13 Ways To Use Up Leftover Pickle Juice

jar of pickles and glass of pickle juice
jar of pickles and glass of pickle juice - Ana_Malee/Shutterstock

Getting to the last few pickles in the jar is always disappointing, but we have good news: It doesn't have to be a seemingly inevitable moment of sadness. Instead of finishing off the last pickle or two and then throwing the brine away, you should definitely save it — and there are a surprising number of reasons as to why.

Pickle juice has long been a favorite drink for athletes, who count on it to help keep muscle cramps and pain away — and yes, it really does work. Studies have shown that vinegar-rich pickle juice consumed in moderation could be linked to managing blood sugar levels, improving gut health, lowering cholesterol, and even helping you stay hydrated (via Healthline). All that's a win, especially considering it's already on hand if your family loves pickles (and who doesn't). Another bonus? It does all that without many of the additives that are commonly found in sports drinks.

Drinking pickle juice straight is great (again, in moderation, considering its sodium levels), but that's not the only reason you should put that otherwise empty jar back in the fridge. Pickle juice has a ton of uses, and that's what we're here to talk about. While you might not think of pickle juice as an ingredient, you absolutely should. It deserves a place of its own in your fridge, and it turns out that it's so versatile, you might find yourself buying jars not for the pickles, but the flavor of the juice that's left behind.

Read more: Ingredients To Take Your Scrambled Eggs To The Next Level

Pickle Some More Veg

variety of pickled vegetables
variety of pickled vegetables - Gmvozd/Getty Images

What's better than pickles? If you said, "More pickles!" that would be correct — and there's no reason to stop at cucumbers. There are a number of vegetables that lend themselves to being preserved in pickle juice. Potatoes, corn, parsnips, bell peppers, cauliflower, and jalapeños are all brilliant options and are so versatile that you might just find yourself keeping a shelf in the fridge just for pickled veg. Salads and sandwiches will never be the same.

If you've got some leftover vegetables from your dinner prep, there's a good chance you can keep it from going to waste by popping it in pickle juice. Stick tomatoes in your favorite leftover pickle juice and you'll add a whole new kick to your favorite sauces. If you love adding mushrooms to your burger, try pickled mushrooms and you'll likely never look back.

One of our favorite uses for that leftover pickle juice is to pickle garlic, simply because there are just so many uses for this allium. After garlic sits in pickle juice for a while, it mellows out so much that you can eat it alone — or in about a million other ways. Add it to a stir fry or sauce, top burgers and hot dogs, toss some in with hummus or other dips, use it on pizza, or even deploy it in some cocktails. Love a good Bloody Mary? This one's for you.

Use It To Enhance Your Chicken (And Other Meats)

fried chicken sandwich with pickles
fried chicken sandwich with pickles - Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock

If you love chicken, chances are good that you really love fried chicken. It might actually be the perfect food, but do you know what can make it more perfect? Pickle juice. Look at it this way: No chicken sandwich is complete without a few pickle slices, so it makes sense that pickle juice is a secret weapon in the quest for the perfect fried chicken.

It's easy to do, too.  Just add some pickle juice to your favorite marinade, which probably involves some kind of buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute, which is easily made by adding a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to milk). Let it sit — preferably overnight — then bread and fry for chicken that is sure to get the approval of the biggest fried chicken connoisseur.

As explained by our sister site, Tasting Table, pickle juice can also be used to create a brine to soak and tenderize steak. It works because of some nifty science — or, as we like to say, magic — that acts on the steak fibers to break them down ahead of cooking. It's perfect for tougher cuts of meat, and it also means that you can definitely open up your repertoire to experiment successfully with new cuts.

There's This Drink Called A Witch Doctor...

pouring soda from a machine
pouring soda from a machine - Nutthaseth Vanchaichana/Getty Images

Drinking pickle juice for recovery, hydration, and muscle cramps after exercise is nothing new, and let's be honest here: We've all taken a swig from the pickle jar after eating or using the last pickle, right? That's what we thought. But that's not all. There's actually a little-known method of drinking pickle juice that's largely restricted to North Carolina, but we're hoping to do our part to change that.

It starts with something else that most of us have done at some point, which is to go up to a soda machine and fill our cups with a little bit of everything. (Fun fact: Being an adult doesn't mean you have to stop doing this.) In North Carolina — particularly at What-A-Burger (no relation to the Texas-based chain of Whataburger) — they go one step farther and add a bit of pickle juice (and pickle slices) to this concoction.

It's called a witch doctor, and it was popular before What-A-Burger started officially serving it. Should you try this at home? Sure, why not? Even though some say that it's an acquired taste, the only way you'll know if it's your new favorite is if you give it a try.

Add It To Potato Salad Or Coleslaw For A Tangy Upgrade

bowl of potato salad
bowl of potato salad - Liudmyla Chuhunova/Shutterstock

Summertime means a lot of things, from burgers on the grill to cold sides. One of the brilliant things about dishes like macaroni salad, potato salad, and coleslaw is that they're almost infinitely customizable. It's possible to go through a whole summer without having the same thing twice. That said, there is an addition that might just become standard: pickle juice.

