This recipe for homemade bread and butter pickles is easy, delicious, and doesn’t require canning. Just 20 minutes of prep and let your refrigerator do the rest of the work!
Made with cucumbers, onions, and a homemade brine, this recipe is quick to prepare. Enjoy them with your favorite burger, sandwich, or as a snack by themselves.
This recipe first appeared on Spend With Pennies where I am a contributor.
Why We Love this Recipe
One of the best parts about refrigerator pickles is that you don’t need canning jars to make them! Fresh cucumber slices are infused with flavor from a seasoned vinegar mixture, then stored in the fridge.
It takes just 15 minutes of hands-on time, then 25 hours to marinate. The result is a batch of sweet and salty pickles that the whole family loves!
What Are Bread & Butter Pickles?
Bread and butter pickles are sweeter than dill pickles. They’re brined in a vinegar-sugar mixture with other ingredients and spices.
There are a few ideas where the name “bread and butter pickles” comes from:
- Some say it was popularized during the Great Depression because butter-and-pickle sandwiches were all people could afford for lunch.
- It may also be related to traditional English cucumber sandwiches, which are filled with cucumbers and butter or cream cheese.
- As the story goes, they didn’t have money for groceries, so they traded the sweet pickles for essentials like bread and butter. They also sold them to make cash, marketing them as “bread and butter pickles.”
Regardless of their origins, I think we can all agree that they’re delicious! Especially on a sandwich with Homemade Bread, deli meat, and cheese or cheeseburgers!
Cucumbers: Pickling cucumbers are smaller in size, and fresh is best! Get them at the grocery store, a local farmer’s market, or grow them in your own garden.
Onions: Slice ‘em thin, they add lots of flavor to the brine!
Brine: This is made with a base of white and apple cider vinegar. It’s seasoned with light brown sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, and kosher salt.
You can also add red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
How To Make Refrigerator Pickles
While this recipe does need to chill for 25 hours for the best tasting pickles, it is quick to prepare with just 3 simple steps!
Step 1: Thinly slice the cucumbers and onions and place in a large bowl with salt. Chill and let the salt pull out excess water to make room for the brine! After chilling, rinse off the salt, drain excess water, and put the cucumber and onions back in.
Step 2: In a small saucepan, combine all brine ingredients (per the recipe below).
Combine: Pour it over the top of the sliced cucumbers and onions and chill!
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or pint jars.
How To Serve Them
Pickles are great for so many things, here are a few ideas for how to enjoy them!
- With burgers and sandwiches
- In chicken or tuna salad
- In potato or pasta salad
- Battered and fried
- With Bloody Marys
- With deviled eggs
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Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles
- Slice the cucumbers and onion into thin slices and place in a large bowl and toss with the salt. cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Transfer the cucumbers and onions to a colander and rinse off the salt. Drain any excess water from the bowl and put the cucumber and onions back in.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegars, and spices and heat over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the top of the sliced cucumbers and onions and allow the bowl to come to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- The best flavor will come about 2 weeks after brining.
- Store in an airtight container for 3 to 4 months in the refrigerator.