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uses for pickle juice

I'd started a thread about my penchant for drinking pickle juice on General Topics, which for some unfathomable reason has been removed. On that thread were several interesting ideas about uses for it in cooking. Would those who commented (and anyone else) please reiterate, assuming that's kosher (no pun intended)?

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  1. There were a bunch of really cool things listed on that thread...wonder why it was axed? I remember people using it in tuna, chicken, potato and green salads, sprinkled in soups...I posted about using it in place of lime and salt when taking a tequila shot and it is also yummy in a Bloody Mary. That is all I can think of so I hope the other posters chime in.

    11 Replies
    1. re: bubbles4me

      I second the Bloody Mary! They're fantastic with pickle juice or olive brine.

      1. re: invinotheresverde

        If you like a nice kick, try Pepperoncini juice with a Bloody Mary.

        1. re: Infomaniac

          Oh I have to try that..that sounds great.

            1. re: invinotheresverde

              tomolive juice is good in bloody mary's, or try a dry vodka martini w/ a little caperberry brine & garnish. it's sublime!

          1. re: invinotheresverde

            Pickle/Olive brine is good, but try Kim Chi Brine -- it's hot, already has a little fishyness, and has a good veggital kick.

            1. re: worldwidereid

              Thanks for the tip, but most kim chi contains some type of fish and I'm a vegetarian.

              1. re: invinotheresverde

                Kimchi here in South Korea is fermented Asian cabbage ( 140 or so secret family versions) most of them really spicy with red pepper paste ( cayenne I guess ).

                So this old guy ( Polish-Canadian English professor ) is really confused by your " kim chi ".

                1. re: steve8rox

                  I think i-v-t-v is referring to the use of fish sauce in its preparation, not chunks of actual fish. Whether there actually IS fish sauce in kim chee - beats me.

          2. re: bubbles4me

            My roomate makes potatoes with it, kind of a play on dill pickle chips. I didn't think I'd like it, and after the first bite you are kind of in a pickle, hah counldn't resist, its wierd and you think you shouldn't like it, but after a few bites you can't help but have some more.

            1. re: bubbles4me

              I second the suggestion of using pickle juice in potato salad. When I make my "All-American" potato salad with chopped dill pickles, boiled eggs, mayo, etc, I toss the hot potatoes with some pickle juice. It soaks up the tanginess and makes for a better-tasting potato salad, IMHO.

            2. What would happen if you finished a jar of pickled green tomatoes and then put fresh green tomatoes in the jar? would they get pickled? I'm thinking about the vinegar-less brine.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wearybashful

                You could try it. I have put baby carrots in leftover pickle juice and let them sit for a good long time, and eventually they got a pickled flavor. Not real strong, but enough.

              2. I liked to add cloves of garlic and red pepper flakes to your standard dill pickle jar. Then use the cloves later in dishes. I need to do this again. The pickles were great too after they sat in the fridge for a while.

                1. Boiled eggs in the jar....after a couple of days, they taste fabulous!!!


                  1. They deleted that thread? Why would they do that?

                    I remember someone saying that they used a dash of pickle juice in their deviled eggs. I add some pickle juice when I make a ham or tuna salad. I had also mentioned that I use some of the juice from these garlic stuffed olives, that are marinated in a chardonnay and they have lots of herbs in there, to "spike" my fromage forte. Adds a very nice touch. I think someone else said they used it in potato salad. If I remember anymore I'll let you know!

                    1. Folks - lots of good ideas of what to do with leftover pickle juice have been posted - thanks for keeping the focus on the Home Cooking aspects of using pickle juice.

                      1. There's a recipe in the King Arthur Baking Companion for some biscuits (I think) with pickle juice.

                        1. I use it in my 1000 Island dressing...it adds great flavor.

                          1. I heard, actually I think I saw it on TV (so it HAS to be true) folks using it in there poached eggs pot for Eggs Benedict.

