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.


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 4-24-21


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  1. Debi Williams says:

    My Norwegian grandparents would eat some pickled Herring for upset tummy, even in the middle of the night. Must have been the vinegar
    We just loved it for breakfast!

  2. Imbuzzard2 says:

    I just checked at Walmart and the 6pks of pickle juice are over $17.00. A little pricey? How about a jar of pickles at the dollar stores for the juice?

  3. Fran says:

    I use dill pickle juice to make Macaroni Salad. I cook the macaroni the day before and add the pickle juice. Leave over night in the refrigerator .
    The next day add your other ingredients.

  4. Tammie Herbert says:

    If you have fruit flies add a drop of liquid soap to the leftover pickle juice. Then make a cone from a sheet of paper and place it in the jar, making sure it does not touch the liquid. The flies fly in to get to the yummy juice, but can’t figure out how to get out. When they land on the juice, the soap has broken the water tension so they sink to the bottom.

  5. Deb Pascoe says:

    Dill pickle juice is an excellent pain reliever if you have an abscessed tooth. I was skeptical – salty pickle juice on a tender, infected gum? – but it worked immediately.

  6. Paula says:

    The article regarding using the left over pickle juice juice was great. Any hints about using green olive juice? Paula

  7. Nanci Fitschen says:

    I use dill pickle juice in my potato salad. SIL loves it.My husband used to get charlie horses from chemo treatment and we would run for the pickle juice. It worked every time.

  8. Ursula Winter says:

    Mary! What about a Pickleback? (A pickleback is a type of shot wherein a shot of whiskey is chased by a shot of pickle brine)

    16 surprising reasons….. 🙂

    just LOVE you

  9. Diane W says:

    I have been using pickle juice for years to marianate chicken, and in potato salad instead of vinegar. Not sweet; dill and zesty dill!

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