Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

5 from 3 votes

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Nothing beats a bread and butter pickle, except maybe when it’s homemade! Make quick pickles with just a handful of simple ingredients and only 15 minutes of prep time.

closeup: bread and butter pickle recipe in a glass jar

When it comes to refrigerator pickles, this bread and butter pickle recipe is one of my absolute favorites. The sweetness of the sugar, the tanginess of the vinegar, and the bold, robust flavors of the spices create a pickle that will tantalize every one of your taste buds. 

Besides a fantastic snack, it is a great way to use up all the cucumbers I over planted AGAIN this year!

closeup: refrigerator pickles in a glass jar

I like to enjoy bread and butter pickle slices all by themselves or alongside a nice Chicken Salad or Egg Salad Sandwich. They also make a great condiment alongside roasted meat entrees like this Smoked Pork Shoulder. You’ll see — these sweet little quick pickles are going to rock your world!

overhead: a bowl of cucumbers on a wooden cutting board with sliced cucumbers and a crinkle cutter

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Cucumbers – Choose a thicker-skinned variety such as the Bush Pickle, Boston Pickling, or National Pickling cucumbers. Any variety works though, even with thin skin like English hothouse or Persian. It’s a preference thing really. Try them and see which variety is best for your tastes.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Brings a sweet sharpness and mild fruity flavor. You can substitute in another type of vinegar, like distilled white vinegar, but your quick pickles will taste a bit different. 
  • Kosher Salt – I prefer Kosher salt, but canning, pickling, or even regular table salt can be used. Just keep in mind that each of these salts is ground differently, meaning that a teaspoon of Kosher salt may not equal a teaspoon of pickling salt. Adjust as needed. 
  • Sugar – Harmonizes the brine and gives this bread and butter pickle recipe its signature sweetness. 
  • Cloves – Bring a spicy-sweet, astringent heat. 
  • Mustard Seed Adds a sharp, tangy, and bright flavor. 
  • Turmeric – Infuses the brine with an earthy, peppery flavor and bright yellow color. 
  • Red Pepper Flakes Delivers just the right touch of zesty heat. 
  • Celery Seed – Adds earthy, aromatic, and slightly bitter elements.
overhead: ingredients needed for quick pickles

How to Make Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles

  1. Clean & Cut Cucumbers. Give the cucumbers a thorough wash and rub. Slice off about ¼ inch from each end and discard. Process the cucumbers into either slices or spears, measuring between ¼ to ½ inch thick. I like to use a crinkle cutter, but regular slices are perfect too. 
  2. Pack Into Pints. Tightly pack your slices or spears into 2 clean glass pint jars. If you need to fit more in, cover the open jar with your hand and shake it to make more room. Pack tightly but be sure to leave ½ inch of clearance from the top. Once filled, transfer the jars to a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. 
  3. Prepare the Brine. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add in the water, vinegar, sugar, kosher salt, cloves, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, turmeric, and celery seed, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer for about 3 minutes or until all of the sugar and salt granules are dissolved. 
  4. Brine the Cucumbers. Right away, carefully transfer the hot brine to the jars with the sliced cucumbers. In each jar, add enough liquid to completely cover the slices. 
  5. Cover & Cool. Tap the sides of each bread and butter pickle jar to get rid of any air bubbles. Cover the jars with lids and let the brine cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator. Chill for at least 2 days.
a glass jar full of bread and butter pickles

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closeup: a fork lifting a bread and butter pickle out from a jar with more pickles

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a bread and butter pickle different?

The most defining feature of a bread and butter pickle is certainly its sweetness. Sugar is added to the brine, taking away some of the sharpness present in more sour pickle varieties. 

What’s more, the brine for bread and butter pickles boasts a menagerie of complimentary spices including turmeric, cloves, red pepper, mustard seed, and celery seed. The resulting pickle is sour, spicy, salty, and bright with an intense sweetness.

What is the difference between quick pickles and regular pickles?

Quick pickles are just how they sound — quick and easy to make. Freshly chopped vegetables are bathed in a simple hot vinegar brine, then stashed in the refrigerator to marinate for a couple of days. 

However, the trade-off is that quick pickles are not shelf stable. They must be kept in the refrigerator and only have a shelf life of 2 months. 

Regular pickles, on the other hand, go through a much more involved pickling process. They are bathed in a much stronger brine and then vacuum sealed using a water-bath method. This makes them shelf stable with a much longer life. For example, a bread and butter pickle jar prepared this way can sit safely in your pantry for up to a year.

How long do fresh refrigerator pickles last?

Based on this bread and butter pickle recipe, they will stay fresh for up to 2 months. After that, the texture of your pickles will start to go downhill and the brine might turn a little funky. 

I recommend always putting a label with a date on your refrigerator pickles as you make them to avoid any confusion.

closeup: quick pickles in a glass jar
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Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

5 from 3 votes
This easy bread and butter pickle recipe is a quick version of these scrumptious snacks. They’re sweet, spicy, and sour all at once!
Servings: 2 pints
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Pickle Time: 2 days
Total: 2 days 20 minutes



  • Wash and rub exterior of cucumbers. Cut and remove a 1/4-inch from both ends of the cucumbers and slice into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices or spears (I use a crinkle cut slicer I got from Pampered Chef YEARS ago, I like the look).
  • Pack the sliced cucumbers into two clean pint jars. Once filled, cover the open top with your hand and shake them to shift the cucumbers and get more in if necessary. Leave ½ inch of head space at the top. Set the filled jars aside on a baking tray (See Note 2) while you prepare the brine.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, cloves, mustard seed, turmeric, red pepper flakes and celery seed (See Note 3). Stir and bring to a simmer until the sugar and salt are dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  • Use a ladle and immediately pour the hot brine over the sliced cucumbers in the jars. Fill the jars so that the brine covers the cucumbers.
  • Tap the sides to help remove any air bubbles. Place lids on the jars and allow the brine to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer the jars to the refrigerator for 2 days before consuming. The pickles will last 2 months in the refrigerator.


  1. I tend to stay away from the thinner skin varieties (English Hothouse or Persian) for quick pickling and like the crunch from Boston Pickling cucumbers, The National Pickling Cucumber or the Bush Pickle, but truly they all are fine to use.
  2. Place the cucumber filled jars on a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. This helps from staining your kitchen counter if any of the brine drips due to the turmeric.
  3. You may have some extra pickling liquid, but I’ve learned it’s better to have more than not in the middle of processing it all. You could also use them for my Dill Pickle Chicken Wings recipe!


Calories: 28kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 638mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 43IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: condiments, Snacks
Cuisine: American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): how to make refrigerator bread and butter pickles


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    Made a half-batch of these and they came out great.
    Would this brine be suitable for quick-pickling other items, like cauliflower or pearl onions? Thank you.

  2. I have been waiting for this recipe to come through with these amazing combinations if ingredients,
    Going to the farm stand today for my cukes! Thanks so much!