Bread and Butter Pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles
Sam Jones/Quinn Brein


12 cups sliced pickling cucumbers (about 6 lbs. of 4- to 5-inch cukes)
8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 3 pounds)
1/2 cup canning or pickling salt
4 cups pure white vinegar (5% acidity)
4-1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp mustard seed
2 tablespoons whole cloves
1-1/2 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon ground turmeric (optional)
1 tablespoon Picking Crisp (TM)


1. Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch off blossom end and discard. Cut into 1/16-inch slices. 
2. Combine cucumbers and onions in a large non-metallic bowl. Add ½ cup canning salt. Cover with 2 inches crushed or cubed ice. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, adding more ice as needed. 
3. Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, ground turmeric and pickling crisp™ into a large stainless-steel pot that will also hold the cucumber and onion slices. Bring to the vinegar and spices to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. 
4. Drain the cucumbers and onions and add slowly to the vinegar. Reheat to boiling. 
5. Fill hot pint jars with the cucumber and onion slices and the cooking syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace. 
5. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed with vinegar that has been heated to boiling in a microwave oven. 
6. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Variation: Squash bread-and-butter pickles. Substitute slender (1 to 1-½ inches in diameter) zucchini or yellow summer squash for cucumbers. 


About 8 pints or 4 quarters

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Refrigerator Pickles

Could this brine be used for refrigerator pickles?

brine for pickles

The Editors's picture

Yes, for Refrigerator Pickles,  you can reuse the brine to make more pickles out of different fruits and veggies!


It would be helpful to know the weight rather than the volume of salt you are using for these recipes. I can only get Morton’s kosher salt, not pickling salt. And kosher salts have a different volume than pickling salt. To confuse matters further, kosher salts have different volumes. A 3 pound box box of Morton is much smaller than a 3 lb box of Diamond Crystal brand.

Salt conversion

The Editors's picture

This recipe is specific to canning and pickling salt and one rule with canning recipes is to not alter the ingredients. That said, if you’re intereted in a salt conversion chart, there is one right on the Morton’s site here:

High altitude

How long should I boil the pickles at 8,500 ft.? In fact how much do I increase the time for this elevation? Lost the Ball book?

pickling at high elevation

The Editors's picture

Hi, Karen. You should add 20 minutes to the water bath time.

canning the pickles

This recipe sounds great as we are avoiding using lime. But how long do you process them? Do you put the jars in a canner and boil them? And for how long? We want to keep these through the year. Our garden is producing cukes so we have plenty! Thanks.

how long to process bread and butter pickles

The Editors's picture

Hi, James. You can process these pickles in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

I canned pickles this weekend

I canned pickles this weekend and I only used the dishwasher to sanitize the jars and in some of them the pickles are not entirely covered. It is save to re-can the ones that are not cover or should I just put them in the fridge for immediate use?

The brine should always

The Editors's picture

The brine should always entirely cover the vegetables to limit exposure to oxygen. Can you top them off with some newly made brine and re-process? Otherwise, put them in the fridge and eat them soon.

B & B pickles

I turn my jars over so the pickles on top can enjoy the pickle juices.

Is there any way to make

Is there any way to make sweet pickles without brining if I don't want to thinly slice them?

Put in fridge after covering

Put in fridge after covering with ice?

No, Louise, that is not

The Editors's picture

No, Louise, that is not necessary.



I would like to know what types of vegetables to plant and about how long of a growing season.

Bread & Butter Pickles

Hi, This is my 1st time canning pickles. I decided to make bread and butter pickles. I didn't have a crock so I placed them in my clean fridge crisper drawer. I sliced them, mixed them with onions, sprinkled them with pickling salt and covered them with 3 inches of ice. My fridge is set at 34 degree always. (I like my milk and drinks good and cold!) My question is, after 3 days of sitting with ice on them will they be ok to finish the canning process? I had a family emergency and was unable to finish what I started until today.

Three days is a long time.

The Editors's picture

Three days is a long time. Your pickles may not be very crisp.

Thanks for the information,

Thanks for the information, can u use a mild pepper instead of onions ?

The flavor will be different,

The Editors's picture

The flavor will be different, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

I put green and red pepper

I put green and red pepper chunks and yellow squash rounds (small neck part with no seeds) as well as onions to add flavor and color to my jars of bread and butter pickles. The peppers are yummy!

Can course Kosher salt be

Can course Kosher salt be used instead of pickling salt? Why are they different?

Pickling salt has finer

The Editors's picture

Pickling salt has finer granules and is a pure salt without additives. Kosher salt is acceptable as it's also a pure salt but it's not as fine. They're both inexpensive so we prefer pickling salt. Just avoid table salt which has additives.