Up until this year, I was anti-pickle. The first time I tried pickles, I just couldn’t get past its sour taste. I would only eat pickles on a Cuban sandwich, which had to be thinly sliced so that I couldn’t taste them. This year, I started snacking on dried-out pickle chips, and after a late-night fast-food run, I didn’t hate the taste of having pickles in my Big Mac. Then, I had an eye-opening experience of the greatness that is pickle slices in a fried chicken sandwich (thank you, Burger Club in Astoria, NY). The tang from the pickles elevates the sandwich, and it’s wild that it took me this long to experience this.

But, this article isn’t to recount my pickle journey but of pickles itself. These brine-infused favorites had the largest increase this year on Grubhub as an individual ordered item with an 89% increase, totaling over 6.9 million orders. Pickles are not just for sandwiches or as a solo snack. Pickles even took over the summer with almost everyone wanting a pickle sweatshirt. For the past few months, pickles have been making headlines as an ice cream flavor, a pizza topping, and even a ketchup flavor. Pickles are everywhere, dare I say, the main character of this year.

Pickles? More like the 2023’s favorite ingredient.

Pickles, which Americans eat approximately 9 pounds of annually, make a great solo snack that’s refreshing and let’s not forget its crunchiness. One of the many things that might deter someone from them is the soggy texture or being too vinegary. The crunch makes the pickle enjoyer aware of the overall quality of the pickle.

Sure you can have them alone, but you can do just about anything with pickles — plus there are so many flavors like the trusty dill pickle, half sour pickle, and jalapeño pickle. You can add pieces to a sauce or deep fry them if you’re looking to jazz up your pickle slices.

“The breaded crust from the deep fryer, the sweet juices of the pickles, and the perfect mixture of ranch as a dipping sauce changed my outlook forever,” said Anna Billy when recounting the exact moment she became a pickle enthusiast.

Essentially, the possibilities are endless with pickles. Have you heard of pickle shots? It’s whiskey with a pickle juice chase. And what about the chickle?  

This pickle-wrapped-in-cheese craze started in January after @clurmurr shared her “guilty pleasure snack.” Pickle enthusiasts flooded her comments stating that she’s a genius and they need to make it. “That looks 🔥🔥🔥 WHY HAVE I NOT THOUGHT OF THISSSSSS,” one user commented. “Restaurants will start serving this istg,” said another. If that’s not enough, the chickle has approximately 39 million views (#cheesepickle has 55 million views) — it’s safe to say, the chickle was the go-to snack for a while.

It’s no wonder pickle-flavored products are popular. Yelp even predicted that in their Food Trends of 2023 list and found that searches for pickle-flavored foods on its platform were up 55%.

With pickles trending, many brands decided to use these salty, briny indulgences to their advantage. One major collab is the pickle pizza. On TikTok, #picklepizza has 25.3 million views with people trying and making their own versions of the pizza. After seeing the surge of pickles on social media and the countless pickle-forward recipes, Pizza Hut decided to hop on the trend launching their own pickle pizza. 

“Our Pickle Pizza recipe was all about new flavors; balancing the tanginess of pickles with other classic ingredients we know taste good on our pizza,” said Lindsay Morgan, Chief Marketing Officer, Pizza Hut in an email. “Our customers really embraced the bold and zesty pizza and it sold out in the New York location that it was available in.”

The creation? A pie covered in cheese, Nashville hot chicken, onions, spicy dill pickles, and a drizzle of ranch to top it all off.

“You do get a top pickle note, and then the hot chicken just comes and punches you in the face,” said one of the reviewers of The Messenger on TikTok after making their way to the Pizza Hut on 8th Ave. in New York City to try the new flavor.

Other brands on the pickle craze include Kraft Heinz releasing a variety pack of Kraft Mac & Cheese, Oscar Mayer, and Claussen Pickles candies, Van Leeuwen’s making Dill Pickle its holiday flavor, My/Mochi offering Pickle mochi ice cream, and finally Heinz’s latest creation Pickle Ketchup.

Pickles and ketchup go hand-in-hand, especially on a burger, but work just as well as a duo. On TikTok, “pickles and ketchup” has 14 million views. And who better to merge the two than Heinz? To give a bit of history, pickles have played an important role in shaping Heinz’s history, even co-founder Henry J. Heinz was nicknamed ‘Pickle King’ for owning the largest pickle company in the nation in the early 1900s.

“Combining two beloved HEINZ heritage products into one delicious condiment uniquely positions Pickle Ketchup to win with HEINZ fans and pickle lovers around the world,” Katie Peterson, Director of HEINZ Innovation at The Kraft Heinz Company told Spoon U in an email.

With 23 thousand views to promote the newest flavor, people raved at the announcement with users commenting, “I would 210% buy it,” and, “YUM?? NAH ACC WHERE CAN I GET THIS.”

Brands are pick(l)ing up on the current pickle craze and whether you’re pro-pickle or not, pickles are making their way to almost every food. And TBH I’m not mad about it.

Want to join in on the pickle craze? Here’s how to make pickles. 

Pickles are known to be a cucumber that has been preserved in brine or vinegar, but just about anything can be a pickle, cue pickling.

“It’s the idea of fermented food in general,” said food blogger Alex Goodstein. “It just changes the flavor a bit and there’s a lot of different cool things that you can do with different types of fruits and vegetables when pickling them.”

Pickling is a great way to cut down on potential food waste, creating flavorful snacks and garnishes like this Spoon U recipe for pickled onions.

A quick method starts with creating a brine. Gray Wynn’s, a Spoon U writer, recipe contains water, white distilled vinegar, granulated white sugar, and salt; then pour the brine mixture into a jar with what you’d like to pickle. Close those jars tightly and stick them in the fridge.