Culinary Class

How To: Bread & Butter Pickles

By: Lia Grabowski
Bread and Butter pickles in mason jars

The South's Bread and Butter

From watermelon rind to pig’s feet, plenty of quirky pickles can be found below the Mason-Dixon, but there’s nothing like the crunch and tang of a classically pickled cucumber to punch up a sandwich or midnight snack. Bread and butter pickles are a Southern staple, a legacy from back in the day when sugar was used as preservative in the South’s sweltering climate.

It’s worth a trip to your farmers market to find just-picked Kirby cucumbers—the fresher the cuke, the better the pickle. For crisper pickles, slice cucumbers ¼-inch or thicker and choose pint jars instead of quart size. (The smaller the jar, the shorter the processing time, thus the more crunch you’ll keep.)

Stick to kosher, canning, or pickling salt to avoid cloudiness in the brine and discoloration of the vegetables. After processing jars in boiling water, keep them upside-down for about 12 hours while cooling for a strong seal.  With proper canning, which halts bacteria growth and allows for safe food storage, pickles will keep unopened in your cupboard for months. For a quicker option, skip the water bath altogether for ready-to-go refrigerator pickles.

Bread and Butter Pickles heading-plus-icon

  • Ingredients
  • 15 Kirby or pickling cucumbers
  • 1 small Vidalia onion
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1½ tablespoons mustard seeds
chopping cucs

step 1

Slice cucumbers to ¼-inch thickness or more, depending on preference. For larger pickles, slice on the bias. Thinly slice onion and add to cucumber.

salting cucs

step 2

Toss slices in salt and let sit for 1 to 2 hours, then rinse in cool water. Drain well.

Making Brine

step 3

Combine vinegars, sugar, turmeric, ginger, celery seed, and mustard seed in large sauce pan. Bring to a simmer to dissolve sugar.

filling jars

step 4

Pack cucumber slices into sterilized jars, leaving ½-inch of headspace at top of jar. Pour hot pickling liquid over cucumber slices, maintaining ½-inch of headspace. Tamp down to remove air.

sanitizing jars

step 5

Put lids on jar until tight, then process in simmering water for 15 minutes. Carefully remove from water bath, tighten jars, and place upside down on a heat-proof surface to cool.


Hilda’s Icebox Pickles

In a gallon container, combine salt, pepper, water, and vinegar and stir briskly to dissolve salt. Add cucumbers, onion, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate.


Seven-Day Sweet Pickles

Day one: In a large bowl, soak cucumbers in ice water for 30 minutes. Drain. Trim ends, then slice cucumbers ¾-inch thick. Pack slices into a sterilized half-gallon jar or other glass container and cover with boiling water. Cover [...]


Local Winter Kraut

Hex Ferments shares their recipe for Local Winter Kraut that is a probiotic-packed, crunchy, flavorful alternative to the soggy, pasteurized store-bought version.

Leave a Reply

Be the first to comment.