How to Make Sweet Pickles

Old-Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

June 14, 2017
Painting of a Pickle Jar

Sweet pickles are the perfect summer snack, and this old-fashioned homemade recipe will have you wanting more!

Eastern Michigan University

Learn how to make sweet pickles the “old-fashioned” way. We guarantee you that making bread and butter pickles the slow way is the best way. This sweet pickle recipe is sure to please!

Sweet Pickles: Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe


  • 2 dozen 3-inch cucumbers
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • 3-¼ cups apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 2-⅛ quarts water, divided
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spices


  • Put 2 dozen 3-inch cucumbers, freshly picked, in a crock or a jar. A crock can be anything from an unchipped enamel crock to a big glass jar that supermarkets buy their pickles in. Check out our cucumber plant page to find out how to grow your own cucumbers.

  • Cover with a brine of ½ cup pickling salt, ¼ cup vinegar, and 2 quarts water.

  • Weight down the cucumbers (a plate with a canning jar full of water on top of it will do nicely), and cover the crock.

  • The fermentation of the cucumbers will cause a white, scummy substance to form on top of the brine. Every day for 2 weeks, check on your cucumbers and just skim the scum off if it is present.

  • After 2 weeks, drain, cut into chunks, and let them stand for 24 hours in cold water, and then rinse.

  • Combine 3 cups vinegar with 6 cups of sugar and ½ cup (⅛ quart) water. Tie 2 tablespoons each whole cloves and mixed pickling spices in cheesecloth, add to vinegar solution, and bring to a boil. Pour over cucumbers and let stand for 24 hours. Drain, reheat vinegar solution, and repeat process 4 times (this is only a 5-minute task each day).

  • Remove spices and pack pickles in sterile jars. Bring vinegar solution to a boil and pour over pickles. Seal and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 

Now you have tasty sweet pickles to enjoy all summer long! For a simpler sweet pickle recipe, see our Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe, and for more delicious pickled snacks, check out our pickling tips and recipes

Not in the mood for sweet pickles? Check out our page on how to make dill pickles. And if these recipes are a bit too complicated, try your hand at our easiest pickle recipe.


The Forgotten Arts, Book Five, 1982

Reader Comments

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Thank-you in for reading my

Thank-you in for reading my question and for the responds. Do you have to use a crock to make 2 week pickles like my Mom did? If so can I use a reproduction crock? Thank you Linda

A crock can be anything from

A crock can be anything from an unchipped enamel crock to a big glass jar that supermarkets buy their pickles in.

Do you have recipes for

Do you have recipes for pickling
Jerusalem Artichokes
(AKA Sunchokes)?

Awesome sweet pickles! We are

Awesome sweet pickles! We are in love! I can only send pint jars to my grandson's house as he and his mother will sit down and polish a pint off in a setting. I'm afraid to know what would happen to a quart. Thanks so much for the recipe.

would like a recipe to make

would like a recipe to make corn relish

The old fashion way


Hi Tony, Here's a recipe from

The Editors's picture

Hi Tony,
Here's a recipe from our archives.

  • 2 cups cooked corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  1. Place the corn, onions and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a pot combine sugar, vinegar, salt, celery seeds, and dry mustard. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the sugar mixture over the corn mixture. Let cool. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before servings. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3 cups.


Is calcium chloride as

Is calcium chloride as effective as lime for crisp sweet pickles?

Do you mean calcium

Do you mean calcium chloride—or calcium hydroxide? The latter is used in lime-vinegar soaking solutions. See here.
As for calcium chloride, there are mixed reviews on this. See above also: Lime must be food grade—lime sold in lumberyards is industrial grade and may contain contaminants.
At least one cooperative extension advises against using lime in homemade pickles, as it may result in an "unsafe" product." Calcium chloride is used to firm commercial pickles and it was not used in this recipe.
You can read more here:
We hope this helps.

The recipe doesn't say how

The recipe doesn't say how many pints or quarts it makes. Also, is it scalable? Could I double or triple it, come summer?

I have been looking for a

I have been looking for a recipe for bread and butter easy pickles is this one or is it just sweet pickles?

i can,t find a recipe for

i can,t find a recipe for cauliflower pickels can you help, thanks.