Bread and Butter Pickles

This summer was supposed to be the year that I start to can. I bought a book, read it, and had a list of recipes I wanted to try. Then I blinked, and summer is suddenly almost over. Big oops. Time definitely got away from me these last few months, and my canning project never quite came to fruition. That being said, I am looking forward to hitting the orchards for their fall bounties and finally getting my feet wet with some canning projects. When I saw this recipe for bread and butter pickles, I was immediately drawn to it because you don’t need canning equipment – you could make these pickles (in just about no time) and refrigerate them for two weeks. Score!

Bread and butter pickles have always been my absolute favorite sandwich pickle. Yeah, dill is great, but give me some bread and butter pickles. A little sweet, a little zesty and with a kick. Love them! And now I can make them at home, which I love even more.

You start out with some pickling cucumbers… I have asked around and if you happen to get vegetables from a CSA and have some especially small cucumbers, you could use those for pickling as well. (I love fresh produce, how pretty!)

You’ll slice up the cucumbers into pretty little pieces, about ¼-inch thick (you don’t want them to be super thin). I found this little wavy slicer thing (a very technical term) at the checkout in Bed Bath & Beyond about 5 years ago. I’m sure you could find something similar there or at a kitchen store, if you want the cute fancypants crinkle cut (which I happen to love).

Once the cucumbers are all sliced up, you sprinkle them with salt, toss, cover and pop in the refrigerator for about an hour and a half.

After that hour, you rinse the cucumbers with cold water, drain, and then toss together with the thinly sliced onion.

Set those aside and get your pickling concoction together. You’ll combine white vinegar, cider vinegar, white sugar, brown sugar, mustard seed, celery seed and ground turmeric in a saucepan and get it to a simmer, making sure the sugar dissolves.

Once you reach that point, pour the liquid over the cucumbers and onions and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.

That’s it! You’re done! Transfer the pickle and onion mixture (including the liquid) into the container you wish to store them in and pop them in the refrigerator. After about 24 hours you will have absolutely delicious pickles!

After I posted a picture of the finished pickles on Facebook over the weekend, I received some questions about the type of jar I was using. I bought these Bormioli jars on Amazon back in the spring to store granola. Not only are they perfect for granola, but they’re perfect for these pickles too!

One year ago: Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream
Two years ago: Fontina-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Three years ago: Strawberry Pretzel Squares
Four years ago: Black Bean Burgers

Bread and Butter Pickles

Yield: About 4 cups of pickles

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours


5½ cups (about 1½ pounds) thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup white vinegar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons mustard seeds
½ teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric


1. Combine cucumbers and salt in a large, shallow bowl; cover and chill 1½ hours. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl and toss with the cucumbers.

2. Combine the granulated sugar, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and ground turmeric in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

(Recipe adapted from RecipeGirl)


85 Responses to “Bread and Butter Pickles”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Jen of My Tiny Oven on August 25, 2011 at 12:14 am

    I love these pickles! My mom used to make them all the time when I was growing up. This summer did go way too fast, we all need another month so we can get that list of things to do finished off!


    • Linda on August 25th, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Do you have a good one for mustard pickles??


  2. CouponClippingCook on August 25, 2011 at 3:09 am

    These pickles look so good. They seem so easy to make too. Love the pictures…now I’m craving them.


  3. Hezzi-D on August 25, 2011 at 6:53 am

    These look really good. I just made a few jars of them last weekend. Canning is such a rewarding thing to learn how to do! It’s hard because it’s so hot in the summer, but totally worth it when you can have fresh fruits and veggies all winter long!


  4. LeslieN on August 25, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Not a big fan of bread and butter pickles but my family loves them so i will definitely try making these! I also love the jars, I bought mine at IKEA!


  5. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on August 25, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I never knew that pickles were so easy to make!


  6. Danielle on August 25, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Just curious – what book did you get about canning? I’m interested in learning to can as well.