                            If I could ever manage to not screw up a Hollandaise recipe, I'll surely give it a try.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: RPMcMurphy

                              Julia Child taught the method of adding vinegar to egg-poaching water as it helps to keep the egg together (as in the white doesn't float all over the place).

                            2. I've used excess pickle juice from making bread and butter pickles for 3-bean salad. The easiest way to make it is from canned kidney beans, canned garbanzo beans and canned green beans. Just drain the liquid in the cans and add the beans to the pickle juice.

                              1. An article in the Boston Globe Food Sectionabout John Thorne, who publishes a newsletter called "Simple Cooking" had his recipe for a Polish pickle soup made with half-sours and their brine, potatoes, dill and a few other ingredients. It was bowl-licking good! http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: JRL

                                  I made this soup and it was, in fact, delicious. I simplified the directions considerably, though. I have a pet peeve about too many pots.

                                  1. re: platypus

                                    Are we talking about brine with vinegar added, or the brine that's made with just salt?

                                    1. re: wearybashful

                                      There may have been a small amount of vinegar in the brine, but if so it wasn't much (based on taste-- I don't remember the exact ingredients). I live in NYC and got my half-sours at Fairway.

                                      1. re: platypus

                                        Yes, can someone describe half-sours for me? Is there any commercial varieties available? I assume maybe Claussen are the closest?

                                        1. re: Becca Porter

                                          A half-sour pickle, as the name implies, is a lightly pickled cucumber with a mild flavor and good crunch. Claussen's makes them (they call them "New York Deli Half Sours"), but the best commercial versions, if you can find them in your area, are from Nathan's and Ba'Tampte.

                                          See this thread for more info: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/621927

                                          1. re: BobB

                                            I agree with Ba'Tampte. No vinegar in their brine, just salt and water and spices.

                                            I love all pickles, but half-sours are special.

                                            1. re: tatamagouche

                                              Thank you. I will have to use Claussen's, but I am sure the soup will be great!

                                2. Yes, that was a fun (and affirming) thread.
                                  I use pickle juice in almost all kinds of prepared salads: potato salad, egg salad, chicken salad, etc. And in Bloody Marys / Caesars.
                                  A local restaurant serves pickle soup - very yummy (it's sort of an eastern european restaurant) and I have found my fave pickle company has a recipe for it on their website, plus lots of other ideas. www.strubpickles.com .

                                  1. I use it to soak chopped onions for an hour before adding them to my potato salad. They take the rawness away but leave the crunch. When done soaking, I pour the juice back into the pickle jar. I also switch juices with the yellow pickled chile gueritos. I put the chile juice into the pickles making them spicy and the pickle juice into the chiles to add some flavor.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Neta

                                      I also use them in potato salad -- and macaroni salad too. For both, I mix it with the mayo (and any other seasonings). It thins and seasons the mayo and makes it a looser dressing, which is easier to mix into the other ingredients.

                                      1. I love pickle juice! You should try making these home pickles - http://www.budacast.hu/shownews.php?n... - for an espcially good juice. It has no preservatives, so has to be refrigerated and last for limited time, but is the best pickle juice I know.

                                        1. My dad puts sweet pickle juice in chili as a condiment.

                                          1. i thought (still do think) that this is pretty gross...but a roller skating rink that i use to make "pickle cubes" which were simply frozen pickle juice w/ a stick made in ice cube trays. kids use to love them. ick!

                                            1. Apparently enough people like the concept of drinking pickle juice that there is a beverage available called "pickle juice sport," which is supposed to be a gatorade-type sports drink, but with a pickle flavor and "electrolytes for hydration" (read: salt)

                                              Another use I read of on this Board, is to add some pickle juice to borcht (beet soup) instead of vinegar to give it an extra zingy flavor.

                                              I have also seen recipes for Polish Dill Pickle Soup - which is a cream soup made with a meat stock base and potatoes and pickles added.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Mellicita

                                                I always put pickle juice in my Borscht, whether it's beet or vegetable.

