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 69 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
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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Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. Do I use the 3 Tbl of kosher salt mentioned in the ingredient list to sprinkle over the cucumbers or is it to be used in the brine?

    1. Hi Bernadette, adding the salt is in step 1. (Slice the cucumbers and onion into thin slices and place in a large bowl and toss with the salt.) Hope that helps!

    1. This recipe does use the smaller pickling size cucumbers, so 7 as listed in the recipe will work great for you Mitch!

    1. Thank you so much Leslie! I haven’t tried canning these (and don’t do much canning myself) so I can’t say for sure. Perhaps another reader will know if they’re suitable or not.

  2. I rinsed the pickles after they chilled in the salt, but they were way to salty. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hi Toby, I haven’t tried freezing these but they should last in the freezer for up to 3 months!

      1. Mine lasting for 9 months I kept refrigerated
        I have some to my friend and she ate hers without 6 months and they were still delivu

  3. We were disappointed in the lack of sweetness. Just 1 cup of brown sugar made the cucumbers taste way more vinegary than we like. I changed it out for 1 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup light brown. More bread and butter taste like we are use to.

    1. Hi Elaine, it should turn out fine with white sugar, the brown sugar just provides a little richer flavor.

  4. I just put together the 1st step, since my friend dropped off a couple of dozen of English pickling cucumbers. I couldn’t wait to try. Talk about easy! I’m pondering why you chose brown sugar in step 2?
    I can’t wait to see how they turn out tomorrow.

  5. Great pickles! I only added half of the red pepper though and it was plenty to give it a little kick.5 stars

    1. Good! I only used half the red pepper, too, since I didn’t want them too spicy. Haven’t tried them yet… still n the fridge!

  6. I made these a couple of days ago. First time making pickles of any kind. Super easy! My humans I love them. We’ve already finished off 2 jars. Plan on making a new batch today! Would highly recommend this recipe! ❤️❤️❤️5 stars

    1. Hi Joyce, we have not tried this recipe with Splenda but it should work. Let us know how it turns out!

  7. On the refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles , after they have set in the refrigerator for 24 hours in the bowl then can I put in jars? How long will they keep in the refrigerator ? Thank you

    Jan

    1. Once the bowl comes to room temperature you can transfer into jars to chill or transfer to jars once chilled Janna. They should last a few months stored in the refrigerator.