    • Michelle on August 25th, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Hi Danielle, I bought the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving


      • Rea on August 23rd, 2013 at 9:02 pm

        My hubby got me that one for my birthday, and it’s wonderful. I hope you love it! :)
        Also, I just tried these pickles; they’re so good! Thanks for the recipe!


  7. Curt on August 25, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I like all the onion flavoring in there.


  8. Jessica on August 25, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I love the jars you are using..where did you find them?


    • Michelle on August 25th, 2011 at 11:29 am

      Hi Jessica, Thank you! If you scroll back up, I provide a link to the jars at the end of the post. I bought them on Amazon.


  9. Bev Weidner on August 25, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Amazing! I swear I could smell them while reading this post, and I had to stop and look around. Then I realized it was flowers. I make no sense.


  10. Suzi Decker on August 25, 2011 at 10:11 am

    How funny! I just made these pickles yesterday! I’m excited to taste them later this evening to see how they turned out! I made about 5 1/2 quarts of pickles and a pint of banana peppers, so there’s plenty to share!


    • Gayle on June 19th, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      how did you do the banana peppers..I have tons of them…..thanks


  11. Barbara | Creative Culinary on August 25, 2011 at 10:27 am

    It seems a lifetime ago but when my children were young and we lived in North Carolina we had some property and a huge garden. We grew everything imaginable including our own pickles for canning. I tried several varieties. I never made a kosher style dill pickle that was worth the trouble but I loved sweet baby gherkins and my most favorite of all were the bread and butter pickles. Your photo took me back to my friend Jan and I in the kitchen canning all day long with our four little girls running around giggling thinking they were helping.

    Still love these pickles…love the memory even more.


  12. Cara on August 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Love the idea of making these from scratch – I love them on sandwiches. Have you tried making radish pickles? They’re my current fave.


  13. Martha in KS on August 25, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Bread & butter pickles are my favorite kind. My aunt used to make many jars of them every year – she sliced the cucs with an electric meat slicer. I was excited to see a no-canning recipe, but as a household of one, I couldn’t finish off a whole recipe in two weeks. Guess they’d make nice gifts. Off to look for little cucs.


  14. Sue on August 25, 2011 at 11:20 am

    So fast and easy—I can’t believe it. And they really do look great. I also love the jars, and thanks for the link. I make granola a lot and want to send some to daughters at college, etc. These jars would be perfect.


  15. Sues on August 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I did the SAME thing in regards to canning. Boo. But I DO want to make pickles really, really badly. Yours look so beautiful!! And there’s always next year for more :)


  16. Kacey S on August 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    These look amazing. I may have to go cucumber hunting this weekend!


  17. Martha on August 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I’ve purchased similar jars at World Market.


  18. Katrina on August 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    This is such a nice recipe. I looooove these pickles!


  19. Jennifer @ Raisin Questions on August 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I am in love with that fancy pants crinkle cut too! They look so gourmet. The thing that surprises me most about this recipe is the tumeric! I never would have thought…


  20. Preserved and Pickled on August 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Ohhh, yummy. I have a very similar recipe I just call Refrigerator Pickles, and believe me they never last long. I love small batch canning and preserving and i really enjoyed your photos of this pickle session. Can’t wait to see what other recipes pique your interest.


  21. janet@fromcupcakestocaviar on August 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Oh, you sooooo have to get started canning. Once you do, you’ll be an addict for life. There is nothing like seeing your own canned goods on a shelf waiting to be eaten. Except maybe seeing these pickles on the fridge shelf waiting t be eaten 😀


  22. Sandi on August 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Gorgeous pictures &… oooohh the pickles!!
    Yes. Adore those jars.


  23. Heidi / foodiecrush on August 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I am totally on your bandwagon that a sandwich isn’t a sandwich without bread and butter pickles. I could eat tongue if it had them on it. Well, probably not, but I think you get how much I loooove them. Thanks for the post. Now where are all my canning supplies?


