I know, I know! Calling something the BEST is a little over-the-top, especially when it's your own recipe. However, these really are the BEST Air Fryer Fried Pickles!
Why? Because they are crispy on the outside with a warm, yet still crispy, pickle on the inside and they have the perfect seasoning. The seasoning is simple enough to allow all the great pickle flavor to come through, while giving the breaded pickles such a delicious flavor.
Hands down, these are better than any deep fried versions I've gotten at a restaurant and I'd bet you will agree! Plus, they are healthier than deep frying!
They are super easy to make in any air fryer. I used the Ninja Foodi Indoor Grill in this recipe, but the instructions are the same in the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer or the Basket Air Fryers.
You can also make them Keto friendly, see section below for details.
Frequently Asked Questions
While you can use any kind of pickles you want, I recommend getting whole dill pickles and cutting them yourself instead of dill pickle chips or dill pickle slices.
Whole dill pickles will stay crunchier because the inside isn't exposed to the pickling liquid like the chips are. I made this recipe with both, and the freshly sliced pickles were a thousand times better.
I also suggest getting the highest quality pickle you can find. You want a firm pickle that has great flavor.
These air fryer fried pickles are best eaten fresh. However you can reheat them on air fry at the highest temperature your air fryer has until they are warm. Unfortunately, they won't be as crispy when reheated as they are freshly made.
If you want to make the pickles ahead of time, I recommend freezing them uncooked and then cooking them from frozen. This method works, but they still aren't quite as crunchy as they are when you make them fresh.
Once the air fryer pickles are done, they will stay crunchy for at least an hour or two, as long as you let them cool on a cooling rack so they don't steam as they cool.
This air fryer pickle recipe can be served at room temp, so you can make up a few batches ahead of time and they will still be delicious when you serve them.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Like I said earlier, I recommend using a whole pickle and slicing it yourself instead of pickle slices because, when you cut them fresh, they retain their crunch better. Buying dill pickle chips is easier, but you will probably end up with mushy pickles on the inside. That's what happened when I tried it and the texture wasn't pleasant.
If you wanted to use sweet pickles instead of dill pickles, you can certainly do that, but I don't know how they would taste.
You can also change the recipe to make dill pickle spears instead of slices and coat them the same way.
In order for the breading to hold on to the pickle, it needs a binder and that is the wet batter. I used beer, egg, mustard and flour to create a thick pancake batter and that worked perfectly.
If you can't have eggs or want to avoid the flour, then please see the keto instructions below.
You can use any kind of mustard that you like, but I absolutely LOVE this Cuban mustard that I get at Walmart!
Breading Ingredients & Seasonings
I used all purpose flour to coat the pickle slices so the egg had something to hold on to. Then I dipped them in an egg mixture, followed but a dredge through seasoned breadcrumbs. You can absolutely substitute the fine bread crumbs with panko bread crumbs if you prefer. I tried a combination of both panko breadcrumbs and fine breadcrumbs and I wasn't a fan of the texture with the panko. You can also add some parmesan cheese to the bread crumb mixture if you like.
The seasonings I used are simple, but complemented the pickles so well. I used a blend of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and cumin. I will say to be careful with salt because the pickles are already salty and, if you add too much, it really becomes overpowering. You can get so creative with your spices, maybe try some Old Bay or spice it up with cayenne or chipotle pepper.
If you want to experiment with seasonings before you commit to a full batch, simply put some of the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and add a little of your seasonings. Batter and bread just one pickle slice and air fry it. If you like the spice combo, then add it to the rest of the breadcrumbs. If not, keep repeating the experiment until you have exactly the flavor you want!
If you want to make these air fryer pickles low carb, follow the instructions below.
I know many people love dipping their air fryer pickle chips in ranch dressing, but I love the mustard and mayo sauce I make! Here is the recipe I use.
¼ cup Cuban Style Mustard
2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
Mix together and refrigerate until serving.
I also like dipping them in plain ketchup! Another great option is buffalo sauce! Simply mix together your favorite hot sauce with melted butter and use that to dip the pickles in or toss the pickles in the sauce just before serving. Try different kinds of sauce and be sure to let me know what your favorite dipping sauce is!
Keto Air Fryer Fried Pickles
Making this recipe Keto is super easy! I used whole almonds to make this keto version, but you can also try using almond flour if you prefer.
Slice whole dill pickles into ¼"-½" slices.
Add ¾-1 cup of whole almonds (probably about ½ cup or so of almond flour) and ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum to a food processor or high speed blender and process until it turns into fine crumbs. Remove half of the mixture and toss the pickle slices in it.
Whisk up an egg with 1 Tablespoon mustard. Add ¼ cup of water or any other liquid you want to use along with the remaining almond flour mixture.
Combine 2 cups pork rinds and ¼ cup of whole almonds along with ¼ teaspoon of fine grind sea salt, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Pulse blend in a high speed blender or food processor.
