{Easy} Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles Recipe - Whole-Fed Homestead (2024)

For years I’ve tried making pickles- everything from bread and butter refrigerator pickles to classic dills… and for years I’ve never found a recipe I have fallen in love with, until now. I didn’t realize how much my general lack of pickling skills was weighing on me- I mean, a homesteader should be able to make a great pickle, shouldn’t they?! Well, I feel like I finally earned my pickle badge!

These are “refrigerator pickles,” which means two main things: 1. they are ridiculously easy, and 2. this recipe is not suitable for canning. You’ll slice up your cucumbers, combine them with a couple other friends, pour a simple warm brine over them, then stash them in the fridge for up to a few months… couldn’t be simpler!

If you have more cucumbers than you can eat, but not quite enough to warrant canning them, this is the perfect solution. Or if you don’t have the time to dedicate to canning. This is the story of my life right now. The fridge is slowly being taken over by half-gallon jars of pickles!

Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles
What’s a bread and butter pickle? Basically a pickle that is both sweet and sour. And rumor (well, Wikipedia) has it that they were invented by a couple of cucumber farmers in the 1920s who survived the ups and downs of cucumber farming by bartering their pickles to the local grocer for staples like bread and butter. I love this story!

These are the BEST bread and butter pickles I’ve ever had, because they are the perfect balance of everything: sweet, salt, acid, and flavor. I find a lot of pickle recipes to be either too acidic or too salty- well not these!

A Few Tips…
Since these aren’t cooked, you’ll want to cut the cucumbers into slices so the brine can penetrate the whole thing easily. Using whole cucumbers or even spears won’t result in the best product. Plus, slices are traditional for bread and butter pickles.

While you can eat these at any point after making them, they are best after sitting for a week or two. They should store for several months in the fridge.

Use a mandolin for slicing the cucumbers into nice, even slices. You can cut them into whatever thickness you’d like- super thin to chunkier, whatever your prefer. I like them somewhere in the middle.

Pickle your cucumbers as soon as possible after picking for the crispest, best pickles. Store the cukes in an air-tight container in the fridge if you can’t get to making them right away. I don’t like to use cucumbers that are more than about three days old for making pickles, if I can help it. Ideally I pickle them the day I pick them.

Only use good quality cucumbers- if they are wrinkled, really soft, bruised, or blemished they will NOT get better with pickling. You can use a little bit larger cukes for this, but don’t use the really big ones… you know, the ones that got away.

Makes 1 Half Gallon or 2 Quarts

Enough cucumbers to fill 1 half gallon jar or 2 quart jars… a few pounds
1/4 of an onion, sliced thinly
1-2 jalapeños, sliced (optional, if you like them spicy)
2 cups water
3/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp pickling salt
1 Tbs pickling spice

Important first step: remove 1/8-inch of the blossom end of each cucumber. This is the end opposite of the stem that attached the cucumber to the plant. This part contains enzymes that can make your pickles soft. And no one likes a soft pickle.

Cut cucumbers into even-sized slices (I love a mandolin for this!) and pack into jars, with a layer or two of thinly sliced onions (and optional jalapeño slices) somewhere in there too. Fill ‘er up to the top!

In a saucepan, combine the water, vinegars, sugar, salt, and pickling spice- bring to just a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure all the salt and sugar dissolves. Pour the hot brine into the jar over the cucumbers and voila = pickles!

Really, that’s it… let them cool on the counter for an hour and then put a lid on and transfer to the fridge. Make sure that the liquid is completely covering the cucumbers. If after an hour its not, mix together 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar- just enough to top them off (no need to heat this).

Vinegar will make your metal jar lids and bands rust, which is why I like these plastic screw covers for things like this.

It is best to wait a week before digging into your bread and butter refrigerator pickles, and they will last a couple months in the fridge.

Happy Pickling!

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{Easy} Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles Recipe - Whole-Fed Homestead (6)

{Easy} Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles Recipe - Whole-Fed Homestead (2024)


What gives bread and butter pickles their flavor? ›

Dill pickles have one main spice/herb that's used: dill. They're often on the sour side with a strong briny bite. In contrast, bread and butter pickles use a blend of turmeric, clove, celery seed, and red pepper flakes for a rounded-out flavor. None of the spices stand out, but all blend together for a richer taste.

Can I use Mrs wages bread and butter pickle mix for refrigerator pickles? ›

Each pouch makes 4 pints of crisp, crunchy pickles. Refrigerator Pickles without the work or the wait compared to the Quick Process® Pickles. Boiling water bath method not required if you simply make and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months unopened. Ready to eat in 24 hours after preparation.

