When we saw a recent question about how to use up leftover pickle juice in our Recipe Rescue Facebook group, we thought we might be in a pickle (ha). But thankfully, we have the most helpful and creative readers in our community! They contributed a ton of clever answers to Laura C’s question:
I’ve got a jar of refrigerator pickle juice/brine left over – can that be used for anything or just throw more cucumbers in it?
It had never really occurred to me to do look for ways to use up leftover pickle juice; I honestly just dumped it. But after reading 50 (!!) comments answering her question, they now have me looking at an empty jar of pickles in a whole new way.
So pucker up, and keep reading for how to use up your leftover pickle juice in some really smart, delicious ways.
How to use up leftover pickle juice
Fry up pickle juice chicken tenders: Kim G and Kate P both recommend using pickle juice as a marinade for chicken tenders. And I love this simple recipe for Pickle Brined Baked Chicken Tenders from Skinny Taste with instructions for using either the oven or air fryer to make them extra crispy — but not drenched in oil. The recipe itself is super easy, just keep in mind that you need to marinate the tenders for around eight hours to let all that good pickle juice soak into the meat. I suggest you get that started in the morning before the kids start demanding breakfast.
Add pickle juice to mayo salads: Kim G notes that a tablespoon or two of pickle juice added to chicken or egg salad gives it a little extra oomph, if you’re looking for easy ways to use up your leftover pickle juice. And don’t forget tuna salad, potato salad, macaroni salad too! In fact, add pickle juice to any mayo-based salad you make — the flavors go great together.
Pickle more vegetables: As Laura C mentioned in her question, reusing pickle juice by tossing in some thinly sliced cucumbers is a no-brainer, but commenters like Karlise G suggest she try other veggies too. In this Quick Pickled Veggies recipe from Food Network, they recommend you try adding a variety of thinly sliced veggies, especially slightly wilted vegetables that can be saved from a trip to the composter. But be sure to read their recipe for how to safely prepare the pickle juice for reuse.
Create steam for cheeseburgers: When making cheeseburgers on the stove, Kathleen M adds a few tablespoons of pickle juice to the pan when she adds the cheese, covers the pan with a lid, and lets the steam infuse the burgers with a little “eau de pickle.” And, she swears that it does make the burgers extra yummy.
Pile up a crispy pickle-marinated tofu sandwich: As a vegetarian, I was intrigued by The New York Times’ recipe for this Crispy Fried Tofu Sandwich that uses pickle juice as the tofu marinade. And then my friend Andrea posted this photo (above) of the sandwich she made from the recipe, and, boy was I sold. I mean, look at that! Even non-tofu lovers may be converted by this gorgeous, crispy, delicious monstrosity.
Make some pickled eggs: Recipe Rescue’s community moderator Erin F along with commenter Angie C each enthusiastically recommend dropping peeled hard boiled eggs in pickle juice. Check out this Easy Pickled Eggs recipe from Food.com which you can scale down if you don’t happen to have a gallon of pickle juice sloshing around the refrigerator. The marinated eggs sound yummy eaten straight from the jar, or chopped up and added to a summer salad.
Change up lunch or dinner with pickled chicken roll-ups: Whether you are keeping to a gluten-free diet, or just want a lighter meal, we all loved Katie T’s recommendation to try making the Cubano Chicken Roll Ups from Skinny Taste. Just let the chicken marinate in pickle juice while you go about your day, then roll the cutlets up with ham, mustard, Swiss cheese, and, yes, more pickles for an easy, flavorful dinner.
Pickled some corn beef: Kathleen M saves up her pickle juice so that she has enough to cover a piece of beef to make homemade corned beef in the crockpot. Great way to prepare dinner for the family without heating up the entire kitchen on a hot summer evening!
Photo: @MsKrotz on Instagram
Pickle your chicken breasts: If you’re wondering how to use up leftover pickle juice,Sue K has a crowd-pleasing solution! She shared her own recipe for pickle-pretzel chicken breasts (shown above) right in our Recipe Rescue group, and the combo of pickle-brined chicken with crushed honey-mustard-n-onion flavored pretzel pieces sounds like a match made in dinner heaven. I think it’s a great way to liven up another quick chicken dinner while still sticking with flavors the kids will gobble up.
Try these pickle juice cocktails: If you are looking for ways to spice up your quarantine happy hour, there are lots of ways to include a little pickle juice into your beverage of choice. Ashley P recommends adding a splash to a Bloody Mary, a common usage that mixologists swear by. Roz D makes pickle martinis using pickle juice and vodka which sounds compelling.
I am particularly intrigued though by Ashley P and Joe B’s suggestions to try a Pickleback shot, with this recipe I found on Julie’s Eats and Treats. Only two ingredients and a bit of bravery needed — and maybe some kids safely in bed by then.
Freeze pickle popsicles (Don’t laugh!): For our final suggestion about how to use up leftover pickle juice, I’m filing this idea from Ashley P in the “don’t knock it ’til you try it” category. This Pickle Pops recipe on Delish has certainly generated a lot of comments from people who think it looks delicious and others who…don’t. But hey, iif you are a pickle lover, this should quench your thirst and cool you off on a hot day.
Join our Recipe Rescue Facebook group for lots of fun and interesting discussions about family meal planning.