Simple Recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles

Pickles are a delightful addition to any meal, offering a burst of flavor and a satisfying crunch. While dill pickles have their own dedicated fan base, there’s another classic in the world of pickling that deserves recognition: Bread and Butter Pickles. 

These sweet and tangy pickles are a beloved favorite, often enjoyed on sandwiches, burgers, or straight from the jar. Today, we’ll dive into the world of homemade bread and butter pickles, revealing a simple yet delectable recipe that you can make in your own kitchen.

Bread and Butter Pickles: A Flavorful Tradition

Bread and butter pickles have a long history in American cuisine. Their sweet and tangy taste, along with their crisp texture, makes them a popular choice for relishes and snacks. 

What sets them apart is the unique blend of spices and seasonings used in their preparation, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. 

Making your own bread and butter pickles not only allows you to enjoy this classic treat whenever you like but also gives you control over the ingredients, ensuring a fresher and more wholesome outcome.

Ingredients for Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles

Before we embark on our homemade bread and butter pickle journey, let’s gather our ingredients:

  • 1 pound (454 grams) pickling cucumbers (such as Kirby), sliced into coins (approximately 3 to 4 cucumbers)
  • 1 ½ cups (355 ml) vinegar (with 5% acidity)
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice (more on this later)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (23 grams) pickling salt or sea salt (measured by weight, see notes)

Crafting Your Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles

Now that we have our ingredients at the ready, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating these delectable pickles.

Step 1: Prepare the Pickle Brine

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, ground turmeric, peppercorns, and salt.
  • Allow the mixture to come to a simmer while stirring, ensuring that the sugar and salt completely dissolve. This aromatic blend will form the flavorful brine for your pickles.

Step 2: Slice the Cucumbers

  • While the brine simmers, slice your pickling cucumbers into coins. You should have approximately 1 pound of cucumbers, which equates to about 3 to 4 cucumbers.
  • The thickness of the slices is a matter of personal preference. Some enjoy thin, crisp slices, while others prefer slightly thicker ones. 
  • Choose the thickness that suits your taste.

Step 3: Pack the Jar

  • Carefully pack the sliced cucumbers into a 1-quart (1-liter) jar. You’ll be surprised at how many slices fit snugly inside.
  • Make sure the cucumbers are packed in as efficiently as possible, as they’ll absorb the flavors of the brine more evenly when closely packed.

Step 4: Pour the Brine and Chill

  • Once your brine is ready, carefully pour it over the cucumbers in the jar. Leave about 1/8-inch of space between the top of the brine and the lid of the jar.
  • Allow the jar to cool down to room temperature. 
  • Once it’s cooled, securely tighten the lid with your fingers.
  • Place the jar in the refrigerator to chill.

Step 5: Let the Magic Happen

  • Now comes the hard part: waiting! Allow your pickles to sit undisturbed in the refrigerator overnight before indulging in their sweet and tangy goodness.
  • For the first night, position the jar upside down in a bowl to ensure an even distribution of flavors. The next day, flip it right-side-up and continue chilling.

Step 6: Savor the Flavor

Your homemade bread and butter pickles are now ready to enjoy. While they can be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of one month, their delectable nature may cause them to go off before then!

Tips for Perfect Bread and Butter Pickles

Creating the perfect bread and butter pickles is a breeze with these helpful tips:

  • Select Quality Cucumbers: 

Opt for fresh, firm pickling cucumbers for the best texture and flavor.

  • Experiment with Spice: 

Feel free to adjust the level of spice to your liking. You can even add a touch of heat with some red pepper flakes.

  • Go Beyond Cucumbers: 

While cucumbers are the classic choice, you can experiment with other vegetables like onions, bell peppers, or carrots to create unique pickles.

A Note on Pickling Spice

The choice of pickling spice is crucial for achieving the distinct flavor profile of bread and butter pickles. We recommend using a trusted brand like McCormick’s “Mixed Pickling Spice” for a well-balanced blend of spices.


Creating your own bread and butter pickles at home is not only satisfying but also allows you to savor the genuine flavors of this classic treat. Whether you enjoy them on sandwiches, as a side, or straight from the jar, these pickles are a delightful addition to any meal. 

So, gather your ingredients, pickle your cucumbers, and relish in the sweet and tangy delights of homemade bread and butter pickles.

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