I recently took a trip to the grocery store and found myself seeing green: Everywhere I turned, there was a new pickle-flavored snack, from pickle hard seltzer to pickle cashews. While this sounded dillicious for a pickle-loving Jewish gal like me, I tried 18 pickle-flavored drinks and snacks, and some of them were pure shandahs. To save you from the same disappointment, here’s my ultimate ranking of pickle-flavored nosh:
The Briny Beverages (and Some Hot Sauce)
Grillo’s makes some of the best refrigerated pickles, so I was excited to try this one. Immediately after opening the can, I was hit with the familiar scent of garlic and dill, but when I took a sip, I couldn’t taste much pickle at all. The flavor is 90% hard seltzer, like an unflavored White Claw, and 10% pickle; I’d prefer that average to be a little more skewed in the favor of my green friend.
I was excited for the combination of pickle and alcohol, having enjoyed a pickleback or two in my time. But when I popped open the can, I smelled not even a whiff of pickle. And all I could taste was white wine, sparkling water and sweet, acrid vinegar. No savoriness, no vegetal hint of dill. The can is super cute though!
Even though the bottle says “real cane sugar” I was not prepared for how sweet this soda is. Its two pickle qualities are a hint of dill and a neon green color, but otherwise, it’s cloyingly sugary, with no discernible tang.
This ice pop is literally just neon green pickle brine. The company touts it as a low-calorie electrolyte replacement that you can enjoy frozen or unfrozen. I personally wouldn’t enjoy lukewarm pickle brine, but found it to be refreshing and salty when frozen. I don’t see much of a use for it unless you’re an athlete who has a major dill craving.
This was a product that did its job: It was both a hot sauce and it tasted like pickles, but I was underwhelmed by the gestalt of the flavor and the whole thing fell flat to me. It could be a fun novelty gag gift for hot sauce aficionados.
The Naughty Noshes
This was just as sweet, or perhaps sweeter, than Lester’s pickle-flavored soda, and yet had more of a pickle flavor to it, a sort of garlicky taste. This combo of sweet and savory did not work at all. As Randy Jackson once said on American Idol, “It’s a no for me, dawg.”
These nuts are packed with pickle flavor — dilly, garlicky and salty. I did detect an almost buttermilk-y note that took the cashews toward ranch dressing territory; lo and behold, lactic acid, which is present in milk, is towards the bottom of the ingredients. It’s not overpowering but adds to the gestalt of the pickle flavor.
Ah, Planter’s. How could we ever thank them for giving us the nightmarish icon Baby Nut? These cashews were definitely less nightmarish — dusted in a savory, sweet and tangy coating that contains flecks of dill. A respectable nut, although I preferred Target’s.
I was excited for these pickle-flavored almonds. But unlike most commercially produced snacks, these were not too salty but actually not salty enough. I could sense vague heat and vinegar, but no savoriness that made me want to come back for more.
As soon as I opened this bag of chips from Trader Joe’s, my mouth watered at their vinegary scent. They’re thickly cut and shatteringly crisp, the perfect vehicle for the salty, dilly seasoning. I’d call the flavor salt and vinegar chips’ Jewish cousin, so if you don’t love that level of tangy acidity in a chip, I’d opt for Target’s pickle cashews instead.
These chips have ridges, a la Ruffles, supposedly to catch the flavor better. They had a stronger potato flavor that felt of higher quality than the Trader Joe’s ones, but the trade-off was much less pickle flavor. I noticed some mild tanginess, but that was about it.
One bite of these tangy bad boys and my mouth immediately puckered up like the guy on the Warheads packaging. So vinegary and just a bare minimum of dill. No thank you!
After opening a cup of kernels and a strange solidified mass of flavoring and palm oil, I dispensed into a bowl and popped it. Even though the oil melted, it didn’t coat every kernel, even after shaking the bowl a bunch. Overall, this was a miss.
This pickle seasoning was delicious: savory, briny and almost cheesy, even. But I didn’t realize how much oil I had to add to get the seasoning to stick to popcorn. Maybe I’ll add it to some nonfat Greek yogurt to make DIY ranch, like all the TikTok girlies are doing.
Not Your Mother’s Appetizers
A mini hot dog covered in pickle-flavored breading feels like a Jewish match made in heaven (albeit not kosher). I air fried these surprisingly tasty nouveau pigs in a blanket, and could smell pickle brine coming from the machine. The brininess permeates through the mini hot dog and the dill-flecked breading feels like the outside of a mozzarella stick, only tangy.
Beehive Pickle Cheese Curds
Have you ever wondered what poutine, known stateside as disco fries, would taste like with a little more pickle? Trader Joe’s limited-edition pickle cheese curds taste like mozzarella that was once next to a pickle when fresh out of the refrigerator, but when nuked for 10 seconds in the microwave lose even that vibe, diving further into stretchy, milky cheese land. Ehhhh.
Trader Joe’s Dill-icious Chopped Salad Kit
With kale, cabbage, radish, lettuce and Chips in a Pickle pieces, this salad packs a crunch — I mean, punch. The dressing is a dill-cucumber ranch, to which you add a packet of dill pickle seasoning. All of those elements came together harmoniously, for a very summer-y and refreshing salad. The chips get soggy if left in ranch, so eat up fast!
Given my loyalty to Grillo’s, I was more than willing to try their collaboration with Ithaca Hummus, which is coincidentally my favorite hummus brand. This pickle hummus is perfect; great with carrots or chips, and even better spread on a bagel and topped with some capers and lox.