Pickle & Preserve

Bread & ButterĀ Pickles

August 27, 2009
4 Ratings
  • Serves 12 - 13pints
Author Notes

Bread and butter pickles have been a family favorite for at least three generations. This is another one of the great preserve recipes passed down from my paternal Grandmother, and it is our ultimate family favorite. I can't even begin to count the number of jars of these I've made with my Dad over the years. When I was little he taught me how to operate the slicing apparatus on the KitchenAid and walked me through the recipe each summer until a few years ago - gasp! - I was finally put in charge of a whole batch by myself. We eat these with just about everything, my favorite is putting them on top of a burger fresh off the grill. This recipe makes about 12-13 pints, but it can be halved if you want to make fewer. It is also worth noting that unlike some bread and butter pickles recipes we do not use cloves, we find they overpower the flavor of the pickles too much. - KelseyTheNaptimeChef —Kelsey Banfield

Test Kitchen Notes

There were two details that drew us to KelseyTheNaptimeChef's excellent bread and butter pickles recipe: she doesn't call for the customary clove, which can overpower the pickles. And she didn't call for too much sugar -- many bread and butter pickles are too sweet and syrupy. In these, the mustard and celery seed come across clearly, and the cucumbers remain bright and crisp. - Amanda & Merrill —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the Pickles
  • 1 peck small cucumbers (1/4 bushel)
  • 12 medium sized onions
  • 6 green peppers
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2/3 cup Kosher Salt
  • 3 pounds bag of crushed ice, for crisping
  • For Marinade and Canning
  • 10 cups sugar (1.5 lb bag)
  • 6 cups cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons tumeric
  • 3 teaspoons celery seed
  • 4 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 12-14 pint jars with lids and rims, all sterilized
  1. Using the slicing apparatus on a KitchenAid mixer (or a similar slicing tool in your kitchen), thinly slice cucumbers, onions, green peppers and garlic. Place them all in a large pot and mix in Kosher salt. Then cover the top of the ingredients with 1-inch thick layer of crushed ice. The purpose of this is to dehydrate the cucumbers as much as possible. The ice and salt draw out an enormous amount of water and the cool ice helps the cucumbers stay crisp. Let the mixture stand for 3 hours (no peaking!). After 3 hours remove remaining ice, and drain the cucumber mixture thoroughly to get rid of excess moisture. I usually squeeze the vegetables in a dishtowel to really get out all excess moisture.
  2. In a large stockpot over medium heat dissolve sugar, vinegar, tumeric, celery seed and mustard seeds. Once it is all dissolved add the cucumber mixture and stir to make sure everything is fully combined.
  3. Heat the cucumber mixture just to a boil and let simmer for one minute. Then, ladle cucumber mixture into sterilized pint jars, filling the jar until there is 3/4 inches remaining at the top. Then, ladle broth over the cucumbers until there is only 1/4 inch of air remaining at the top of the jar. Note: When ladling I find it helpful to place a wide mouth funnel over the top of the jar to catch any drips and cucumbers.
  4. Seal with lids and rims. Once all the jars are filled there will be liquid remaining in the stockpot. You can use this to start the next batch or for another use you can think of in your kitchen.
  5. Seal jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Store pickles in a cool dry place, like a canning cellar, and enjoy as a condiment with all your favorite foods!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alex Txn
    Alex Txn
  • Adelucchi
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • Lizthechef
  • slulibby
Home cook, food blogger, cookbook author, wine lover, avid traveler, and mother of two young children. Check out my books: The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life (2012), and The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year (2015), Running Press.

23 Reviews

Billy August 21, 2017
I assume I'm missing something if these are so highly rated, but the recipe as presented seems like an almost unavoidable means of making squishy, lifeless pickles. Layering them in salt and ice and then wringing them out, followed by boiling them (albeit for just a minute?) I understand the goals of removing excess water from the pickles and also of sterilizing, but when I followed this recipe last year, the pickles, while tasty were totally mushy. This year I skipped the salt, ice, and boiling, and just sterilized in a 140 degree hot water bath for 2.5 hours, as the long bathing period is meant to kill bacteria while maintaining a sufficiently low temperature not to destroy the pickles texture.