It doesn't take much. Add just a spoonful or two of pickle juice to your favorite mayonnaise-based salad and you've got a major — and majorly easy — upgrade. You can take it a few steps further with the addition of some dill or even some pickled veg. Chop up some pickled onions or jalapeño peppers for an extra kick, which also brings the added bonus of preventing a mayo-based salad from getting too heavy.

This works for coleslaw, too, and it's amazing. We thinks that coleslaw is one of those sides that doesn't get enough love, so the next time you're making burgers, tacos, or wraps, whip up a batch made with a touch of pickle juice. Pro tip: Try a grilled chicken wrap or sandwich with pickle juice coleslaw, then get back to us!

Make A Batch Of Pimento Cheese

grilled pimento cheese sandwich
grilled pimento cheese sandwich - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

There are two kinds of homes: those that have pimento cheese as a delicious staple, and those that don't ... but need to. Pimento cheese is a Southern spread that is as amazing as it is versatile. While there are a ton of different ways to craft it, adding pickle juice to almost any pimento cheese recipe adds a tangy kick that makes it even better.

Our favorite pimento cheese recipe calls for shredded cheese, mayo, cream cheese, diced pimento, and a dash of dill pickle juice (among other seasonings). Mix, and done! It really is that easy and versatile. Use it in grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas, on wraps, on (or tucked inside) burgers, or pile it high on crackers for a unique movie snack. Add it to wraps, use it as a dip, or dress up some nachos with it. Pimento cheese can also prove to be an amazing ingredient in casseroles, meatballs, macaroni and cheese, or fried chicken. Seriously, it might just become a staple in your home, too!

Use It To Fry Eggs (And Amp Up Deviled Eggs)

deviled eggs on a cutting board
deviled eggs on a cutting board - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Eggs might not be the first things that come to mind when considering that jar of pickle juice, but they should be at least somewhere in the top 10. There ares a few different ways to use pickle juice to get the most out of your eggs, and that includes using it to fry them with. Really!

Rumors of the benefits of frying your eggs in pickle juice have surfaced on platforms like TikTok. Yes, we know that viral food hacks are often not what they're cracked up to be. This one got a lot of support, though, with pickle lovers saying that the juice from dill and spicy pickles worked particularly well, especially with the addition of some help from your spice cabinet. Should you try this next time you're looking to add a fried egg to your burger? We'll say yes.

That's not the only way pickle juice can improve your eggs. Have one last pickle that you're not sure what to do with? Dice it up, and add that to your deviled egg mix, along with a dash of the juice. Sprinkle on some smoked paprika or red chili flakes, and it's sure to be a win.

Pickle Juice Can Take Your Soups To The Next Level

Matzah ball soup with chicken and dill
Matzah ball soup with chicken and dill - BBA Photography/Shutterstock

No, wait! Listen! Before you make that face at the thought of hot pickle juice, hear us out — and know that this one comes with the caveat that it's not something you should be trying with all soups, particularly creamy ones. That said, replacing some of the broth in some of your soups with pickle juice can be downright delicious, and let's explain before the naysayers run off.

Consider that tart soups are common across Eastern Europe, with long-standing favorites like borscht and rassolnik. Some ingredients in these traditional soups might look strange to American eyes and tastebuds, but there's a lot to be said for the combination of hot, sweet, and sour. And who doesn't love a delicious hot and sour soup from the local Chinese restaurant?

Why stop there? Matzoh ball soup, for example, already has the flavors of dill, so adding more via a bit of pickle brine will add a major flavor boost. Pickle juice can work really well in vegetable and bean-based soups, and if you still have doubts, remember that Kristen Bell has published her family's recipe for a dill pickle soup that's been a holiday favorite for generations.

Should You Add It To Your Homemade Bread? Yes!

loaves of bread cut into slices
loaves of bread cut into slices - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

Cooking might be an art form, but baking is a science. It takes a delicate balance and careful attention to get the desired result to come out of the oven, but even so, you should keep in mind that pickle juice is a completely legitimate ingredient in fresh-baked bread. We know that sounds super weird, but hear us out.

Using pickle juice in bread doesn't come entirely out of left field -- it actually makes a regular appearance in rye bread recipes. Anyone who's ever had rye bread from a real Jewish deli — it's an experience that everyone needs to have — has probably had bread baked with pickle juice.

Even if you're nowhere near one of these delectable delis, you can still use pickle juice with any bread recipe that calls for yeast. It's super easy: When blooming the yeast before mixing your dough, the standard operating procedure is to use water. Swap that out for pickle juice that's been heated to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and you're good to go! There shouldn't be any further adjustments needed. If you happen to make an Italian loaf and then slice it into rounds that are perfect for some pickle juice pimento cheese ... well, that would be amazing, wouldn't it?

