Can You Reuse Pickle Brine?

August 28, 2009(updated on March 31, 2022)
Half empty jar of pickles, answering the question, can you reuse pickle brine.

At least once a week, someone asks me if they can reuse pickle brine. The kind that’s leftover in the jar after all the pickles have been eaten. I’m here to say, yes! You can absolutely reuse that brine as long as…

  1. You’re only using it to make refrigerator pickles. Once a brine has been used to can something, that’s it. You can’t do it again because you can’t guarantee the acidity level once it has been heated up, hot water processed, absorbed by vegetables and refrigerated for an unknown amount of time.
  2. It doesn’t look murky or cloudy. I typically find that the maximum number of times you can replenish the veggies in a jar is three. After that, you’ve lost too much brine volume and it’s developed an unhealthy scum.
  3. Add a splash of undiluted vinegar or some fresh lemon juice to the jar to boost the acidity of the brine.

As long as you keep those things in mind, you can safely reuse pickle brine!

A jar of pickles that is answering the question, can you reuse pickle brine.

One tip when refilling your pickle jar is to take out the last of the pickles from the previous batch before popping the fresh veg in. I forgot to do it last time, and now all my wonderfully cured pickle slices are trapped at the bottom of the jar.

If you are looking to make your own pickles, consider trying my refrigerator dill pickles! They’re a quick pickle that can are a good introduction to the art of preserving. And you can reuse the brine when you’re all done!

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83 thoughts on "Can You Reuse Pickle Brine?"

  • The most I’ve ever had the courage to do was twice, but I am glad that you have tested this for science. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just made a batch of my favorite asian-inspired cucumber and carrot pickles this morning and was very sad I didn’t have any onions to slice in. (I had pantry moths, and I think they liked the onion skins, so I’m trying not to buy more until 6-8 weeks from when I had them… my resolve is weakening)

  • David, when you reuse pickle brine, it really depends on the strength of the brine. If it’s really pungent and vinegar-y, you should be able to eat the pickles within a couple of days. If it’s less strong, it might take a bit more time. The best thing to do is to taste them after a few days and see for yourself whether you like their level of pickle-ness.

  • When you reuse the brine, do you have to boil it again or just throw the cucumbers in and go with it?

  • i just bought some cucumbers to use with pre bought brine.
    i sterilized the jar, lightly boiled the brine and put them in…
    its been 24 hours. the cuckes have just started to turn dark green and the taste is still far off…will update in a few days time…

  • what about leftover brine that was not used. I used too much vinegar/spices and did not have enough cukes to use it all. I put it all back into the jug after cooling. Can I reuse it as well?

  • I canned a batch of lime pickles last week & had half the brine left over. Last night I canned another batch, using the half batch of used and adding another half batch of fresh. Please tell me I haven’t wasted all that time, effort & produce!!

  • Dill pickle brine, especially kosher, and olive oil with some Mrs. Dash seasoning makes a wonderful salad dressing.

    1. Never thought of that. It must be a very refreshing touch to a salad. Going to have to try it. TY

  • I canned some watermellon rind relish from You Can Can. After processing I found the headspace had increased to 1 inch and the liquid has been mostly absorbed.
    The seal is good. Is the relish safe?

  • Fresh cukes, cauliflower or other ‘hard’ veggies… at least 3 times.

    It’s just vinegar, salt and maybe a tad o water.

    Do NOT empty pickles, let the brine sit out in the heat for a while, then reuse.

    Very dangerous.

  • I have done it too, and only use the same brine twice. I fill the jar with white vinegar to top it off. After a few days they are great.

  • We canned pickles and had extra brine (bread and butters). We went ahead and just canned the brine with no vegetables, can I use it to make sweet relish?

  • Just made some fridge pickled cauliflower and carrots (the latter’s a new experiment for me!). I’m a bit confused because the article states that you can reuse the brine (assuming it’s not cloudy) *only if* you’re making refrigerator *pickles*. A previous commenter stated that “hard veggies” (e.g. cauliflower) can make for reusable brine too. Do carrots fall into this “hard veggies” category? Can I reuse brine from my fridge-pickled *veggies* (not fridge pickles)? I’m almost certainly splitting hairs here, but I’ve never reused brine before…I absolutely want to if I can, because it seems silly and wasteful not to…

    1. Julia, you only want to reuse the brine for refrigerator pickles because the concentration of acid becomes reduced and so may not be safe to be used for processed pickled. If you’re processing the pickles for shelf stability, you want to use fresh brine.

    2. I think the confusion is a terminology one. Fridge pickles is an umbrella term for fridge-pickled-things as far as I am aware. So you should be good to reuse it for fridge-pickled-stuff, just not for canning-preserving.

  • Great New! I just finished some Bubbie’s Kosher Pickles and will reuse the brine to make more pickles. Thank you.

