How-To & Diy

6 Uses for Leftover Pickle Brine

August 15, 2013

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Start thinking of leftover pickle brine as an ingredient in its own right. We've got six ways to use it.

Pickle Brine from Food52

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You have likely lived with one of those people who will let the last pickle languish in its jar for weeks. Maybe this person is afraid to be He Who Ate The Last Pickle, or is saving it for a particularly intense craving. Nobody knows.

And then, once the last pickle is eaten, the brine just sits there. You're not sure what to do with it aside from dump it out and reuse the jar as a chic storage unit for bulk bin quinoa. It sits, and sits, in the back of your refrigerator, and you know it won't go bad, so you let it sit some more.

Thankfully, we have answers for you and your pickle brine: You've been right not to dump it out. But you've been wrong not to use it. It's acid and flavor all in one, pre-mixed -- and it's ready to be regaled as a very special ingredient. We've added it to our list of go-to dish brighteners. Here are our favorite ways to use it:

Re-Pickling from Food52

Possibly the most logical thing to do with your pickle brine: use it to make more pickles. Chop up cucumbers, beets, onions -- whatever your heart desires -- and submerge them in leftover pickle juice. Let sit for a few days as your past pickles beget your future pickles, then enjoy. Take a look at this hotline thread for more repickling advice from our community.


Pickle Juice Bloody Mary

Pickled Bloody Mary
Add a splash of pickle juice to your Bloody Mary. Garnish with a dill spear or fancier pickled vegetables. If you're in a Hair-of-the-Dog situation, you'll be glad to know that pickle juice is also, allegedly, a hangover cure.


Dill Pickle Potato Salad from Food52

Potato Salad
So you say you're looking for a middle ground between gloopy, mayonnaise-based potato salad and terse, minimalist, vinegar-based recipes? Pickle brine will lead you there. Toss it in with your just-boiled potatoes and they'll absorb and adopt all of its flavors. Add more brine and a handful of dill to your dressing. This is our new favorite potato salad, and it will soon be yours, too.

More: Get the recipe here.

How to Make Any Marinade in 5 Steps

Marinades and dressings
Pickle brine is an effective meat tenderizer, and provides an already-mixed marinade. Consider spicier pickles for this one, unless you want dilly steak. Or, swap in pickle brine for vinegar in your next salad dressing, and skip the step of having to decide what flavors to add to your acid and oil.

More: Make any marinade in 5 steps.

Pickleback Shots on Food52

Pickleback shots
This is why you're all here, isn't it? You wanted us to give you permission to take a pickleback shot? Well, here it is. You could make this classier by using artisanal pickles and small-batch whiskey. Or you could not. In case you're confused, here's a recipe.

Tell us: what do you do with your leftover pickle brine?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Grace
  • Alexandra
  • dianetoomey
  • soandso
  • MBE
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Grace October 22, 2013
I like to thinly slice an onion and add to the pickle juice. The pickled onion tastes great on sandwiches.
Alexandra September 27, 2013
I made a great one ! Pickle some coleslaw. Next day, you can put that on top of some Arugala (great nutty flavor!). Add Onion Dip.
OMG! Viola ! THAT tastes Awesome ! I made some toasted pumpernickel bread and had that on the side (sometimes dipping it into the mix). :) Sooooo good !
dianetoomey August 24, 2013
dirty martini...
soandso August 22, 2013
I use it to pickle olives out of the can that aren't pickled, and canned mushrooms that I want to taste like the ones on my favorite frozen pizza, made by Marifano. The mushrooms on that pizza taste so-o-o good and kind of pickled, so I thought I'd try it and see what I came up with. Anything to make a mushroom have a meatier flavor, I'm all for.
MBE August 22, 2013
great ingredient in rye bread-check out the King Arthur website for a recipe
suzilightning August 19, 2013
Leftover pickle brine?.....who has leftover pickle brine?
janet August 19, 2013
Pickle brine is also great in barbecued rib sauce.
Aliwaks August 19, 2013
Great brine for Roast Chicken, used to do that at the Deli I worked at. WE had ALOT of pickle juice laying around. Also have used 1/2 pickle brine 1/2 buttermilk for Fried Chicken Brine, also used it as brine for thick pork chops (not at the Deli)which I then breaded & grilled (An old Mario Batali technique from I think the Babbo grilling cookbook)
Vivienne August 18, 2013
Following my mother's lead....pickle juice is the base for her famous ham glaze.
Claire S. August 18, 2013
I've only ever used leftover juice for pickleback shots, and have been perfectly happy with that method. The potato salad idea, though, looks delish!
Claire S. August 18, 2013
I've only ever used leftover juice for pickleback shots, and have been perfectly happy with that method. The potato salad idea, though, looks delish!
Connie A. August 18, 2013
poaching fish
catalinalacruz August 18, 2013
Try pickling spears of green mango. Delish! And this was after we had already used the same brine to pickle baby carrots.
kitblu August 18, 2013
I add some to soups, especially hot pickle juice, or use it to deglaze a stir fry. I love the idea of using it with potato salad and I'm sure it would work in pasta salad as well.
kat B. August 18, 2013
i always made pickled carrot sticks for my kids in the seventies.... kosher dill pickle juice and as many carrot sticks as you could fit in the only took a day to pick up the flavor, and yum!! now my son makes 'em for his kids...
gina G. August 18, 2013
Another brine soup
amazinc August 18, 2013
Cure for night time leg cramps... I'm forever being awakened in the wee morning hours with horrendous leg cramps. Best cure is
5 T. pickle juice mixed with 4 oz. iced water. Down it; go back to bed and sleep like a babe for a few more hours.
gina G. August 18, 2013
Mixed with water or club soda, brine is a great post-exercise or hangover restorative. It is supposed to rebalance one's electrolytes.
gina G. August 18, 2013
A Silesian classic

Dill Pickle Soup
Equal amounts of dill pickle brine, stock of your choice and buttermilk
That last orphaned dill pickle, chopped
One large potato, peeled and diced
Simmer till potatoes are soft, 15-20 minutes
1 or 2 strips of fried bacon, chopped OR some chopped ham OR kielbasa
3/4 c. Sour cream, fork blended with 2 Tbsp. flour
A generous amount of fresh OR dried dill
Serve with croutons
artist342 August 18, 2013
I always add a splash of dill pickle juice to egg salad. The other suggestions sound terrific!
Shirley August 18, 2013
I boil a couple of eggs to drop in the brine...pickled eggs!!