Crunchy, Sweet, and Tangy Bread and Butter Pickles

I love bread and butter pickles. That sweet tangy crunch layered into burgers, diced in tunafish sandwiches, or just grabbed straight out of the jar and snacked on. As a kid it was the only pickled thing I really liked. Dill pickles, pickled onions, pickled beets, etc… Ick. Or at least that’s what my palate at a minion’s age thought. Since then I’ve come to love and appreciate many other pickles, especially after spending nearly 2 decades eating Vietnamese food. It seems like the Vietnamese pickle just about anything and Diane’s mom and, of course Diane, are seriously good at it. But my first and true pickle love are still the bread and butter pickles.

Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe from @whiteonrice

Of course not all bread and butter pickles are the same. Most all have a good flavor, some just varying in sweetness or maybe given a spicy kick. But the real test for me is the crunch. The make-or-break factor for my favorite pickles is all about a great crunch.

Out of the commercially-made pickles I love Bubbies the most. Their Bread and Butter Chips are always a staple in our fridge. I want to love so many of the different artisan or homemade pickles I’ve tried but so many times they have a lifeless texture. Where’s the coveted crunch? Maybe I just haven’t found the right one.

Watch quick video we made for these Bread and Butter Pickles!

Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe for Burgers and Sandwiches from @whiteonrice

 

Easy Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe from @whiteonrice

The last few summers we’ve finally gotten our garden cucumbers to their happy place and we’ve been getting quite the harvest. Usually growing either Persian cucumbers or Japanese cucumbers (unless the starters at the nursery have been mislabeled – had one of those this year). The Persian and Japanese cucumbers have such a great crunch, even if we lag a little in picking them from the vines to make these bread and butter pickles.

However I’ve been a bit hesitant about making pickles out of them. What if I suck at pickling them and they have that lifeless softness? It would be such a waste. How do you keep that crunch when you pickle them?

Easy Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe on @whiteonrice

So this summer I was determined to figure it out. After consulting the pickle masters (Diane and her mom, of course- their pickled stuff is the crunchiest), I had a plan of action. Salt it and let it sit for an hour or two. Rinse, pat dry, and then let it sit out overnight to dry out a bit more. Then finish with the pickling brine and jar ’em up.

I’m happy to report that the pickles are badass. Great crunch, great flavor. With the cucumbers growing like monsters in the garden this year, I might not be buying any Bubbies for quite some time. Sorry Bubbies.

Enjoy!

Todd

Here’s a great and unique cucumber recipe .

3.73 from 33 votes
Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 15 mins
 
Use a really crunchy cucumber to start. Either Persian or Japanese cucumbers. Or a good English cucumber if you can't find the other varieties. Personally, we rarely find good, crunchy "Pickling" cucumbers so we always pass on using them. But if you find or grow nice ones, they'd work great too. We let the cucumber slices sit out overnight covered in paper towels after salting them to help them dry out a bit more and develop a nice crunch. They may look a little too dried out in the morning, but when you add them to the vinegar mixture, they will re-hydrate perfectly. If you are pressed for time you can skip the overnight drying, but your pickles won't have the same crunch. Feel free to adjust the sugar to your preferred sweetness. We've made it anywhere from 3/4 cup of sugar to 1 1/2 cups and have had people prefer it one each end of the sweetness spectrum.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds crisp cucumbers , sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 medium onion , thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt or sea salt
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
Directions
  1. Place the cucumbers and onions in a colander resting in a large bowl or in the sink. Toss with the salt and let stand for 1-2 hours (the cucumbers will release a lot of water during salting).
  2. Rinse the cucumbers and onions and then place in a single layer on a couple of sheet pans lined with paper towels. Cover with another layer of paper towels and let dry overnight.
  3. The next day, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and turmeric in a large saucepan. Heat to a boil.
  4. Fill your sterilized canning jars with the cucumbers and onions, leaving about 1/2-inch space from the top of the jars. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and onions to fill the jars. Seal the jars according to manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Store in the refrigerator and allow to sit for several days before opening to allow the flavors to fully develop. Best served chilled.

 Post was originally published in 2014. Re-published in 2018 with new updates.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Noel

    Gosh I made these and the crunch and colour is awesome I will add a bit more sugar next time, thank you

    1. Todd & Diane

      Hi Noel, glad you enjoyed bread and butter pickles recipe and yes, you can always make it sweeter! That’s the best part about making homemade pickles because you can customize everything to your own personal preference.

  2. sara

    I usually get pickles from supermarkets or from my mom’s house. Well, frankly speaking, most of the time its from my dear mom. Love you mom:-) This is the first time I tried a pickle recipe. And this time I proudly took it to my mother to taste and guess what she loved it.
    Thanks a million for your recipe.

  3. Rhianon

    These look delicious! I’m a huge fan of Bubbies too- hands down best bread and butters I’ve ever tried. That’s a great idea about letting them dry overnight; I can’t abide a pickle without a crunch! I’ll have to try it!

  4. Lavues

    That’s quite an extraordinary way to make pickles, amazing!