  • I’m making canned apple rings using cucumber slices. They are to soak in a water/pickling lime mixture for 24 hours. Then drained. Can that soak be used for another batch? It is just a soak; not chilled or heated.

  • I made lime pickles and had left over brine. Can I remake another batch of pickles in 4 days. I put the brine in the ice box.

      1. My brother has been doing this for many years. He uses whatever brine he has. The jalapeno brine is magical. He keeps them for months, too. He’s 71 and very healthy, so he’s been at it for about 50 years.

  • I want to reuse the leftover brine of the gherkins I bought. I want to pickle the French Beans I have and would like to know whether I need to scald the beans first before putting them into the brine.

    1. If you want them to soften nicely to pick the brine, you will need to blanch the beans before putting them into the brine.

  • Just made my first batch of pickles…success! They will not last long an I was wondering if the brine could be re-used. This was refrigerator brine, but I did have to heat the brine mix to start. Still OK to re-use?

    1. You can easily reuse the brine once, but more than that and it won’t have much flavor left. And always add an extra splash of vinegar to the brine when you’re reusing it to strengthen the flavor.

  • After finishing jars of storebought pickles and tomatoes, I thought I’d reuse the juice by refilling the jars with carrot pieces and vinegar. I let the first batch sit 2 weeks, and they were great. The second batch sat for 1 week because I got impatient, and they weren’t nearly pickly enough! But admittedly with my third batch I’ve waited almost 2 months and am now nervous. The juice started bubbling ages ago and the juice is a bit murky. I opened the jars and they smell very fermented. Could they still be safe? I’m leaning toward throwing them out, but I’d hate to waste a good thing.

    1. You don’t want your remade pickles to be fermenting. These instructions are only for reusing vinegar-based pickle brine. There should be no fermentation in that process. I would not eat these pickles.

        1. Eating something that has fermented that you didn’t intend to ferment is never a good idea. It could give you a hell of a stomach ache.

  • I’m in the process of making 14-day sweet pickles. Instead of using alum on day 10, I used lime pickling (1/2 c. mixed in hot water) in a #4 crock of cucumbers starting on day 1. The cucumbers were in the crock for 7 days. I had to individually wash each cucumber slice as I could feel the lime pickling on them. The lime pickling turned the cucumbers a greenish-yellow color. Do you think the lime pickling was on the cucumbers too long (day 1 to day 7) and are they fit to eat?

  • Does anyone have a recipe for sweet pickles made in the refrigerator. I had the recipe once but lost it and my friend has since moved away. They were sweet and the brine was reusable.

  • Do I just put pickles in the left over brine and keep it refrigerated? Or need to cook the brine? How long it takes for the pickle to be ready?

    1. You really can just put sliced cucumbers in the leftover brine. If you want to speed up the process, you can bring the brine to a simmer (add an extra splash of vinegar in this case) and then add the sliced cucumbers. Heating it will help the infusion happen faster, but it’s also fine to add the cucumbers to the cold brine. It will just take a few days for the flavor to infuse, rather than 12 to 24 hours.

  • We just finished some kosher dill sandwich pickles tonight, and filled the liquid in the jar with carrot chips. In a couplefew days we’ll snack on them. I don’t plan on re-using the liquid. A German lady I know, buys jars of pickled beets and then when she finishes the beets, puts a few hard-boiled eggs in the liquid. Eggshells removed, of course.

  • I have reused MT. Olive dill brine to make my dilled eggs using the Souse Vide method. @ 160 degrees. After cleaning and spearing the eggs with a tooth pick I let the eggs set. I fridge the glas container for at least a week before my taste test..The longer the eggs set in the brine the better.
    ( I cannot tell you when it is not safe for eating but I have stored them for 6 weeks with no problem).

    1. Making crispy processed cucumber pickles is nearly impossible. I’m working on a blog post on the topic, but the best way to have crisp pickles is to do them as a fridge pickle rather than as a shelf stable one.

  • If you’re wondering what the acidity should be, you should be able to buy a pool or aquarium acidity test kit, test the fresh brine, That’s your standard.

    Add enough vinegar to the new batch after it’s been diluted with vegetables and sat for a couple days to bring the acidity back up. Take notes on how much it takes.

    Same for the salt content, there are test strips that are used for salt water aquariums that should show salinity. Then it’s just a matter of enough garlic and dill to add to taste. Test strips should last a long time. Take notes.

    When you find the correct amount to use to “refresh” your solution, and boil your re-used solution each time you use it, you will have a recipe that works to indefinitely re-use your solution. Just follow your notes to make the recipe work and note when it stops tasting like the flavor you like. Boiling for 5-10 minutes will pasteurize and make your solution safe.

    If your pickles are turning soft and not staying crisp, you can buy an additive from wal-mart that keeps pickles crisp. I can’t recall the name of the product ATM but it’s Calcium Chloride.

