Hot Oil Is Key For Crispy Fried Pickles

Pickles are having a moment. Whether they're starring in your favorite hot sauce or donning a Midwest pizza, this tangy condiment has become one of the most versatile ingredients a chef can have. But battered and deep-fried, pickles can be a standalone treat that's second to none. 

Luckily, you don't need to go to your favorite catfish shack to get a taste of this crispy delicacy as they're made easily enough in the home kitchen. All you need is a good batter and breading, freshly sliced dill pickles, and, most importantly, super hot oil. Why scorching hot oil? If you don't get your oil up to temp, the batter on your pickles will simply absorb the grease, rather than fry in it, creating a soggy mess. 

350 degrees Fahrenheit seems to be the agreed-upon number as it's the temp most chefs use to cook other fried food, like classic fried chicken. So how should you go about getting your oil hot and keeping your fried pickles crisp?   

Pickles like it hot

Depending on your stovetop, it could take anywhere from five to 10 minutes to get your oil up to temperature. The easiest way to tell if your oil is at 350 is to use a thermometer, although a quick hack for some is to throw in a popcorn kernel and see if it pops (it'll pop at temperatures between 325 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit). Once you get to this hot sweet spot, you can begin your frying, adding about a cup of breaded pickles at a time. Once you begin frying, the oil will have a tendency to drop in temperature. Recheck it after frying the first batch, taking the time to bring it back up to 350 degrees before adding in your second batch.

If you're still struggling with attaining crisp fried pickles, you may want to examine your batter or breading. Many fried pickle recipes call for a bit of cornstarch, which helps absorb excess moisture from your wet pickles. You should also make sure you're serving your fried pickles fresh, as they'll absorb more oil the longer they sit. With these main tips in your back pocket, you should have no trouble frying up state-fair-worthy fried pickles from the comfort of your home kitchen.