How long do homemade refrigerator pickles last? ›

How long do refrigerator pickles last? Homemade refrigerated pickles last at least three to four weeks in the fridge, McClellan says. Any longer and the quality will start to decline. You'll notice the brine goes from clear to murky and cloudy, and the pickles start to lose their texture.

What's the difference between regular pickles and bread and butter pickles? ›

Bread and butter pickles usually have a few more inclusions than sweet pickles – none of them actually being bread and butter of course. These extra ingredients are usually onions, green or red peppers, and various seeds from coriander, mustard, and celery plants.

What makes pickles taste better? ›

You can make your pickles more appetizing and appealing by adding multiple fresh herbs and spices into the mixture. Dill is perhaps the most iconic herb for pickles, and for a good reason. With its feathery leaves and unmistakable aroma, dill adds a fresh, slightly bitter note to pickles that is simply irresistible.

Why are my bread and butter pickles mushy? ›

It may be a normal reaction during fermentation caused by bacteria. If the pickles are soft, they are spoiled from the yeast fermentation. Don't use them. Using too weak a salt brine or vinegar solution may cause soft or slippery pickles, as can using moldy garlic or storing the pickles at too warm a temperature.

Can you reuse pickle juice to make refrigerator pickles? ›

To be on the safe side, we wouldn't recommend reusing it more than once, although some say you can safely reuse it 2 or 3 times. Again, watch for changes in the clarity of the brine. BONUS! Refrigerator pickles aren't the only use for pickle juice.

What is the shelf life of homemade bread and butter pickles? ›

Once you've opened your pickles, they should be good for about 1 year if stored in the refrigerator. Homemade pickles will have a shorter time span, about 4 to 6 weeks in the fridge. Freezing isn't typically done due to a loss in texture and taste.

What to do with leftover bread and butter pickle brine? ›

Here are five ways to use pickle brine, according to the experts.
  1. Make an aioli. If you can muster up the energy to make a summer sandwich, you can jazz up your aioli, too. ...
  2. Use it as a chicken marinade. ...
  3. Make oyster shooters. ...
  4. Make more pickles. ...
  5. Use it in a co*cktail.
Jun 25, 2021

Which is the best vinegar for pickling? ›

Most pickle recipes call for distilled white vinegar. This is the clear, colorless vinegar made by fermenting grains. It has a mellow aroma, tart acid flavor and does not affect the color of light-colored vegetables or fruits.

Why do pickle jars not say pickles? ›

Olive all use the term on their websites, in advertisem*nts, and in the product descriptions of their pickle varieties. When asked why the word isn't on the front of the jars, all three companies provided nearly the same answer: They feel the word “pickle” isn't necessary on pickles packaged in clear glass containers.

Why do you boil vinegar when pickling? ›

Quick pickling, or refrigerator pickling, involves a simple boil-and-pour method of pickling. You take all of your ingredients, apart from the product that is being pickled, and bring them to a boil. The heating process helps activate the flavors in the brine and marry them together.

Can you eat too many bread and butter pickles? ›

Eat bread-and-butter pickles in moderation to limit added sugars, and keep an eye out for sodium too—if you already eat out or eat foods high in sodium, a pickle spear or two per day could push you over the limit. Buy fermented pickles for added gut health benefits.

Is it OK to eat bread and butter pickles? ›

Bread and butter pickles (whether they're water bath canned or not) can be eaten as soon as 24 hours after making, but they'll have the best flavor if you let them sit for at least a week (ideally 3 or more weeks).

Which is sweeter sweet pickles or bread and butter pickles? ›

In other words, bread and butter pickles are a kind of sweet pickle, but they're not the only type. As far as sweet pickles go, the bread and butter variety offers both sweet and savory flavors, which is why they make for great burger toppings.

What ingredient gives flavor to the pickles? ›

The primary ingredient in pickles is cucumbers. Acetic acid, or vinegar, is added to the cucumbers. After water, vinegar makes up most of the pickle juice. It also adds to the pickles' sour taste.

How can I add flavor to my pickles? ›

Experiment with spices: There are so many spices that can add flavor to your pickles. Some popular options include mustard seeds, coriander seeds, dill seeds, and peppercorns. You can also try using herbs like basil, thyme, and rosemary to add a unique twist to your pickles.

What gives the characteristics flavor of pickles? ›

Salt provides a suitable environment for lactic acid bacteria to grow. The lactic acid that they produce gives the pickle the characteristic flavour and preserves the vegetables. Salt can either be added to the vegetables as dry salt or made into a brine that the vegetables are soaked in.

Are bread and butter pickles always sweet? ›

Bread and Butter pickles have a slightly different flavor than Sweet pickles in general because they are pickled in different ways. Bread and butter pickles are a style, not a type. Sweet Pickles are the type that bread and butter pickles are a style of.

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