                                              2. My friend's Polish grandmother uses it as the starting point for her soups. Think a tangy vegetable borscht.

                                                1. pickle juice drinking to me, ranks up there with pica...HOWEVER....this recipe uses the juice from pickled ginger, and i made this a couple of days ago, and am officially addicted to it:

                                                  Wasabi Three Bean Salad:


                                                  1. It's great added to the mayo in potato or chicken salad!

                                                    1. Oh, what isn't improved with a splash of high quality pickle juice?

                                                      In addition to some great ideas mentioned above (hot potatoes destined for different uses, salad dressings), I like to add it to things that I'd otherwise add a bit of vinegar and something sweet to-- braising liquid for roasts, lentil or bean soups, potato soup, cucumber soup, etc. Believe it or not, a drizzle in the mix for burgers (esp. something like turkey burgers, that need some help) works well, too. A splash in a martini never hurts, either :)

                                                      When I was a kid, in the summer we used to slice up some radishes and a hard boiled egg and pour a bit of pickling liquid over it for a refreshing snack or light meal.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: another_adam

                                                        I have heard that Chic-fil-a uses pickle juice to marinate the chicken they fry. Yummy!

                                                      2. I was at a bar the other day that served pickletinis. My dirty martini loving friend and I tried one (made with spicy pickles) and thought it was great. The best was that it was garnished with an entire pickle spear and a chili pepper.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: polyhymnia

                                                          There's a bar in Mt. Kisco, New York (Pour Cafe and Wine Bar) that I read will be serving pickletinis. I think they are having a "pickletini" party next Wednesday (Dec. 9th) based around the drink!

                                                        2. Oh I wish I'd seen this thread ages ago! I love dill pickle juice and sometimes drink sips of it straight from the jar (I'm the only one who eats pickles in my house). I thought I was insane or I had some sort of deficiency disease but couldn't find much online to suggest it was anything other than a casual craving. I never thought of putting it in anything else simply because my husband isn't fond of vinegar. Sometimes I drink white wine vinegar straight, too! That I like to use in marinades for meats, though.

                                                          1. Make it the cooking liquid for Choucroute or steam dogs or brats with it.

                                                            1. One of my mothers most famous cooking stories revolves around pickle juice.

                                                              We lived in Arizona, so every potluck meal was mexican, and my mother was famous for her refried beans, took them everywhere. People always asked what her recipe was, but she never would tell.

                                                              One time, someone asked what she put in the beans that made them so good, and my brother (3 at the time) piped up "Pickle juice!"

                                                              The real answer was she more or less cleaned out the fridge into the pot of beans, including the leftover pickle juice.

                                                              1. You're not alone.

                                                                I was in Istanbul almost 20 years ago and there were outdoor food carts that sold pickles AND they would give you a glass of pickle juice to drink with your pickle!

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: rteplow

                                                                  yum! I have actually asked for exactly that (a cup of the pickle juice) when purchasing a large whole pickle to eat!

                                                                  Similar to the bloody mary idea, I have on occasion added a splash of pickle juice to a V8 juice to perk it up.

                                                                  1. re: Mellicita

                                                                    That's how I drink V8 all the time. Plus a splash of tonic water.

                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                      Have you tried Bob's Pickle Pops? They are basically frozen pickle juice in a little plastic pouch.

                                                                      1. re: Mellicita

                                                                        I haven't, though I've heard of them—wonder if I can find them around here.

                                                                2. Use it to "pickle" cubes of feta cheese. Our local cheese shop keeps a jar of pickled feta on the counter.

                                                                  1. This thread has not been touched for a long time and its such a shame because I too LOVE pickle juice. I have started adding it to my white bread recipe replacing the water and its a GREAT bread.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: alwaysak

                                                                      Well, thanks for reviving it, b/c I'd missed a lot of great responses! Love your idea, Pampatz's, i'm_nomad's, the thought of adding it to borscht, etc.

                                                                      Love pickles too, but in recent years I have to admit I buy the jar for the juice. That pickle juice sport drink kinda scares me though...what if it has HFCS or something?

