Yes, I used the words “healthy” and “fried” in the same description, and yes, I mean it. We’re talking about that classic savory appetizer but using healthier oil, flour, and breading. These healthy homemade fried pickles hold all the flavor and crunch with less of those empty calories and unhealthy fats.
I know your association with fried pickles is probably from the local fair or dive bar, but this recipe will give you all the comfort and flavor with way less guilt. They’re made with chickpea flour as a healthier flour alternative and whole grain sourdough breadcrumbs for a more nutrient-dense crumb. Fried pickles are great for parties, neighborhood BBQs, or alongside a bowl of chili (or other soups) instead of bread.
The qualities of a good frying oil include high smoke point, stability, neutral flavor, and cost. We also take into account its healthiness in our household. For more in-depth information on the healthiest oils to fry with, check out this blog post.
Our four recommended oils include:
Beef Tallow- This is my favorite frying oil and the one we use in this recipe. We get beef suet from our butcher for FREE and render it down to use as a cooking and frying oil. So, it is potentially an extremely economical oil.
Avocado Oil- It has a high smoke point of 520°F (270°C) and has a relatively neutral flavor with a slightly nutty taste.
Coconut Oil- It is known for its unique composition of fatty acids, particularly a high concentration of saturated fats. It has a high smoke point, typically around 400 degrees F. Coconut oil can have a distinct flavor, but for savory recipes like this one, I find it compliments the overall flavor well.
Ghee- Ghee has a rich, nutty flavor and a high smoke point of around 450 degrees F. It’s a source of fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and D, which are essential for various bodily functions. If you make your own, it becomes a cheaper option than in the store.
Prepare pickles. Drain the pickles (you can choose to save the pickle juice for other kitchen projects), lay them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet in a single layer, and pat them dry.
Heat oil. Pour your chosen oil into a deep pot until it reaches at least an inch in height and bring the oil to a temperature of 350-360 degrees F over medium-high heat.
Prepare assembly line. In a bowl, combine your flour and seasonings. Whisk to combine. Add in water and whisk again. In another bowl, place your breadcrumbs.
Assemble pickles. Take each pickle, dip it into the seasoned batter, and then cover it with the sourdough breadcrumbs. Place it on a plate and continue with the rest of the pickles.
Fry. Carefully (with a slotted or spider spoon) place your battered pickles into the frying oil in small batches. Cook them for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown. Use the spoon to remove them and let them dry/cool on a paper towel-lined dish or tray. Make sure your oil returns to 350 degrees F before putting in each batch.
If you see this recipe, think about that expensive chickpea flour on your grocery store’s shelf, and then get deterred……you can make your own!
All you need is a food processor and a fine mesh strainer. Process the dried chickpeas in a food processor until flour begins to form (2-3 minutes). Strain your chickpeas through a strainer to collect the flour and then continue to process until all the chickpeas have turned into fine, powdery flour.
For homemade breadcrumbs, follow this post! If you haven’t made breadcrumbs from stale bread before, you might never go back to storebought.
While I can (and do) eat these fried pickles by themselves and by the handful, you might want to whip up a dipping sauce for them as well.
Try a simple aioli like mayonnaise, garlic, and herbs or mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, and cayenne.
You can make a quick dipping sauce with mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle juice, and hot sauce as well.
These will last for at least 3-4 days in the fridge, but you’ll want to crisp them back up in the oven prior to eating or serving them.
Saving Frying Oil
If you steer clear of frying foods because it takes so much oil, you’ve come to the right place. You can strain and save your oil to reuse! It’s pretty simple, actually. It might require a bit of time to strain through, but it’s definitely worth it.
Use a coffee filter-lined funnel to filter your oil into a glass jar. Alternatively, you can use a funnel with a built-in strainer like this. We keep our used oil in jars in the fridge for use in whatever kitchen meals we’re cooking up.
When you store your pickles in the fridge, they won’t maintain that crunch the next day. You can crisp them back up on a wire rack placed on a baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. This can easily be done in a toaster oven as well.
You can! I would suggest using small pickles (or slicing them thinly), so as not to alter the breading to pickle ratio in this recipe.
If you want to forego frying, you can cook these in either the oven or air fryer. For the oven, place them on a rack inside of a backing tray and cook for 10-15 minutes at 425 degrees F. For the air frying method, place the pickles in your basket (in batches so that they don’t overlap) and cook them for 8-10 minutes on each side….until golden.
If you don’t pat your pickles dry well enough, the coating will have a harder time sticking. Make sure they are dry before beginning the dredging process.
We love having plenty of healthy snacks on hand in our household to deter the cravings for packaged snacks with artificial ingredients.
- Dutch oven or deep skillet
- Slotted or spider spoon
- 16 oz jar of pickles
- 4 c beef tallow or other frying oil
- ½ c chickpea flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp cayenne powder
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ c sourdough breadcrumbs or other breadcrumbs
- Drain the jar of pickles (saving the pickle juice if you choose).
- Place pickles in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking tray. Pat them dry with more paper towels.
- Place beef tallow in your deep pot and heat it over medium-high heat until it reaches 350-360℉. The oil should be at least 1 inch high in the pot. If this requires more than 4 c of oil, add additional oil.
- Meanwhile, measure the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add ¾ c water to the mixture and whisk until combined.
- In a separate bowl, add the breadcrumbs.
- Dip each pickle in the seasoned batter and then into the breadcrumbs to be covered. Lay out the finished pickles on a plate to be fried.
- Use a slotted or spider spoon to carefully lower a small batch of pickles into the oil. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown, gently flipping halfway.
- Use the slotted or spider spoon to remove the fried pickles and allow them to drain in a single layer on a paper towel-lined tray or plate. Make sure your oil returns to 350 ℉ before continuing with the rest of the batches.
- Serve immediately or store in the fridge to be re-crisped later!
- To crisp back up fried pickles, heat them in the oven on a rack inside of a baking tray for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- For information on making your own breadcrumbs, check out this post.
- Store your oil by pouring it through a coffee filter-lined funnel and into a glass jar or through a funnel with a built-in filter.