  5. Sharon Davis

    These look great–I’ll be trying them today/tomorrow (for the extra drying). You say in your directions to can “according to manufacturer’s directions”. Canning times are all over the place for pickles–I’ve seen anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. What’s your experience with canning? How long should a pint jar be in a hot water bath (not pressure canning)? Thanks!

  6. Justin

    Is there such a thing as letting them dry too much? It’s 9:30 am and I’m not sure if I should finish later this evening or wait until tomorrow?

    1. Todd & Diane

      You should be fine whether you finish tonight or tomorrow. I wouldn’t dry them out over a couple days time, although who knows, that may end up being perfect. We just haven’t tried it yet.

  7. Janice Sexton

    I am starting these today. I am wondering whether they should be refrigerated while drying out between the paper towels?

    1. Todd & Diane

      Hi Janice,
      We don’t refrigerate while drying out on the paper towels. I don’t think it would hurt to, but we didn’t find it necessary. Thanks!

  8. marie evans

    I made two batches do you add salt to the brine mixture as I did seemed fine we love them but noticed today it says nothing in the directions about adding salt with vinegar water ect

    1. Todd & Diane

      Hi Marie,
      We didn’t add any salt to the brine mixture. For this recipe the salt was just used during the drying out phase. It seasons the pickles nicely. However if you like a little extra salt to the brine, it is a great way to go too. Thanks.

  9. Jules @ Quirky Wanderlust

    This takes me back to meals with my grandparents in North Dakota… Wonderful memories!

  10. Romana

    Perfect ;))

  11. Juliana

    I made these a few weeks ago and they are some of the best bread & butter pickles I’ve ever made. Thank you for the recipe!

  12. Rebekah

    Bubbies are my favorite. Since we moved to Australia my hubby and I talk about Bubbies all the time -among the many loved food items we can’t get here- I am making these ASAP. I have been looking for a comparable recipe for ages. Thank you. Can’t wait to try this.

  13. Monique

    I HATE bread & butter pickles but my FIL loves them so after canning 20 qts of dill pickles and the garden is still puking cucumbers I tried this recipe. I only let them ‘dry’ for 12 hours but kept changing the paper towels to wick the moisture out. I added cloves to the ‘brine’ and processed them in the canner and will let you know if the FIL approves or not :)…..totally won’t blame you if he doesn’t since I didn’t let them dry long enough and modified the spices.

  14. Cecili

    Do you place the pickles in the fridge overnight or do you leave them out?

    1. Todd & Diane

      Hi Cecili,
      We usually put the pickles in the fridge before we are going to serve them so the have that nice chilled crisp. Plus we’ll keep the jar we have opened (broken the canning seal on) in the fridge.
      Hope that helps.
      T & D

  15. Andy

    I’m curious if these need to be stored under refrigeration prior to opening and how long they might keep before they are opened?

    Thanks!
    Andy

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We store ours in the pantry until we are ready to open the sealed jar. The should keep good texture for about 6 months before opening.

  16. Barbara

    How many jars does this recipe make? Thanks!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      It is for 4-5 cups of pickles, so depending on which jars you use, it will vary. We usually use 2 widemouth pint canning jars, and then if there is extra put the rest in a half pint.

  17. Christina Davis

    Could you still use this recipe as refridgerator pickles?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Christina,
      It should work fine for refrigerator pickles. Have fun!

  18. pam (Sidewalk Shoes)

    Pinned! I love Bread and Butter pickles!

  19. Renia Carsillo

    I make dill pickles all the time, but never tried sweet. This one’s going on the list for the week. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Ali

    Did you can these in a boiling water bath, or just put them into the fridge? I usually just do fridge pickles because I don’t like how soft the pickles get when you boil them.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We didn’t do a boiling water bath. I sterilized the jars and had them hot when adding the liquid. Then after adding the pickles and juices to the jars, there was enough heat to seal the jars. Not sure if it is the best way, but it works for us.

  21. Jennifer G

    Those look really delicious! I love the lighting and spectral highlights.

  22. Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog

    I just made Bread and Butter Pickles last week! I’d never even heard of them (I’m from the city, so I get a little slack, right?) but after having made them with fresh ingredients from the farmers market I can’t get enough! I’m totally going to try your version when I finish the ones I made! Such pretty photos you got!

  23. Kelly J

    I made these and after removing from the canner realized I forgot the turmeric. They look lovely anyway but how will it effect the flavor?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Kelly,
      The flavor will be a little different but it should still be good. Hope you like it.

  24. Lizthechef

    This is the bread and butter pickle recipe I have been looking for all summer – wonderful.

  25. Elsie

    Can this recipe be scaled?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Elsie,
      The recipe is really easy to adjust to different amounts of cucumber. Just use a generous amount of salt when drying out the cucumber slices and then make enough of the pickling juice to cover the pickles when you jar them. That’s it. Enjoy.

  26. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    You guys can even make pickles look TRULY amazing! Your photography blows me away every.single.time! Pinned 🙂 Love bread and butter pickles!

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