Pickle & Preserve

Bread & Butter Pickles

August 27, 2009
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

  • Serves 12 - 13pints
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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!

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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.