                                                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                        Look up the russian soup selyanka ( could be "salyanka" spell it as you will in transliteration but the "sel" version seems better to me). It requires pickles and pickle juice...ignore the fish version for now..go with the mixed meat version. Look at several recipes on-line before making up your mind. It is a perfect soup for using pickle juice...and sour cream...and olives....well, knock yerself out playing with it.

                                                                        1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                          Actually the most common spelling in English is "solyanka." Yummy stuff! I agree, stick with the meat version.

                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                            I see the "solyanka"spelling but it does not sound right...but I have seen it in about ten different efforts at spelling...whathethell.

                                                                    2. I use pickle juice in a really good fresh dill dip with vegetables.


                                                                      1. Well, since we're dredging up an old thread I'll add to it... mostly because I can't believe I haven't seen it already.

                                                                        Use pickle juice in place if vinegar in your BBQ sauce recipes. Not the Carolina ones, but the Texas/KC ones with tomato sauce.

                                                                        30 years ago I worked at a Burgers & Ice Cream place in Texas (they were based in OKC)... anyway, they used to make a "special sauce" for their burgers that was simply a mixture of ketchup, mustard, and leftover pickle juice. People seemed to like it as I recall.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: jiarby

                                                                          Ooh, I like the sound of the special sauce, actually!

                                                                        2. I make a point of eating beans daily. One way is to cook up a pot of soaked dried beans in plain water and drain. Nuke pickle juice until quite hot, pour over the still-hot beans, mix in some thin-sliced sweet onion, and cool. Serve as a chilled side dish or in a green salad.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            Actually, that sounds fantastic.

                                                                            The chef where I work uses "pickle au jus" to brine Cornish hens before dusting them with a mild jerk spice blend and then roasting. Extremely tasty.

                                                                          2. I don't know why it took me so long to have this genius thought....how much do cukes actually add to the flavor of the juice? Suppose you just make your own blend of vinegar, water, salt, and spices, maybe throw one cuke in there just in case?

                                                                            Can't be that easy? What am I not considering in trying to cut out the cucumber-middleman?

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                              I think the cukes do get their water or juices pulled out by the salt brine into the overall mix. I dont know how much flavor they add.

                                                                              1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                Using the brining ingredients without any cukes, as tatamagouche suggests, would probably be very close to using pickle juice, but the point of this thread is that you've got the leftover brine in the jar, and don't want to discard it if it has potential in other dishes. If there were a Nobel for frugality, I'd be planning my trip to "Stock"holm - I was about to drain some cooked kidney beans in the colander when the thickness of the cooking liquid stopped me. I was given an old, manual-less pressure cooker and have been trial-and-erroring my way with it, resulting in somewhat overcooked beans with a lot of flavor in the liquid. Instead of dumping, I scooped out the beans, added chicken stock, onion, sausage, carrot, celery, barley, garlic, and then - to clinch things in Sweden (;-D) the liquid remaining in the dregs of a big container of homemade coleslaw that was in the fridge for many weeks. I drained and froze the remaining cup of slaw for my next meatloaf. Previously I've poured the liquid down the drain but it actually worked well to add some zip to the improvised soup. At the end, I added back some of the cooked beans. If the slaw juice is good for soup, I may do likewise with pickle juice next time I make a fish soup.

                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                  Well, but to tell you the truth, I usually end up with leftover pickles, not leftover juice, because I drink it first! So, though I wanted to know ways in which people use pickle juice, I didn't mean to imply that I had it left over. And if I could make the juice without risk of wasting the pickles, all the better!

                                                                            2. Like so many closet pickle loving folk, I am happy to have stumbled across this thread.

                                                                              Besides nipping out of the jar while holding the fridge door open with my leg, I love splashing a bowl of potato chips with pickle juice (plus a shot or two of Louisianna hot sauce).

