Biting into one of these fascinating Kool-Aid Pickles (aka "koolickles") is a fruity adventure for pickle lovers! This outrageous Mississippi Delta creation with vibrant hues and sweet-and-sour flavors may not be for everyone, but they sure are fun to make!
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Every now and then when I'm researching regional recipes for my American Eats series, I come across an idea to wild that I just have to try it even if I have my doubts about how my family will feel about the end result. The tomato pie from Alabama was one such recipe that we were initially suspicious of but has turned out to be one of our family favorites that we make over and over.
We're a bit of of a house divided when it comes to pickles. I am a pickle lover (including fried pickles, another southern specialty) but my husband only likes bread-and-butter pickles. So when I learned about Kool Aid pickles from the Mississippi Delta region, I just had to try them.
I took our jar of tropical punch pickles to a holiday party where we cut the red pickles into pieces and put them on the appetizer table with toothpicks for skewering along with the cheese platters and crackers. At first everybody thought they were beets, but after explaining the origins of this American culinary delicacy almost everyone just had to try them.
The consensus? Most folks said they liked them! There were a couple people who made a face and said the tart flavor of the Kool-Aid pickles just wasn't for them but there were just as many who went back for more and more.
Where are Kool-Aid pickles from?
No one is quite sure who first came up with the idea to add a packet of the childhood favorite fruity drink mix to a jar of dill pickles, but it's pretty well-accepted that these shocking-hued Kool-Aid pickles started out in Mississippi, specifically in the Mississippi Delta region of the state.
They are easy to make at home, but they are also a local favorite snack that you can pick up from the gas station convenience stores if you are in the area.
What do Kool-Aid pickles taste like?
Kool-Aid pickles taste a lot like bread and butter pickles but with a fruity taste. It's a wild experience as your taste buds cycle through tasting dill pickle, then cherry Kool-Aid, then pickle again. They are a lip-puckering sweet and sour pickles snack and you can eat them plain as spears or make them with dill hamburger chips and use them to top sandwiches like pulled pork, tuna, or any other sandwich that you might enjoy with sweet pickles.
While this didn't end up being my favorite food experiment ever, they definitely weren't bad! If you like sweet pickle relish, chances are you are going to enjoy a crunchy, fruity Kool Aid pickle.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Dill pickles - You can use whole pickles, a jar of dill spears, or dill hamburger chips.
- Kool-Aid - Cherry is one of the most popular flavors to use, but Tropical Punch Kool-Aid is another common flavor of kool aid to use in this recipe. Really any Kool-Aid mix flavor like grape, blue raspberry, black cherry, lime, or orange will work to make this fun snack. So use your favorite flavor of Kool-Aid!
- Sugar - The Kool-Aid packets are unsweetened, so you will need granulated sugar to add to the pickle brine for the sweet and sour taste.
How to Make Kool-Aid Pickles
It takes just three ingredients and less than ten minutes to make this Kool-Aid pickles recipe, but then you need to wait a week for the pickles to absorb the Kool-Aid flavor.
- Pour the dill pickle juice from a jar of pickles into a large mixing bowl. Add ½ cup of sugar and the contents of one packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid. Whisk to combine and help dissolve the sugar a bit.
- Return the now-fruity dill pickle liquid back to the pickle jar along with the dill spears or dill hamburger chips and tightly seal up the jar.
- Shake every day for 5-7 days to allow the pickles to soak up the Kool-Aid flavor before serving.
If you loved the crazy twist of flavored pickles and want to try other fun pickle variations, try adding a packet of ranch seasoning to a jar of dill pickle spears to make ranch pickles. Or add a packet of taco seasoning for taco pickles!
Whole pickles probably won't absorb the Kool-Aid flavor all the way to the very center of the pickle, but they will still work. You could also slice a jar of whole pickles into spears or chips yourself for better fruit-flavored penetration.
Like any pickles, these Kool-Aid pickles will keep for about 2 months in the refrigerator so you can enjoy a tasty snack any time you want one. I don't recommend freezing pickles.
More Snack Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
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- 1 (24-ounce) jar dill spears or dill hamburger chips
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 (0.14-ounce) packet Kool-Aid drink mix (any flavor)
- Drain the pickle juice into a large bowl. Add granulated sugar and dry Kool-Aid powder. Whisk well to combine.
- Pour the fruity liquid back into the pickle jar with the pickle spears or chips. Seal and shake well.
- Refrigerate for 1 week, shaking the jar each day. Serve.
- Storage: Kool-Aid pickles will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 months.