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Do You Re-Use Pickle Juice or the Liquid from Canned Veg.?

I've always thought it was kind of wasteful, after finishing the solids, to discard the tasty liquids from such foods as pickles, olives, canned vegetables, capers, pickled beets, etc. Does anyone have any recipes or strategies for re-using these tasty and potentially useful liquids?


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  1. Some juice from kosher dill pickles is the secret ingredient in my potato salad.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Yep, the juice is great in salads or in vinegrettes (which I know I can't spell).

      The liquid from the can, nope, throw it away.


      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I add pickle juice to braised short ribs or pot roast; gives a good deep taste to the gravy.

        1. re: ZoeZ

          Now that's an interesting idea. I know how much I like pickle-centered rouladen. The extra acid probably heightens the taste of your gravy too.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Agh! Melanie, can you share your rouladen recipe? It was one of my favorite dishes growing up but my Mom never wrote anything down and I'm fuzzy on details...........
            Much appreciated!

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          Yes, the secret ingredients at the deli I once worked at were:
          Gherkin pickle juice in the potato salad, and juice from the red pepper hulls in the macaroni salad.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I used to cook brisket with a large addition of dill pickle juice. Just save the juice from two to three jars. Add enough water to cover the brisket and simmer 'til tender as baby's bottom. Like corned beef when you are finished. Very good tasting but probably more salt than is good for you.


            2. My mother used the liquid from pickles to marinate fresh cucumbers.

              If using salt-free canned veggies, you could always freeze and used in stews instead of water.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rworange

                The liquid from canned veggies usually tastes metallic to me. I wash it off green beans, kidney beans, etc. before using them to try to get rid of the tinniness, so not sure I'd want to preserve it for another use.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Yeah, that's a good point. That's why I said salt-free because IMO the regular versions are too salty and really useless for any other use. I rinse anything that isn't salt-free thouroughly. Then again, it's been a few years since I've bought canned veggies. Usually fresh or frozen.

                  However I'm really down with canned fruit in fruit juice and can tell you that it makes wonderful jello ... yep ... I'm still at it ... made some peach jello from canned peaches with a touch of chile molido.

              2. I always put a little of the cornichon liquid in my tartar sauce. Makes a difference.

                1. I do something similar to rworange's mom...Boar's Head makes a product called Sweet Pickle Chips with Horseradish...they are a blast! But kind of expensive...$3.59 for a small jar...if you cut up cucumbers and drop them into the brine for a few days, you can get twice the use out of this...and I prefer dill pickles but these are tremendous.

                  1. My mother used to put kosher dill juice in her cole slaw. It was great the first day but by day two it was too strong.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jillp

                      I just add dry dill, it's a nice addition and doesn't overwhelm no mattter how long it sits.

                    2. Dill Pickle Soup!


                      [I've used a recipe quite similar to this several times; quite tasty].

                      1 Reply
                      1. When I finish a jar of garlic dill pickles (if I remember), I throw in a bunch of carrot sticks. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE pickle-flavored marinated carrots!


                        7 Replies
                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                          You use raw carrots? I wonder how it would taste if you blanched the carrots either in the pickle juice or in water and THEN refrigerated them.

                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            I thought my mom was the only one who would put carrot sticks in pickle juice. Growing up there was always a jar carrots marinating in the left over pickle jar and juice. Mom never blanched them, just cut them up and we ate them as fast as we could. You do have to leave them in there for awhile to let them marinate.....oh so good!

                            1. re: tlegray

                              Nope, not the only one. We do that. Also, we put it in this insanely spicey pickle "sauce" once the pickles have been eaten. I have no idea what's in it though.


                              1. re: AnneInMpls

                                Hard boiled eggs pickled eggs too!

                                1. re: melly

                                  Oooh, what a great idea! I'll try eggs next time.


                                2. re: AnneInMpls

                                  I did this when I was a kid! Now, when I have a dinner party and there are kids, I let them "help" by putting all the leftover cut veggies in a pickle jar in the fridge!

                                3. I love "mrs. fanning's" bread and butter pickles. when I am done with the jar, i re-fill it with sliced onions... leave them for a few days to a week and then use them on burgers. the slightly pickled onions are tasty. they are good straight from the jar.. and still nice and crunchy.

                                  I usually only re-use the juice once though... always been a little paranoid about food safety.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: withalonge

                                    You could probably throw some beet juice in with the onions and pickle juice and have some of those pretty pink pickled onions that seem the rage these days.

                                  2. I've used left over pickle juice to marinade fish. I put some in tuna salad and we put it as well as pickles in our potato salad. It's got a million uses. My mother in law used to keep a jar of pickle juice in the fridge.
                                    Don't throw out those bacon drippings either. After frying some up, I drain it into a jar and then cook my eggs or something like that. It makes for a great roux, roast potato, oil for frying just about anything.


                                    1. Since pickle juice is essentially a brine, I've used it to brine chicken breasts. It has turned out pretty well.

                                      1. The "goo" from Moroccan preserved lemons is excellent as a rub on wild salmon.

                                        1. I can understand using the juice if you know its fresh or been in the fridge for a very short time. But I am in the minority when the pickles have run dry (no pun intended). At that point the juice goes down the sink. I know I am overly conservative but i have a hard time using the brine after being in the fridge for so long. Yup I understand I just ate the last pickle from the same brine but something about taking a positive action with the leftover brine and added it to fresh ingredients causes me to have an issue.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: jfood

                                            Wow, how long does a jar of pickles last in your house??


