14 Pickle Hacks You Should Try

If you didn't hear about it yet, then know now that 2023 is the year of the pickle. Yelp reveals that so-called "brine dining" is on the rise, with online searches for pickle-flavored foods rising by 55%. It's not just about eating pickles straight from the jar either, although there's nothing wrong with this. No siree, this trend is also about combining ingredients, tastes, and textures to elevate the once-humble dill pickle. Ever thought of chocolate and pickles together? What about ice cream? Do Kool-Aid and pickles sound a little different? Think about it: good pickles offer great crunch, are wonderfully juicy, and come with lovely pickling juice that adds to the taste experience. 

According to Food Manufacturing, pickles are even making an appearance as a topping for snacks like popcorn and nuts. Aldi has been retailing pickle popcorn. You can also enjoy a pickle whiskey chaser, pickle pizza, and even Hot Cheetos with pickles. Fancy a beer? Why not add some brine to the brew? To truly celebrate the pickle in style, here are some pickle hacks that you can use to get in on this food trend.

Top pizza with pickles

In the hit, Netflix series "Stranger Things," Surfer Boy Pizza's Argyle suggests trying before denying pineapple on pizza. Set in the '80s, adding this tropical fruit as a topping may have been unusual for those times (via HuffPost). But today, pineapple is not the strangest topping out there. What may have knocked 11 and the rest of the teens for six is the idea of adding pickles. If it sounds strange to you, too, then is it time to try before you deny it?

In 2022, the Washington Post noted the rise of pickle-topped pizza, giving special attention to how QC Pizza created a pie influenced by a pickle roll crafted with cream cheese and wrapped in ham. The "Kinda Big Dill" pizza inspired by this dish is made from garlic dill sauce, Canadian bacon, and pickles. There's another layer of pickles on top of mozzarella cheese, too (via Goldbelly). 

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's Picklesburgh festival celebrates the Pennsylvanian city's history of pickles. Pizza-makers have created plenty of specialty pizzas for the event. In 2022, local company Woodfired featured a white sauce, pickle, bacon, and ranch pizza with provolone and mozzarella (via Pittsburgh Pizza News).

Infuse pickle brine with Hot Cheetos

What's incredible about pickles, apart from that unmistakable crunch, is the sourness that makes your taste buds zing. If you're all about full-on flavors then there's nothing better than adding some heat to the mix, too. So, this TikTok pickle hack is definitely one for you to try. Tasting is believing, so take a flaming hot culinary leap. All you need for this is a jar of your favorite pickles and a bag of these much-loved snacks and you're good to go.

In a bowl, submerge those bright red Hot Cheetos in the juice from your pickles. Yes, the Cheetos will go soggy, so you might not want to eat them afterward unless you're a real die-hard Cheetos fan. Instead, we're after the resulting liquid. Strain your now-red juice back into the pickle jar and add a little sprinkle of spices like pepper flakes to elevate the heat. Close the lid and give your pickles a good shake. When you're ready, enjoy your bright-red spicy pickles straight from the jar. If you've got any Hot Cheetos left, then you can enjoy these too.

Make a pickle juice slush

If you think of fresh juices or slushies then you're likely thinking fresh juices, not a pickle juice slush! But consider that Sonic Drive-In has offered fans a unique Pickle Juice Slush as part of its limited-time menu. As if a bright green salty-sour drink wasn't enough, the chain also served up a Big Dill Cheeseburger with pickle fries (via New York Post).

To make your own pickle slush, add ice to a blender with lemon and lime syrup, ½ a cup of pickle juice, and some lemon-lime soda. Blend and stir, adding more of the soda to get the right consistency and taste. Meanwhile, the Slushie Machine Guide suggests simply blending pickle juice and ice if you're really in a hurry. 

Still skeptical? Drinking pickle juice from the jar could be a gross food hack that changes your life due to certain purported health benefits. These range from relieving cramps to controlling blood sugar, while caution needs to be taken regarding the high sodium content (via Medical News Today). The American Journal of Gastroenterology has also suggested that pickle brine may reduce cramping among cirrhosis sufferers.

