How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles: A Step-by-Step Guide

Bread and butter pickles are a classic American delicacy that have been enjoyed for generations. These sweet and tangy pickles are perfect as a snack, on sandwiches, or as a side dish with your favorite meal. While you can easily find them in grocery stores, nothing beats the taste of homemade bread and butter pickles. Unfortunately, many people shy away from making their own pickles because they think it’s too difficult or time-consuming. But fear not! With just a few simple ingredients and a little bit of patience, you can make delicious bread and butter pickles at home. In this blog post, we’ll show you step-by-step instructions on how to make these tasty treats and provide some helpful tips along the way. So, grab some cucumbers and let’s get started!


Bread and butter pickles are a classic American pickle that is crunchy, tangy, and sweet all at the same time. They are a great addition to sandwiches, burgers, and salads, and they can even be enjoyed on their own as a snack. The best part? You can easily make them at home with just a few simple ingredients.

Homemade pickles have been around for centuries, but bread and butter pickles became popular in the early 1900s. According to legend, Omar and Cora Fanning of Illinois created the recipe during the Great Depression when they had an abundance of cucumbers and needed to find a way to preserve them. They sold their pickles door-to-door and eventually started their own company, which still exists today.

Nowadays, bread and butter pickles are a staple in many households and are often a beloved family recipe passed down from generation to generation. Making your own pickles allows you to control the quality of the ingredients and adjust the sweetness and spice levels to your liking.

In this blog post, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to making delicious bread and butter pickles at home. From selecting the right cucumbers to jarring the pickles, we’ll cover everything you need to know to achieve perfectly crisp and flavorful homemade pickles. So, whether you’re a pickle lover or just curious about trying something new, read on to learn how to make your own bread and butter pickles!



Making bread and butter pickles requires a specific set of ingredients that work together to create the perfect sweet and tangy flavor. Here are the key ingredients you’ll need:

  • Cucumbers: The star ingredient in any pickle recipe, cucumbers provide the crunch and texture that make them so enjoyable to eat. It’s important to choose firm, fresh cucumbers that are free of blemishes or soft spots.

  • Onions: Sliced onions add a distinct flavor to bread and butter pickles. They also help to balance out the sweetness of the sugar in the recipe. Choose yellow or white onions, and slice them thinly so they can easily absorb the brine.

  • Sugar: The sweetness of bread and butter pickles comes from the sugar in the recipe. Use granulated white sugar for the best results.

  • Vinegar: Vinegar is a crucial ingredient in any pickle recipe because it helps to preserve the vegetables and gives them their characteristic tanginess. Use distilled white vinegar for this recipe.

  • Mustard Seeds: Mustard seeds add an earthy, slightly pungent flavor to bread and butter pickles. Use whole mustard seeds for the best flavor.

  • Celery Seeds: Celery seeds are another key spice in this recipe. They add a subtle bitterness and depth of flavor that complements the sweetness of the sugar. Use whole celery seeds for the most flavor.

By using high-quality and fresh ingredients, you can ensure your bread and butter pickles will be bursting with flavor and texture. Don’t skimp on the ingredients – they’re the key to making delicious homemade pickles!


Washing Cucumbers

When it comes to making your own pickles, washing the cucumbers is an essential first step. Preparing cucumbers for pickling involves more than simply rinsing them under running water. Here are some tips for washing cucumbers that will help ensure that your pickles turn out delicious:

  • Start with fresh, firm cucumbers. Avoid using cucumbers that are overripe or soft, as they can affect the texture and flavor of your pickles.
  • Scrub the cucumbers gently with a vegetable brush to remove any dirt or debris. It’s important to be gentle when scrubbing so as not to damage the delicate skin of the cucumber.
  • Cut off both ends of the cucumber, as they can contain enzymes that can cause your pickles to become soft.
  • If you plan on leaving the skin on the cucumbers, be sure to wash them thoroughly. If you prefer to peel the cucumbers, do so before slicing them.

By taking the time to properly wash and prepare your cucumbers, you’ll be well on your way to making delicious bread and butter pickles. Remember, the quality of your ingredients matters, so always choose fresh, high-quality produce for the best results.

Slicing Cucumbers and Onions

When it comes to making bread and butter pickles, slicing the cucumbers and onions is a crucial step that can make or break the final product. To achieve the perfect texture and flavor, it’s important to cut the vegetables into thin, uniform slices.

First, start by washing the cucumbers and onions thoroughly under cold water. Then, using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, slice the cucumbers and onions into thin rounds of approximately 1/8 inch thickness. Be sure to remove any seeds or tough parts from the cucumbers before slicing.

Cutting the vegetables into thin slices allows them to absorb the pickling brine more efficiently, resulting in a more flavorful and evenly pickled end product. It also helps the vegetables to maintain their crispness and crunchiness.

It’s worth noting that the size and shape of the slices can also affect the final result. For example, thinner slices will pickle faster and absorb more flavors than thicker ones. On the other hand, thicker slices will retain more of their natural texture and firmness.

In summary, when slicing cucumbers and onions for bread and butter pickles, it’s essential to aim for thin and uniform slices. This ensures that each bite is packed with flavor and maintains the perfect texture. So grab your sharpest knife and get ready to create delicious homemade pickles!

