Fried pickles are an absolute delight. When done right, they deliver both crunch and a little juiciness. The batter or breading that coats the pickle never needs to be too thick so as not to overshadow the star of the show. The perfect fried pickle has a pronounced tanginess that pairs well with ranch or another creamy dipping sauce. But for all the flavor and texture they offer, fried pickles never seem to be included on fast food menus. Why are they only available at sit-down restaurants?
There’s an opportunity here that I think many fast food chains are missing out on. The pickle-loving audience is a large and loyal one. Allow this little pickle stat to soak in: in 2020, 245.85 million Americans, roughly 74% of the population, consumed pickles.
As you let that marinate, you might wonder why fast food chains aren’t dipping into this consumer demand the way they have chased the trend of chicken sandwiches and plant-based meat alternatives. It’s something I’ve been wondering, too. Luckily, Sonic understands our needs.
Sonic stands out as a fast food chain that has recognized and capitalized on the cult popularity of pickles. Back in 2018, Sonic introduced a Pickle Juice Slush to its lineup of Snow Cone Slush flavors; the iced summer drink was an unexpected combo of sweet and sour that made pickle lovers like myself feel seen by the fast food giants.
And much to my excitement, Sonic has announced the release of a limited-time-only Big Dill Cheeseburger and Pickle Fries starting May 2. A press release sent to The Takeout describes the two new menu items as “the perfect pickle indulgence.”
The Big Dill consists of a beef patty stacked with crispy pickle fries, crinkle-cut pickle slices, a creamy dill-infused ranch sauce, chopped lettuce, and American cheese, all piled on a toasted brioche bun.
The pickle fries will be a little different from typical fried pickles in that they are spears cut in a fry shape, not pickle chips. Other than that, the pickle fries will follow the usual formula of being battered, fried, and served with a side of ranch for dipping. My determination to get my hands on this combo is indescribable. It’s my new mission in life.
Setting aside my admiration and respect for Sonic’s dedication to the pickle community, I don’t see any reason why other fast food restaurants can’t cater to this underserved market. A pickle juice drink might be a step too far into pickle territory for most chains, but frying up some pickle slices is a reasonable first step.