Oh yes, these pickle brined chicken wings are seriously crispy and seriously delicious. A fantastic keto wing recipe for your snacking pleasure. With instructions for both air fryer and oven!
As you may already know, I am a chicken wing fanatic. Severely fanatical, to be exact. And I am ever so thankful that there are so many great ways to make keto chicken wings. Take, for example, my Old Bay Wings with browned butter. Totally swoon-worthy! Or my crispy Garlic Parmesan Wings, a favorite with everyone who tries them.
Well, I decided it was time for a new wing recipe and this time I went with pickle brine chicken. Yes, you heard that right. I brined my wings in pickle juice. Then I tossed them in seasonings and air fried them to crispy perfection. Absolutely amazing!
I will be the first to admit that brining chicken in pickle juice was not my idea. I can’t remember where I first heard of pickle brine chicken but I’ve seen it on multiple sites since. It’s often breaded and fried, so it’s not exactly keto friendly.
Brining Chicken Wings in Pickle Juice
Brining chicken in pickle juice strikes me as both smart and delicious. Salt brines are a great way to increase the juiciness of any chicken. Especially oven-baked chicken, as it can get rather dry during the cooking process. Pickle juice is really just a brine with added flavors like dill and garlic, so how can you go wrong with that?
I do want to give a nod to this recipe from Macheesmo, as I used it as a guide on how exactly to brine the wings. But I wanted to play up those dill pickle flavors, so I created a different spice rub with garlic and fresh dill.
I also brined my wings for longer, to really lock in the juices and get more flavor. And I cooked my wings in the air fryer to get super crispy skin. You can also use an oven and I’ve provided instructions for that as well.
How to make Pickle Brine Chicken Wings
There’s no magic or voodoo here, as this recipe is really quite simple. But I do have some tips for you.
- Save the brine from any large jar of dill pickles. Or several jars, if need be. You want the wings to be full submerged in the juices so you need at least 3 cups. I had my husband save the brine from one of my jars of homemade Spicy Refrigerator Pickles. They are our favorite pickles and I make huge batches of them every summer.
As an aside, my kids love drinking pickle juice and I had to fend them off the brine to make the wings. So if you have weird kids like mine, be sure to tell them the brine is not to be touched!
- Combine the pickle juice and the wings. You can do this in a ziplock bag or in a large bowl. Just make sure that all of the wings are full submerged in the brine.
- Brine for at least one hour and up to 4 hours. This allows the brine to penetrate the skin of the chicken and enter the flesh. The salt helps attract moisture and locks in the juices.
- Drain the wings and dry really well. I like to take a couple of big rags and set them on a work space, then pat the wings until they are thoroughly dry. If they are wet at all, even a little, the skin won’t crisp up as well. And you really want that crispy delicious skin.
- Toss lightly with a neutral oil, such as avocado oil, as this helps the seasonings stick to the skin. I used more dill and garlic, to help bring out the dill pickle flavors of these wings. Plus a little chili powder for a tiny kick of heat. Feel free to adjust to your liking.
- Always flip your wings halfway through. Whether you bake in the oven or in an air fryer, the bottoms of the wings tend not get crispy if you don’t flip them. I like to start my wings skin side down and then flip them skin side up to finish them off. It’s an extra step but it’s worth it.
- Bake until crispy! This will depend on what you bake them in and how long. I tend to like my wings a bit dried out so I always bake them longer than specified.
What to serve with your Pickle Brine Chicken
Oh the possibilities! I whipped up a simple dill pickle mayo dip. But you could do any dip you like. Ranch would be great since it also contains dill and garlic. I’d worry that bleu cheese would overpower the dill pickle flavor of the wings. They are so good on their own, you can skip the dip altogether if you’d prefer.
Celery sticks and cucumber slices go great with these wings too, and are delicious with the dill pickle mayonnaise dip.
The pickle brined wings can also be an appetizer or the full meal. They are so low carb, you could pair them with a big salad and call it dinner. That’s what I like to do!
Want more delicious dill pickle flavored recipes?
Keto Pickle Brine Chicken Wings
Pickle Brine Wings
Dill Pickle Mayo: (optional)
- ¼ cup avocado oil mayo
- 3 tablespoon finely chopped dill pickles
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large ziploc bag, combine the chicken wings and the pickle juice. Massage to combine well and lay flat in the fridge for 3 hours. Tip: if you're worried the bag might leak, lay it flat in a large baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the chopped dill, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and chili powder.
- Once the wings have marinated, drain in a colander and pat VERY dry with rags or paper towels.
- In a large bowl, toss the wings with the avocado oil until coated, then sprinkle the seasoning over and toss again to coat.
To Cook: (Air Fryer or Oven)
- Air Fryer: Place the wings skin side down first on the air fryer rack and cook at 400F for 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook again for another 10 to 15, until the skin is crispy.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 425F and set a metal rack above a large rimmed baking sheet. Brush or spray the rack with oil. Place the wings skin side down on the rack and bake 20 minutes.
- Flip the wings over and bake another 20 to 25 minutes, until the skin is crispy.
Dill Pickle Mayo:
- Whisk together the mayo and chopped pickles. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on the side for dipping.