                                                                              On a recent food pilgramige to NYC;
                                                                              The wife, knowing my love of pickles led me from chinatown to an apparently obscure address on Orchard St. Lo and behold Guss' Pickles selling their wares outta 50 gallon plastic drums right off the sidewalk!
                                                                              We continued on aimlessly, but a block and a half away was New York's International Pickle Day!

                                                                              Sometimes the planets align and fate smiles upon thee!

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                bread and butter pickle juice is the key to perfect pimento cheese.

                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                    Potato chips with pickle juice and hot sauce! It's too bad you're married, because I think you might be my soulmate!

                                                                                  2. I've made a really interesting frittata using pickled jalapeno juice from Rozanne Gold's 1-2-3 cookbook. She says that the 'pickling juice from the jalapenos reacts with the eggs to give them a custard-y texture.' It's very quick, simple & tasty. I suspect the custard-y thing happens with other types of pickling juice... maybe someone who gets the chemistry behind food knows what is happening?

                                                                                    Anyway, the basic recipe only calls for eggs, sharp cheddar and pickled jalapenos/juice. Use about 1T juice for 4 eggs + 4 oz cheese. Beat eggs for a few minutes, then mix in jalapeno juice at the end. Add other ingredients to a skillet, then bake the frittata in the oven (no cooking on the stovetop first -- not sure why) at 350 for 20 or so minutes.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: suby

                                                                                      Speaking of jalapeno juice...
                                                                                      Some movie theaters offer free pickled jalapenos for their nachos. Forget the nachos, grab a pack of those jalapenos and toss on top of the popcorn! Tasty.

                                                                                      1. re: suby

                                                                                        I make something like that all the time. It's great!

                                                                                      2. Pickle Juice Sno-Cones.

                                                                                        Haven't had one myself, but I hear they're popular in Texas.

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                          I've read about mixing whiskey and pickle juice-- although I haven't found the courage to try.

                                                                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                            not an edible reason.. but I have heard to use the pickle juice to take the sting out of a burn.. maybe it's mind over matter, but it seems to work.

                                                                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                              I mix it into vodka tonics, I admit it.

                                                                                            2. re: cuccubear

                                                                                              very i live in texas and we do have to have pickle sno cones. i mix mine with cherry.

                                                                                            3. I have two.

                                                                                              I enjoy sipping it straight occasionally. Drives my wife nuts !

                                                                                              I re-use in next batch ( super-large jar in bottom of our 2nd fridge ). After about 6 months, toss the brine before the white foam mold begins on the surface.

                                                                                              Big health tip. Recent research indicates pomegranate juice daily strengthens the old heart significantly. Thus I switched to Pomegranate Vinegar some time ago. More expensive but you can economize by mixing with cheaper vinegars.

                                                                                              Just writing this makes this old English professor's mouth water.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: steve8rox

                                                                                                I add a drained can of whole baby corns to the leftover juice from dill pickles. Let them sit a day or two, then add to a crudite platter ...yummy!

                                                                                                1. re: critter101

                                                                                                  Ooh, good idea critter 101. I wonder if that would work with water chestnuts too?

                                                                                                  Yep, steve8rox, just drank a glass this morning. I'll drink straight vinegar too but I prefer pickle juice.

                                                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                    Don't see why not - any veg should work.

                                                                                              2. Poster chef chicklet mentioned on a pumpernickel bread thread the other day that she puts it into her pumpernickel. I bet a small amount of dill pickle juice would work nicely as a sub for rye sour.

                                                                                                1. coming back to this thread gave me an idear for the BBQ: I'm gonna brine a chicken in pickle juice for a day or so and let 'er rip on the grill.
                                                                                                  i'll report back.

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                                    Please do, that sounds fascinating!

                                                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                                                      I mentioned this to the wife (who detests pickles of any kind) and she said, and I quote, "eewwwwwwwww".
                                                                                                      Whoa, wait a minute I told her. We regularly brine before we cook our chicken - stuff like salt, sugar, aromatics, etc etc. Sometimes we'll marinate (brine) in a louisiana hot sauce which, chemically, is similar to pickle juice, right? Mostly vinegar, water, and flavorings...
                                                                                                      She bought that one and grudgingly accepted the idear. We'll see.
                                                                                                      Actually I picked up a jar of Claussen last night. She looked at me and asked "chicken?"
                                                                                                      I smiled mischeviously.

