Lightly sweetened and fragrant from mustard seeds, celery seed and turmeric, these bread and butter pickles are perfect for sandwiches and snacking. No canning equipment required!
When I got my hands on some Kirby cucumbers last week, I immediately wanted to make homemade pickles. I’ve always liked dill pickles, but I LOVE bread and butter pickles. There’s something so incredible about their delicate sweetness. Mustard seed and celery salt provide a wonderful flavor, and turmeric gives the onions a lovely yellow hue.
These pickles a great way to add some crunch and sweetness to a sandwich (such as these cheeseburgers) or served as a simple summer snack. I also love adding them to tuna sandwiches in place of sweet relish.
- Kirby cucumbers
- Yellow onion
- Kosher salt or coarse salt
- Apple cider vinegar
- White granulated sugar
- Ground turmeric
- Ground celery seed
How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles
- Slice the cucumbers and place in a bowl along with the yellow onion and salt.
- Add water, cover, let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours, then drain and rinse.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, add the cucumbers and onions, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, place in airtight jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- If you can’t find Kirby cucumbers, the next best options are Persian or Japanese cucumbers. English cucumbers will also get the job done in a pinch. Your local grocery store will likely carry some variation, and you may also be able to find them at the farmer’s market during peak cucumber season.
- I don’t bother canning these pickles since we go through them so quickly but you can certainly do so. Without canning these will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- You can use either a chef’s knife or mandoline to slice the cucumbers. Don’t slice them to thin; you want a bit of crunch.
- I find that some bread and butter pickle recipes use way too much sugar. This version is sweet without being cloying. I used 3/4 cup granulated sugar for 1 1/2 quarts of pickles, and I suspect that the sugar could be cut down even further without sacrificing the flavor.
Why Are They Called Bread and Butter Pickles?
The origin of the name is attributed to Omar and Cora Fanning, a pair of Illinois cucumber farmers who started selling sweet and sour pickles in the 1920s and filed for the trademark “Fanning’s Bread and Butter Pickles” in 1923.
More DIY Recipes
More Homemade Pickle Recipes
- Garlic Dill Pickles – Serious Eats
- Homemade Claussen Knock-Off Pickles – Foodie With Family
- Homemade Dill Pickles – Alton Brown
Bread and Butter Pickles
- 2 pounds kirby cucumbers
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup kosher or coarse salt
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon whole mustard seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground celery seed
- Using a chef's knife or mandoline, slice the cucumbers evenly, discarding the ends, and place in a large bowl along with the yellow onion and salt. Cover the ingredients with cold water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Drain the cucumbers and onions in a colander, rinsing thoroughly.
- In a dutch oven or large saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, turmeric and celery seed. Bring to a boil, add the cucumbers and onions, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
- Remove from the heat, place in airtight jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It will likely take 12-24 hours to fully develop their flavor.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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