Recipe Cupboard – Bread and Butter Pickles – should make 3 – 5 pints

Bread and Butter Pickles – should make 3 – 5 pints


2 1/2 pounds pickling cucumbers, fresh from the market is best

1/4 cup pickling salt (see recipe note)

1 pound white or yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 1/4 cups while distilled vinegar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 1/4 cups sugar

Pickling Spices:

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3/4 teaspoon celery seeds

1 inch cinnamon stick

6 allspice berries plus a pinch of ground allspice

6 whole cloves plus a pinch of ground cloves


Rinse and slice the cucumbers

Carefully rinse the cucumbers, scrubbing away any dirt that may have stuck to the ribs.  Slice off 1/8 inch from the ends and discard.  Slice the cucumbers in 1/4-inch-thick slices and place in a large bowl.

Salt, chill, and drain the cucumber slices

Add the sliced onions and all of the pickling salt.  Stir so the salt is well distributed among the cucumber slices.  Cover with a clean, thin tea towel (not terry cloth).  Cover with a couple of inches of ice.

Heat the jars

If you are planning to store your pickles outside of the refrigerator for any length of time, you will need to heat your canning jars in a hot water bath after canning.


Because the jars will be processed in the water bath for more than 10 minutes, it is not necessary to first sterilize the jars for this recipe.  Do make sure your jars are clean.

If you are planning to eat the pickles right away and store them the whole time in the refrigerator, you can skip the water bath step.

Making the syrup

In a 4- or 6-quart pot, place the vinegars, sugar, and all of the pickling spices (do not add salt).  Bring to a boil.  Once the sugar has dissolved, add the sliced cucumbers and onions.  Bring to a boil again.  As soon as the syrup begins boiling again, use a slotted spoon to start packing the hot jars with the cucumbers and onions.

Pack the jars, add the pickling syrup

Pack jars to 1 inch from the rim with the cucumbers and onions.  Then pour hot vinegar sugar syrup over them to 1/2 inch from the rim.

Wipe the rim clean with a paper towel.  Place a dry, clean lid on the jar.  Secure with a metal screw band.  Repeat with remaining jars.

Process in a hot water bath

If you are planning to store pickles outside of the refrigerator, you will want to process the filled jars in a hot water bath.

Return filled jars to the same canning pot with its already hot water.  The water level needs to be at least 1 inch above the top of the jars.

Bring to a boil and boil hard for 15 minutes.  Remove jars from the pot using tongs or jar lifters.

Let cool and store

Let cool down to room temperature.  Jars should make a popping sound as their lids seal.  If a lid dosen’t properly seal, do not store the jar outside of the refigerator.

If you skipped the water bath canning, transfer the cooled jars directly to the fridge and eat within 3 months.

Bread and Butter pickles can be eaten as soon as 24 hours after making, but they’ll have the best flavour if you let them sit for at least a week. (ideally 3 or more weeks)