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It’s time to celebrate the pickle. No, it’s not quite National Pickle Day (and yet, every day is), but here at Lifehacker, the pickle is indeed precious. It’s a cucumber’s victory dance. It brings bright acidity, crunchy contrast, and a saline slap wherever it goes. It can save a sandwich or switch up a cocktail, and it’s even a pretty fun time on its own. Pickles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and flavors. No matter which kind you have at the moment, here are some of the best things you can do with your tangy cukes. 

Pickle dip 

A small bowl of pickle dip on a bed of chips.

Credit: Claire Lower

Kicking off the list in the best way possible is a dip composed of pulverized, caramelized pickles. This caramelized pickle dip is creamy, tangy, salty, and irresistible. It’s so good, legend has it that it’s impossible to have leftovers. Browning the pickles properly takes a bit of time in a frying pan, but after that the dip comes together quickly in a food processor.

Pickle pizza 

It’s expected to bedazzle your slice with some salty meats or a few veggies, but why stop there? A cheesy, salty pizza could use a few briny bites to balance things out, if you ask me. Throw some sour dills onto your pie. The pickle’s acidity mellows out slightly in the oven as the excess water evaporates, and you’re rewarded with slightly crunchy, briefly tangy morsels to look forward to. 

Pickles in blankets 

Sorry, pigs, but pickles need to stay warm too. While mini weenies have ruled crescent dough for quite some time, small, spritely gherkins work wonders as a replacement. In fact, switching out the cured meat for the brined veg makes pickles in blankets a vegan iteration of the party classic. (Always check the ingredient list to make sure.) For the ultimate party snack, I suggest pairing both pickles and cocktail weenies in one cozy pastry blanket. 

Pickle in cheese

It’s still not feasible to wrap myself in frico, but I can absolutely do this to a pickle with nearly as much satisfaction. There’s nothing difficult or time consuming about cooking a pile of cheese in a pan and then folding it over a pickle. Which is great because that means you can do it right now if you have those two ingredients. Read here for more details on making the “chickle.”

Pickle salad

A bowl of pickle salad on a table.

Credit: Claire Lower

Pickles are just cucumbers that spent a little extra time in a vinaigrette, sort of. So there’s no reason to get weird about eating a pickle salad, right? Glad you agree. This pickle salad is simple to make and easy to gobble up. It’s crunchy, tart, creamy, and freshened up with a dash of chopped herbs. It makes a fantastic companion for any rich, smoky meats you might be serving up at a summer barbecue, or piled high on top of your mid-winter turkey burger. 

Pickle spaghetti 

With just four ingredients, you can make the pickle pasta of your dreams. (You dream about pickles too, right?) Already imbued with garlic, salt, and vinegar, pickles pack plenty of flavor. Which means you can get busy chopping them up and sautéing them with butter instead of rummaging around in your spice cabinet. Get the full pickle spaghetti recipe here.

Pickle sandwich 

If you think a good sandwich needs meat, you’re mistaken. Like any meal, what keeps you coming back again is flavor—and pickles have no shortage of that. Take this pickle sandwich for example. The complimentary flavor profile of a salty, crunchy pickle and sharp, fatty cheese is certain to win a place in your sandwich rotation. With its ease of assembly and budget friendly ingredient list, I recommend keeping pickles and cheese around as a permanent fixture for whenever the mood strikes.

Iced pickles

A bowl of ice with pickles on top.

Credit: Claire Lower

It may not be summer yet, but in anticipation of the event you should definitely have a plan for your pickles. Serving them chilled out of the fridge is good, but there’s a way to make them even better. Battle sweltering summer days with crisp iced pickles. They can serve as a welcome break from hot grilled foods, or as a luxurious briny treat on their own. Furthermore, if you’re dunking pickles in your beer anyway, you might as well keep the brew cold. 

The Pickletini

True pickle lovers don’t just eat them, they drink pickles too. Truly, the cucumber is only half the story. The brine makes the pickle. It’s what imbues the vegetable and it’s worth saving for other uses, like picklebacks or making a dirty, briny martini. With just three ingredients, you can make your own pickletini to sip on. Garnish it with a wee cornichon (maybe an iced one?) and serve. It’s the perfect companion to sit with while you ponder which pickle-centric meal off of this list you’ll make next. 

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