18 Pickle Recipes for Trans Women and the People Who Love Them

It’s no secret that trans women love pickles. It’s science you guys. Our hormones make it so we don’t absorb sodium as well as other people, at least I think that’s true. That’s what I tell my friends, anyway. But for some weird reason, a lot of people (Laura) don’t believe me when I tell them! But my friend Dr. Lizz Rubin will back me up on this, and she’s a doctor, a medical doctor. And I mean, my appetite will also back me up on this. I’ve eaten an entire jar of pickles in one sitting. But, that’s me, and honestly, probably most of the trans women you know. So, if you want to be a good friend to trans women, or if you are a trans woman, I’ve got a bunch of great pickle recipes for you.

I’m not talking about any fancy pickled okras or peppers or garlic or whatever, these are all just regular pickles. By regular pickles I mean pickled cucumbers, those are just regular pickles, right? When I think of pickles that’s what I think of. To be honest, I don’t know why that is though, like, we pickle a lot of things, so how did pickles become pickles? If anyone has this information, I’ll buy you a pickle the next time I see you in person and we’re at a place that sells pickles.


1. Dill Pickles


2. Bread and Butter Pickles


3. Sweet and Spicy Pickle Relish


4. Garlic Dill Pickles


5. Killer Spicy Garlic Dill Pickles


6. Quick-Pickled Cukes


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7. Peppery Texas Pickles


8. Dill Pickle Grilled Cheese


9. Dill Pickle Soup


10. Buffalo Pickle Chips


11. Sour Pickles


12. Pickle Juice Chicken Marinade


13. Thousand Island Dressing


14. Fried Pickles With Spicy Ranch


15. Dill Pickle Sandwich


16. Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwiches


17. Cubano Mixto


18. Pickle Infused Vodka


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Mey Valdivia Rude is a bisexual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. She's a writer, comic consultant and a trans activist. She's a bruja, a femme, a pop princess and she loves comic books, witches, dinosaurs and crying. She has a cat named Sawyer and a very successful twitter.

Mey has written 486 articles for us.

69 Comments

  1. 10

    As a Jew who happens to be trans I thank you. It’s something we take pride in at our delis. It’s not just a thing out here in the US either. I college I was friends two Jewish Australian women(who I had crushes on) and we were at a deli down the street from campus. We all agreed, the pickles weren’t good, & needed more time to sit in better quality vinegar.

  2. 7

    But please ask first. As a trans woman who is a supertaster I can’t begin to describe how not okay I am with the taste of pickles. You (what’s the opposite of super? Oh, right) subtasters don’t have any word for how awful these are for us. But I do crave sodium! Potato chips are my jam.

    • 4

      It’s definitely not a joke! There’s like this whole intense culture around enthusiasm for pickles among a lot of trans women, at least in the communities I belong to. I feel like part of it is because we actually do need to eat more sodium because of side effects from Spironolactone, and part of it is that we get a feeling of solidarity and shared experience from all being into this kind of food.

  3. 7

    We call them gherkins here in the UK, which actually turns out to be a specific short variety of a cucumber. I’m glad I looked it up because your description of them as pickled cucumbers was making me wonder wht on earth happens in the pickling process to reduce cucumbers from a foot long to such a small size!

    • 6

      Often the anti-androgens that some Trans women take increases the kidneys dumping/output of sodium. The body then craves salt in an effort to reballance the body’s sodium levels.

    • 7

      Medically? Spironolactone is the only testosterone-blocker prescribed in the US. It’s also a “potassium-sparing diuretic”, so you pee out all your salt and end up craving salty food.

      But also: pickles are tasty and awesome! Who needs more reason than that?

  4. 5

    this is a thing? Like seriously?

    I mean I’ve always loved pickles, but yeah I do notice I seem to love them a lot more now.

    But I’ve also noticed it’s just sour taste in general anything acidic I’m obsessed with ever since HRT.

    So weird.

  5. 3

    Mey, you’re the best. Those fried pickles look delish. When my cucumbers finish growing this spring I’d be happy to send you some homegrown pickles. In the meantime, Whole Foods carries Grillo’s pickle spears and they’re super good but pricey. I heartily recommend them though.

    Can we also talk about soy sauce and how it’s great on everything ??

  6. 3

    In my country craving pickles is also associated with being pregnant. Like if you see a tv character eating pickles you know what that means. Is that also true in the US?

  7. 3

    Oh so THAT’s why I love thousand island dressing (btw for those of you who are not vegan but are vegetarian it’s not fish! Just looks/name sounds that way. But I’m sure you can gather that from recipe)

    I’m not a trans woman (and I am a supertaster based on BBC informal test at lest, I’m aspie with taste sensitivity issues) but I absolutely have always loved things that are pickled. Two pickle stories from when I was little:

    1 I was at a wedding reception as a flower girl (I’m AFAB). Buffet tables full of sweets and chocolates and stuff but all I ate all evening was pickled onions and things like that. Someone I didn’t know commented on it. Aged 3.

