5 Pickle Juice Recipes that Show the Many Ways Brine Can Shine

Instead of tossing leftover pickle juice, put it to use in marinade recipes, cocktails, and more with our best ideas for leftover pickle juice.

Wait! Don't dump that leftover pickle juice down the drain. The briny solution is actually like liquid gold when you're seeking a way to add a bit more tang to sauces or salad dressings, or an option for tenderizing meat. These easy pickle juice recipes will save you time (and money—no need to purchase any additional ingredients to make a brine from scratch), all while injecting vinegary, sweet, and herbaceous flavors into a wide variety of foods and drinks. With ideas like a pickle juice marinade recipe, cocktail recipes using pickle juice, and so much more, these leftover pickle juice recipes will convince you that each jar is so much more than the spears or slices.

Our Best Pickle Juice Recipes

After you polish off the spears, slices, or whole pickles, save that solution to employ in these recipes using pickle juice.

01 of 05

Crispy Dill Pickle Chicken Sandwiches

Crispy Dill Pickle Chicken Sandwiches
Carson Downing

If you invested in one of those family-sized jars or have a few jars floating around, this is the pickle juice marinade recipe for you. Inspired by a popular crispy fast-food chicken sandwich, the marinade mixture calls for a whopping 1½ cups of leftover pickle juice to tenderize and infuse the thin chicken breasts with moisture and flavor. After one to four hours swimming in that pickle-y pool, we explain how to bread, bake, and sauce up your sandwiches to better-than-takeout territory.

Related: Tasty and Cheap Chicken Recipes (Under $3 Per Serving!) for Every Day This Month

02 of 05

Pickled Michelada

Pickled Michelada with foam finger stirrer
Adam Albright

If dill isn't your favorite, don't despair. We have leftover pickle juice ideas for the brine in your pickled jalapeño jar. This tangy and spicy brunch cocktail includes ½ tablespoon of jalapeño brine per serving. A Tajín-lined rim finishes the beer cocktail in zippy style.

03 of 05

Pickle-Brined Chicken

Pickle-Brined Chicken
Andy Lyons

Leftover pickle juice makes for a cheap and easy brine for chicken thighs too (not just chicken breasts). With this recipe as your guide, you'll learn how to bake the chicken to uber-juicy perfection. Then you'll use the pan drippings to stir together a speedy and savory white wine-infused pan sauce.

04 of 05

Copycat Chicken Sandwich

Chick-Fil-A Sandwich
Matthew Clark

Sorry Chick-fil-A, we've been steering past the drive-through ever since we perfected your pickle juice marinade recipe in our Test Kitchen. Dill pickle juice and milk team up in the tenderizing marinade, while salt, pepper, and a pinch of powdered sugar (trust us!) star in the flour-based breading. Just add a toasted bun and side of waffle fries to round out the restaurant-style experience.

05 of 05

Pickled Whiskey Cocktail

Pickled Whiskey Cocktail
Matthew Clark

Some bars offer "pickle backs"—essentially a shot of leftover pickle juice to drink after your shot of booze to cut the burn. Well, we cut to the chase with this pickle juice recipe that puts the juice right into the cocktail. We love the easy-sipping format that allows us all to enjoy more responsibly (and pleasantly alongside a well-balanced blend of spicy sriracha, sweet honey, caramel-flavored Irish whiskey, and tart lime juice).

15 Other Ideas to Put Leftover Pickle Juice to Great Use

Now that you have some specific recipes using pickle juice, let's talk about bonus ways to put that brine to work. These easy pickle juice recipe ideas can be used to customize your current favorite dishes.

  1. Reuse the jar and the brine to pickle other vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, radishes, hot peppers, zucchini, or okra.
  2. Add a splash to the filling for your deviled eggs. (Psst...a deviled egg recipe with pickle juice would be particularly tasty if you use our Bacon and Cheese Deviled Eggs as the foundation.)
  3. Stir a spoonful into any salad that features a mayo-based salad dressing, such as potato salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, or macaroni salad.
  4. Substitute some of the vinegar called for in your vinaigrette recipe with leftover pickle juice.
  5. Drizzle a small spoonful over grilled fish, pork, or steak.
  6. Add a splash to the salted water you use to boil potatoes or the salt water you use to steam vegetables.
  7. Marinate mozzarella or feta in the leftover pickle juice.
  8. Freeze the leftover pickle juice in an ice pop mold to enjoy as-is, to melt into a bloody mary, or to create a pickle juice lemonade recipe out of homemade lemonade.
  9. Brighten up store-bought barbecue sauce with a dash of leftover pickle juice.
  10. Trade pickle juice for vinegar in your favorite gazpacho recipe.
  11. Mix a few spoonfuls into your macaroni and cheese.
  12. Take hummus from ho-hum to "yum!" with leftover pickle juice.
  13. Replace the olive brine in your current dirty martini recipe with pickle brine.
  14. Try a spoonful to help cut through the richness of cheese dips like this Pimiento Cheese Dip.

After seeing all of your options for recipes using pickle juice, we bet you now understand why we are singing the praises of all things pickled. But you need not buy those jars at the store; homemade pickle brine is possible, easy, and ensures you'll never run out of "leftover" pickle juice for your new go-to pickle juice recipes. Discover how to make canned and refrigerated pickles from scratch, including the precious pickling liquid.

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