Vegan Air Fried Pickles

8 servings
25 min

My easy recipe for Vegan Air Fried Pickles is the delicious appetizer your plant-based game day has been missing.

Made with just 7 simple ingredients in less than 30 minutes, these gorgeous, golden-brown, crispy fried pickles just so happen to be vegan and oil-free!

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round serving platter with vegan air-fried pickle chips arranged in a ring on the outside edge with a bowl of vegan ranch dressing garnished with a pickle slice in the center.

I never had fried pickles before I lived in New Orleans. The briny taste of pickles plus a crunchy coating, and you can count me in. Pair it with some homemade vegan ranch, and you may need to make 2 batches to keep everyone happy!

Why I Love This Recipe

When it comes to snack foods, few are more satisfyingly Southern than a platter of dill pickles that have been fried to crispy perfection and served alongside a generous ramekin of vegan ranch dressing.

That said, deep-fried foods have never agreed with my tummy, so I definitely needed to give these breaded pickles the ultimate vegan air fryer treatment! Aside from having all the crispity-crunchiness and salty deliciousness I crave, this air-fried pickles recipe is also:

  • Quick & Easy – They’ll be done in less time than it takes to watch an episode of your favorite sitcom!
  • Made With Minimal Ingredients – You only need 7 ingredients to make these healthy fried pickles, most of which are probably already in your pantry.
  • Crowd-Pleasing – These vegan fried pickles have all the flavor and none of the guilt of everyone’s favorite restaurant menu item.
  • Versatile – These panko-coated pickles are delightful as is, but can also be made spicy, sweet, or even gluten-free. Eat them as an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce, or layer them onto your favorite sandwiches or vegan burgers for an added layer of flavor and texture.

Vegan, Oil-Free Fried Pickles Ingredients & Substitutions

As promised, you only need 7 (!!!) basic ingredients to make this easy fried pickles recipe. Here’s your list:

jar of sliced dill pickles (or pickle chips).
  • Dill Pickle Slices – Dill pickles are traditional, and Cheryl and I prefer the breading-to-pickle ratio of slices to spears. That said, feel free to swap in your favorite pickle style. These are your snacks, after all!
  • Whole Wheat Flour or Gluten-Free Baking Mix – While you’re welcome to use more conventional all-purpose flour in place of whole wheat flour, I love the added nutrients, and the awesomely nutty flavor whole grains bring to the table.
  • Finely Ground Cornmeal – For that inimitable crunch in the coating. If corn is a dietary no-no, feel free to use wheat-based semolina flour or, alternatively, gluten-free ground flax seeds instead.
  • Salt – Pickles are already salty, but adding a little extra seasoning to the bread crumb mixture really steps these air fryer pickles up a notch.
  • Soy Milk + Apple Cider Vinegar – This is my homemade recipe for making vegan buttermilk, which is how we Southerners like to adhere our breading. You can also use any unsweetened nondairy milk and leave out the vinegar if you prefer.
  • Organic Cornstarch or Tapioca Starch – Either of these options will help the breading stick on your air fryer pickles.
  • Whole Wheat Panko Breadcrumbs – These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are light and crunchy, so they are my go-to over regular breadcrumbs that can get sort of gummy and dense. You’re also welcome to use gluten-free ones if you prefer.
Phillips Air Fryer with a bowl of cherry tomatoes.

Expert Tips

If this is your first time attempting my air fryer pickles recipe, keep the following notes in mind:

  • You can use a piece of perforated parchment to make clean-up easier! If yours doesn’t already have holes, use a hole punch. 😉
  • Work in batches. Air fryers work by blowing hot air around whatever you’re “frying,” so all sides of the food need to be exposed to crisp up. If needed, work in multiple batches depending on the size of your fryer basket and however many fried pickles you plan on making.
  • Batter and panko the whole recipe and keep on a sheet pan, but fry a batch, then eat those while more are frying to keep that crunch going!
Panko crusted pickles in a circle around vegan ranch dressing on a wooden background with a shotglass of toothpicks and embroidered cloth cocktail napkins for serving.

Are fried pickles vegan?Unfortunately, not always. Many recipes will include either buttermilk or eggs (or both!). Luckily, these homemade fried pickles are a snap to make.

Be sure to ask if you want to eat fried pickles out.

Why are my fried pickles soggy?Uh-oh. Sounds like you either shortchanged the draining step, or you didn’t preheat your air-fryer to the appropriate temperature. Also, make sure if you’re using parchment or foil that you aren’t covering up the vents that blow hot air around.

Do I always have to pre-heat?It depends on the air fryer. Many have a pre-heat built in, but some of the smaller ones don’t, and you do not need to preheat those.

Can I use this breading on other things?Yes! In fact, this is a perfect process and batter for all kinds of things. Just make sure to cook the veggies first, or the breading will be burnt before something like cauliflower or sweet potato slices would cook.

More Easy vegan Snack Recipes

Recipe details
  • 8  servings
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 5 Minutes Total time: 25 min
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  • 2 cups dill pickle slices
  • Batter Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour or gluten-free baking mix
  • 1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup soy milk plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar **use any unsweetened nondairy milk and leave out the vinegar
  • 2 tbsp organic cornstarch or tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat panko breadcrumbs or use gluten free ones

Place the pickle slices in a colander over the sink while you make the batter.
Make the Batter
Mix the flour, cornmeal and salt together in a small mixing bowl.
Add the curdled soy milk (or other nondairy milk) and mix again.
Place the starch in a small bowl and the breadcrumbs in another.
Stab apickle with a fork, dust it in the starch, then dip it into the batter.
Letthe excess batter roll off, then place in the panko, turn over and press the breadcrumbs on firmly.
Place in your air fryer basket.
Repeat until all the pickle slices are coated.
Cook at 400°F (205°C) for 5 minutes. If they are not quite golden brown, cook 1 or 2 minutes more.
Repeat until all the pickles are cooked.
Note: You can use a piece of perforated parchment to make clean up easier!
  • gluten-free option*, soy-free option**, no oil added
  • Optional Variations:
  • Gluten-Free Fried Pickles – Swap in your favorite cup-for-cup GF all-purpose flour blend and gluten-free panko to make these perfectly celiac friendly.
  • Spicy Fried Pickles – Use vinegar-based hot sauce or buffalo sauce in place of the apple cider vinegar to curdle your soy milk, and add some Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to the breading mix to make these air fryer fried pickles nice and hot.
  • Extra Crispy Fried Pickles – Feel free to spritz on a bit of avocado oil or olive oil to the breaded pickle coins before air frying to get them a little more golden.
  • Air Fried Pickles Spears – Instead of using pickle coins, use skinny pickle spears instead!
  • Air Fried Sweet Pickles – I’m not much of a sweet pickle gal, but you do you!
Kathy Hester
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