Kool-Aid Pickles

published Jul 14, 2023
Kool-Aid Pickles Recipe

This Mississippi Delta delicacy is unexpected to some, but is the perfect combination of sweet, sour, and refreshing.

Serves6 to 8

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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a group of four jars of pickles infused with blue, red, orange, and green Kool Aid on a marble countertop
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

As I write this, I’m sitting in my parent’s kitchen in the Dallas suburb I spent most of my life in. It feels so fitting to be thinking about Kool-Aid pickles here and now. 

When I was a kid, summertime meant one thing: pool days. I lived walking distance from the neighborhood recreation center, which included a huge outdoor pool. From the ages of roughly 10 to 14, my friends and I spent countless days at the rec center pool during summer vacation. It was the hub of summertime socializing in our world, and it got us out of the house and out of our parents’ hair — all for the cost of a $2-a-day pass. 

It regularly reaches 100°F degrees in Dallas during the summer, so the pool was a complete reprieve from the sweltering heat. Not only because there were multiple pools of varying depths and sizes to cool off in, but also because of the snacks available at the pool. Amongst the summertime pool snacks that we regularly enjoyed, there was one that reigned supreme: Kool-Aid pickles. 

Many people, including several of my coworkers, may initially find the idea of Kool-Aid and pickles to be blasphemous. However, many of those people are surprised by just how much they enjoy the sweet and sour (but simultaneously refreshing) taste of a nice, cold Kool-Aid pickle.

What Are Kool-Aid Pickles?

Kool-Aid pickles, or Koolickles, are a Mississippi Delta delicacy. They are pickles that have been soaked in a mixture of pickle brine and Kool-Aid long enough to absorb the sweet Kool-Aid flavor and the bright Kool-Aid color. 

When I was growing up in Dallas, these pickles were a familiar fixture. The pool wasn’t the only place we could find them. Ice cream trucks would often sell them, and there was a barbecue spot I loved with an assortment of Kool-Aid pickles in all different flavors.

What Are the Most Popular Kool-Aid Pickle Flavors? 

Cherry and tropical punch flavor Kool-Aid pickles were the most popular flavors when I was growing up, but I also love blue raspberry and green apple! 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

What Ingredients Do You Need to Make Kool-Aid Pickles?

To make Kool-Aid pickles you just need a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid in whatever flavor your heart desires, some sugar, and a jar of dill pickle spears. 

Best Tips for Making Kool-Aid Pickles 

  • Make sure your Kool-Aid powder and sugar are fully dissolved in the pickle brine before pouring the mixture back into the jar. After that, you definitely want to let your pickles soak in the Kool-Aid brine for at least 5 days. This way the pickles really absorb the flavor from the Kool-Aid. Ideally, you want the pickle to change color all the way through. 
  • Remember to give your pickle jar a shake every 1 to 2 days. This ensures that the color and flavor get evenly distributed along the length of each pickle spear.

Kool-Aid Pickles Recipe

This Mississippi Delta delicacy is unexpected to some, but is the perfect combination of sweet, sour, and refreshing.

Prep time 5 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 (0.22-ounce) packet

    unsweetened Kool-Aid, any flavor

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 (32-ounce) jar

    dill pickle spears

Instructions

  1. Pour the contents of 1 (0.22-ounce) packet unsweetened Kool-Aid into a 2-cup or larger liquid measuring cup or medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Add the liquid from 1 (32-ounce) jar dill pickles spears (leave the pickles in the jar). Whisk until the Kool-Aid and sugar are dissolved.

  2. Pour the liquid back into the jar with the pickles (you will have a little extra) and tightly screw the lid back on. Refrigerate for at least 5 days before eating, giving the jar a shake once every 1 to 2 days.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.