The Crucial Step You Can't Forget When Air Frying Pickles

Burgers and wings may be some of the most profitable U.S. bar foods, per Donna Italia, but we'd argue that people are missing out on frickles (aka fried pickles) as a tasty, salty alternative. That's not to say that fried pickles are without fans, however, as the sour snacks are now commonplace at state fairs, the appetizer section of restaurant menus, and chains like Chili's and Buffalo Wild Wings (via Eater).

Before they became a national indulgence, fried pickles were invented in (where else?) the southern U.S. According to Southern Living, the Duchess Drive-In was located across from the Atkins Pickle Company in Arkansas, leading the drive-in's owner Bernell Austin to start dabbling in pickle-frying in 1960. Southern culture undoubtedly influenced the snack's creation as well — as Austin's son David Smith told THV11: "Of course this is the south, where did [the pickle] go? In the deep-fryer."

Fried pickles are just what they sound like — pickles that are deep-fried until they're crispy and crunchy. They can be made in slice or spear form, and are typically covered in a breadcrumb or flour coating before being submerged in oil for a few minutes. If you'd like to make them a little healthier, however, it is possible to make this dish in the air fryer — just don't forget this important step.

Dry pickles are crispy pickles

If you're a diehard fried pickle fan but want to stay away from deep-fried foods, the ever-popular and versatile air fryer can step in once again to save the day. Of course, when you turn to air frying, it's essential to preserve that signature crispiness that comes from regular frying. To do so, you'll want to dry the pickle slices by placing them in between paper towel layers before moving on to additional steps, like coating them in the batter and arranging them in the air fryer (via Mashed).

Why is this step so important? Wet pickles mean that their juices will mix in with the breading, which will prevent the slices from crisping up properly in the air fryer, per Taste of Home. In fact, if your pickles are too moist, the batter likely won't stick to them well and might glide right off before you've even had a chance to air fry them (via Plated Cravings).

Once you have dried and air-fried them, however, feel free to dip your pickles in a variety of delicious dipping sauces. Love and Lemons recommends chipotle sauce, ranch, or remoulade sauce (similar to tartar), but there's really no wrong choice here.