Leftovers

You Can Do *What* With Leftover Pickle Brine?

A scrappy way to look at the jar half-full.

December  4, 2018
Photo by Mark Weinberg

We’ve all been in this pickle: You've finished crunching the last dill, munched the lone cornichon, fished out the final gherkin from the jar—and now you have a half-full (let’s be positive here) glass of pickle juice. What do you do with it?

If you're like Senior Editor Eric Kim, you save it for picklebacks. Or maybe you're like contributor Grant Melton, who uses it for this mayo-free potato salad. I’ve saved half-full jars of pickle juice for my mom’s red beans and rice. And then there's Food Writer and Recipe Developer Emma Laperruque, who makes a delightful Pickle Martini. But it's good for many other things, as well.

If you're looking for easy ways to use up that brine, grab Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food from the James Beard Foundation, which gives more than a hundred delicious solutions for fighting food waste. (Yes, including pickle juice.)

The book features recipes from dozens of the foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change alumni. And in Chef Abra Berens’ Vegetable Salad, she tosses a crisper drawer’s worth of vegetables with a mixture of sour cream and pickle liquid. Simply whisk the two together in a 2:1 ratio, respectively, and season with salt and pepper, then dress to impress. It’s really that easy.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“My mother used leftover dill pickle juice to make the best sauerbraten. Take a rump roast cut of beef and marinate in brine plus a bay leaf for several days. (I do up to five but at least three.) Be sure to cover meat completely with brim. Refrigerate. When ready to braise, dry meat and brown on all sides, return marinade to browned meat, cover pot and simmer several hours until tender. Thicken gravy with flour at end of cooking. So easy! Great with potato pancakes. ”
— Rose
Comment

And in case you still have some extra brine—no worries! Check out these scrappy ideas:


To Make Your Meat Nice & Tender


To Brighten Up Any Dish


To Kick off Happy hour

What's your favorite way to use pickle brine? Give us your best tips in the comments section below!

Tags:

15 Comments

AnneR December 9, 2018
I always put a splash into my tuna salad for sandwiches. That and I sub some of the mayo for good quality ranch dressing, and I am told I make the best tuna sandwiches. I might need to go make one now...
 
Linda T. December 9, 2018
When do you drink the pickle juice? While you are having the cramps?
 
Penny H. December 9, 2018
I was referring to the taste of pickle juice in the de-glazing liquid. However I've eaten dill pickles at night for leg cramps and it really works. It's been so long since I've had menstrual cramps (I'm 79) that I don't know if it would work or not. You could give it a try.
 
Penny H. December 9, 2018
Pickle juice works great as a de-glazer for any pan broiled meats. And no, it doesn't taste sour or of dill either.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. December 9, 2018
Great tip! Thanks, Penny!
 
Rose December 9, 2018
My mother used leftover dill pickle juice to make the best sauerbraten. Take a rump roast cut of beef and marinate in brine plus a bay leaf for several days. (I do up to five but at least three.) Be sure to cover meat completely with brim. Refrigerate. When ready to braise, dry meat and brown on all sides, return marinade to browned meat, cover pot and simmer several hours until tender. Thicken gravy with flour at end of cooking. So easy! Great with potato pancakes.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. December 9, 2018
Delicious! This sounds like the perfect winter weekend project :)
 
wendyg December 5, 2018
Not exactly food-related, but taking a few good-sized swigs of pickle brine is the quickest, most effective cure for muscle cramps (in my case, foot) that I have ever found. Mustard purportedly has a similar effect, but I have yet to test that one.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. December 5, 2018
I've heard that, but never tried it! I need to experiment :)
 
Ramona H. December 5, 2018
Works great. I get foot, leg and hand cramps really bad. A couple swigs dill pickle juice works wonders for me.
 
Linda T. December 9, 2018
Do you drink the pickle juice while you are having the cramp?
 
Terry December 9, 2018
Does anyone know why we get severe cramps when we get older, I ask the Dr once , said they don’t know what caused them. So frustrating
 
wendyg December 10, 2018
Yes...as soon as the muscle seizes up, I hobble to the fridge and take several gulps straight out of the jar (I live alone so I can easily get away with this behavior). For me, it clears up the cramp within 5 minutes or so. I hope it works for you if you decide to try it!
 
FrugalCat December 4, 2018
Sometimes I stuff a few small cucumbers (quartered, the long way) back into the jar. After a few days- a new batch of pickles!
 
Author Comment
Katie M. December 5, 2018
What a great tip! Thanks!