14 Ways To Use Up Leftover Pickle Juice

True pickle connoisseurs know there's more potential in each jar of pickles than just those tangy cukes have to offer. The brine makes cucumbers go from subtle and refreshing, to mouthwatering and power-packed with flavor. And once those pickles are all eaten up (which doesn't take too long) that juice is liquid gold, just waiting to serve another purpose in your kitchen. 

Pickle juice itself is jam-packed with tangy flavor and can be used in endless ways to enhance dishes and drinks. And that liquid can do more than just elevate a recipe, it can be the main event. In fact, you can even purchase canned pickle brine, sans pickles. Whether you're adding it to sauces, making soup, or drinking it straight, one thing is for sure: Pickle juice was never meant to be washed down the sink. Let's roll up our sleeves, grab a jar full of pickle juice, and get cooking.

Follow up a shot with picklebacks

For anyone that's been to a country-Western-themed bar, you may have been talked into one or more picklebacks, whether you're a fan of pickle juice or not. Picklebacks are simply a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice, typically bread and butter or a sweeter variety. Some describe this as tasting like a drinkable big mac, and others just enjoy it for the pickle after-taste. At higher-end bars, you can sip dill pickle juice, and even take your shot out of hollowed-out pickles.

When making picklebacks at home, use your own creativity and choose your favorite pickle juice. Use a nice whiskey, and garnish with fresh dill. If you're past the phase in your life where shots sound appealing, try a pickle juice martini or infused vodka instead. Dress up your favorite savory cocktail with dill pickle juice, and your favorite sweet drink with bread and butter juice. This, of course, is only recommended to those old enough to indulge but feel free to experiment with mocktails as well. Seltzer, lime juice, tonic water, and cucumber all pair beautifully with the tangy liquid, so put on your drinking cap and get mixing.

Whip up a tzatziki sauce

Tzatziki is a refreshing, yogurt-based tangy sauce that typically accompanies Mediterranean dishes such as falafel, fish, and gyros. It's creamy, punchy, and herby all at once, and is often used to balance spicy or greasy dishes. While a classic tzatziki sauce recipe is typically made with lemon juice as the acid along with yogurt, dill, garlic, mint, cucumber, and olive oil, why not dill it up a little more and add pickle juice? You can either substitute pickle juice for the lemon or use a 50/50 ratio to get the best of both worlds.

If you're unsure about how to use tzatziki once it's made, rest assured you don't have to learn how to make falafel or shawarma from scratch. Tzatziki makes an incredible vegetable dipping sauce, refreshing soup topping, and delicious sandwich spread. Get creative and serve it with your feta and spinach omelet, stuff it into a baked potato, or drizzle it in a buddha bowl. 

Make a brine for chicken or turkey

Poultry experts know that in order to get a truly crispy skin it's important to brine your bird beforehand. Although some people only focus on this step during Thanksgiving, it's a simple practice that should be applied to poultry all year round, because that little bit of extra effort improves the texture and flavor of chicken and turkey. However, if you're interested in adding a little extra flavor to the mix, try swapping out your salt water for pickle juice.

To brine a bird simply submerge it in a pot with pickle juice or part pickle juice, part salt water, for three to six hours. For pickle juice brined fried chicken, batter your chicken immediately after brining it. If you're roasting chicken, simply transfer it directly to the oven. The flavor infusion of the pickle juice is unique and penetrates deeper than just adding a spice rub to the skin. 

Add extra zing to salad dressing

To achieve a rounded mouthfeel, every salad dressing needs to have an element of sweetness, saltiness, acidity, and fattiness. For a bare-to-the-bones recipe, you'd use maple syrup, salt, lemon juice or vinegar, and olive oil. But why live your life so basic? Instead of using lemon juice or vinegar in all of your dressings, try giving pickle juice a try. Use bread and butter pickle juice and skip the additional sweetener. If you opt for dill pickle juice and be sure to add a splash of sweetener to balance things out. 

Try making a vinaigrette using pickle juice, olive oil, white vinegar, pepper flakes, garlic, shallots, and salt. For the easiest creamy salad dressing you've ever made, simply mix dill pickle juice with creamy hummus. Whisk the two together and toss into leafy greens and fresh vegetables like red pepper, green onion, cucumber, and tomatoes. It also works well on a Mediterranean-themed salad with olives, feta, sundried tomatoes, and cucumber.