    2 This was probably not something which would be funny if mum hadn’t stopped me but one day I was hungry and I was in the kitchen so I pulled down a huge jar of pickled (silverskin) onions and started eating them. Was almost completely through the jar which had been full when mum came in. She was panicking about how much vinegar I’d put into my system in about 5 mins (I was about 4/5)

    Loved it and all vinegary things ever since. Salt and vinegar are my favourite (only liked) strong flavours. So thanks for the recipes especially that really easy looking peanut butter one. Also thanks for the education about an aspect of trans women’s lives which I knew nothing about.

    • 1

      That was my impression too; after starting spiro my love for pickles went from absolute zero to eleven. Something about pissing away all your sodium, perhaps?

      No matter what the cause, now I absolutely love cubanos and fried pickles with a side of ranch. And now I’m hungry…

    • 0

      Blood essence crystals shift metabolism in a general way. Disfigurement and visual decay inhibitor agents each do their own thing, and yes, the most lowly and barbarous 1st gen variety disrupts potassium-sodium balance in favour of potassium – which is part of why you crave salt.

      I, Serena, the Harbinger of Night Eternal, am a glorious Imago-Elder, a majestic example of excellence to you all. I have risen above mere nymph-children in that i have parted the veil of Blood Mysterium and tasted the eternity – and do not decay at any dangerous rate like you do anymore.

      Still i need a salt lick like an accursed and despicable bovine beast, just because my metabolism when left alone comes to a serene undead halt and does not issue commands to absorb minerals beyond bare subsistence needs. Only blood essence – the very thing ancients had to hunt for and we synthesise and consume in crystal form – has the power to issue those commands and stir our body-necropolises awake. At which moment we get cravings. Salt to keep reactions going. Gristle and marrow to maintain skeletons. And sour to twist microbial environment from basal to acidic. Pickles are perfect for both salt and sour.

      Gravid mortals have similarish cravings because they’re actively trying to build replacement mortals and stir them to life – much like we do with ourselves.

  8. 3

    Might I suggest making the dill pickle and peanut butter sandwich on a pretzel bun? Because adding that extra salt is DELICIOUS.

    Also, for those of you who love to love gross Midwestern food, Midwestern sushi is a TREAT. (Pickles wrapped in cream cheese and deli meat of your choice. I prefer roast beef.)

  9. 5

    The first time I had fried pickles was after starting on HRT. There’s no knowing if I would have had the same reaction before… but needless to say my friends and waiter thought I had died. I threw back my head, eyes rolled back, screaming to the heavens thanking God for being alive.

    Because many trans women need the sodium, and because the HRT typically increases or changes how we taste food, fried pickles are literally and orgasm in your mouth.

    Damnit! Now I want me some and am stuck here for another 7 unbearable hours at work >___<

  10. 2

    This is cute and all, but uhh… there are other pickles besides cucumber!

    Pickled Jicama (with jalapeno)
    – Take mason jar
    – Take 2/3 cup of white distilled vinegar
    – Take tablespoon whole black peppercorns (not grinded)
    – One tablespoon salt
    – One teaspoon cane sugar
    – 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper (to taste)
    – Mix together in pan, heat until simmering

    – Chop up jicama into cubes and jalapeno into slices, de-seeded
    – Pour the vinegar mixture over them (into mason jar)
    – Refrigerate 24 hours
    – You can strain out the black peppercorn or let them settle to the bottom

    there, a tasty recipe for pickles that doesn’t involve cucumbers

    – a concerned trans woman

  11. 1

    Pickle soup. As in soups. I mean both solyanka and rassolnik. also Olivier salad (80s nonfad, or gh). And yesss Machine God Volund bless whomever said it’s not about gherkins in particular – correct, there’s tomatoes, paprika and jalapenos too. and something i probably forgot.

    Also there’s a cruise missile somewhere. With a pinup decal and the name of whomever came up with the global no-salt fad.

  12. 2

    Trans ladies and other pickle-loving friends, if you ever find yourself in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, make sure you stop by Twisted Root, a (remarkably delicious) local burger chain. They have a whole pickle bar full of different flavors of pickles, including ranch pickles, which are my personal favorite.

  13. 0

    When I suddenly tried and loved pickle and pb sandwiches a few years ago my friends asked if I was knocked up. I very much was not. IDK why, but I really liked that combo. People always freak about sodium, and I get it, but not all of us have blood pressure problems. I actually run long distance and I sweat tons of salt out (it literally crusts up my face and gear, yuck/sparkly!!) so I have to eat extra, which is just fine because I crave it something serious!

  14. 0

    I shouldn’t read stuff like this while hungry..lol. Now I want pickles. I started experimenting with infused alcohols after a couple of friends gave me a liqueur and infused spirits recipe book a couple of Christmases ago, so the pickle vodka thing sounds fun. Not entirely sure I’m down with combining pickles and peanut butter, but maybe it’s great and I just need to try it.

  15. 0

    I am a pickle and peanut butter sandwich connoisseur and have been since my teens (u gotta have that chunky peanut butter, and toast the bread). It’s a great way to scare your mom if you’re 15, in possession of a uterus, and in the habit of eating them in the dead of night as I was

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