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Perfect Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe for Canning

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Are you a connoisseur of sweet and tangy pickles to add to your sandwiches or burgers?  If so, you are in for a treat! This homemade bread and butter pickles recipe is crunchy, flavorful, and addictive!

This easy canning recipe is a must-try if you or someone in your home who is a pickle lover.

Made with fresh cucumbers, onions, and a blend of spices, these pickles offer the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess that will have you eating them more and more. 

And Bonus! Making your own homemade pickles allows you to have full control over the ingredients, ensuring a healthier and more natural option compared to store-bought alternatives and they cost pennies a jar to make.

This year I made a huge mistake and planted too many cucumber plants, and boy, howdy, have they produced!  They have far exceeded what my plants have produced in years past. Thus far and counting, I’ve harvested and preserved over 400 lbs!  

jars of bread and butter pickles on a towel
Bread and Butter Pickles – Sweet and Crunchy

I’ve made my family’s favorite Dill Pickles, over 80 quarts of Sweet Pickle Relish, several jars of Sweet Pickle Spears, and Kosher Dill Spears, and have tried a new recipe for Fiery Spicy Pickle that includes different varieties of peppers for heat. 

But I must say, I think this Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe just may become a new favorite. 

History of Bread and Butter Pickles

These pickles have a rich history that dates back to the early 1920s. When I ran across this article from East Tennessee State University, I got a little emotional because the story brought back memories of the Sunday dinner table at my granny’s house as a kid.

Without fail, a jar home canned bread and butter pickles were always on the table. Since I live about 1 hour from Greenville, TN  this story was awesome to read.  

Of course, my granny had her own recipe, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t come from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving as mine does. 

Tips for Making Perfect Pickles 

  • Choose small, firm pickling cucumbers for the best texture and flavor. Avoid cucumbers from the grocery store that have been waxed.
  • Slice both cucumbers and onions thinly to the flavor of the spices are really tasty.
  • Let cucumbers and onions marinate in the salt solution for a full hour to draw out excess moisture, making for even crispier pickles.
  • Use on a canning and pickling salt without iodine. The iodine will cause pickles to be dark and affect their flavor. 
  • Be sure to rinse cucumbers thoroughly to remove all excess salt.
  • Use 5% acidity vinegar in either white or apple cider
  • Let pickles sit for at least 24 hours before eating any. This allows time for the flavors to meld together. 

How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles

If you are comfortable with water bath canning, you can dive right into the recipe; if not, grab a copy of my Beginners Guide to Home Canning.

Also, look over this article from the National Center for Home Food Preservation as well. And if you still have questions, feel free to leave a comment in the comment area below, and I’ll be happy to help. 

Step 1:  Collect Canning Equipment

Step 2: Gather Recipe Ingredients

Pickling Cucumbers – I recommend pickles that are small, 4-6 inches long. Of course, if they are longer, these will work too.  I just find that smaller cucumbers make for crispy, crunchy, addictive pickles.

Onions – I like to use white onions when I’m doing canning, but yellow onions will work just as well. Both are sweet, so they make for delicious additions to a canning recipe. 

The Brine Mix – This is how the recipe’s magic or tanginess happens. Use a combination of vinegar (either white or apple cider vinegar) I’ve been known to mix the two.

White vinegar gives the pickles a tart flavor, and the apple cider adds a sweet fruity flavor, sugar, mustard seeds, ground turmeric, celery seeds, and peppercorns. For a little extra heat, you can add a little pinch of red pepper flakes.  Pickle Crisp is optional. 

Step 3: Prepare Canning Equipment

Wash water bath canner, jars, lids and bands, canning tools, and kitchen utensils in hot soapy water.  Place the water bath canner on the stove with the rack inside. Fill jars and the canner with water.

On medium-high, heat jars to 180°F (82°C) for 10 minutes. Leave them in the canner to stay hot until you need them. 

