Recipe: Bread and Butter Pickles

Ever since we planted our first cucumber seedlings for the garden this year, I’ve been enthusiastically talking about the day when we will have so many cucumbers, we’ll have to make some pickles.  Specifically: Bread and Butter Pickles.

Typically, I’m a fan of a salty/fermenty pickle and usually reach for a classic dill spear when I’m shopping for pickles at the store.  But for whatever reason, I’ve had the strongest urge this year to make Bread and Butter Pickles – the sweet, tangy version of pickles that have sounded so perfect to me all summer long.  After receiving a pile of pickling cucumbers from my CSA (my garden cucumbers are just starting to come in) and knowing that I was going out of town for a couple of days, I decided the time had come to whip up a batch to soak while I was away.

I based my recipe below off of one posted by one of my all-time culinary heroes, Alton Brown.  I altered his original recipe slightly by reducing the amount of sugar (believe me, there is still plenty!) and adding some crushed garlic and red pepper flakes to mine for a little added flavor.  These are meant to be fridge pickles, so please store them in the fridge at all times, even after fully brining.  If you are looking for a canning recipe, please search on!

Alton recommends soaking these for a week before eating, although I’ll admit that I snuck a few after an hour or so and they were already tasty (although the weeklong soak really does enhance the flavor).  This recipe makes a nice big batch, which is ideal if you need to use up a pile of cucumbers, and fun if you like to snack on a little bowl of pickles while you’re in the middle of your mid-afternoon slump (what, just me?).  The results are the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, with a nice crunch from the cucumbers and pickled onions.  Perfectly crave-able, and totally met my expectations for a home-made bread and butter pickle!

Recipe down below, along with photos!  Happy pickling, friends!

Bread and Butter Pickles


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
  • ½ onion, sliced thin


  1. In a large saucepan or pot, add the sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, salt, garlic clove, red pepper flakes, and yellow mustard seeds.  Stir to combine, and put the pot on the stove.  Heat until boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until all of the sugar has fully dissolved.  Boil for 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, prep your cucumbers by washing and drying thoroughly, and chopping into ¼ inch slices.  Chop the onion into thin slices as well.
  3. Once the brine has been removed from the heat, add the onions and the cucumbers while the brine is still hot.  Stir to fully combine.
  4. Allow the onions and cucumbers to sit in the brine until cooled to room temperature, about 2 hours.  Once cooled, transfer the pickles into large mason jars with lids, or a similar air-tight container.  Top the pickles with extra brine to be sure that all of the pickles are fully submerged in the brine.  Add the lids and move to the refrigerator.
  5. Allow to age for 5-7 days in the refrigerator for the full amount of flavor from the brine to work it’s way into the pickles.  After aging, open up the container and enjoy!
  6. Store the pickles in the fridge between uses.  This is not a canning recipe, so these should not be stored at room temperature at any point!

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