Fry Hot Cheetos pickles

Fancy a fried pickle? Try dipping full-sour dill pickles into a tempura beer batter. Once coated, plunge them into hot oil until they come out lovely, crispy, and golden brown. You could also add some heat and crunch with a Hot Cheetos crumb and cook your spicy pickles in the air fryer (via TikTok). To do that, season flour with paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Coat pickle spears with this mix, then cover them with an egg and milk wash. Blend your Hot Cheetos so they resemble fine breadcrumbs and make sure each pickle is fully coated with the red-hot bits. Cook in the air fryer and serve with dip. 

If this all sounds like too much effort, then follow a simpler pickle and Hot Cheetos TikTok combo from @jorimezuda. Crush the snacks, then dip a wet pickle in the bits to coat. All that's left is to take a bite of your crispy, crunchy, spicy, and sour snack. Maybe you want to create your own hack and dip your pickle into some other chip bits, while you're at it. There aren't any rules, and it's all about discovering new flavors and having fun along the way.

Serve a pickleback cocktail in a pickle

There are plenty of ways to incorporate pickles and pickle brine into your rotation of mixed drinks. Give a classic Bloody Mary cocktail a kick with a shot of pickle juice. Or, if you like your liquor served straight up then try a pickleback. That's a shot of whiskey in one glass, followed by a pickle juice chaser in a second shot glass.

TikTok's @realtipsybartender offers a similar pickle hack that is especially suited to a party. To get started, cut off both ends of a dill pickle so that you can stand it upright. Take a melon baller and scoop out the flesh of the pickle from one end, leaving the skin intact with a thick edge. Pour Irish whiskey into the hollowed-out pickle. That's it! Now you've got liquor in a pickle that also doubles as an edible shot glass when you're done with your drink.

Make your own pickles

Rather than buying in jars of pickles, you can also enact the ultimate hack and make your own. It's easier than you think. Our homemade refrigerator pickles are made with small cucumbers, white vinegar, and water to start. Add in some granulated sugar, peeled garlic cloves, and red pepper flakes, plus fine sea salt, black peppercorns, and whole mustard seeds. Screw the lid on and shake so the sugar dissolves. Add your halved or quartered cucumbers and some fresh dill. Refrigerate for 24 hours, then enjoy.

While this recipe is super easy, you could try a TikTok lazy pickle hack too. You'll need a mostly-empty jar of pickles for this, with just the juice. Cut a cucumber into long pieces that'll fit in the jar and cram them in. As the jar fills, the brine will rise to cover the cucumber. Refrigerate, and the next day your sour cucumbers will be wonderfully tart and crunchy.

Combine pickles and chocolate

There's no doubt that sweet and salty flavors really hit it off. Most people have heard of or tried chocolate with sea salt, for example, or even some chili added. But one combo that you might not have considered is the unlikely pairing of chocolate and pickles. You can take it one ingredient further with a trio of chocolate, peanut butter, and pickles. According to US Magazine, songstress Selena Gomez is a fan of pickle slices on top of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. She also apparently likes popcorn served with Tabasco and salt and dipped in pickle juice!

You can try the Reese's pickle tip yourself, which has been sampled on TikTok with positive reviews. What about trying a simple pickle-chocolate treat with a TikTok suggestion that also only requires two ingredients? Dry off a pickle and put a stick in the end. Coat it with Hershey's Chocolate Shell Topping, twirling the stick so that the whole pickle is completely covered. Place your chocolate-covered pickle in the freezer to set and bite through that sweet crunch to a salty, sour center.

Combine pickles and ranch

This unlikely pickle hack was first suggested by @snackqween. The TikToker shook up the foodie world by flavoring a pickle jar with ranch dressing powder. It has to be tried for the taste to be believed. With ranch being such a much-loved flavor, and pickles becoming more popular than ever, it makes sense to try the two together. Here's how.

Open a jar of pickles. Tear open a packet of ranch seasoning. Pour the powder on top and stir to dissolve, then close the jar and give it a big shake. You want all that seasoning to dissolve into the liquid and for the flavor to infuse the pickles. Make sure you tip the jar upside down as well as side-to-side so it's mixed in properly and you can see bits of the seasoning floating in the pickle juice. Refrigerate overnight and eat the pickles straight out of the jar.

Snack on pickle fries

Just call us amazing for showing you how to make deep-fried dill pickles with paprika-spiked batter and breadcrumb coating. Enjoy them with a creamy side such as an onion dip while you're at it. If you want to cut down on traditional frying, then we're right there with you, with our air fryer pickles with crispy panko breadcrumbs. To make, dip the pickle slices in flour seasoned with cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano, then dip the floured slices in milk.