  24. Shannon on August 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Double yum! Will definitely have to do this – what a great way to display them at a picnic too! On another container note…I use the same plastic containers that you do to store your sugars!


    • Michelle on August 25th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      Aren’t those lock n’ lock containers the best?! I have so many of them!


      • Brenda on August 24th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

        I have plenty of Lock & Locktoo, I’ll put mine in them, since it’s just me. Thanks. I have some jars from when I used to make Pear preserves. Can’t find pear trees in anyone’s yard.


  25. Ann on August 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Oh -these sound amazing! I’ve set next year as my goal to grow a garden and can…except I’m traveling a bunch next summer…..we’ll see!


  26. Lisa on August 26, 2011 at 12:22 am

    These look great! Going to try them out next week. Once made and stored, how long should they last in the fridge?


    • Michelle on August 26th, 2011 at 9:22 am

      Hi Lisa, They will stay a few weeks.


  27. Paula on August 26, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I’ve never done any canning. All the posts on it certainly makes me want to get motivated to get over my hesitation of it start doing some. Perhaps I should get my feet wet by doing your pickles. I don’t like pickles but they certainly would make lovely gifts for others.


  28. Tracy on August 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    It wasn’t until I canned bread & butter pickles last year that I absolutely fell in love with them! Now I am anxiously awaiting cucumbers from our CSA this year so that I can make them again!!


  29. mis-cakes on August 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Every time I see these I just want to sit down with the jar and eat them. you’re pretty amazing to make bread and butter pickles look THAT good.


  30. Aly on August 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I LOVE bread and butter pickles. Reading your blog for the first time, from your seriouseats photo – it’s beautiful! and I can’t wait to make this recipe…


  31. Miki on August 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    thank you so much for the recipe! i made some this past weekend and they turned out great!


  32. The BBQ Grail on August 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Thank you for the great blog post. I loved it so much I have listed on this week’s BBQ Grail’s 10 Posts Worth A Look:



  33. Carrie B on September 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Quick question- I am making these pickles today. In the first part, you say to let the pickles & salt sit out at room temperature for 1 1/2 hrs. In the recipe at the bottom, you say to cover & chill the salted cucumbers for 1/2 hrs. Which did you do?


    • Carrie B on September 1st, 2011 at 9:16 am

      I meant for 1 1/2 hrs, lol! Just curious if the pickles turn out better if you do the room temp or chill and cover?


      • Michelle on September 1st, 2011 at 3:18 pm

        Hi Carrie, My apologies for the typo – they are to be covered and chilled; I have corrected the error in the post. Thank you for catching that!


  34. Tasha C on September 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Made these today and LOVE them!! I did find it much easier to put the pickles and onions in my jars before pouring in the mixture. Thanks so much! Do you have a dill pickle recipe that you like??


    • Michelle on September 1st, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Tasha, So glad you enjoyed them as much as I did! I don’t have a dill pickle recipe yet but that’s next on my list!


  35. April on September 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    You never disappoint me!! These were delicious and SO easy! :) THANK you for always posting such FABULOUS recipes! :-)


  36. brigitte on November 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I made these this weekend. Awesome! Thanks for the recipe. I added a few sliced jalapenos for some heat to half the batch. Just to spice things up a bit.


  37. Kimberly on October 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make B&B Pickles. I’m the only one in my family who would eat them…Is there a way to store these longer? Have you tried vacuum sealing them?
    Thank you!


    • Michelle on October 23rd, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Kimberly, I wouldn’t recommend this recipe for true canning purposes, as I know the acidic levels in those need to be precise to be safe. There really is no other way to extend the life of “refrigerator” jams, pickles, etc.


  38. Laurie @ Simply Creating Home on March 8, 2013 at 2:11 am

    Oh wow! These look wonderful and so easy. I can’t wait to grow some cucumbers in the garden so I can try them! I’ll be pinning. Thank you for sharing your recipe!


