pickles in a jar and a bowl

16 Brilliant Reasons to Stop Throwing Out Pickle Juice

It was a weird request. My friend Mary Ann asked if she could borrow some pickle juice. Huh? Who keeps pickle juice? The purpose of pickle juice is to keep the pickles fresh and flavorful. And when the pickles are gone, out goes the juice, right? That practice makes Mary Ann cringe.

pickles in a jar and a bowl

Here’s the deal: Mary Ann is famous for her potato salad. She makes ten pounds at a time and it disappears faster than homemade ice cream on a hot summer day. Her secret (which she confides to only a chosen few) is sweet pickle juice. Not pickles, not relish—only the juice. And lots of it.

So, I wondered if there might be other uses for the briny stuff? A quick search of the multiple thousands of tips readers have sent to me over the years plus research online came up amazingly positive!

Dill pickle juice

Really, I had no idea that pickle juice had so many health benefits or could be used in so many ways in the kitchen.

In the Kitchen

Meat tenderizer

Most marinades to tenderize meat contain the key ingredients of vinegar and salt. Adding things like garlic, salt, pepper—even a bit of sugar improves the flavor and end result. Bingo! Those are common ingredients in pickle juice—either sweet or dill.

Use it to tenderize and flavor pork or beef—especially if you’re dealing with a particularly tough cut.

Sweet pickled chops

Arrange four pork chops in a shallow pan and sprinkle with salt. Place a slice of onion and a tablespoon of ketchup on the top of each. Pour 1/2 cup sweet pickle juice around chops. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 F. Oh, my goodness—you won’t believe how tender and delicious! Yum!

Pickled beets

Pour a can of drained, sliced beets into the pickle juice (sweet or dill) and after nine days enjoy delicious pickled beets.

Deviled eggs

For a lively taste, use leftover sweet pickle juice in deviled eggs, or mix into meatloaf or meatballs.

Fry sauce

Make your own French fry dipping sauce like this: 2 parts mayonnaise, 1 part ketchup, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon sweet pickle juice. Mix well. Enjoy.

Veggie pickles

Put any variety or combination of fresh vegetables like sliced cucumbers, onions, carrots, or pieces of cauliflower in leftover pickle juice (dill or sweet). In a couple of days, you’ll have delicious veggie pickles.

Pickled eggs

Drop a few peeled hard-boiled eggs in pickle juice to make pickled eggs. Yum! Store the jar in the refrigerator for a few days until they become magically pickled.

Mary Ann’s Potato Salad Dressing

While she says that she never makes it the same way twice, Mary Ann insists on Best Foods (Hellman’s) mayonnaise, lots of sweet pickle juice, mustard, salt, and pepper—all to taste.

Health Benefits

Drinking pickle juice may seem really gross to you, and I was right there with you. But I changed my mind quickly once I learn its amazing health benefits.

Cramp and Itch

Muscle cramps

Drinking a small amount of pickle juice relieves muscle cramps within seconds of ingestion—something for which there’s lots of anecdotal and medical evidence. If you suffer from leg cramps, or experience any form of cramping for that matter, pickle juice might help you. Its unique formula of cramp-fighting compounds can ease your pain faster than water, sports drinks, and other measures you might have used to battle cramps in the past. Read more.


Just a few sips can quickly soothe annoying heartburn. Pickle juice seems to have the same health effects as straight-up apple cider vinegar.


It’s mandatory to stay hydrated, especially while exercising. Hard workouts for longer periods of time, especially in the heat, can become problematic because sweating quickly depletes sodium (electrolytes) and potassium. Pickle juice is loaded with both. Sipping a small glass after a hard workout will help you recover normal electrolyte levels more quickly.


The juice from pickles contains vitamins C and E, two key antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential to good health because they shield your body from damaging molecules called free radicals—something we’re all exposed to. Having plenty of antioxidants in your diet is a good idea and pickle juice is a pretty awesome way to get that. Vitamins C and E are also known to boost a body’s immune system function.

Weight loss

Pickle juice contains lots of vinegar. There is credible evidence to support the theory that consuming a little bit of vinegar every day may help you lose weight.

