Canning / Suburban Homesteading

Bread and Butter Pickles

People truly love bread and butter pickles. If I’m being honest I do prefer homemade dill pickles, but I seem to be outnumbered. So in order to not cause a mutiny, I always make both. This is easy to do because I always grow so many pickles each year! See, here is a picture of some of them…arent they purty?

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If you don’t know what bread and butter pickles are let me fill you in. These little guys tread the line between sweet and tangy and manage to do it in style. Word is that they got their name during the Great Depression when they were a staple in people’s cupboards. They were cheap to make and were added to sandwiches made of bread and butter to add some flavour. The Hubby, The Boy and I love to have them with some nice sharp cheddar cheese, just like The Hubby’s Mam (grandmother) used to give us.

Not all bread and butter pickles are created equal. If they are soggy then just forget it! I gave a jar of these to a friend at work and two things happened.

  1. She ate the entire jar in one sitting
  2. She kept going on about how crunchy they were

Also, my friend Andrea ate and entire jar standing over my kitchen sink. Actually, she also ate an entire jar of my homemade strawberry and rhubarb jam too. Anyway, the verdict seems to be that people really like them.

bread and butter pickles

So now to get started, give your pickles a quick wash and chop them up. Bread and butter pickles are typically done in rounds, if you have a mandolin handy then the job is even easier. You will also need to chop the onions, so brace yourself and get chopping.

bread and butter pickles

Once they are all chopped then pop the onions and cucumbers into a colander (I love my collapsible over the sink one) and cover them in salt (as always I use Himalayan pink salt just because I love it). They need to sit in the colander covered in salt for about 2 hours. This is the first step in getting the water out of the pickles. Why do we want the water out? This is how they end up being so crunchy! Don’t be worried about the all salt as we will rinse it off. The pickles will give off quite a bit of water, another reason I love using the over sink colander.

bread and butter pickles

After 2 hours give them a quick rinse to get any excess salt off them. Then grab a cookie sheet (or two) and cover it in a few layers of paper towel. Then start laying out the pickles and onions in a single layer. Once they are all laid out, then cover them with another layer or two of paper towel. They need to sit like this overnight as this is step two in making hella crispy pickles.

Once this is done you can put them in the (turned off) oven. I like to do this so they are out of the way. Just don’t forget about them, I like to set myself an alarm because I tend to “squirrel”. You know like when a dog sees a squirrel and runs off in the other direction? That’s me, but its the garden, a DIY or maybe Netflix in my case. So I set an alarm.

bread and butter pickles

Now is a good time to just chill out for a bit, or go do some gardening. We are in a holding pattern on the pickles until tomorrow.

bread and butter pickles

The next day it’s time to get the show on the road. Sterilize your mason jars either in boiling water (as I did) or in the oven. Then we can move on to making the brine. The brine is what is going to give the bread and butter pickles their distinctive taste, so its super important. Also, because there is sugar in it you are going to have to keep a close eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.

bread and butter pickles

In a medium saucepan mix the water, vinegar, mustard seeds, sugar, turmeric and celery seeds. You will need to bring it to a boil, but as I mentioned keep an eye on it as we don’t want it to burn. Because that would be sad. Fill up your sterilized jars with the pickles and onions and then VERY carefully pour in the brine. You want to make sure that you leave some head space at the top of the jar, about 1/2″ should be good.

bread and butter pickles

The next step is to seal the jars by submerging them in boiling water. They need to sit covered in boiling water for 10 minutes. Once done, carefully remove them with a jar lifter and set them on the counter. I like to listen for the pops and move the onces that have popped over to one side. If any don’t pop all is not lost. Put them in the fridge and eat them first. The rest can go into the cupboard to be enjoyed whenever you want.

bread and butter pickles

And that’s it! Delicious and crispy bread and butter pickles!

Bread and Butter Pickles


  • 2-3lbs pickles (even better if you grew them yourself)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 cups water (distilled or tap…up to you)
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 tsp tumeric

Other things you’re going to need


The day before:

  1. Chop the pickles into slices as thick or thin as your heart desires and put them in a strainer in the sink.
  2. Slice up the onion and add it to the strainer.
  3. Cover the pickles in the salt, mixing them up so they are all coated.
  4. Leave them to sit for 1-2 hours.
  5. Give them a very quick rinse.
  6. Line a cookie sheet (or 2, or 3) with paper towel and lay the slices out in a single layer.
  7. Cover with another layer of paper towel and leave them to sit overnight.

Prep the jars:

  1. Fill the large pot with lots of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling CAREFULLY lower enough of the jars (and lids) to fill the pot and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Once the 10 minutes is up, CAREFULLY remove them from the boiling water and place them on a tea towel on the counter.
  4. If necessary do a second batch….

Make the brine:

  1. Combine all the brine ingredients in a pot and boil until all the sugar is dissolved.

Fill the jars:

  1. Fill the jar with as many pickles as you can. You want them jammed in as much as possible as this keeps them from floating above the brine OR you can get a pickle pebble.
  2. Pour the hot brine mixture into the jar (using the canning funnel if you have one) until the brine is approximately 1/2″ from the rim.
  3. Bring the water to a boil again and then CAREFULLY lower the sealed jars into the boiling water so that they are covered by water and boil them for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the jars and set them aside to cool
  5. Listen for them popping/sealing (the center of the lid will be indented) if any don’t then pop them in the fridge and eat them first.

Aaaaand…you’re done! Pop these guys into the cupboard or pantry and let them sit awhile so the flavours can all meld together. You can then serve them with some pulled pork on lovely soft hamburger buns or a kaiser with a side of coleslaw for a delicious meal! Or just eat them out of the jar…because they are so yummy.

What is your favourite kind of pickle? My favourite is definitely my homemade dill pickles but everyone else seems to be in love with these ones…


  • Katherine
    June 16, 2019 at 5:24 am

    I love bread and butter pickles but they’re often very soft. It’s good to know how to make them crunchy, and so worth taking the time to do that step. I’m growing lots of cucumbers this year, so will bookmark this page and come back. Thanks for the clear step by step instructions!

  • Susan
    June 20, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Oh my yumminess these sound soooooo good! I felt like you were in my home teaching me! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  • Aaron (@1dish4the4road)
    June 20, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    I’m such a fan of pickles. These look delicious!

  • Lia
    June 22, 2019 at 12:07 am

    Hey! I was looking for where it says how many jars this makes but I couldn’t see it. In any case, about how much does this yield? It looks like a smaller batch, which I really appreciate because often canning recipes are for huge amounts of produce! Thanks so much for this lovely-sounding recipe 🙂


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