A keto-friendly variant comes from @kristyketolifestylem who directs you to add grated Colby-Jack cheese to the wells in a muffin tin. Dry a pickle slice on a kitchen towel, then add one to each well. Next, sprinkle on some ranch seasoning, followed by another layer of shredded cheese before cooking. Within 10 minutes, your cheese-encased pickles are ready to dip in a bit of cold, creamy ranch dressing.

Enjoy pickle ice cream

Yes, pickle ice cream is a thing as NBC Boston presenters learned after sampling a concoction created by J.P. Licks ice cream and Grillo's Pickles! Meanwhile, Portland's ice cream makers Salt & Straw have come up with a pickle sorbet made with pickle juice, dill, and fennel (via The Manual).

Curious? Here's a super-simple pickle and dairy TikTok hack to get you started at home. Simply add a scoop or more of ice cream to a bowl and sprinkle on some pickle seasoning. The blend will give you that dill pickle tang. Just start off small and add more seasoning as you see fit. 

Another TikTok idea from @therecipeclub is to create an ice cream cone using a pickle. Take a large pickle and cut off one end, then scoop out some of the middle. Fill the pickle with vanilla ice cream, then drizzle on chocolate sauce and enjoy the sweet, salty, and chocolatey flavors.

Pickle potato chips

Before you reach for some potato chip hacks, what about trying some pickle chips? You could sample a bag of Trader Joe's Chips in a Pickle. They're great with a Greek yogurt-style dip to get the most out of the unique snack. If you're feeling a little creative, then another option is to make your own TikTok version. Using a mandoline, slice potatoes thinly without peeling. Pour pickle juice on the potato slices to soak. Take them out of the juice and add a good glug of oil and seasoning. Cook in an air fryer until crispy.

Make a dip by blending cashew nuts, pickle juice, and garlic. To this add some chopped pickles and some dill. You can also refrigerate potato slices in pickle juice for an hour before adding them to the air fryer, as per @foodnetworkcanada. Spritz them with oil and add herb seasoning once they're in the air fryer. For a dip, combine Greek yogurt with grated parmesan, cayenne pepper, chopped chives, lemon juice, and a little salt.

Drink pickle beer

One of the favorite ways to enjoy pickles in the Midwest is with beer. Actually, it's not with strictly a beer on its own, but a pickle in a beer. It's as straightforward as dropping a salty pickle spear into a light beer (via Esquire). Talk about an upgrade for both beer and pickles!

Tailgating Challenge offers a slightly different version. Add pickle juice to a beer with a little salt, followed by a pickle. You can also do this with a bottle of beer, as long as you drink a little first. You can add a pickle as a garnish if you're serving beer in a glass and salt the rim while you're at it to emphasize the briny pickle taste. This is a great way to enhance the flavor of a beer, especially if it isn't especially strong, such as some lagers and lighter ales (via Fine Dining Lovers).

Make crunchier cucumbers

If you're pickling cucumbers yourself then you want them to come out wonderfully crunchy. However, because they're in liquid there's always the chance that they can go a little soft if your technique isn't quite right. Of course, you want to get all your measurements right to start with, but there's also a nifty little trick you can try that prevents this softening too, courtesy of the University of Minnesota.

Before adding your cucumbers to your pickling juices cut a small part at the end of the cucumber: the blossom end. That's the rough part rather than the other end, which will be slightly concave (via Grow Organic). 

The cucumber blossom contains an enzyme that causes the pickle to become soft. Paying careful attention to the pickling process is not just about texture either, as you want to avoid any food safety issues (via National Center for Home Food Preservation).

Try southern style Kool-Aid pickles

It doesn't get much more out there than Kool-Aid pickles. However, this snack hack is popular in the American South and is recreated on YouTube by Definitely Not Gourmet. These are a must-try for any pickle lover, especially if they've tried just about every other way of consuming pickles.

To make your own "Koolickles," pour a jar of pickle juice into a jug and add ½ a cup of sugar and a sachet of Kool-Aid — the flavor is up to you. Give the liquid a good stir and pour it back into your jar with the pickles. Seal and refrigerate for up to a week, giving the jar a shake once in a while. When it's time to try them you'll see that the pickles have taken on a vibrant hue. Choose cherry Kool-Aid for a deep red and blue-raspberry lemonade Kool-Aid for a bold and bright green.