Pickles And Popcorn? Pickles And Chips?

popcorn, chips, dill dip
popcorn, chips, dill dip - Christian Draghici/Shutterstock

Everyone has their preferences and favorite food combinations that others think are a little strange. Pickles and peanut butter, for instance? Apparently, it's not bad. In that context, Selena Gomez's love of popcorn sprinkled with pickle juice, salt, and Tabasco sounds a little less strange. Still weird, but not pickles-and-peanut-butter weird.

But give it a moment's thought, and it kind of makes sense. Popcorn is a great vehicle for all kinds of flavors, and if you're looking to mix things up while still keeping it a healthy snack, a sprinkle of pickle juice might just be your new favorite popcorn addition. Trader Joe's and Aldi have carried pickle-flavored popcorn, so there must be plenty of people out there who'll agree that this is one tasty combination.

You don't have to stop there, either. When we spoke with Siri Daly about her juice box collaboration and experiences writing kid-friendly recipes, she told us that one of her favorite childhood recipes involved pickle juice. In a nutshell, Daly loved crinkle potato chips dipped in pickle juice. While it might be one of those ideas that makes you go, "Wait, what?" go on — give it a try!

Serve Up Some Pickle Cocktails

pickleback shot
pickleback shot - 5PH/Shutterstock

When Matthew McConaughey posted to Instagram to share his pickle and tequila margarita, it was a viral reminder that pickles definitely have a place in the world of mixology. If you're looking to try some fun, adventurous cocktails, look no further.

For starters, there's the pickleback. That's simply a shot of whiskey served alongside a shot of pickle juice, and it doesn't get much more straightforward than that. (You can, of course, substitute other liquors.) You don't have to stop there, though. If you like a traditional martini with a dollop of olive juice, then pickle juice is a close cousin.

There are a ton of amazing ideas out there for pickle-based cocktails. Simply combining vodka and pickle juice over ice is an easy one, and if you're a fan of a Bloody Mary, pickle juice is practically a must here. For those who avoid sweet drinks, starting with pickle juice and building from there leads to all kinds of unique cocktails, like the aptly-named Fisherman's Folly. That's got fish sauce, grapefruit, and matcha powder -- if you're a fan of adventurous bartending, that just might be your drink.

Pickle Juice Can Add A Whole New Dimension To Chili

homemade chili in pot with ladle
homemade chili in pot with ladle - Veselovaelena/Getty Images

There are a ton of canned ingredients that can upgrade your favorite chili recipe, from sloppy joe sauce to pumpkin, to beer. Olives are also great, so it makes sense that pickle juice and its salty tang would be a pretty delicious option, too.

Just swap out some of the liquid with dill pickle juice, cook as usual, and enjoy! There's no right or wrong way to do this, and you can add as much or as little pickle juice as you'd like. We recommend starting on the light side and tasting as you go to make sure you're getting the right balance of flavors. You can also opt to use pickle juice to thin a chili that's getting too thick and stodgy. Simply keep that jar handy, add a bit at a time, and get to stirring. If you find yourself regularly asked to bring a dish to pass, this might just be a new — and incredibly easy to make — favorite.

Beat The Heat With Pickle Popsicles Or A Pickle Juice Slushie

green popsicles on a counter
green popsicles on a counter - Sveta_zarzamora/Getty Images

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who go to Sonic Drive-In for its drinks, and those who don't. When the popular chain announced that it was bringing back a fan favorite slushie in 2022, there were also two kinds of people: those who were super excited, and those who were completely revolted.

Sonic's Pickle Juice Slushie was such a big hit that it's kind of a wonder it didn't end up more of a viral sensation. Here's the thing: You can make it at home with just pickle juice, ice, and a heavy-duty blender. Reviews of Sonic's drink suggest there's more to it than that, with some suggesting hints of lemon, lime, and sugar. Sounds like a brilliant experiment, doesn't it?

This is one that's sure to hit the spot on a hot summer day, along with pickle juice popsicles. These, too, are a delicious and potentially healthy summertime treat. Add lemon or lime, a dash of sugar, or some Kool-Aid to channel some serious Koolickle energy. Try adding some vodka, but keep those set aside for the adults!

Whip Up A Tangy Burger Or Dipping Sauce

tzatziki dip overhead
tzatziki dip overhead - MaraZe/Shutterstock

Dips, sandwich spread, salad dressing, or a drizzle for wraps, steak, and fish — pickle juice is a great addition to them all. Just ask Shake Shack. The famous burger sauce that keeps customers coming back for more is made with pickle juice.

There are a number of dressings and dips that are made with just pickle juice and one other ingredient: Try mixing pickle juice and hummus, for starters, or pickle juice and olive oil. Use it in an Italian or Caesar dressing or in tzatziki. Add it to pesto, use it in ranch ... almost any veggie dip you can imagine will get an upgrade from a dash of briny pickle juice.

Try a dip made by mixing cream cheese, Greek yogurt, dill, ranch seasoning, and enough pickle juice for it to reach the consistency you're looking for, and dress it up any way you'd like. Add heat with diced jalapeños, add some garlic, add more dill ... it's up to you! You may never buy store-bought dips again.

Read the original article on Mashed