Dip the pickle slices (already tossed in the dry almond/xanthan gum mixture) into the egg batter and then coat with the pork rinds and almond coating.
Preheat your air fryer on the hottest setting. Spritz the basket and place the coated pickles in a single layer. Because the pork rinds are all fat, I don't spritz the top of the pickles.
Air Fry on 400℉/200℃ for 5 minutes or until the breading is golden brown and crunchy. Remove and set them on a cooling rack until you are ready to serve.
How to Make Air Fryer Fried Pickles
Slice your whole dill pickles into ¼"-½" slices.
You will need 3 shallow coating trays or bowls to use for breading stations. I like using these trays from Pampered Chef: Coating Trays.
In the first tray add ¼ cup all purpose flour. Toss the sliced pickles in the flour to lightly coat. This will absorb any pickle juices that occur during the air frying process and will help prevent a soggy exterior. You can use a plastic bag to toss the pickles in.
In a second tray or bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 1 Tablespoon mustard, ½ cup beer or water. Using cold ingredients will help create the batter without over whisking it and developing the gluten in the flour.
Sift in 2-3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour into the egg mixture and gently fold in until you can no longer see the flour. Repeat with the remaining flour UNTIL you have the consistency of a thick pancake batter.
The Recipe calls for ¾ cup of all purpose flour, BUT it is important that you go by consistency and only use as much flour as is needed to get the wet batter to be the consistency of thick pancake batter. It should drip off the fork and not be super thick and clumpy. If you add too much flour, simply add 1 Tablespoon of water or beer until you achieve the correct consistency.
In the third coating dish, combine 1 cup bread crumbs along with the seasonings and mix well.
Dip pickles (flour coated already) into the wet batter and let the excess drip off. Place the battered pickle into the seasoned bread crumbs and cover completely. Let the pickle slices sit in the bread crumb mixture for a few minutes so the bread crumbs set and then sit them on a cooling rack or on a parchment lined tray.
I usually preheat the air fryer with the basket or cooking surface inside on the hottest setting for 10 minutes while I'm coating the pickles. Once the pickles are coated and the air fryer is preheated, spritz the air fryer basket with a neutral oil (I use avocado oil) and place the coated pickles in a single layer in the basket. Spritz the tops with oil and air fry on 400℉/200℃ for 5 minutes or until they are golden brown.
The number of pickles you can do at once will depend on the size of your air fryer. I used the Ninja Foodi Indoor XL Grill and was able to get around 30 pickle chips in the basket.
Remove the pickles and set them on a cooling rack until you are ready to serve them. The cooling rack will prevent steaming which can cause the pickles to get soggy. When you are ready to serve them, transfer them to a serving platter and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
More Air Fryer Appetizer Recipes
Making appetizers in my air fryer is one of my favorite things to do! I can get restaurant quality results right at home. Here are some of my favorite appetizers!
Air Fryer Breaded Pickles
- Air Fryer
- 3 whole dill pickles
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil for spritzing
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon mustard I used Cuban mustard
- ½ cup beer or water
- ¾ cup all purpose flour You may not need it all
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon fine grind sea salt
- Slice the pickles into ¼-½" slices and toss in all purpose flour to coat.
- In a shallow bowl or coating tray, combine beer or water with egg and mustard. Whisk together. Sift in the flour a few tablespoons at a time and fold the flour into the wet batter after each addition of flour. You don't want to whisk it in or you might develop too much gluten and it will become gummy. Only use enough flour to get the consistency of the wet batter to that of a thick pancake batter.
- In another shallow bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the seasonings.
- Dip each pickle slice into the wet batter and then into the breadcrumbs. Set the slices on a cooling rack or parchment lined tray.
- Preheat the air fryer with the basket or cooking surface inside on the hottest setting for a full 10 minutes. Spritz the basket or cooking surface with a neutral flavored oil. Lay the pickle slices in a single layer. Air Fry for 5 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove the pickle slices and cool on a cooling rack. Repeat if you have multiple batches to air fry.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
I WOULD LOVE TO SEE WHAT YOU ARE COOKING UP IN YOUR KITCHEN! TAG ME @THESALTEDPEPPER ON YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM WHEN YOU MAKE A DISH!
BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE SALTED PEPPER RIGHT HERE ⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓
Can you use the same batter for an air fried blooming onion? I've tried other recipies and nothing has worked.
I've had a hard time working out the timing and batter for a blooming onion myself, so I'm not really sure if this would work or not. I am working on a recipe though and as soon as I get it perfected I will post it. The issue for me is having the onion cooked perfectly without burning the batter or having it soggy in spots. It's a challenge!
Can I use almond flour without the xanthan gum?
The xanthan gum is what helps everything hold together and creates the batter. You can certainly try it without it and see how it goes, but I haven't tested the recipe that way.