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Make Your Own Pickles & Brine and Use Them in These 10 Recipes

A Cuban sandwich by Dinner at the Zoo, Pickle Soup by Noble Pig, and Pickle and pasta salad by Spend with Pennies.
Dinner at the Zoo/Noble Pig/Spend with Pennies

We all have a friend who’s obsessed with pickles, but if you’re that friend, it’s time to take your love of these tangy cucumber snacks to another level!

Many people might think pickles are only good for snacking or stuffing in sandwiches. Although we agree (nothing wrong with tradition!), there are tons of unique recipes and ways to enjoy pickles.

Let’s start by learning how to make quick pickles, or you can simply follow any of the recipes we’ve selected, all of which feature pickles or brine as a key ingredient.

Love Pickles? Make Some at Home

Two images of Ball mason jars used to make canned sauce and canned peaches.
Ball

Making quick pickles is simple and delicious. Once you really get to the pickling game, you’ll love gifting jars to friends and family as much as they’ll love receiving them.

If you don’t already have some mason jars, you’ll want to start by grabbing a few for the job. This four-pack of regular-mouth masons is perfect for quick pickling or canning.

You’ll also need some vinegar. When making quick pickles, white vinegar works, but you can also use white wine or rice vinegar.

Gather and Prepare Your Ingredients

The ingredients below are just what you’ll need to build one 16-ounce jar of dill pickles. Remember, ingredients like garlic, dill, peppercorns, and mustard seeds are all optional flavorings. There are plenty of other ways to flavor pickles, but don’t leave out the dill if you want that classic flavor.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • Cucumbers (small to medium size)
  • Garlic
  • A few sprigs of fresh dill
  • A few peppercorns
  • A pinch of mustard seeds

You’ll want to choose small or medium cucumbers that are generally uniform to the size of pickles. Some varieties work better than others, so be sure to select cucumbers that are a good size that also have a thick skin. Kirby cucumbers are typically favored.

Cut your cucumbers longways into spears or sandwich slices, then pack them in the jar. Add your flavoring ingredients, including herbs, spices, or aromatics, like onions or garlic.

Make the Brine

It’s incredibly easy to make your own brine. Just follow these steps:

  1. Combine the water, vinegar, and salt, then bring it to a boil.
  2. After the salt dissolves (which should only take a minute or so), add the hot brine to your jar of pickles and flavorings.
  3. Close the jar and allow the cucumbers to sit in the hot brine for several hours.
  4. After they’ve cooled, place them in the fridge.

How to Store Your Quick Pickles

These are quick pickles, not canned, so you’ll have to store them in the fridge—they won’t keep at room temperature.

They’ll be ready to eat in just a few days and will mature in flavor over time. Store them for up to a month in the fridge.

Now that you know how to make your own pickles and brine, it’s time to use them in some tasty recipes!

Cuban Sandwich

Two images featuring a cuban sandwich filled with pickles, ham, cheese and sliced pork.
Dinner at the Zoo

Pickles add something special to a sandwich (hot or cold), and a Cuban sandwich is a great place to start. Combining juicy layers of pork tenderloin and deli-sliced ham, along with melty swiss and crunchy pickles, you’ll have a mouthful of delicious.

Be sure to check the tips for the best grill-pressed dinner.

Get the Recipe: Dinner at the Zoo

Air Fryer Pickles

Two images: The left image features fried pickles with sauce, and the right image is of the pickled spears before being battered and fried.
Plated Cravings

Fried pickles have really swept the internet in recent years, and you’ll find them on most restaurant menus today, too! Skip take out and save a few bucks by making these crunchy treats at home. This recipe shows you how to air fry them so you can save calories, too!

Get the Recipe: Plated Cravings

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

Two images displaying pasta salad filled with fresh dill and sliced pickles. The left image is the finished salad, and the right image is a bowl filled with all the ingredients used to make the dish.
Spend with Pennies

Pasta salads are always a hit in the summer! However, the crisp cold crunch from the addition of dill pickles will really make guests go for seconds. Learn to make a satisfying creamy pasta salad for your next barbecue or party.

