A Pickle Wrapped in Cheese Is Somehow a Trend?

Originally published by Bon Appetit on February 14th, 2023

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This two-ingredient recipe is making the rounds on TikTok.

Collage by Julia Duarte

In a hypothetical bracket of sandwich fixings, I’d wager it’s a clear path to the finals for two ingredients in particular: pickles and cheese. Eaten solo, these are excellent snacks; give me a sour spear or a hunk of parm and I’m set. But eaten in concert, they soar. A classic cheeseburger marries crunchy pickle medallions with a layer of velvety cheese—same goes for a fried chicken sandwich, or a tuna melt. I could go on.

Given these truths, I didn’t bat an eye when the latest TikTok hack—pickle in a blanket, as some are calling it—flooded my feed. The concept, introduced to us as a “guilty pleasure snack” by user Claire Snyder (clurmurr) last month, calls for no more than a slice of cheese, fried in a pan until golden and crispy (much like frico), and a pickle spear, which gets enveloped in said shell.

Upon first watch, my initial reaction was: That looks pretty good. What’s not to like about a tart pickle blanketed in lacy cheese? Some BA editors shared my enthusiasm without hesitation; others visibly shuddered at the thought.

TikTok, for the most part, seems sold. A quick search for “pickle cheese” returns scores of ASMR-adjacent videos of sizzly-then-crunchy cheese, most culminating in a chomp shot for dramatic effect. Some innovate on the basic formula, using shredded cheese for the blanket, or plopping a gherkin in the center, or dipping the final product in some kind of accouterment, like fried pickle and ranch dip (meta!) or mayo.

In the interest of science, I moseyed on over to my local Rite Aid and purchased a jar of kosher dill pickles and the only sliced cheese at my disposal—Kraft Singles. The cheese didn’t get quite as crisp as I’d hoped, forming a melty pool and requiring some manual labor and ingenuity to tuck the pickle into its blanket. (Maybe this was a function of my choice of cheese: American, best known for its ability to melt smoothly, might not be the ideal contender for this project.) Once she was all wrapped up, I let my pickle in a blanket hang out in the hot pan to achieve that golden, crackly shell I’d been promised. It got there eventually.

The acidity of the pickle cut the creaminess of the cheese and, yeah, it tasted pretty decent. Would I make it for a guest? Probably not. Would I snack on it of my own volition, not for the purposes of Journalism? Also probably not, only because I’d rather consume the two ingredients sandwiched between bread.

There’s ample room for creativity here. The basic pickle in cheese principle lends itself to endless combinations. Maybe cornichons wrapped in crispy parm could make for a bite-sized party app. How about a classic dill blanketed in nutty Gruyère? Let’s get mozz in the mix somehow—might I suggest a half-sour to complement? In any case, let’s save our beloved American cheese for where she’ll really shine: in our next seven-layer dip.