                                            1. re: Davwud

                                              pickles last months in the fridge, 1/2 gallon of ice cream 5 days with only me eating. We all have priorities. :-))

                                              1. re: jfood

                                                That's not long. I'd save that goodness. I could understand if it were in your fridge for a year or something.


                                          2. gherkin brine was the secret to my grandma's cole slaw. so good! And my mom always put fresh cukes in bread and butter pickle brine.

                                            1. Probably my favorite way to use the "juice" is olive juice in a Dirty Martini (yah, I'm really original, eh?).

                                              This thread has given me a great idea though: next time I'll use dill pickle brine and make a Pickletini! Will report on how it is.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Olivia

                                                One time a friend made me a martini but said he had no olives. I said what about pickles, and he had some relish. We put a spoonful in the bottom of the glass, and it tasted fine until you got down to the very bottom. Definitely better than nothing!

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Was it sweet relish? That's very interesting because to be honest, it doesn't sound good to me! But I bet it looked cool.

                                                  I'm happy to report that my very first Dirty Gin Pickletini is AWESOME (as in, I'm drinking it right now). I used brine from the fermented Kosher deli-style pickles, not vinegary ones, and garnished it with a long pickle spear.

                                                  1. re: Olivia

                                                    I've used strawberries in martinis. Now those are good.


                                              2. Interesting question. I had not thought of this concept until I picked up Barbara Tropp's "China Moon" cookbook years ago. She was using the pickling juice from ginger in salad dressings, etc. It opened my mind and then I realized in reading traditional American cookbooks that using the pickle juice for potato salad was common. I think the bottom line is that it is a way to add another complex flavor layer and that is what often makes dishes have that "certain something".

                                                1. My mom's secret ingredient in her potato salad was juice from Star brand peperoncini. Gives it a bite of sour/bitter that really makes it stand out. Just a T or so to 6 eggs worth of dressing.

                                                  I use the juice from homemade style garlic & hot-sauced sweet pickle chips to flavor baked beans.

                                                  1. pickle juice is a great tequila chaser- no joke!

                                                    1. I've eaten an amazing beef sandwich at a restaurant in my hometown and I know that the secret ingredient in the meat is dill pickle juice!

                                                      The meat is softer than pulled pork in texture, is slightly spicy but doesn't have a tomato sauce. They throw you off from guessing pickle juice because they serve dill pickles on the bun!

                                                      1. For LOTS of interesting recipes using Pickle Juice, go to ilovepickles.com. To date I have only used it in my tuna salad but now I can't wait to try it in other things. Thanks for the tips

                                                        1. You should read MFK Fisher's "How to Cook a Wolf"-- it's all about cooking during wartime. The take away: save everything. She talks a good bit about saving canning juices and such.

                                                          1. I use leftover sweet gherkin juice with worcestershire sauce and butter as a marinade for rib-eye steaks. (1/2 jar of pickle juice, 1 small bottle worcestershire, 1 stick of butter-melt butter in liquids; dip steaks in and grill). Really good.
                                                            And so, yes, I save gherkin juice for months, combining old leftovers with newly finished jars.

                                                            1. Pickle juice can be added to mayo for sandwich spread. I add it to some dips too. I've also added a tiny bit to some of the breads I bake.

                                                              1. Never used pickle juice.But I imagine you could use the juice from canned fruit in making Jello.Just add it instead of the cup of cold water.I did that with pear juice and added it to
                                                                orange jello,was pretty good.Or you can add it to ice teas or lemonade. Also in old cookbooks i have seen where they say you can use the liquid from canned veggies for soup stock or making a sauce and the same for fruit juice.Use it to make a sauce for dessert or add it to drinks,etc.

                                                                1. I use sweet pickle juice the same way my mom did, to flavor my potato salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw and deviled eggs.

                                                                  1. We use the juice left from sweet pickles as a marinade for cheap steaks (like blade or chuck). We combine it with 7-up (!), garlic, and ginger. The pickle juice and the carbonation from the pop make the steaks tender, while the garlic and ginger give them great taste. Throw them on the grill, and you'd think it was T-bone.

                                                                    1. I have always frozen the liquids from veg and fruits. It was always my understanding that these contained alot of the vitamins. I reuse the veg broth in homemade soups after I brown the meats to stew. As far as the left over pickle juice I have used in pork and bean recipes, sloppy joes and in other BBQ meat sauces. I have seen a recipe for pork and beans with cooked crumbled hamburger that used sweet pickle relish -- it was good what I remember.

                                                                      1. I just love green olives and have used the brine for martinis to potato salad. Now I'm thinking about pouring it over shredded cabbage, white onion and chilies.
                                                                        Thaks for creating the spark!

                                                                        1. I was just searching to see if anyone but me, saves and uses the juice/brine/canning liquid from olives, jalapeno juice, etc. (brine instead of salt, in salad dressings, etc.) Apparently you, Niki Rothman, are from my tribe. =^]
                                                                          I discard nothing and culinary experiments often turn out surprisingly good, most of the time. My CrAzY Inner Mad Chef needs to bravely combine condiments and make, YES! I'm going to say it.....
                                                                          Awesome Sauce!!! :)