“After 12 weeks, study participants who had consumed either about 1/2 ounce or 1 ounce of vinegar daily had lost more weight and fat than those who hadn’t consumed any vinegar.”

Control blood sugar

A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research reported the effects of consuming a small serving of vinegar before a meal. The vinegar helped regulate blood sugar levels after the meal in people with type 2 diabetes.

Dill is amazing

Choose dill pickle juice for more potential benefits. Dill contains quercetin, which has cholesterol-lowering properties. A study published in Cholesterol found that dill lowered cholesterol in hamsters. It may have a similar effect in humans.

No more bad breath

Bad breath is the result of bacteria in your mouth. Both dill and vinegar have antibacterial properties. This potent combination may help freshen your breath.

A close up of a bottle

One last thing … just in case you’re not one to consume enough pickles to produce lots of leftover juice, no worries! You can buy pickle juice by the 6-pack, 12-pack, and gallon!


First published: 4-28-20; Revised, updated, republished 4-26-23


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  1. Mindy Sames says:

    I remember as a little girl being asked to drink a little pickle juice at the dr office. I think it was a test to see if I had small pox or measles… I don’t recall. But that was the beginning of my life-long love of pickle juice. Mom said the dr was surprised when I drank ALL that he gave me…LOL

    • Dula Beyer Baker says:

      When I was a kid in grammar school (1-8 grades), I are a dill pickle after I came home from school. My jaws felt awful. I told my mom. She told me I had mumps!

    • Dottie Garrison says:

      That was a test for mumps. If you can drink pickle juice, you don’t have mumps! The gland behind the ears is swollen and is very sensitive to sour.

  2. Alice says:

    I slice cucumbers, add sour cream, a little dill pickle juice, salt and pepper. Refrigerate a few hours and you have a nice summer salad. Or anytime of year!

  3. Sherry says:

    For years, I have been given pickle juice by friends who know I pickle eggs, but now I have more reasons to beg, borrow or steal it! 🙂 QUESTION: The fry sauce sounds great but I’m not sure about the amount of onion powder and pickle juice to add to the ‘2 parts mayo and 1 part ketchup’ because those ‘parts’ could be *1 cup mayo and 1/2 cup ketchup* or they could be *3 cups mayo and 1 1/2 cup ketchup* so I wonder which proportion takes the 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1 T pickle juice. Experimentation, I guess, is the key, but I’m curious as to whether someone has made this-or something similar-and could give me an idea.

    • Barbara J says:

      The jar of onion powder will say how much powder = how much onion. Go from there. Everyone’s taste is different. Start with a little, noting how much you use; taste. Add more as needed, but keep track of all you use so you can add it all at once the next time.

  4. Sandra L Violette says:

    Juice from bread and butter pickles is fantastic added to egg salad. My grandmother’s neighbor always made it that way and it is delicious. They had an egg farm so she knew the tricks!

  5. Lynne Wiersema says:

    One of the older women in our church always asks for the pickle juice after the church finishes those BIG jars of pickles. She says she uses it to clean the toilets.

  6. Connie Roberson says:

    My father-in-law who was a diabetic ate many many pickles and it did lower his blood sugar, but unfortunately the amount of salt in pickles caused him to swell up like a ballon and he ended up in the hospital, he ate way too many.

  7. Jule barta says:

    My father always insisted on saving the juice and also sauerkraut juice to help get rid of cold sores. just take a sip and swish it around a few times a day to get rid of the pain and cold sore.

  8. Nancy says:

    When adding beets or other vegetables to pickle juice remember to refrigerate. Basically your are making refrigerator pickles. Some recipes say to heat the juice first then add the vegetables.

  9. bigmama-chicago says:

    Another great use for “dill” pickle juice. You don’t always have fresh dill in the house when making spanikopita. A few tablespoons of dill juice will fill the bill!!!!

  10. Dottie S says:

    I also use the juice from dill pickles to make rye bread. I add a little along with the caraway seeds, and it really gives it the “deli rye” flavor. Yum.

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