Food & Recipes

Don’t Toss Out That Leftover Pickle Juice! You Can Use it to Marinate Chicken, Sauté Veggies, and Bake Bread


When you finish a jar of tasty dill pickles, you shouldn’t be so quick to pour the liquid down the drain. It turns out that pickle juice is a gem for cooking! You can use it to marinate meat, sauté vegetables, and elevate your bread baking.

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The herbs and spices that turn a bunch of bland cucumbers to flavor-packed pickles — like fresh dill, mustard seeds, allspice, and red pepper flakes — can also take your favorite savory dishes to the next level. The experts at Lifehacker suggest placing a couple of chicken breasts in a plastic bag and pouring the pickle juice over them. You then need to seal the bag tight and let it marinate for about eight hours in the fridge before it’s ready to grill, pan fry, or roast in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

This marinade trick also works for other meats like pork and beef. Just keep in mind that the pickle juice is super flavorful on its own, so you won’t need add a ton of extra salt or spices for tasty results. Then be sure discard the pickle juice once the meat is marinated to prevent any cross-contamination.

Many of us might default to using the same seasonings over and over again when cooking veggies, but pickle juice can help liven things up. We love Food52’s recipe that calls for sautéing mushrooms in pickle juice alongside butter and shallots for five to seven minutes to achieve a rich, yet slightly acidic flavor. You can also try this with zucchini, green beans, or radishes to turn a simple side dish into the star of your next dinner!

We all know pickles on top of a sandwich are a match made in heaven, but have you ever thought about using the liquid while baking bread? If not, then it’s time to take a look at King Arthur Baking’s recipe for homemade sandwich rye bread. According to their experts, adding 3/4 cup of pickle brine makes for a yummy addition to the dough. They explain, “Its secret ingredient is dill pickle juice, which gives the bread delightful tang and contributes to its moist texture.” 

The salt and vinegar from the brine boosts the fermented flavor that yeast provides throughout the bread making process. This will leave you with a deliciously robust loaf that can be sliced and toasted with a smear of butter, or used to make a pastrami or corned beef sandwich like King Arthur Baking recommends.

We’re excited to make all of these, but a good thing to note is you don’t need to use the juice the very second that you’re finished with the pickles themselves. Just store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. As long as the liquid still has a bright green color with no mold floating around and the smell isn’t rancid, then it’s perfectly fine to reuse for cooking and adding a twist to your weeknight go-to meals!

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