This homemade bread and butter pickle recipe is easy, delicious, and doesn’t require canning.
Made with cucumbers, onions, and a homemade brine, this recipe is quick to prepare, just like giardiniera. Enjoy them with your favorite burger, sandwich, or as a snack by themselves.
What Are Bread & Butter Pickles?
Bread and butter pickles are sweeter than dill pickles. They’re brined in a vinegar-sugar mixture with other ingredients and spices.
There are a few ideas where the name “bread and butter pickles” comes from:
- Some say it was popularized during the Great Depression because butter-and-pickle sandwiches were all people could afford for lunch.
- It may also be related to traditional English cucumber sandwiches, which are filled with cucumbers and butter or cream cheese.
- As the story goes, they didn’t have money for groceries, so they traded the sweet pickles for essentials like bread and butter. They also sold them to make cash, marketing them as “bread and butter pickles.”
Regardless of their origins, I think we can all agree that they’re delicious! Especially on a sandwich with Homemade Bread, deli meat, and cheese or cheeseburgers!
Why We Love this Recipe
One of the best parts about pickled veggies is that you don’t need canning jars to make them! Fresh cucumber slices are infused with flavor from a seasoned vinegar mixture, then stored in the fridge.
It takes just 15 minutes of hands-on time, then 25 hours to marinate. The result is a batch of sweet and salty pickles that the whole family loves!
CUCUMBERS Pickling cucumbers are smaller in size, and fresh is best! Get them at the grocery store, a local farmer’s market, or grow them in your own garden.
ONIONS Slice ‘em thin, they add lots of flavor to the brine!
BRINE This is made with a base of white and apple cider vinegar. It’s seasoned with light brown sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, and kosher salt.
You can also add red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
How To Make Bread & Butter Pickles
While this recipe does need to chill for 25 hours for the best tasting pickles, it is quick to prepare with just 3 simple steps!
- Prepare: Thinly slice the cucumbers and onions and place in a large bowl with salt. Chill and let the salt pull out excess water to make room for the brine! After chilling, rinse off the salt, drain excess water, and put the cucumber and onions back in.
- Brine: In a small saucepan, combine all brine ingredients (per recipe below).
- Combine: Pour it over the top of the sliced cucumbers and onions and chill!
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or pint jars.
How To Serve Them
- Inside or next to burgers and sandwiches
- In or with chicken or tuna salad
- In potato or pasta salad
- Battered and fried
- With Bloody Marys
- With deviled eggs
More Pickle Recipes
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
- Dill Pickle Deviled Eggs
- 4 Ingredient Dill Pickle Dip
- Crispy Fried Dill Pickles
- Creamy Dill Pickle Chicken with Bacon
Did you enjoy these Bread and Butter Pickles? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles
- 7 pickling cucumbers
- 1 white onion
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup white vinegar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons celery seeds
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Slice the cucumbers and onion into thin slices and place in a large bowl and toss with the salt. cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Transfer the cucumbers and onions to a colander and rinse off the salt. Drain excess water from the bowl and put the cucumber and onions back in.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegars, and spices and heat over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the top of the sliced cucumbers and onions and allow the bowl to come to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Do you have a recipe relish using green tomatoes?
I don’t have a green tomato relish at this time.
My cucumbers vary in size quite a bit. Can you give me an approximate measurement in cups or weight.
Hi Jane, it will be about 5 cups of sliced cucumbers depending on how thick you slice them. Hope that helps!
Can you use pickling salt instead of kosher salt?
That should work just fine in this recipe!
My cucumber plants are hearty this summer so I’ve been making batch after batch of these pickles and share with neighbors and friends and everyone loves them! So crisp and flavorful, plus simple to make! I double or triple the batch so I end up with 6-8 jars of pickles at a time.
Hi!! Can I make these and place them in a ice cream pail to store in the refrigerator… instead of in jars??
That should work just fine.
is it okay to add pickle crisp?
I’ve only tried this as written so I can’t say for sure. Let us know how it works out for you!
I have made these pickles several times and the only problem is they are eaten so fast! My family loves them and they are perfect for sharing and taking to potluck meals. I pour the hot brine over the pickles and let them come to room temp before putting them in jars. I use a slotted spoon to put the pickles in the jars, distributing them evenly, then I pour the brine/spices evenly into the jars before refrigerating them. If you are short on brine take a few pickles out of the jars so the brine covers the rest. They will already be delicious! Thanks for this amazing recipe!
Oh no! That is the best and worst problem to have! Have to hide a few in the fridge for yourself after all that hard work!
This looks like a great recipe. How long will they will keep in the fridge?
Hi Kim, they should last a few months in the fridge. But I can never seem to make them last that long before I have eaten them all up!
Can I pour the hot liquid over the pickles in the jar and seal instead of letting the mixture cool. I may have several jars and want them sealed so they will keep longer in the fridge
Hi Vicky, we have never tried this recipe that way. I am not proficient in canning but maybe another reader can offer some insight.
Do you need any water in thd recipe.??
Hi Vickie, we do not add any water to the brine in this recipe. You can find all ingredients required by scrolling toward the bottom of the post or using the jump to recipe button at the top. Enjoy!
Love love love this recipe! It’s a big hit with my family. I’m making batch 2 today. Wouldn’t change a thing.
Can these be frozen?
I haven’t tried freezing these but they should last in the freezer for up to 3 months! You will have to let us know how they turn out!
Love that these are lower in salt than most.
How long will the pickles keep in the fridge? Especially if I make a double batch, and do you use pickling salt or sea salt?!
Hi Donelda, we use kosher salt for this recipe and they should last a few months in the fridge.
These are amazing! I am wondering if you can also use this recipe to can the pickles, water bath etc?
I don’t have much experience with canning so I can’t say for sure but I would love to hear how they turn out for you if you try it.
Please clarify the salt. Salt normally is used to pull moisture out of the veggies but also goes in the brine. This recipe just says 3 tablespoons but doesn’t instruct with clarity how the salt is being used. Most recipes state how much salt is used for the veggie prep and how much salt to use for the brine.
Hi James, great question. For this recipe, the full 3 tablespoons of salt are tossed with the cucumbers and onions in step 1.
just made these cant wait to try them. but i have a question. in other recipes it requires turmeric. what’s the difference for flavor wise.
Hi Lupe, turmeric adds an earthy flavor to the pickles and yellow color. If you want to add it, a little goes a long way, so add sparingly.
Hi, I’m just wondering when you put the pickles in the jars? After they cool in the refrigerator for a day or before?
If storing in jars you can just add them directly to the jars and once they cool store them in the refrigerator.
This is the second pickle recipe I have made, I never seem to have quite enough brine to cover the pickles completely. Why is that and what do I do about it or do I even need to worry about it?
Hi Sheri, the brine should cover the pickles when placing them in the refrigerator. It sounds like your pickling cucumbers might have been on the larger side. You can increase the brine amounts or take some sliced cucumbers out to enjoy now to help.