Classic Bread & Butter Pickles (No Canning Required!)

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Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

This recipe produces classic bread and butter pickles—the kind my mom used to make every summer when I was a little mouse. They’re sweet. They’re tangy. They have a fabulous crunch. Like my Quick, Fresh Pickles, there’s no canning required for these babies (in fact, they just need an overnight soak in the fridge). And, honestly, they don’t need to be canned. This recipe only uses about 4 pickling cucumbers. Your pickles will keep for a few weeks in the fridge—which is more than ample time to gobble them up.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Top juicy, grilled burgers with a few pickles. Chop them up for an impromptu relish. Or, you know, just eat ’em straight out of the bowl.


I slice my cukes up with a regular knife. For an extra fancy bread-and-butter pickle, use a crinkle cutter to produce a scalloped edge.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

They get their fabulous yellow-ish color from a small dose of ground tumeric (a little goes a long way).

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Ground tumeric

I was out of whole celery seed when I made these this time, so I used ground celery seed (not celery salt) instead. It worked like a charm.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Ground celery seed

Be sure to use a heatproof bowl for your cukes. (You’ll be pouring the boiling brine right over them.)

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Oh, about the rice wine vinegar

Rice wine vinegar typically comes in a few different forms, mainly seasoned and unseasoned.

Seasoned rice wine vinegar already has a fair amount of sugar in it. Be sure to get unseasoned rice wine vinegar for this recipe. This lets you to control the sweetness, flavor, and amount of sugar in your pickles.

Classic Bread & Butter Pickles

4 large pickling cucumbers
1 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
6 Tbls. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt (for the cukes) + 2 Tbls. kosher salt (for the brine)
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1/4 tsp. celery seed (or ground celery seed)
1/4 tsp. ground tumeric

Makes 4 – 5 cups of pickles (liquid + pickles)

Slice and salt the cucumbers

Grab your cukes. Wash them well under cold water and pat ’em dry.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Nip off each end with a sharp knife and discard. Then cut each cuke into slices.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Make the slices as even as you can, but don’t make yourself nuts.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Toss them into a medium-sized bowl.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Mix them around to distribute the salt.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Let the cukes sit like this on the counter for one hour. This helps to draw water out of the cucumbers, which will help them stay crunchy when they’re pickled.

After about an hour, you should have a fair amount of water in your bowl. Drain the sliced cukes and discard the liquid.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Layer the pickles in a bowl.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Be sure that your bowl is heatproof.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Make the brine

Put the rice wine vinegar, water, and white balsamic vinegar in a medium-sized pot.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Whisk to combine. Set the pot on the stove over high heat.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Cook, whisking occasionally, until the sugar and salt completely dissolve.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Leave the mixture on high heat. Toss in the mustard seed, celery seed, and tumeric.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Whisk the mixture occasionally, and cook on high heat until it comes up to a boil.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Pour the brine over the cucumbers

When the mixture boils, take it off the heat. Pour it over the sliced cucumbers.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Let the pickles cool uncovered until they reach room temperature.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Soak the cucumbers overnight

Then cover them with plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge overnight.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

The next day, they should be have developed a deeper yellow color and a fairly intense pickle-y flavor.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

And that’s it! Your pickles are ready to eat. Keep them in the fridge for a few weeks, if they last that long.

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

Serve and enjoy!

Bread and Butter Pickles at The Hungry Mouse

 

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

38 COMMENTS

  1. I love bread and butter pickles! And considering I have a lot to learn when it comes to canning these are perfect. So glad to have this recipe. Thanks!

    • Oh gosh, I’ll bet it would. I’d use the skinniest cukes you can find, so they’re not super full of seeds. Let me know if you give it a whirl?

      +Jessie

  2. Grumpy was telling me about making refrigerator pickles…I have never done it because I never seen it done before! I’ll have to try this out and make Grumpy HAPPY!

  3. I love the step-by-step directions with all the great pictures. I am looking for a recipe that can be canned and kept over the winter. Will this work?

  4. I’ve been looking for an easy B&B pickle recipe and this looks great! I was wondering, after the pickles are ready, can you still stick them in a jar? I’m not worried about preserving them for later, it’s just that I share a fridge with 2 other people and there tends to be little room.

    • Oh, you can absolutely keep them in a jar! In fact, I think the only thing I wouldn’t store them in is plastic that you plan on reusing. (Plastic can absorb tastes and smells…)

      Cheers!
      +Jessie

  5. Just wanted to give a thumbs up to these pickles. I have been making refrigerator pickles of all types for a couple of years now and these are every bit as good. I plan to make many more changing up the ingredients here and there to experiment. Thanks for the recipe

    Duane

  6. […] Classic Bread & Butter Pickles: No Canning Required!) This recipe produces classic bread and butter pickles—the kind my mom used to make every summer when I was a little mouse. They’re sweet. They’re tangy. They have a fabulous crunch. Like my Quick, Fresh Pickles, there’s no canning required for these babies (in fact, they just need an overnight soak in the fridge). And, honestly, they don’t need to be canned. This recipe only uses about 4 pickling cucumbers. Your pickles will keep for a few weeks in the fridge—which is more than ample time to gobble them up. Found at The Hungry Mouse. […]

  7. if I wanted to can these…..do I do that after the overnight in the fridge? Or can I skip that and can them after they reach room temp.?

    • Heya,

      A bunch of folks have asked if these can be canned, so my apologies for the delayed reply!

      I don’t see why not, although I’ll be the first to admit: I almost always make small batches of pickles & jams because I don’t have a ton of room to store preserved goods. If you have experience canning, let me know what you recommend! Sorry I can’t be of more assistance on this end! Let me know how it goes if you try it?

      Cheers!
      +Jessie

  8. I’m doin’ it today with your recipe…..I’m not gonna skip the overnight in the fridge part. All the recipes for canning a bread and butter type pickle call for a certain amount of time at a chilled temp. So I will can them after the overnight soak. I’ll let you know how they turn out. And no…..counting these pickles I will have exactly two canning experiences.

  9. Hey Jess, quick question… do you think this recipe would work with zucchini too (and maybe yellow squash)? I have a feeling this year’s garden will provide me with more than I can possible eat and freeze and make tons of zucchini bread out of… not that I’m complaining about that… but it would be nice to eat it in a different way. Thanks for doing what you do!! LOVE the website!!

    • Thanks so much! Oh, gosh. My gut is that it would totally work, but you’re going to have to try it to find out b/c I haven’t done it before. Let me know how it comes out?

      Have a great weekend!
      +Jessie

  10. I have never made pickles myself before…but I saw you recipe and tried it… When I first tasted them, I thought they might be salty, but I think it’s just the fact that they are homemade and different than store bought variety… I like them and I believe my hubby likes them too. I shared your recipe, your site actually with a dear friend and she made her pickles the same day I did and they turned out Great!!!!!! Thank you Jessie!!!

  11. I would propably use more turmeric. It’s a great spice, not only for yellow coloring. It’s also pretty amazing healthwise (antiviral!). Use with a good dose of freshly ground black pepper. I’m not sure if it would fit this recipe, but it’s worth a try!!

  12. I just found your site and it’s excellent. The photos are a great help. The instructions are clear and concise. Thank you. Beautifully done.

  13. Believe it or not – I do this but, microwave them!!!! AND they are done – SO good!!
    Diane @Canning and Cooking at Home 🙂

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