lots of napkins, and pair with large bottles of Sofie from Goose Island Beer Company.


For the batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 12-ounce bottle lager beer

For the fried pickles:

  • 3 cups corn oil
  • 1 cup sliced pickles, drained and patted dry
  • Kosher salt for seasoning
  • Ketchup for serving


To make the batter:

  1. Combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, ground cumin, and black pepper in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Slowly pour in the beer, whisking steadily.
  3. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.

To make the fried pickles:

  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If using pickle spears, dip each pickle into the batter, shake off the excess batter, and gently drop into the hot oil.
  2. Working in batches, fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until the batter is golden and crispy. If using pickle chips, add all of the chips to the batter.
  3. Using a spider or a strainer, lift the chips from the batter and let the excess batter drip from the chips (this will take a little time), then gently drop the chips into the fryer and fry as for the spears.
  4. Drain on paper towels and season with a little salt. Serve immediately, with ketchup.

More from Smoke and Pickles:

In Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, Edward Lee delivers Southern cooking with an Asian twist! These recipes take a bold approach on traditional American cooking, resulting in exquisite dishes packed with amazing flavors. Readers of any culinary skill level can create flavorsome meals such as miso-smothered chicken, Kentucky-fried quail, and so much more! The following excerpt is from chapter 8, "Bourbon and Bar Snacks."

Excerpted from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Grant Cornett.

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