Step 4: Prepare Ingredients

Prepare Cucumbers – Wash under cold running water, and remove the stem and 1/16 inch off the blossom end.  Cut cucumbers into ¼-inch thick cross slices. Set them aside.

sliced cucumbers in a large glass bowl
Sliced cucumbers for making pickles

Prepare Onions – Peel onions and, using a mandoline, slice onions crosswise into thin slices.

pile of thin sliced onions
Onions thinly sliced for easy bread and butter pickles

Layer with Salt & Ice – Put cucumbers and onions in a large glass bowl, layering with salt.  Then cover with ice and let stand for 1½ hours. 

onions and cucumbers layered for making pickles
Layering onions and cucumbers for pickles

Drain & Rinse – Pour cucumbers and onions into a large colander and rinse under cold running water until all the salt is removed.

Step 5: Make the Brine

Mix sugar, spices, and vinegar in a large pot. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Add cucumbers and onions, and bring to a boil. 

spice brine in a pot for pickles
Pickle spice brine for Bread and Butter Pickles

Step 6: Fill Jars

Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot canning jars, leaving a ½-inch headspace.  Add ⅛-inch teaspoon pickle crisp (optional). Repeat until all jars are filled. 

Remove air bubbles with a bubble remover. Wipe the jar rim with a clean cloth. Center the lid and band, tightening to finger-tight. 

Place jars on the rack inside the water bath canner.

Step 7: Water Bath Processing

Carefully lower the rack into the water, and make sure they are covered by at least 1 inch. If not, you’ll need to add more water.  Adjust the temperature to medium-high, cover the canner with the lid, and bring to a rolling boil.

Once the boil begins start the timer. Process pint jars for 10 minutes. Quart jars for 20 minutes. When finished processing, turn the stove off, remove the lid, and set the timer for another 5 minutes.  Let jars cool in the canner for 5 minutes. 

Then carefully lift the rack and hook to the side of the water bath canner. Use a jar lifter, gently remove pickles from the rack, and place them on a towel on a counter. Don’t tighten the lids.  Cool for at least 12 hours or overnight. 

Check seals, label and store. 

Bread and butter pickles will store safely for 18 months or more. With time, the crunchiness will decrease, so I recommend eating them within 12-14 months for best quality.

More Water Bath Canning Recipes

Yield: 7 pints

Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe

bread and butter pickles in pint jars

Delightfully crisp, sweet and zesty. These pickles are not only delicious but easy to make. Perfect for adding to burgers, sandwiches or just eating straight out of the jar.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 4 pounds - pickling cucumbers (sliced ¼ inch thick - crosswise)
  • 2 pounds - onions, thin sliced
  • 1/3 cup canning salt
  • 2 cups - sugar
  • 2 tablespoons - mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons - turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons - celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon - whole peppercorns
  • 3 cups - 5% vinegar
  • pickle crisp (optional)


  1. Wash and slice cucumbers and onions. Layer in a large bowl sprinkling each layer with salt. Cover with ice, let stand for 1.5 hours. Then rinse to remove salt.
  2. Combine sugar, spices, and vinegar in a large pan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pickles and onions, bring to a boil.
  3. Pack hot pickle and liquid into jars leaving a ½ headspace. Add ⅛ tsp pickle crisp (optional). Repeat until jars are filled.
  4. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  5. Let cool overnight, label and store.
bread and butter pickles with text overlay

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4 thoughts on “Perfect Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe for Canning”

    1. Hi Deborah,

      They are ready to be eaten immediately, but the longer they sit, the better the flavors blend and improve. Mine usually sit for a month or so before we eat any.

  1. Maybe I missed it, but can’t find how many jars this recipe makes…….
    Also do you add any water? Seems that this much vinegar would be rather strong?

    1. Hi Robert,

      The recipe makes 7 pints. I’m not fond of where the recipe card auto-puts it, but its found in the very top left corner, in a lighter font color. As for the water, no water is added to this recipe. They are delicious. We eat a pint about every 2 weeks or so. They are my husbands favorite.

      Thanks for reading,

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