Quick pickle other veggies

For those of you whole have ever been through the trauma of being stranded without pickles in your refrigerator or pantry, you know just how devastating it can be. Pickle withdrawal is real, and we won't stand for it. As a backup plan to ensure you never find yourself in this position, keep a jar of pickle juice on hand for quick pickling.

Typically, with quick pickling, you pour a boiling brine made with water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices over cucumbers or vegetables, let it cool, and then refrigerate for a week before opening, and enjoy. But instead of making a new batch of brine, simply swap in your old pickle juice. Any vegetable can be pickled, but if you're looking for a classic recipe, be sure to buy pickling cucumbers which have a different water density and texture. Just keep in mind that these do not last nearly as long as pickles that have gone through the full pickling process.

Give steamed veggies a flavor boost

Why stick with the same old predictable when you have the opportunity to be creative and inventive? Instead of steaming your vegetables in water, try using pickle juice instead. Simply wash, peel, and cut your veggies before adding them to a hot pan. Add a few tablespoons of dill pickle juice and cover with a lid. Keep a close eye on the pan, and add more pickle juice if it dries up and the veggies are still too crunchy. Once your vegetables are cooked to perfection, remove them from heat and strain any excess pickle juice that didn't evaporate. 

You can also boil pickle juice in a pot and place your veggies in a steamer basket over them. Either way, your side dish will sing with flavor, and the pickle juice will infuse your vegetables with a nice salty, acidic, and aromatic taste. This works beautifully for green beans, carrots, artichokes, and broccoli.

Create a marinade

An acidic marinade will not only help tenderize your meat, it also infuses it with salty goodness and flavor. There are plenty of combinations to choose from and it can be as simple as using that bottle of Italian dressing that's been at the back of your pantry forever. But it doesn't get any easier than soaking your steak, pork, or chicken in dill pickle juice along with some herbs and spices. If your pickle juice already includes mustard seed, chilis, and garlic, even better. The more flavor in the brine, the more flavor in the meat.

Let your meat marinade in the brine before removing it and seasoning it with your herbs of choice. Then throw it on the grill or in the oven, let it cook, and enjoy juicy, tender meat with a slight hint of dill. This works great for white meat but you can use the marinade for any cut. You can even marinate your tofu, mushrooms, or eggplant in pickle juice before cooking it for the ultimate vegan grill-out dish.

Throw together pickle juice whiskey sours

If you'd rather drink your pickles than eat them, then it's time for you to be introduced to the wonders of a pickle juice whiskey sour. Typically, a classic whiskey sour recipe is made with whiskey, simple syrup, and lemon juice, and topped with a maraschino cherry and orange slice. But we think that's a little been-there-done-that, and variety is the spice of life so it's time to add a dash of creativity and a splash of pickle juice to the mix.

For the cocktail, use whiskey, lemon juice, ice, a cornichon for garnish, and a pickle syrup made from bread and butter pickle juice and granulated sugar. Add ice to cool it all down, and If you want to really impress your guests, make an egg-white foam to top it all off. Serve pickle juice whisky sours with your charcuterie board, German-themed cuisine, or hipster dinner party.

Upgrade potato, chicken, or chickpea salad

Because pickle juice makes for such an incredible addition to salad dressing, why not add it directly to your heartier salads? Chicken salad, chickpea salad, egg salad, potato salad, pasta salad, and tuna salad all deserve the same enhancement. When making your mayo, oil, or tahini-based dressings, be sure to add a little dill or bread and butter pickle juice. We recommend dill, but if you enjoy a sweeter salad then try a combination of the two. Because the pickle juice will be acidic, you may want to reduce the amount of lemon juice or the vinegar you're adding to your sauce.

To create a basic creamy dressing, use your favorite brand of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, pickle juice, a splash of maple syrup, onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper, and a little paprika. For those who like to take a walk on the spicy side consider adding a squirt of sriracha. For a tahini base, use the same ingredients but swap tahini for mayo and be sure to whisk it all together until it's creamy smooth. Consider adding diced pickles and sweet onion right into the sauce for added crunch and texture. Pickle juice adds the perfect tangy flavor.

Enhance boiled potatoes

Yes, you could be like your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents and boil your potatoes in water or salt water. Perhaps you're a little extra creative and even use vegetable or chicken broth. But this is the 21st century, and we like to add a little pizzazz to our cooking style. Instead of tossing that leftover pickle juice, use it to boil your potatoes.

