I used to have this feeling of remorse anytime I poured perfectly good pickle juice down the drain. I knew there was something I could and should be doing with it, I just didn't know what. Sound familiar? Well, this is it — the best ever reason to hang on to that leftover brine in the bottom of the jar. Spicy and tangy, it's the one-ingredient brine that makes the most tender and delicious chicken you will eat all summer.
Dill Pickle Chicken: Watch the Video
Gather Your Pickle Juice
In case you needed more convincing, this is why you should always save your leftover pickle juice: It will last for quite a while in the fridge, and even longer in the freezer. If you don't have immediate plans for dill pickle chicken, stash the juice in the freezer just like you do veggie scraps. Stockpile it and combine brines from different jars until you're ready to get cooking.
The Easy Chicken of Summer
Consider dill pickle chicken your starting point for so many meals. Serve it as your main, paired with corn on the cob and a fresh summer salad, and you won't be disappointed. Or pack it up and eat it cold on your next picnic or beach day. It can be the shining star of a simple chicken sandwich, or just chop it up for a creamy chicken salad or grain bowl. Ready to give Taco Tuesday a fresh spin? Whether you stuff it into tacos, a burrito, quesadillas, or nachos, this punchy chicken fits the bill. So, what I'm really trying to tell you is that there's nothing this tangy, brined chicken can't do.
Dill Pickle Chicken
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4 to 6 thighs)
2 cups pickle brine (from a 32-ounce jar or larger)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup diced pickles (about 2 pickles, optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (optional)
Place the chicken in a shallow dish or container and pour the brine over the top. If necessary, rearrange the chicken so each piece is completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F. Drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Liberally season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chicken thighs in a single layer in an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish.
Roast until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 20 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil, and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped pickles and fresh dill, and serve warm.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.