Bread and Butter Pickles

When it comes to the kitchen, I find that the more I know, the more I want to learn… I am constantly trying to master new techniques and broaden my kitchen skills. I just can’t get enough!

I recently decided that canning would be my next kitchen venture, so I headed off to a local kitchen store and picked up a few of the essentials – a big canning pot and rack, a jar lifter, and a canning funnel.  I’m not much of a gadget person (and have very few “gadgets” in my kitchen… just the basics!), but I knew that these would be necessary tools to have on hand. I wasn’t completely new to the process because I used to help my mom with canning when I was a kid.  It’s been a while, though… And, as a kid, I wasn’t the one in charge of the boiling water!

I settled on making bread and butter pickles for my first canning experience… They are my hubby’s favorite, and I remember making them with my mom (and snacking on the ones that didn’t fit into the jar… yum!). Plus, it didn’t hurt that we had a ridiculous amount of cucumbers on hand. For the first time (ever), the cucumber plants that I planted in my garden are producing cucumbers… LOTS of them! Plus, we’ve been getting quite a few cucumbers from our CSA. I don’t know about you, but I can’t eat 8-10 cucumbers each week, so it just seemed natural to make pickles.

I decided to start with a “tried and true” recipe for my first attempt at canning – not wanting to poison anyone and all! One of my go-to reference cookbooks is the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (the exact version that I own doesn’t appear to be available anymore, but this one looks close), so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with their recipe.  My assumption was correct… The pickles were great (and just as tasty to snack on as I had remembered), and the whole process was much easier than I expected. I plan on doing some more canning throughout the rest of the summer, too!

Bread and Butter Pickles

(Yields 7 pints, from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)

  • 16 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
    (If you have a mandolin, this is the time to use it!)
  • 8 sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt (or Kosher salt)
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • Ice cubes
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds

Combine the sliced cucumbers and sliced onions in a large stock pot. Stir in the salt and the halved garlic cloves. Top with a layer of ice cubes (about 1-2 inches), cover, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours (up to 12).

After refrigerating, discard any ice that has not melted.  Drain in a large colander, and remove the garlic cloves.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, vinegar, and spices in the large stock pot.  Heat to boiling. Add the drained cucumber mixture, and return to a boil.

Transfer the pickles to sterilized pint canning jars.  Wipe the jar rims and add the lids. Process in the boiling water canner (placing the jars on a rack, filling with liquid to cover the jars, and returning to a boil) for 10 minutes. Be sure to start timing after the water returns to a boil.

Remove the jars and allow to cool. If the lids remain down when they are pressed on, the jars are sealed properly. Refrigerate any jars that did not seal properly.

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30 Responses to Bread and Butter Pickles
  1. Jessica @ How Sweet
    July 14, 2010 | 8:04 am

    I love pickles. I don’t think I would ever have the patience to make them, but I eat them by the jar-full. Do you need a taste tester? ;)

  2. Kathia
    July 14, 2010 | 10:13 am

    They look delicious.

  3. Tickled Red
    July 14, 2010 | 11:17 am

    Great job darlin’!! I am about to attempt my first canning experience with some homemade marinara sauce. Next on the list are your pickles :)

  4. Amanda
    July 14, 2010 | 11:18 am

    GORGEOUS!!! Fantastic job!!!

  5. Joy
    July 14, 2010 | 1:53 pm

    I don’t believe you made your own pickles. That is really cool. Great recipe!

  6. Eliana
    July 14, 2010 | 2:19 pm

    What a fun project Jen.

  7. Mary Weaver
    July 14, 2010 | 6:24 pm

    Tickled Red I am wondering what marinara sauce you can. I would love to have a recipe for that. Thanks

  8. Stephanie
    July 14, 2010 | 7:04 pm

    My grandma would make these every single summer, she used a veg a matic to cut the veggies, and the pickles are awesome!!! I always remember the roasting pan sitting on the counter filled with the sliced cucumbers and the salt and ice all over the top great memories

  9. Carrie
    July 14, 2010 | 9:00 pm

    ~great job~ looks like fun!

  10. Chris
    July 15, 2010 | 12:36 am

    Oh my gosh! I love B/B pickles and you made them! Great new project. Congrats. Always wanted to learn to can…so this post is dangerous! LOL

  11. Mags
    July 15, 2010 | 4:17 am

    You’re tempting me to go out and buy all the necessary equipment for canning. I’m such a wuss when it comes to that business though… I’d so much rather do a batch of freezer pickles and call it a day.

    They do look delicious though@

  12. Natalie
    July 15, 2010 | 12:39 pm

    Dear Jen,

    I am afraid of pickles, but these photos make me want to eat them. Are you some kind of culinary sorceress? Just wondering.

    Love, Natalie

  13. Tracy
    July 15, 2010 | 1:56 pm

    I just made bread & butter pickles last week for the first time, too! I take comfort in the fact that mine look similar to yours. ;-) Yum!!

  14. Maria
    July 15, 2010 | 3:09 pm

    I’ve never made pickles! I can’t wait to try it!

  15. Ivonne
    July 15, 2010 | 8:09 pm

    Good for you! Canning is one of the joys of summer … love the pickles!

  16. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite
    July 20, 2010 | 7:59 am

    I have been waiting to see how these turned out and it looks like they were a success! They remind me of my nana :-)

  17. The Teacher Cooks
    July 20, 2010 | 10:04 am

    What a success story! The pickles look great. And you are correct about the tried and true Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.

  18. Plum Jam | my kitchen addiction
    July 29, 2010 | 9:35 am

    [...] since I got a taste of canning with the Bread and Butter Pickles I made a few weeks ago, I really can’t get enough. Previously I had always assumed that [...]

  19. Canning 101- Part 1
    August 15, 2010 | 9:01 pm

    [...] Pickles:  We used this recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles [...]

  20. [...] Finally, however, I hit pay dirt. And from whom else but Smitten Kitchen who posted a no-canning-needed bread-and-butter pickle recipe? I also like My Kitchen Addition’s variation. [...]

  21. forkblog
    January 11, 2011 | 7:43 pm

    These look so good! I’ve been playing around with a few different types of vinegar. This recipe is my latest rendition:

  22. [...] canning pickles. But, sometimes I don’t have enough cucumbers for a full batch of my favorite sweet bread and butter pickles.  Other times, I just want to experiment with new recipes without having to worry about whether or [...]

  23. renee mikulin
    August 10, 2011 | 9:14 pm

    If I put a red dried chili pepper in each jar before ladling pickles in would that change processing time?

  24. Helen
    August 14, 2011 | 10:24 am

    What I didn’t see here was HOW MANY qts.. pints.. or whatever this makes..that is an IMPORTANT part of canning..I am going to try this recipe hopefully it was for a full canner (7 pints)..

  25. Nicole
    October 4, 2011 | 9:40 pm

    Hi, made these tonight, but decided to omit one of the cups of sugar…note to anyone who may try this, they will be slightly sour tasting, still good, but not as sweet! Great recipe:)

  26. Yes You Can! | Fix Me A Snack
    October 10, 2011 | 8:33 pm

    [...] you’ve done it a few times. I started out with lots and lots of jam. But I’ve seen Bread & Butter Pickles referred to as a good beginner recipe as [...]

  27. Selisa
    July 14, 2013 | 4:51 pm

    Love it! Love it! About to put these pickles up for the second time! Did 3 batches last year and they didn’t make it past Christmas! Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

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