Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles


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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
4.99 from 64 votes
Review Recipe

Bread and Butter Pickles

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

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

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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.

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.)

Keyword bread and butter pickles, how to make bread and butter pickles, refrigerator pickles
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

Rebecca

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I’m Rebecca, and Sugar & Soul is where I blend my traditional roots and millennial imagination. I’m a self taught baker, photographer and traveler with a business degree and a dream. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Matt, and currently reside in Central Maine. I’m so glad you stopped in and I hope I can inspire you to bake a batch of cookies or head off on a new adventure!

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Comments

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

  1. So…. I didn’t read ahead and just threw all the ingredients(including salt) into the jars like a typical refrigerated dill pickle recipe. How bad will these be?

  2. The only change I would recommend would be to add some Turmeric to the brine. It will add some excellent flavour as well as contribute a nice colour to the finished product.5 stars

  3. Luv em… growing up throughout the sixties (all of them) and beyond I watched my mother can/put up everything we grew or even barterd for from fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. The smells and memories flood back to me as I make some of the simplest old time favorites. My family was a hard working Cherry farming family in The Dalles, Oregon…. some of my brothers are continuing…. While this is not one of my mothers quazillion traditional canning recipes I am sure she would love this recipe for B&Bs just because it is so quick and easy! In memorial,, Thank you Mom for always working so hard for your family, love Bittykid

    PS, I’ve made this recipe multiple times over several years now… except I use 11 or 12 Kirbies and 1.5 X all the other ingredients…never fails to yield 2 whole quarts.5 stars

    1. Thank you for sharing this story (I’m not crying, you’re crying!). I truly appreciate it and am honored you shared it here with us Doug.

  4. I love this kind of pickle! Luckily, I live in an area with lots of Amish and Mennonite farms and roadside stands, so if I don’t get my own cucumbers planted, I’ll be able to find the grown locally. I wonder if the same brine would work for other vegetables, sort of like the pickled vegetables put on Vietnamese “bahn mi” sandwiches.5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried other veggies with this recipe. I do have a recipe for Giardiniera, which is pickled vegetables. If you do try this with other veggies, let us know how it goes!

  5. Can I spear or half the pickles instead of slicing? Also do you think I can do other veggies in this brine (pickled radish, squash etc.)Thanks!

    1. I have only tried the recipe as written Cassandra. I’d think that the spears would work, but it may need to sit longer to penetrate. I’m sure other vegetables would taste delicious with this brine too! Let us know how it works if you try with spears or other veggies!

    1. The nutrition listed is per pint. The potassium comes primarily from the cucumbers. Enjoy the recipe Spike!

      1. Are you sure? I’ve spent some time on dialysis and we had to watch how much potassium we ate. Cucumbers were never on the “high potassium” list, but we still had to be careful because of their water content. The info I’ve found says that there’s about 147 mg of potassium per 100 g of cucumber, and a “medium” cucumber (seven inches or so) weighs about 200 grams. How much do you think your “seven pickling cucumbers” weigh, and how many pint jars does your recipe make?

      2. Thank you Lisa, we provide nutritional information as an estimate only and it will vary based on the ingredients that you actually used. For the ingredients that we used and the nutritional information we have, I checked, and this is what we see. If you have health concerns, I definitely recommend that you do your own calculation using the actual ingredients and amounts that you use. There are many online calculators to use, such as My Fitness Pal.

  6. Love your pickling recipes. Can’t wait to try them out. After reading them, and having tried others, your recipes look easy to prepare. Thanks for sharing!