Fried Pickles with Buttermilk-Lime Dressing

fried pickles | chattavore
Surprising news, you guys: I love fried pickles. I remember the first time that I ever tried fried pickles: some of my sorority sisters took me to Durty Nelly’s (the restaurant/bar that used to be in the Taco Mamacita location) and said, “You have to try fried pickles!” and I was all, “Fried pickles? What?” The truth of the matter is, I never even liked pickles until I worked in a bagel shop for a few months, when I learned to love the dill spears we put on the side of our bagel sandwiches.
fried pickles | chattavore
fried pickles | chattavore
But fried pickles? Those were a revelation. Sixteen years later, I still remember those fried pickles as the best that I ever had. Funny thing is, I really didn’t eat very many fried pickles between that time and the inception of this blog, then something in my awakened and I couldn’t stop with the fried pickles. If you’ve read a lot of my restaurant blogs then you are aware that I am physically incapable of not ordering fried pickles when they appear on a menu. I’ve learned a few things about my fried pickle preferences, including that I prefer chips over spears for two simple reasons: (1) you get more of them; and (2) you are far less likely to burn the roof of your mouth on pickle chips than spears. Also, ranch dressing is a great accompaniment for fried pickles but only if it’s house made ranch. Nothing disappoints me more than getting Sysco ranch dressing alongside some great pickles.
fried pickles | chattavore
For some reason my fried pickle craving has been through the roof recently (no, I am not pregnant) so I decided it was time to crack the code. I don’t suppose that fried pickles are really a “southern” preparation but because they are so often served with barbecue, which is a decidedly southern food (unless you are from Kansas City, of course), and because I southernized this recipe all up with cornmeal and buttermilk, I have decided that it counts. And this dressing? One of the best I’ve ever made, inspired by a similar recipe by the Lee Brothers, who are among my southern cooking idols, this dressing is similar to ranch but not that much. It’s tangier (for obvious reasons, lime, hello) and a little sweeter and, well, just unexpected and it pairs perfectly with the fried pickles. I can’t wait to serve it alongside some fried green tomatoes this summer. But for now I’m just oh so excited that now I don’t have any reason to go out to a restaurant when I want fried pickles.
fried pickles | chattavore

Fried Pickles

Serves 2-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Appetizer, Snack
Misc Serve Hot
Website Food Network


  • canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dill pickle chips (drained and dried on paper towels)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal (not cornbread mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


Step 1
Pour about half an inch of oil into a 9-10 inch skillet (I use my 9-inch cast iron skillet). Place over medium heat.
Step 2
While the oil is heating, whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the buttermilk and whisk to make a thick batter.
Step 3
Place half of the pickle chips into the batter and use tongs to toss them to coat in the batter. When the oil is shimmering, place the chips in a single layer in the pan.
Step 4
Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until brown. Remove to paper towels and repeat with remaining pickles. Serve immediately.

Buttermilk-Lime Dressing

Serves 1 1/4 cup
Prep time 5 minutes
Allergy Milk


  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 green onion
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley (tightly packed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Step 1
If using a blender, place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. If not using a blender, finely chop the green onion then whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate for up to a week.

fried pickles | chattavore


  1. c.d. says

    I too miss Durty Nelly’s. Loved their stout chilli, the atmosphere, the live Irish music and, best of all, real draft stout- dispensed with nitrogen, at the proper temperature and with a clover leaf atop the foam.

    Took many folks there who’d never had fried dill pickles. Almost all loved them- and Durty Nelly’s. Sour and grease kinda go together.

    Fried giardiniera is good also.

    The cast iron skillet you use for pan frying is great. You might want to consider getting an infrared thermometer to measure the oil temperature. Gets a good reading in a couple of seconds, works in shallow oil and is much more accurate than dropping in a pinch of cornmeal or such into the oil to access temperature. It’s also amazing to see just how much and quickly the oil temperature drops when food is added.

    • Chattavore says

      I’ve never thought about fried giardiniera!

      As a “student” of Alton Brown, I’ve wanted an infrared thermometer for quite some time; however, since they’re a little cost-prohibitive I’ve never gotten around to getting one as it’s never been a real priority. One of these days….

  2. says

    I was introduced to fried pickles at the Galaxy Diner in Richmond, Virginia, where I grew up. You should go there if you’re ever in town. It’s kitcshy and wonderful.

    As a pickle lover from the time I was very young, I can’t believe it took me such a long time to have a fried one. Blame it on my Midwestern parents. I LOVE them but I can’t remember the last time I had some because I don’t have anyone to share them with at a restaurant.

    • Chattavore says

      Jessie, you and I seriously need to go to dinner some time. You can order all the things your family won’t eat and I will share them with you :)

Thanks for your comments, but remember that Chattavore is a positive site. I reserve the right to delete any comments that contain unnecessary negativity!