How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles – easy enough for a beginner

Bread and butter pickles are one of my family’s favorites. Each summer, I make as many jars as possible while the cucumbers are in full production out in the garden. These sweet bread and butter pickles are easy enough for a beginner to make, using the boiling water bath canning method.

How to make bread & butter pickles - easy enough for a beginner - raw pickle chips; full jars of bread & butter pickles; and pickle chips in the vinegar processing bath

This post may contain affiliate links – meaning I receive tiny commissions for purchases made through those links at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.

How to make bread and butter pickles

Since I only use cucumbers from the garden, the recipe below is for one pound of cucumbers. Multiply by the number of pounds of cucumbers you have, but  don’t make more than 4 pounds at a time .

To check how many pounds of cukes I have, I use this handy digital kitchen scale.

You can use a kitchen knife to slice the cucumbers into pickle chips, or use a mandoline or a crinkle cutter tool.

A few summers ago, I found this vintage crinkle cutter at a flea market – for 50 cents! I love it!

How to make bread & butter pickles - vintage crinkle cutter tool and raw pickle chips

The night before you plan to make your bread and butter pickles, run your canning jars, lids and rings through the dishwasher. I like to use half-pint jars for this recipe.

Bread and butter pickle ingredients

  • 1 pound of cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers into “chips”. No need to peel them.
  • 1/2 pound sliced Vidalia onions
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger (powder, not paste)
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

Processing instructions

In a large glass bowl, add a layer of cucumber chips and onion slices and sprinkle with pickling salt.

Keep adding layers until you have all the cucumber chips and onion layered in the bowl. Top with remaining pickling salt. Cover with ice cubes and let sit on the counter for 1 – 2 hours.

Using a medium to large size non-reactive pot – depending on how many pounds of cucumbers you have – add the vinegar, sugar and spices and bring to a boil. I like to use an enamel clad cast iron pot.

Meanwhile, place your half-pint or pint canning jars in a stockpot for the boiling water bath, and start boiling the water.

When the vinegar mixture comes to a boil, rinse the cucumber/onion mixture and drain.

Add the cucumbers and onions to the vinegar mixture, and return to a boil.

How to make bread & butter pickles - crinkle cut pickle chips cooking in a vinegar and spice pickling liquid

Remove the canning jars, lids and rings from the boiling water, and add the appropriate amount of pickle crisp granules to each jar.

Add pickles and vinegar mixture to each jar, leaving 1/4″ head space. Wipe rims; add lids and rings.

How to make bread & butter pickles - empty half-pint canning jars ready to fill with the pickle and brine mix

Process pints or half pints for 10 minutes in the boiling water bath

Allow jars to cool. If any lids are not concave, refrigerate and use right away.


Keep the bread and butter pickles in a cool dark place, and use in a year. They will be fine after a year, but the flavor may be a bit diminished.

Jars of bread and butter pickles – along with homemade hot dog relish and herbal vinegars – make great gifts!