Also, I found the sugar in this recipe to be way too high. This calls for 10C sugar to 6C vinegar??? That's gotta be like a syrup! I used 3C sugar last year with 4C vinegar (for 8 large cukes) and found the pickles to be plenty sweet. This year I decreased the sugar to 2C for the same volume of cucumbers and vinegar.
Emily September 24, 2016
Would this recipe work out ok with lemon cucumbers? I have tons, they're just so seedy.
Beth M. September 24, 2016
I don't see why not. I've used regular Marketmore cucumbers in this recipe and it turns out fine. If your lemon cukes are very seedy, I might cut them in half and scoop out the seeds before I slice them. I did that with some overgrown pickling cukes to eliminate the big, tough seeds.
Beth K. August 6, 2015
Can the hot water bath step be skipped if you are making these for refrigerator storage?
Beth M. August 7, 2015
I'm not a canning expert but I would think these would be okay for a couple weeks in the fridge without the canning bath. I'd still sterilize the jars and lids before you load them. We started eating ours the day after I canned them and they had lots of flavor already.
Can anyone else more experienced in pickles comment?
Beth M. August 3, 2015
I had a couple of pounds of pickling cucumbers fresh from my garden and cut this recipe by approximately 1/6. They turned out fabulous. It made 3 pints. May have to draft some regular cucumbers for the next batch since I'm getting a lot more of those. My husband and I are going through these at a rapid clip. Fabulous!
Alex T. July 19, 2015
When doing my pickles I've never sterilize jars at all, as long they are clean, and I've been doing pickling for ever.
Billy August 21, 2017
good to know -- yesterday i took the risk for the first time of not sterilizing before adding ingredients
DonaldW October 5, 2014
I use the leftover liquid to make a salad dressing. I use a little olive oil and shake it up.
Adelucchi August 29, 2014
Wow! Just finished a batch. Fabulous!

Have some lemon cukes ( the yellow round ones). Got a big batch from my neighbor and I want to try them. Will let you know how they turn out.
Adelucchi August 4, 2014
Makes good zucchini pickles too!
Adelucchi August 4, 2014
Hey Kelsey,
Thanks so much for the recipe. Several years ago I was an Extension agent,
An antique term. Now it's cooperative extension. I used to demonstrate a bread and butter pickle to the homemakers who attended my lunch time trainings. This is the recipe I used! I've been searching through the cooperative extension websites hoping to find it because I didn't remember the measurements, etc. in detail...then I read your recipe and saw the ice and it all came flooding back. Going to make these soon. So happy to find this recipe again!!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 6, 2010
Kelsey, thanks for such a wonderful pickle recipe. I made a sample batch of these a few days ago and now planning a bigger batch later today. The taste of these took me right back to my childhood. I'd completely forgotten that a woman who was like a grandmother to me made these all the time for me. Once I bit into them, I remembered the taste immediately. Love when food unearths such sweet memories!! Thanks very very much.
Lizthechef July 17, 2010
Thanks for all the help, everyone! I am determined to make pickles. Now, Kelsey, how about sending your Dad over to coach ;) Eagerly awaiting pickle video!
Kelsey B. August 12, 2010
hi! The video is up on my site! This year's batch were fantastic! Enjoy!
Lizthechef July 16, 2010
Thanks so much - I think I will weigh 8 lb at market and cross my fingers. BTW, Kelsey will be blogging about her pickles in a couple of weeks - most likely a video with her Dad - check it out - her recipes are foolproof!
Lizthechef July 16, 2010
What is a "peck" in terms of weight? Help! Thanks -
CathyB July 16, 2010
According to the websites I visited, a peck is however many cucumbers will fit into a 2 gallon (or 8 quart) container. A bushel or a peck is a dry measurement for volume, so the weight will vary according to what is being measured. So a peck of cucumbers will have a different weight than a peck of strawberries or a peck of peaches. I hope this helps. I'm going to try this recipe too. It sounds great!
Kelsey B. July 17, 2010
Hi! Sorry for the late reply - we were road-tripping yesterday.I am here with my Dad and he concurs with CathyB, a peck is a volume measurement, not a weight measurement. We measure it by 2 gallon container as CathyB notes. Also, Dad made 21quarts of these on Wednesday as a "warm up" for our video in two weeks!
slulibby July 2, 2010
Bread & butter pickles always make me think of visiting Indiana. I havnet seen these for a long time-thanks for bringing it back!
Lizthechef June 9, 2010
Say, not a green bell pepper eater, could I substitute another "color" like orange or yellow?
Sharyn August 4, 2010
I am not sure but I am trying them with a yellow pepper variety I got throught my CSA. I too am not a green pepper eater. I will reply with my results
Lizthechef March 9, 2010
I haven't seen a recipe for these in years. I made them with my Mom and Grandmother when I was a kid, never allowed touch the slicer. The recipe has been lost - now I have one! Thank you!