This works best for small, whole potatoes that you're boiling as a side dish, as opposed to cut potatoes for mashed potatoes. By boiling them in dill pickle juice, it will infuse the spuds with flavor, and add an element of saltiness. If you're par-boiling potatoes before baking them, this technique comes in handy as well. Give them a bath in the brine and those skins will become nice and crispy when cooked. Keep in mind that because you've added a salty element already, you may want to take it easy when salting the potatoes after they come out of the oven. Taste before you salt, but feel free to go wild when it comes to other spices.

Drink it when active

If you've ever been playing a sport, and mid-game your leg cramped up then you know just how irritating it can be to play through the pain. Even if you're a weekend warrior who's hitting the slopes, or a retiree who's taken up pickleball for some leisurely recreation, it's still important to know what to do when those spasms hit. Because when they do, they hit hard. The first line of defense is to stay hydrated, which means drinking water before, during, and after any strenuous activity. If those muscles are still going wild, consider bringing a little water bottle of pickle juice with you for relief.

Yes, drinking straight pickle juice may seem odd, but it can work wonders to reduce cirrhotic muscle cramping in athletes, according to The American Journal of Gastroenterology. In addition, it can help aid in the relief of a hangover, and to be honest, it's kind of delicious. Who knew that drinking pickle juice had so many health benefits, but the truth is that it's jam-packed with electrolytes and potassium. Don't overdo it though, pickle juice is salty so if you're not sweating it out it can have negative effects on your body. Remember, everything in moderation, so even a small shot should do the trick.

Freeze pickle juice ice cubes for savory drinks

There's nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold beverage on a hot day. But when ice is added to coffee, soda, lemonade, or other flavored drinks it will inevitably melt and water it down, leaving your beverage less flavorful. The solution to iced coffee is making milk or coffee cubes, but when it comes to savory drinks like V8 or Bloody Marys there's some opportunity to break the boundaries. There's nothing worse than watered-down tomato juice, so consider using pickle juice ice cubes instead.  

You do have the choice between frozen pickle slices and pickle juice cubes, but we believe the latter is a little more high-class. When those pickle cubes begin to melt, you'll notice that your drink actually gets more flavorful. This is the perfect addition to your next brunch party or slow Sunday morning after a night of too much fun.

Prepare a batch of pickle soup

If you enjoy the wonders of culinary creativity and love the tangy punch of pickle juice then it's time we introduce you to your new favorite dish, pickle soup. Yes, pickle soup is a real thing and although it's a classic Polish dish, it's recently taken the internet by storm. 

This ingenious creation blends familiar soup ingredients like potatoes, carrots, veggie broth, and flour as a thickener. Throw in some butter, sour cream, pickles, and pickle juice and you're really cooking. With some additional herbs and spices, this recipe will be sure to not only intrigue your family but potentially expand their horizons beyond American soup classics. The flour, butter, and sour cream balance the tanginess of the pickles beautifully and make for a delicious recipe to warm your soul. Serve a bowl with corned beef, cabbage, sausage, or any other dish that pairs traditionally with pickles. 

Blend up some hummus

These days there is just about every kind of hummus flavor you could think of out there. While red pepper hummus and kalamata olive hummus make sense with the Middle Eastern dish, others like peanut butter and chocolate may feel a little out there. Somehow, even some of the most oddball flavors work when blended with those protein-pack chickpeas, and pickle is no exception.

Dill hummus doesn't see that out of the left field, and you'd enjoy the chickpea spread with crunchy fresh cucumbers like they were born to be consumed together, so adding pickles isn't that much of a stretch. In fact, the combination is quite delicious, and the flavor addition is easy to incorporate. Make your favorite standard hummus recipe, and simply add pickle juice. If you have any pickles on hand, feel free to throw them in too, and reserve a few to dice and serve on top of the hummus along with a garnish of fresh dill and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Use pickle juice to clean your grill

Cleaning household appliances with vinegar is a common trick since it's quite acidic and can dissolve buildups like dirt and grease. It's also a great way to avoid inhaling harsh chemicals and getting them all over your hands in the process. For your grill, in particular, we think a food-safe cleaner is the way to go, and dill pickle juice can get the job done.

It's important to clean your grill to prevent sticking, especially if you plan on preparing anything delicate like vegetables, tofu, or fish. Simply pour or spray pickle juice on the grill and scrub away with a grill brush, steel wool, or a tough-sided sponge. Then wipe or rinse with water — and voila, a clean grill. Be sure not to use ultra-sweet pickle juice, because the sugar may stick and attract bugs if you don't get it all cleaned off during the rinsing process. Give your pickle juice a boost and add a little extra vinegar to the mix for some hard-core deep cleaning.