Making the Brine

Making the Brine

Making the brine is a crucial step when it comes to pickling, as it helps create that unique tangy and sweet flavor that we all love in bread and butter pickles. To make the perfect brine, you’ll need to combine vinegar, sugar, and spices in just the right way.

Combining Vinegar and Sugar

The first step in making the brine is to combine vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. For every two pounds of cucumbers, you’ll need to use one cup of apple cider vinegar and one cup of white vinegar. You’ll also need to add two cups of granulated sugar into the mix. Heat the mixture over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves completely.

Adding Spices

Next, it’s time to add the spices. The most common spices used in bread and butter pickle brines are mustard seeds and celery seeds. You can also add turmeric for a bit of extra flavor and color. Add one tablespoon of each seed and half a teaspoon of turmeric to the vinegar and sugar mixture. Stir the mixture well to ensure that the spices are evenly distributed.

Bringing it All Together

Finally, it’s time to combine the sliced cucumbers and onions with the brine. Bring the brine to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Place the sliced cucumbers and onions into clean, sterilized jars and pour the brine over them. Leave about half an inch of headspace at the top of each jar.

In conclusion, the key to making great bread and butter pickles is getting the brine just right. By combining vinegar, sugar, and spices in the right proportions, you can create a delicious and tangy liquid that will transform your cucumbers into mouth-watering pickles. So, go ahead and experiment with different spices to find the perfect flavor combination for your taste buds!

Jarring the Pickles

Jarring the Pickles

Jarring the pickles is the most important step in making bread and butter pickles. This process ensures that the sliced cucumbers and onions are packed tightly into jars and covered with the brine to create delicious, crispy pickles.

To begin jarring the pickles, first, sterilize the jars and lids by boiling them in a large pot of water for at least 10 minutes. Let the jars and lids cool before using them.

Next, pack the sliced cucumbers and onions tightly into the sterilized jars, leaving about half an inch of space at the top. Make sure there are no air pockets in the jars as this can cause spoilage.

After packing the jars, it’s time to pour the brine over the vegetables. Make sure the brine covers the sliced cucumbers and onions completely. You can use a funnel to pour the brine easily without spilling.

Once the jars are filled with the brine, use a clean towel or paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars and place the lids on top. Tighten the lids securely but not too tight.

Finally, store the jars of pickles in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours before consuming. This allows the flavors to fully develop and results in the perfect bread and butter pickle.

Remember, jarring the pickles properly is essential to make the perfect bread and butter pickles. Follow these steps carefully, and you’ll be rewarded with delicious, homemade pickles that you can enjoy anytime.

Storing the Pickles

Storing the Pickles

Once you have made your bread and butter pickles, it is important to store them properly to ensure they taste their best. The good news is that storing pickles is easy, and you don’t need any special equipment.

The first step is to refrigerate the jars of pickles. This will keep them fresh and prevent them from spoiling. It is important to note that you should never store pickles at room temperature, as this can lead to bacterial growth and spoilage. Instead, make sure to place your jars of pickles in the refrigerator immediately after making them.

After you have refrigerated the jars of pickles, allow them to marinate for several days. This will give the flavors time to fully develop and infuse into the cucumbers and onions. The longer you allow your pickles to marinate, the better they will taste.

When it comes time to enjoy your pickles, simply remove them from the refrigerator and serve them cold. They make a great addition to sandwiches, burgers, and salads, or can be eaten on their own as a tasty snack.

In conclusion, storing your bread and butter pickles correctly is essential to preserving their flavor and ensuring they are safe to eat. By following these simple steps, you can store your pickles with confidence and enjoy their delicious taste for weeks to come.

Tips for Making Perfect Bread and Butter Pickles

Tips for Making Perfect Bread and Butter Pickles

Making bread and butter pickles is a fun and satisfying activity that can yield delicious results. However, to make truly perfect pickles, you need to pay attention to the details. Here are some tips that can help you take your pickle game to the next level:

Choosing the Right Cucumbers

Not all cucumbers are created equal when it comes to pickling. For bread and butter pickles, it’s best to use pickling cucumbers. These are smaller and firmer than regular cucumbers and have fewer seeds, which makes them ideal for pickling. If you can’t find pickling cucumbers, try using English cucumbers instead.

Using Quality Vinegar

Vinegar is a key ingredient in any pickle recipe, and the quality of the vinegar you use can make a big difference in the taste of your pickles. For bread and butter pickles, it’s best to use a high-quality white vinegar with 5% acidity. You can also experiment with other types of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar, to give your pickles a unique flavor.

Adjusting the Sugar and Spice Levels

The sweetness and spiciness of bread and butter pickles can be adjusted to suit your taste preferences. If you like your pickles sweeter, add more sugar to the brine. If you prefer them spicier, increase the amount of mustard seeds or add some red pepper flakes. Be sure to taste the brine as you go and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

In conclusion, by choosing the right cucumbers, using quality vinegar, and adjusting the sugar and spice levels, you can make perfect bread and butter pickles every time. Experiment with different flavors and techniques to find your own special twist on this classic pickle recipe!
Making bread and butter pickles at home is a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy a delicious snack with your loved ones. With this step-by-step guide, you can make pickles that are just as good, if not better, than store-bought varieties. By choosing the right cucumbers, using quality vinegar, and adjusting the sugar and spice levels, you can create a unique flavor that suits your taste buds. So why not give it a try? You may discover a newfound love for pickling and impress your friends and family in the process. Happy pickling!

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