This One-Ingredient Chicken Marinade Is Basically Free

updated Mar 30, 2020
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One unifying fact during this crisis is that we are all becoming more intimately connected to our pantries. From stress-baking banana bread to fueling our families with breakfast, lunch, and dinner (plus so many snacks), we’re looking to our pantries to nourish us in all the usual ways and a few new ones as we try to make food last even one more day before making another trip to the grocery store.

In fact, had it not been for this moment in time, I would have overlooked the easiest, cheapest chicken upgrade around. More than two straight weeks staring at the same four walls and the annual itch to spring clean meant it was only a matter of time before the inevitable fridge deep-clean. That effort revealed no fewer than 5 partially packed pickle jars and an abundance of pickle juice.

Pickle Juice Is a Brine and a Marinade All in One

Pickle juice is a combination of vinegar, water, salt, and spices, that turns crisp and crunchy cucumbers (or other veggies) into tangy and spiced pickles. It also makes a great marinade for chicken. The salty liquid helps the meat retain moisture and keep it juicy, while the vinegar helps to tenderize the protein. Just pour pickle juice over chicken (pork works well too) and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to several hours.

Get the recipe: Dill Pickle Chicken

How to Store Leftover Pickle Juice

Once you’ve finished snacking on the spears, the juice can remain in the refrigerator until ready to use as a brine. Or, for an extended storage solution, use an ice cube tray or silicone muffin tin to freeze recipe-ready pickle juice portions.

How many jars of pickles did you find in your fridge? What is your favorite way to use leftover pickle juice?