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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Using leftover pickle juice

What can you do with pickle juice and leftover pickle brine?

I know it's about pickling time of year when I have a fridge full of jars with just the pickle juice, no pickles, just the juice.  This is how I've been using them.

Just a note, and an important one at that, all of the following pickle recipes are for refrigerator pickles only. They can not be canned. Reused pickle juice products should be consumed within a week of making.

Sweet pickle juice

  • Mix half and half with vinegar, then add oil, for salad dressing for tossed salads.
  • Mix with mayonnaise for cole slaw dressing.
  • For refrigerator pickles (not canned), slice a raw cucumber, halve raw mushrooms, thin slice raw onions, thin slice blanched carrots, add blanched whole green beans, or cut into florets, blanched cauliflower, then add to pickle juice and refrigerate for 24 hours. Instant pickles. But only keep for 5-7 days, so eat right away.
  • Pickled eggs -- drop whole, peeled hard boiled eggs into pickle juice. Marinate overnight in fridge. Especially nice with beet pickle juice, then slice to lay over a salad bowl.
  • To marinate cooked, cubed potatoes overnight, before adding to remaining ingredients for potato salad.
  • To marinate cooked pasta overnight before adding to remaining ingredients for a pasta or macaroni salad.
  • Add to mayo, sour cream, a bit of chopped pickle when making tartar sauce.
  • Use as a marinade for meat.
  • Use as part of the liquid when making gravy.
  • Use as part of the liquid when making home cooked baked beans.
  • Use a spoonful in tuna or egg salad for added flavor.
  • "Pickle" cubes of cheese.

Dill pickle juice

  • Heat in a stainless saucepan and simmer until reduced 50%. Then use half and half with white vinegar to make an oil and vinegar salad dressing.
  • Heat in a saucepan just until boiling. Pour over cored, quartered green tomatoes, in a clean jar. Refrigerate for 3 days. Eat within a couple of days after the 3 day period. 
  • Slice a cucumber and add to pickle brine. Allow to stand refrigerated for 24 hours for "new" pickles.
  • Use to sprinkle over French fries, instead of vinegar.
  • Use as a marinade for meat.
  • "Pickle" cubes of cheese.
  • Blend with softened cream cheese or yogurt cheese for a dip. Add a bit of chopped fresh dill.
  • Make beef or turkey goulash. Brown beef or turkey in oil, add onion, garlic, carrot, paprika, pepper. Add stock and tomato sauce or canned tomatoes, bring to a boil. Add cubed potato, chopped dill pickle, several tablespoons of pickle juice and simmer until meat and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt as desired. Serve over egg noodles, or as soup (depending on how much stock you used).
There are also recipes online for Polish pickle soup and a pickle bread. I have yet to try either of those but they do sound interesting. Do you reuse pickle juice? If so, what have been your favorite ways to savor every last pickle-y drop?


  1. I have done several of these things, but I never thought about marinating the potatoes for potato salad. I like that idea. It's going on my "need to try this" list.

    1. Hi live and learn!
      One of my mom's old cookbooks has a recipe where you marinate the potatoes for potato salad. And it really does add flavor to the salad. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. What a great post, Lili. :) The best potato salad I've ever had had dill pickle juice in the dressing. Great list! :)

    1. Hi Belinda!

      I can just imagine a potato salad with dill pickle juice in the dressing. Add a big handful of dill weed from the garden and that would make a really fresh tasting potato salad. Dill is one of my favorite summer herbs.

  3. I'm not much of a sweet pickle eater, but we love dills. I'm still trying to figure out how to work them in a low salt

    I've used it to pickle eggs, cucumbers, in dressings etc. We also add it to chicken salad or tuna salad.

    Now I'm going to admit to something strange -- I really like dill pickles in grits. A bit of the juice will add the same flavor.

    1. Hi Shara,
      Surely there is a recipe out there for low-sodium dills. I don't know how they'd do it, but there must be something!

      I like the idea of adding pickle juice to chicken salad. I'll try that soon. Turkey salad, after Thanksgiving might also be a good place for some pickle juice.

      Dill pickle in grits, hmmm. Grits are like polenta, right? A savory white corn mush? Well, I guess I could see how that could be good. I love polenta, and I add all sorts of herbs and seasonings to polenta.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I never heard of pickled eggs before but they intrigue me, I think I may have to give them a go. Thanks :)

    1. The eggs pickled in beet pickle juice are especially pretty. Enjoy!

  5. Some interesting tips and ideas, thanks for posting, going to have to try some of these!

    1. Hi Tracy!
      I heard a new one today -- cleaning the copper bottoms on pans with dill pickle juice! Who knew?!

      Thanks for visiting!


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