Pickle juice poached fish with pickle slices

Pickle Juice Poached Fish

If you like pickles, you must try this recipe! This is such a minimal yet delicious fish dish easy to do on a busy weeknight. Reduced down to pickle concentrate, the juice provides the perfect amount of acid and flavoring to create an out-of-this-world fish dish with just a few ingredients. 

If you’ve ever heard of cereal milk or Milk Bar, then you know about Christina Tosi. I became obsessed with her genius ideas after seeing her on MasterChef and MasterChef Junior and buying up all her cookbooks. I found this scrumptious recipe in her second cookbook, Milk Bar Life. Her other books focus more on her dessert creations (compost cookies, blueberry and cream cookies, and so many more) but this delves into her savory side as well and the recipes that inspire her. 

Catfish sauteing in a pan

I love all types of pickles and I will admit that even I had a little apprehension going into testing this recipe. The idea was intriguing but I was partly nervous because my husband is new to the pickle game and I didn’t want to blow all the progress we’ve made. Especially because I have been obsessed with spicy maple bourbon pickles lately so it was the only pickle juice option in the house. The juice reduced down to a slightly sweet heat that worked perfect with the white fish. We used catfish as our white fish fillet but this would also work well with tilapia or cod. This would be perfect served with quinoa or rice. 

Cooked catfish in bowl

I love that this reduces food waste by utilizing the juice left behind in the pickle jar. It’s the secret ingredient you didn’t know you were missing out on! I haven’t tested this yet on other proteins but I could see this working well with other seafood or chicken. Let me know if you venture outside the poached fish with this method – bathing not included. (But it IS that good.)

Pickle Juice Poached Fish

Course: MainDifficulty: Easy


Cooking time




  • Juice from 2 (16 oz) pickle jars

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 (8-10 oz) white fish fillet


  • Pour the pickle juice and sugar into a saute pan small enough that the juice comes about ¼ inch up the sides. Heat the juice over medium heat until it boils, then reduce the heat so the liquid simmers and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the fish fillet and poach, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Gently flip and continue poaching until cooked through and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
  • Remove the fillet from the pan and put in a bowl. Bring the liquid back to a boil and boil until reduced by more than half; you’re depending on the sweet, salty zing and aromatics to be the final seasoning agent, so let it thicken slightly. Pour the liquid over the fish and enjoy.


  • Add some pickle slices to the top of the poached fish for that extra pickle-kick.
  • Use different flavored pickles for your poaching liquid.

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  1. Pingback: Quinoa – Magan's Munchies

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