Easy homemade refrigerator-style bread and butter pickles made using vinegar, salt, sugar, and the perfect blend of pickling spices. These pickles have the most delightful balance of sweetness and tanginess!
Related: We loved these crunchy dill pickles!
How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and butter pickles are a type of pickled cucumber loved for their classic sweet and tangy taste. To make them, sliced cucumbers are marinated in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, salt, and warm spices. The result is a crisp and colorful pickle that has a perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess.
Just like our pickled beets or these easy dill pickles, these bread and butter pickles are of the refrigerator variety and require just two simple steps:
- Slice the cucumbers into coins and place them into a jar.
- Cover the cucumbers in the jar with our sweet and tangy vinegar brine.
After that, allow to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate the jar and enjoy your delicious homemade refrigerator pickles!
Making the Brine
The magic behind these pickles lies in their simple brine. You’ll need vinegar, salt, sugar, and a handful of spices to make them shine. We’re big fans of store-bought pickling spice, and my go-to is McCormick’s blend – you’ll spot it in almost any grocery store.
However, if you have a different brand, it will work just fine. The blend we use has cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, clove, red pepper, black pepper, cardamom, and mace. We also toss in a few peppercorns and some ground turmeric for that lovely pop of color.
To make the brine, bring everything to a simmer in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar and salt dissolve. Then, while the brine is still hot, pour it over sliced cucumbers in a jar and allow to cool to room temperature. When it’s room temperature, secure the jar’s lid and refrigerate. I like storing my jar upside down in a bowl for the first night so that the turmeric color gets everywhere.
Best Varieties of Cucumbers For Pickling
The best varieties of cucumbers for pickling are those like Kirby cucumbers, which are short, fat, and have bumpy skin. Kirby cucumbers, Boston pickling cucumbers, and other pickling-specific varieties are ideal choices because they hold up well in the brine and retain their crispness, resulting in delicious cucumber pickles. However, if you don’t have access to a garden, farmer’s market, or farm, a good alternative is to use smaller Persian cucumbers instead.
This bread and butter pickles recipe has been created in collaboration with our friend and chef, Richard Hattaway. We hope that you try them soon.
Easy Bread and Butter Pickles
Simple homemade refrigerator-style bread and butter pickles made using vinegar, salt, sugar, and the perfect blend of pickling spices. These pickles have the most delightful balance of sweetness and tanginess!
1-quart (1 liter) jar
You Will Need
1 pound (454 grams) pickling cucumbers, like Kirby, sliced into coins, 3 to 4 cucumbers
1 ½ cups (355 ml) vinegar (5% acidity)
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon pickling spice, see notes
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 ½ tablespoons (23 grams) pickling salt or sea salt, recommend using weight, see notes
1Combine the vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, turmeric, peppercorns, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let the mixture come to a simmer and continue cooking until the sugar and salt completely dissolve.
2Pack the sliced cucumbers into a 1-quart (1 liter) jar.
3Carefully pour the hot pickle brine over the cucumbers. Leave about 1/8-inch of space between the top of the brine and the lid of the jar.
4Allow the jar to cool down to room temperature. Then, securely tighten the lid with your fingers and place it in the refrigerator.
5Let the pickles sit undisturbed overnight before enjoying them. For the first night, position the jar upside down in a bowl and flip it right-side-up the next day.
6The pickles will last in the fridge for up to one month.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Picking spice blend: There are quite a few brands that sell pickling spice blend, we use McCormick “Mixed Pickling Spice”
- Are these shelf stable? These pickles have been specifically designed for refrigeration storage. They are meant to be kept in the fridge at all times. However, if you’re experienced in canning, you could potentially adapt them for long-term shelf stability. This would involve using sanitized jars, new lids, and a pressure canner.
- Different salts can be used for pickling. Pickling salt is best, but you can also use Morton’s kosher salt or sea salt. Avoid table salt due to additives. If using Diamond Crystal salt, you may need to adjust quantity as it’s larger than pickling salt. We recommend measuring by weight for pickles. If you are measuring by volume (like tablespoons), you will need about 50% more Diamond Crystal salt.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. It is difficult to calculate how much salt and sugar are in the pickles, so we have included all of the brine in the calculations (which is why salt and sugar is higher).
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Nutrition Per Serving
1/10 of the jar