  39. Anna on March 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Ok I’m new to all this and found on Pinterest . I may sound stupid but it wouldn’t b the first time…LOL. Do I have to use canning cucs for this or can I just use what I can find at Wal Mart? What’s the diff between iodized salt and kosher salt and would the salt make a diff in this recipe? I’ve had gastric bypass surg and have lost 160 lbs and kept it off for almost 2 yrs. I get some great recipes ( and some really bad ones) from Pinterest then healthy them up. So my last ? Then I’ll leave I alone. Can I replace the sugar w Splenda since I can’t have the sugar anymore or would that mess w the process? Thanks and hope to hear back soon so my fam and I can try these out


    • Michelle on March 21st, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Anna, Pickling cucumbers are by far your best bet. If you can’t find them, you’ll want to find the smallest regular cucumbers you can. Kosher salt is much coarser than iodized salt, so they cannot be substituted 1:1 for each other. As for the Splenda in place of the sugar, I’m honestly not sure. I’ve never used Splenda so I’m not certain how it may alter this recipe. Enjoy!


  40. Janet Henson on March 20, 2013 at 7:43 am

    I love bread & butter pickles. Even though I have never made them, this recipe looks easy enough for my first-time project! How long will the pickles last in the fridge?


    • Michelle on March 26th, 2013 at 12:16 am

      Hi Janet, Per the recipe above, about 2 weeks for optimum freshness.


  41. Amanda on March 25, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Hello! I LOVE bread and butter pickles!! Delicious! But my only question is… (I’ve never canned anything before) is there a way to freeze these so they last longer than 2 weeks? We love bread and butter pickles, but there’s no way we would eat the whole jar in 2 weeks! Its only 2 of us here! Lol. Thanks! :)


    • Amanda on March 25th, 2013 at 1:39 am

      Nevermind! I just read a previous comment about storing them longer! :) sorry for a repeat question! I will still try this recipe and split them with the family!


  42. Robert on April 9, 2013 at 1:29 am

    I’m years late but you’re never too late for a good thing. Anyways, question;
    (and someone may have asked this already but), what if you don’t like sweet pickles? What if you like dill or garlic sours? Can you suggest the alternative ingredient or what to take out of yours? (i.e. brown sugar)


    • Michelle on April 10th, 2013 at 9:46 am

      Hi Robert, I would probably use a recipe specific for dill pickles (or garlic), if that’s what you would prefer. It’s quite different than bread and butter, and isn’t really a matter of easily subtracting ingredients.


  43. My Info on April 24, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Great recipe


  44. Click1st on May 9, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Made these this evening and they are simply FABULOUS! Definitely being put on my Tried It & Win Board! Thanks!!!


  45. Pat mendoza on May 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I have added a small dry hot pepper to each jar of pickles and it really is fantastic


  46. Doreen on July 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Great memory! I used to make these years ago. I used to slice up red and yellow bell peppers thin like the onions. They get just as sweet, and make such a pretty mix of colors. I used to make them for the holidays, (put a pretty bow around the jar) and bring them as a small host gift when visiting. Always a big hit!


  47. Linda Brown on August 17, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I do processed bread and butter pickles every year. This seemed like it would be easier. It was about the same amount of work, but since they weren’t processed they only keep for a short amount of time. If you just process the jars for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath you can keep them a lot longer


  48. Kim on August 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Have you or anyone else tried to use a different sugar? Like Xylitol or Stevia? These sound amazing!!


    • Michelle on August 27th, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Hi Kim, I haven’t used a sugar substitute in these, so I’m not sure how it might affect the recipe.


  49. Krista on October 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you for this recipe, i made it and canned them, delicious!!! Didn’t have light brown sugar so i used dark, i ended up doing a double batch since i sliced a large amount of cucumbers! Definately a keeper!


  50. Karen on December 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I made these using English cucumbers or seedless ones that are available throughout the year at the store. It isn’t as good as making it with pickling cucumbers, but it is nice to be able to make some for a Christmas/New Year’s treat.
    Thanks so much for the recipe…I made it three or four times in season and am now trying it out of season.


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