Cancel all your plans for this weekend and invite your friends over for some beers and these healthy, oil-free fried pickles! Minimal ingredients, minimal effort, and absolutely no oil, grease, or guilt! Nothing but the crunch and allllllll that salty goodness.
I love pickles. And I bashfully love fried food. The first time I ever tried fried pickles was at the Joshua Tree Saloon, which sits just off the main road to the park entrance. I absolutely fell in love, and I swear I have never been able to find fried pickles that were as good as those ones. In fact, finding fried pickles isn’t the easiest task to begin with, and I won’t settle for greasy ones from a fast-food joint, so realistically my only option is to make them myself. After months of craving those delicious fried pickle spears from Joshua Tree, I finally decided to make my own, and they surprisingly exceeded my expectations in taste and ease of making them!
How to make Healthy Air-Fried Pickles with Creamy Herb Dipping Sauce
Time to crack open a cold one, because these bad boys are:
Bread the pickles
The first step to making these air-fried pickles is to make the breading. The breading consists of a layer of wet ingredients made from plant milk, flour, paprika, salt, and turmeric. And a layer of dry ingredients made from panko bread crumbs, paprika, salt, and turmeric. Mix the wet ingredients together in one bowl, and mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl.
Lay the pickles down on two or three sheets of paper towels and pat them dry. Next, use one hand to dip the pickle into the wet mixture, remove it, and shake off any excess batter that might be dripping. Using the same hand, drop the pickle into the dry mixture. Using your opposite, clean hand, sprinkle the dry mixture on top of the pickle until it is evenly coated. With the hand you used to drop the pickle into the wet mixture, carefully transfer the pickle to the basket of your air fryer. Evenly space out the pickles in the air fryer, making sure that they are not sitting directly next to each other or touching. Repeat the breading process until you have filled up the entire basket or have run out of pickles. You may need to cook the pickles in multiple batches depending on the size of your fryer.
The purpose of using opposite hands to bread the pickles is to prevent the dry mixture from becoming too saturated with the wet mixture, which will make it unusable. To go an extra mile to prevent this, split the dry mixture into two bowls, and once the first one becomes too wet, begin using the second bowl. Another way to prevent this is to make sure to wiggle off any extra wet mixture from the pickle before very carefully placing it in the dry mixture.
Bake the pickles
Once you have filled up the basket, cook the pickles for 12-14 minutes at 400°F, making sure to flip them halfway through, so they crisp up evenly. If you don’t own an air fryer, you could easily place the pickles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat and bake them in a normal oven for 30-40 minutes at the same temperature. If you are baking them this way, you will also need to flip them halfway through.
Make the Dipping Sauce
While the pickles are baking, it’s the perfect time to make the dipping sauce. This dipping sauce is vaguely inspired by ranch dressing, as the rich creaminess of the sauce pairs perfectly with the vinegar tang of the pickles. It is made from soaked cashews, full-fat coconut milk, a handful of parsley/dill, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and lemon juice. Place all of these ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust the spices where you feel is necessary.
For the best results, use cashews that have been soaked for at least 12 hours. This will provide a smooth and creamy sauce consistency. If you are in a pinch, however, boil raw cashews for at least 10-15 minutes until they are soft, and then blend.
These pickles are best served fresh out of the air fryer! Garnish with fresh parsley and pair with the chilled herb dipping sauce. For a lower calorie option, pair the pickles with mustard, which will provide even more tang to each bite. Or pair with any of your favorite dipping sauces!
If you’re into beer, these are incredible when paired with a cold one! From a refreshing lager to a hop-filled IPA, these are truly the perfect beer snack. No wonder why fried pickles do so well in bars!
As mentioned, these pickles are best served fresh, but if you need to store them, they will last for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will produce moisture after a couple of days and become slightly soggy, so make sure to reheat them in an air fryer at 350°F for about 10 minutes, or an oven at the same temperature for about 20 minutes, or until warm.
If you ended up making this, I’d love to hear about it!
Healthy Air-Fried Pickles with Creamy Herb Dipping Sauce
- Air Fryer
- 24 oz jar of pickle spears quartered
- ⅔ cup plant milk
- ½ cup flour of choice
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp turmeric
Herb Dip Ingredients
- ½ cup soaked cashews
- ½ cup full fat coconut milk
- handful of parsley/dill
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- juice of 1 lemon
- Slice the pickles into quarters. Once in half width-wise & then once again lengthwise(they should be somewhat thin slices). Pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any extra juice.
- Mix together the wet ingredients in one bowl, & the dry ingredients in another.
- Using separate hands for the wet & dry mixture, coat each pickle in the wet mixture & then transfer it to the dry mixture to coat evenly in bread crumbs.
- Place the pickles in an air fryer in a single layer and cook for 12-14 minutes at 400°F, flipping halfway through.
- While they are cooking, place all the dip ingredients into a food processor & blend until smooth & creamy.
- Garnish with parsley & enjoy!!