Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

Delightfully crisp, sweet, and tangy, these refrigerator bread and butter pickles come together quickly and easily. No canning pots, hot water baths, or fancy tools are required for this recipe!

Open jar of bread and butter pickles on a plate with three pickle slices in view.

Foolproof Pickle Recipe

Years ago, I vowed to spend the summer learning to can fresh fruits and vegetables, pickles included. Summer was over in a blink, and my cans were still empty. I couldn’t let the summer go by without an attempt to preserve anything, so I gave refrigerator pickles a try. I never looked back!

I never knew how easy making pickles at home could be. These bread and butter pickles are:

  • Simple and quick
  • Totally foolproof – no canning or fancy equipment is needed
  • A little sweet and a little zesty
  • Totally addictive
  • A year-round staple in my fridge

Ingredients for Bread and Butter Pickles

There are two main components to these refrigerator pickles:

  1. CucumbersI recommend pickling cucumbers for this recipe, but small regular cucumbers work in a pinch. 
  2. The Brine: This is where the classic sweet and tangy flavor comes from! Use a combination of vinegars (white vinegar and apple cider vinegar), sugars (granulated sugar and brown sugar), and spices like mustard seed, celery seed, and ground turmeric. For an extra kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Ingredients for bread and butter pickles prepped and labeled.

Step-by-Step Instructions

These bread and butter pickles couldn’t be easier to make! Here’s a quick overview of the process:

  • Prepare the Cucumbers: Cut the cucumbers into ¼-inch thick slices – I like using a crinkle cutter for classic bread and butter pickles. Sprinkle them with salt, toss to combine, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for about 90 minutes.
  • Rinse: After the cucumbers marinate with salt, rinse them with cold water, drain, and mix in the thinly sliced onion.
  • Make the Brine: Combine the remaining ingredients together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Pour: Pour the brine over the cucumbers and onions. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about an hour.
  • Transfer & Refrigerate: Transfer the pickle and onion mixture (including the liquid) into airtight containers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Side by side photos of cucumber slices being rinsed and pickling brine being poured over cucumber slices and onions.

Tools for Homemade Pickles

While refrigerator pickles don’t require any specialty canning tools, I love using these two items for authentic bread and butter pickles:

What to Serve with Bread and Butter Pickles

Bread and butter pickles taste a little tangy, a little zesty, a little sweet, and wildly delicious. They add a welcome burst of flavor to:

Jar of bread and butter pickles next to fork with a pickle on it.

Try These Pickle Recipes Next

If you like this simple homemade pickle recipe, you’ll also love the following:

Watch How to Make Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles:

If you make these pickles and love them, I would so appreciate it if you would take a moment to leave a rating below. Thank you! ❤️️

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

A wonderful, simple recipe for homemade refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles. No canning equipment required! Just prepare and pop in the fridge!

  • cups (680 g) pickling cucumbers, sliced ¼-inch thick , about 1½ pounds
  • tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) white vinegar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup (53 g) light brown sugar
  • teaspoons mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Combine cucumbers and salt in a large, shallow bowl; cover and chill 1½ hours. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl and toss with the cucumbers.

  • Combine the granulated sugar, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and ground turmeric in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

  • Pour the hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 month.

  • Cucumbers: Pickling cucumbers work best, but you can substitute small regular cucumbers if needed.
  • Sugar: You can adjust the sugar quantities based on your preferences.
  • Jars: You can store this entire recipe in one of these large Bormioli jars (I’ve loved these forever!) or you divide it up using regular pint-size jars.
  • Storage: These pickles will keep in your refrigerator for up to 1 month.
  • Long-Term Storage: This pickle recipe is not meant for long-term storage, so you should not can it or store it at room temperature for any length of time.

Nutritional values are based on one cup in juice.

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 307kcal, Carbohydrates: 73g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Sodium: 2628mg, Potassium: 325mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 68g, Vitamin A: 151IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 1mg

This recipe was originally published on August 25, 2011.