                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                        So I put the bird in a plastic zip bag, poured all the juice outta the jar onto and into the chicken. I put a spear in the cavity and chopped another one into the bag for good measure.
                                                                                                        Into the fridge, turning a few times over 2 days, then grill.
                                                                                                        Sorry, no photo of final product.
                                                                                                        The skin had a peculiar Claussen, pickle flavoring to it. Seemingly out of place with the grilling. The meat itself was moist, perhaps from the brine, but did not have any pickle quality to it (pickleness?).
                                                                                                        All in all a nice experiment, but for me, not worth the effort (or pickle juice).

                                                                                                        BTW, the wife is still snickering "Pickle Chicken"...

                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                          A worthy effort - thanks for the followup.

                                                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                                                            Yes, a worthy effort, but I have to say I thought maybe that would be the outcome.

                                                                                                            Things not to do with pickle juice (unless there's a proper follow up:) once when I was a very young, inexperienced line cook, I cleaned a large flat top griddle, on the advice of another cook, with pickle juice, as it cuts grease and crud down to nothing very quickly. I failed, however, to oil the griddle after the cleaning, which is part of standard procedure that I hadn't "gotten" yet, and came in the next morning to find an irate restaurant owner standing over a very rusted piece of kitchen equipment. Fun.

                                                                                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                              Ahhhh flatops...
                                                                                                              I remember the first time using griddle cleaner on a hot top without reading the instructions - I was engulfed in a cloud of caustic steam with no gloves. Took about a half hour of running my face and arms under cold water to stop the burn...
                                                                                                              Lotsa fun.

                                                                                                  2. I thin some mayo with pickle juice, than add some celery seed and have the perfect coleslaw dressing.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                      Yes, a very good use, that and for potato salad also.

                                                                                                      1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                        I add some vinegar usually balsamic or red wine and olive oil and make a quick dressing and garnish the salad with some of whatever was in the pickle jar-be it cukes or assorted veggies.

                                                                                                      2. I just saw a post on Food52 that lists 6 uses for leftover pickle juice. http://food52.com/blog/7810-6-uses-fo...

                                                                                                        I think the post mostly covers what's already been suggested in this thread, but the comments might have some new ideas so I thought it might be worth linking to.

                                                                                                        1. Pepperoncini or olive brine is great for storing feta cheese

                                                                                                          1. I sometimes drink pickle juice too. I first did it when I was about 4 years old, and my older siblings thought I was nuts. They dared me to just take one small drink of it, so I did and I liked it, so I chugged the whole jar, and asked if there was any more.

                                                                                                            I also use pickle juice when I make macaroni and tuna salad. My recipe is very simple. I use about ½ lb. of macaroni (dry weight), about ½ cup of mayonnaise, 1 whole medium-size dill pickle, chopped (my preference, by a landslide, is Heinz Premium Genuine Dills, though they are next to impossible to find), about 2 tablespoons of pickle juice, one ~6 oz. can of tuna, and fresh-ground black pepper (no need for salt; the Heinz pickle juice adds plenty of that because they are fermented pickles, which are made using a salt brine instead of a primarily vinegar and water mixture). I make a meal out of that stuff (sometimes I eat extra sharp cheddar cheese slices on the side); i.e., I eat the whole batch and I love it.

                                                                                                            1. My mom made a fresh dill dip for veggies that I make about twice a month to this day. The secret ingredient was pickle juice!

                                                                                                              1/2 cup sour cream and mayo
                                                                                                              1 tbsp freshly chopped dill
                                                                                                              1/4 cup pickle juice
                                                                                                              1/2 tsp garlic powder

                                                                                                              Oops, really old thread! Still a family favorite recipe

                                                                                                              1. I use it in my recipe for home made tartar sauce for fish.