The Breading Tip For The Crispiest Fried Pickles Ever

If you're craving a snack that ticks every textural box, it has to be the crispy fried pickle. Sitting comfortably at the crossroads between sweet and savory, these moreish morsels are crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle, and juicy with tangy pickling liquor. While many recipes for these delectable discs call for the sliced pickles to be dipped in a liquid batter before they're deep fried, there's actually a better way to create that crackly exterior. Here's the secret; to make the crispiest fried pickles ever, you need to bread them instead of coating them in a batter.

There are three simple steps to breading anything from veggies and cod to chicken and shrimp; a dredge in flour, a quick dip in a liquid (such as beaten egg, milk, or buttermilk), and a final coating of breadcrumbs. The flour helps the egg to stick to the food, creating a glue for the breadcrumbs to adhere to, which results in a flavorful layered coating.

While it's true that this method takes longer than dunking each pickle slice in a bowl of batter, it's worth the effort for several reasons. The main benefit is that the textured quality of the breadcrumbs sticks to the pickles, creating a super crackly coating that's audibly crisp and golden once fried. This craggy surface lends the tangy cukes an appetizingly rugged consistency with a shell-like shatter instead of a smooth covering of batter that can taste one-note and lack textural interest.

The breading is a vehicle for more flavor

The breading method also provides three opportunities to add more flavor to your fried pickles — in the flour, the liquid, and the crumbs. You can add seasonings, like garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili flakes, or even dried herbs into the flour, use buttermilk or bone broth as your liquid, and select panko or Italian breadcrumbs for the final crunchy coating. You could even use cracker meal or cornmeal instead of breadcrumbs to achieve a crispier shell.

Moreover, unlike pickles dipped in a liquid batter that must be deep fried immediately upon dunking, breaded pickles can be baked or crisped up in the air fryer because the coating won't dribble off them or stick to the base of a baking tray as they cook. The upshot? You can prep your snacks in advance and chill them in the fridge, helping to set the breading. Then once you're ready to eat you can arrange your pickles on a lined baking sheet, spritz them with a touch of cooking spray, and bake them until golden and crispy. Better yet, the same breading method works for chunky fried pickle spears as well as flat sandwich-style slices and ridged circles.