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 even elevate your bread baking.
Use Pickle Juice as a Marinade
The herbs and spices that turn a bunch of bland cucumbers into flavor-packed pickles — like fresh dill, mustard seeds, allspice, and red pepper flakes — can also take your favorite savory dishes to the next level. Here’s what the experts at Lifehacker suggest for a chicken marinade:
- Place a couple of chicken breasts in a plastic bag and pour the pickle juice over them.
- Seal the bag tight and let it marinate for about eight hours in the fridge.
- After marinating, it’s ready to grill, pan fry, or roast in the oven. When you cook it, make sure 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.
Create a Tasty Veggie Sauce
Many of us 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, which calls for sautéing mushrooms in pickle juice with butter and shallots for five to seven minutes to achieve a rich, slightly acidic flavor. You can also try adding the juice to zucchini, green beans, or radishes to turn a simple side dish into the star of your next dinner.
Bake a Delicious Bread With a Twist
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 ¾ 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, use this tasty bread to make a pastrami or corned beef sandwich like King Arthur Baking recommends.
We’re excited to make all of these! And here’s a good thing to keep in mind: You don’t need to use the juice the very second you finish off the pickles. Just store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. As long as the liquid has a bright green color with no floating mold and the smell isn’t rancid, it’s perfectly fine to reuse for cooking, and it will add a twist to your weeknight go-to meals.