  • I want to use refrigerated pickling brine to make more pickles. most arrticles suggest reboiling the brine first. My questions are as follows :
    Can I also reuse the vegies (onions, dill, peppercorns and garlic) or do I need to add new vegies?
    If I can reuse the vegies, should I reboil them with the brine? Or do I leave them out and just boil the brine?

    1. I find that the most important thing in reusing brine for quick pickles is adding a little bit of new vinegar, because otherwise it becomes too dilute. I do typically leave the garlic and other spices behind. I don’t typically reboil my brine, but I only reuse for quick pickles.

  • I made my first batch of fridge pickles the other day. They were perfect yesterday so of course they didnโ€™t last. All of the comments have me so confused!! I did not heat anything up. Just added everything to the jar and stuck in the fridge. To reuse the brine, should I boil it?

    1. It’s typical that even for fridge pickles, you warm the brine to help dissolve the salt and ensure that it absorbs into the vegetables well. If you plan on reusing the brine, it is best to bring it briefly to a boil to prevent premature spoilage.

  • I have stored dill brine in empty clean gallon pickle jars at room temperature for a year or longer in a closed cabinet. I am considering using it in a chicken sandwich recipe . How can I know it’s safe to use?

  • I have kept some Bubbies brine from a jar of pickles. What do I do to re-use it to make a batch of pickles? Can i just toss in some mini cucumbers? Thank you.

    1. Did you read the blog post? If the brine looks murky, you want to boil it. And if it is mild tasting, add some fresh vinegar.

  • I have been freezing my pickle brine from fresh store bought pickles which I plan to use for my new home pickling. I assume freezing doesn’t affect the live brine but please advise. Assuming I should briefly boil it as has been previously suggested?

    1. You definitely want to bring it to a boil. You might also need to add a little bit more vinegar.

  • Hi, My husband is making his first batch of refrigerator pickles. He has pickling cukes and leftover pickle juice. He wants to know if he is supposed to rinse the salt off the cucumbers in the strainer before pouring the heated brine over them, Thanks for the tips.

    1. It’s not typical to salt cucumbers to make refrigerator pickles. But I’d probably give them a quick rinse.

  • Help! We filled a store bought pickle jar with cut up cucumbers and set it in the back of the fridge. It has been at least 3 months. Does the brine have enough preservatives to keep this long or should I throw it away?

  • Hi. Pickling is easy. My favorite is okra. I blanch, like green beens, then add hot brine, spices, lemon, garlic, and red chille. Pack and refrigerate at least 3 weeks. Reuse brine for 2nd batch, adding vinegar. Don’t stress

  • Iโ€™ve read this blog and all the comments and I am confused. Iโ€™ve never made pickled veggies but want to. I just finished my last pickle and was about to toss the brine BUT I thought Iโ€™d google if Iโ€™m allowed to reuse this brine and just add some cauliflower, carrots and cabbage to it.
    If I do that, can I just toss them in and then put it back in the refrigerator for 24 hrs? Or do I have to leave it out on the shelf for a few days and then refrigerate it? The brine isnโ€™t foggy at all.

    1. When reusing brine, you just put the veg into the jar and put it right back into the fridge. I also recommend adding a splash of full strength vinegar.

  • This site was very helpful. Thanks. I’ve purchased a jar of pickles and when I finished the pickles, I’ve twice reused the brine to pickle an English hothouse cucumber, The brine didn’t look like it could be used for a 4th time, but I did use it to marinade boneless chicken breasts before discarding it. Made a great way to season the breasts before flouring and frying them.

  • There’s a barrel of pickles – different fruit and veg in brine – on my balcony that has been sitting there for about 2 years. What should I expect if I ever dare to open it?

  • I have sour pickles that must of been fermented due to not having any vinegar in it. Can I use this brine to make sour pickles, or veg. How do I use this? Do I have to heat it or just put cucumbers into it.

    1. I wouldn’t recommend reusing fermented pickle brine. It won’t perform the way a vinegar based brine would.

  • Your recipe is excellent and easy. I just finished the first batch and now going to try to use the brine again for 2nd time. Thank you.

  • Question: in reusing homemade refrigerator pickle brine – do I need to reboil the brine again before reusing it? Thanks in advance for the wisdom. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. If you’re just using it for fridge pickles, you don’t need to reboil it. Just add a splash more vinegar and put your veg into the jar.

  • I make My own concoction out of leftover valastic pickle juice, sweet banana pepper juice and well everything under the kitchen sink ๐Ÿ˜ธ

    1. Whenever I make refrigerator pickles, I bring the brine to a boil before pouring over the vegetables. So some heat is applied.

  • I just started to reuse my pickle brine. I added cucumbers and enjoyed the taste after a few days. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿฅ’

  • So I PEELED & SLICED a cucumber up . I had just finished a jar of bread & butter pickles . The level of brine was slightly low ,so I added a touch of spring water ,then added the PEELED/ SLICED cucumber slices . Put back in fridge . Think it will be SAFE to eat ? Or do you think I missed a step ?