Old Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles


Looking for a good old fashioned bread and butter pickles recipes? Better yet, want pickles that stay crisp even after you can them? This is your recipe!

Every spring, I plant a few cucumber plants. Just a few – in my mind anyway – but we always seem to end up with literal bucketloads extra.

These old fashioned bread and butter pickles are the kind that stay crisp even after you can them!

And that leads to pickle making, because there are only so many salted cukes, and cucumber salads you can eat in a day. Gotta put some back for later! 

Thus, the pickle making. 

Last year, I mostly made dill pickles because I wanted pickles without sugar. But I’m a little older and wiser now, and realize that the little sugar that seeps into the cucumber with freezer pickles, or old fashioned bread and butter pickles is pretty negligible, and also? We’ve made sugar into the big bad enemy it isn’t because our society at large has a habit of overconsumption. 

With that rant out of the way, these are one of my favorite pickles. 

how to can old fashioned bread and butter pickles

My mom used to make these bread and butter pickles, and they became something of a family staple.  The sweet, oniony-vinegary flavor made them super snackable, but one of my favorite things about these bread and butter pickles is how crisp they are – even after canning them. 

The super cold salt bath pull out of a lot of the moisture, and preserves the integrity of the cuke’s cell structure. I’m not a scientist, that’s just my layman’s take on it.

how to make bread and butter pickles

The point is, they do stay crispy! And that’s what you want in a pickle. 

Getting that crispness makes the process a little more lengthy than other recipes however – but don’t worry, most of that time is hands-off with the cucumbers chilling in their icy salt bath. 

how to make bread and butter pickles that stay crisp

You only need to clear a space in your fridge for them to marinate for the day or overnight. The results are 100% worth it. 


Old Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles

  • Author: Elise


  • 3 quarts of cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/4 cup non-iodized salt such as pickling salt, sea salt, ice cream salt, etc.
  • Several cups crushed ice
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 clove of garlic per jar (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, toss together, cucumbers, onions, and salt
  2. Add ice, and toss a bit to combine
  3. Let sit in refrigerator for several hours or overnight
  4. Drain and rinse cucumbers and onions
  5. Combine remaining ingredients except garlic, in a large sauce pan
  6. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 3-5 minutes
  7. Pack cucumbers and onions into clean jars
  8. Pour brine over each jar filling to about 1/2 inch from the top
  9. Fit with clean lids and bands
  10. Inversion seal by inverting jars for 2 minutes before turning right side up and letting cool. Then let jars pickle for 7 days before opening
  11. Or water bath can by fitting a waterbath canner with bottom insert, placing jars inside, spacing so that they don’t touch each other, and filling canner with warm water at least an inch over the top of the jars.
  12. Bring to a rolling boil, and continue boiling for 10 minutes
  13. Let cool before opening canner.
  14. Enjoy!


A clove of garlic can be added to each jar to create a unique garlic bread and butter pickle flavor.

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  1. I did the inverted jar method. So, after jars are cooled, do they need to be refrigerated? What is the shelf life for this method?


  2. This was my first experience making anything canned. I have never heard of inversion sealing for refrigerator pickles, but I tried it and it worked great. I did one jar of refrigerated pickles and 2 more pints in a water bath. We opened the very first jar last night. My family fell in love. Apparently, I have the rest of the summer to stock up.
    This is a great recipe. The directions are easy enough for a nauvious like me to follow, but provides a complex and amazing taste of a seasoned professional. The balance between savory and sweet is hard to describe, but I promise the first bite will explain it all. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. I would put the garlic in each jar just before you fill it with your pickles. The recipe does say ‘one garlic clove per jar’.

  3. Sounds like the stuff I like!Help me, please.cukes and onions in vinegar soak is too vinegary. how do I fix it? My Ma mae them and I love them but have not the right recipe. can you help me?

    1. Only if you use the pressure canning or hot water bath treatment and boil the cukes. The whole idea of refrigerator pickles is to avoid all that hot canning process. The vinegar helps keep down bacteria so that keep in fridge for 6-8 weeks, but do NOT leave on shelf.

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  5. Easy enough. Cooling now. Seems to me if you leave them in canner until it cools that you would get mushy cucumbers as they would continue to cook. I let them set about 20 minutes after turning off and then took them out to cool on counter. Will see how that works out. Got 5 pints.

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