Get the Recipe: Spend with Pennies

Crunchy Dill Pickle Tuna Salad

Two images displaying a dill pickled infused tuna sandwich filled with lettuce tomato and cheese with a side of chips.
Lord Byron’s Kitchen

Pickles taste great in most cold salad-style meals, including tuna salad! You’ll first whip up a dill pickled mayo, then combine it with a dill juice-infused tuna salad with finely chopped pickles.

Not a fan of tuna? Sub it with shredded chicken. A bit of fresh dill to add some extra earthy oomph, and you’ll have one heck of a delicious sandwich before you.

Get the Recipe: Lord Byron’s Kitchen

Dill Pickle Pot Roast

Two images: The left image features a slowcooker filled with a slow cooked pot roast topped with pickles and garlic. The right image shows a plate of fall apart tender pot roast served with mashed potatoes and carrots.
The Magical Slow Cooker

It doesn’t have to be summer to enjoy the deliciousness of pickles! In fact, once the days cool off and turn to an autumn breeze, you’ll really appreciate this unique crockpot meal.

Dill pickle pot roast is a fall-apart tender dinner filled with the wonderful flavors of the ranch, gravy, and pickles, which together create a magical dish everyone will love. Stuff a sandwich or plop it over a heaping pile of mashed potatoes.

Get the Recipe: The Magical Slow Cooker

Using pickles to crunch up a dish is one way to add some oomph, but how about that pickle brine? The recipes below will help you make short work of that!

Dill Pickle Soup

A bowl of dill pickle soup garnished with fresh dill, cracked pepper and a few pickle chips.
Noble Pig

Dill pickle soup is a one-of-a-kind crowd-pleaser that’ll warm tummies on cold days.

Chicken broth, pickle juice, and sour cream go hand in hand to create a smooth cream-based broth, and the potatoes, carrots, and pickles swirl into each spoonful, creating a hearty bite. This recipe is delicious; a must-try!

Get the Recipe: Noble Pig

Pickle Juice Vinaigrette

An image of a salmon salad being topped with a housemade pickle brine vinaigrette.
Tasting Table

There’s no better way to dress a plate of field greens and fresh veggies than with this special salad dressing.

Strained pickle spices, brine, and a few other select ingredients make up this light and flavorful vinaigrette. Salmon and dill pair perfectly together, but chicken and other dishes taste great with it too.

Get the Recipe: Tasting Table

Spicy Bloody Mary

Two images of a spicy bloody mary filled with garnishes like pepperoncinis, pickles, tomatoes, celery, shrimp and bacon including an image of one being built.
Kroll’s Korner

If you didn’t know, pickle brine also works its way into cocktails, and may I add, it does a fine job doing so. This spicy bloody Mary is just one example to try. Turn it into a snack by adding garnishes galore.

Get the Recipe: Kroll’s Korner

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Sandwich

An image of deep fried pickled brined chicken sandwich with a pepper slaw on a warm grilled bun.
Tasting Table

All pickle-lovers must try this juicy sandwich topped with pepper slaw. You can even brine chicken in the juice, which will create a tangy flair to crispy fried chicken.

This recipe is a bit involved, but so worth it! Just be sure to read it all the way through before pulling out your pickles and other ingredients.

Get the Recipe: Tasting Table

Dill Pickled Eggs

Two images featuring pickled eggs using pickled juice. The left image shows the yellowing results of adding hard boiled eggs to pickle juice.
Buns in my Oven

For something a bit quicker, pickled eggs are a great option. We’ve tried this one, and as lovers of pickled eggs in general, we must say the dill-flavored sourness provides an extra kick of delish.

Keep in mind the brine will yellow the outside of your eggs. You can snack on these whole, or chop them up and add them to an egg, macaroni, or potato salad.

Get the Recipe: Buns in my Oven


You might not have known how versatile pickles and their juice could be. Now that you do, it’s time to start making your own and using them in some delicious recipes like those we’ve shared here. And after you’ve mastered that, how about pickling some eggs?

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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