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.

A jar filling with bread and butter pickles.

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!

Ingredients to make bread and butter pickles on a white table.

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!

Ingredients:

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.

Cucumbers marinating in a stainless steel bowl to make pickles.

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!

  1. 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.
  2. Brine: In a small saucepan, combine all brine ingredients (per recipe below).
  3. 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

A mason jar filled with bread and butter pickles.

More Pickle Recipes

Did you enjoy these Bread and Butter Pickles? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

a jar of bread and butter pickles
4.98 from 153 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

This homemade bread and butter pickle recipe is easy, delicious, and doesn’t require canning.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 1 day 1 hour
Servings 3 pints
Author Rebecca

Ingredients  

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.
4.98 from 153 votes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1pint | Calories: 115 | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 1039mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 603IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles with writing
Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles with title
Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles in a mason jar with a title
Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles in a mason jar with ingredients and a title

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. Is there a difference between pickling cucumbers and regular cucumbers? I am new at this. Always wanted to try making homemade cucumbers. This looks like a simple recipe. Also, how big, I mean the length of cucumber should I use in this recipe?

    1. Hey Chuck! There is a difference between pickling cucumbers and regular cucumbers. Pickling cucumbers are specifically cultivated for pickling. They tend to be firmer and different shape than regular cucumbers. These are more suitable for pickling because of the firm texture, regular cucumbers will not hold up as well in a pickle jar. I hope that helps, let us know if you decide to try this recipe!

      1. Thanks for clarifying. Where do you buy these ‘pickling cucumbers’? I usual go to Giant, Weis and Walmart. All I see are regular cucumbers. I would really like to try these.

      2. Hey Chuck, you might have to try a specialty produce store at this time of year. Pickling cucumbers, depending on where you are, might only be available in the warmer months or in harvest season.

    1. I have not tried canning this Paul so I can’t say for sure. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  2. How many cups of cucumbers should be used and you store in the bowl overnight – not the jars?

    1. Hi Leanne, it will be about 5 cups of sliced cucumbers depending on how thick you slice them. And yes I keep them in the bowl until the end. Hope that helps!

  3. A little unclear about the salt, recipe calls for 3 T of salt. Is that how much to toss the onions and cuccs or does that amount go into the vinegar solution.

  4. Oops, I left the soaking cucumber and kosher salt in the frig for 3 days, even after rinsing they are very salty….. how do I fix very very very salty cucumbers before I go to the brining step? Or do I just throw away and get more cucumbers and start over .

    1. Oh no! I haven’t had this issue so I am not sure Barb. Maybe another reader can offer some insights.

      1. A good fix would be to slice up fresh cucumbers and add them to the over-salted pickles batch. Then, pour the pickling solution over both. With the lid on tight, they can actually sit on the counter for a couple days before refrigerating. It’s almost (not exact, but almost) as if you were trying to do Kimchi. The step meaning, the composed product sits in the jar on the counter in a pan or on a plate, room temperature, and some fermentation kicks in which is VERY healthy to do. This should help offset but it is not a full fix.

  5. Recipe sounds great! Can I make this with ‘regular’ cucumbers I’m growing? I don’t have any pickling types.

    1. Hi Karen, pickling cucumbers work best for this recipe but you can try it with different cucumbers as well!

  6. Can this recipe be converted to low carb/KETO with Sugar free Brown Sugar like Swerve or another brand?

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Marilynn, but I think that should work just fine. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!