Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

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Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles are tart, crunchy, and perfectly sweet. This quick and easy pickling recipe uses spices and vinegar to create crisp and delicious small batch pickles!

jar of bread and butter pickles with three cucumbers on a floral napkin
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Old Fashioned Refrigerator Pickles

Last year, I decided to try my hand at growing a small vegetable garden. Little did I know I would be swamped with an abundance of vegetables needing to be harvested at the same time. What's a girl to do?

Make old-fashioned Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles like my Granny used to can!

The thrill of being able to harvest fresh veggies and enjoy them for months is so much fun. I've literally pickled everything I can get my hands on.

If it grows, I've pickled it. Squash, cucumbers, green peppers, onion slices and tomatoes have succumbed to a tart vinegar bath filled with hefty herbs and spices. They come out crisp and full of spicy flavor every time.

two jars of bread and butter pickles with lids and seals

Why You'll Love This Recipe

  • Pickles are easy to make. All you need are some mason jars, new lids, and a few simple ingredients. You don't need any fancy canning equipment to make this easy pickle recipe.
  • Nothing could be more delicious. I never knew how good pickled vegetables could be until I made my own. Whether you cut the cucumbers into thick slices or thin slices...it doesn't matter! Homemade pickles are the best way to preserve nature's bounty.
  • Refrigerated pickles last for months! You can literally make them in 15 minutes and they'll last in your fridge for at least 3 months.

Do I Have to Pressure-Can?

You could pressure-can these pickles, but I like to take the easy way out, which is one of the main reasons I love this recipe.

It couldn't be faster to slice up some veggies and throw them in a jar with a vinegar brine. Plus, pickles stay crispy in the refrigerator for a long time.

This is an easy recipe! The flavor packed into each mason jar will tickle your taste buds. You'll never want to eat store-bought again after you taste them!

cucumbers, onions and red peppers in a mason jar on a slate table with blurred background

What's the Best Vinegar for Pickling?

It's important to use a vinegar that has at least 5% acidity and not to add another liquid to dilute the mix in order to ensure a safe pickling process. I like to use apple cider vinegar that includes 'the mother' which means it contains probiotics.

One of the most popular vinegars to use is distilled white vinegar. Advantages of using white vinegar include less discoloration of vegetables, and it's usually over 5% acidity. It also doesn't affect the flavor of the veggies as much as other vinegars tend to do.

Sometimes I use a combination of both apple cider and white vinegar which gives the sliced cucumbers a tangy flavor.

bread and butter pickles on a floral towel with a cucumber in front

What Spices Should I Use?

This is the fun part. You can add whatever you like to these veggies, including fresh herbs like dill weed, thyme or even oregano. My recipe includes spices I had on hand in my spice cabinet.

Some people use pickling spices instead of mixing a bunch together. I made up my own mix of garlic, celery seed, turmeric, ground cloves, seasoned pepper, salt, sugar and a dash of red pepper flakes.

cucumbers, red pepper and onions cut on a cutting board

How to Make Refrigerator Pickles

This recipe makes a small batch that fits in a 1 quart mason jar or 2 pint size jars.

Start by gathering your canning jars and lids. Wash glass jars well, then dry. Cut up pickling cucumbers and vegetables. Layer in quart jars, or use two pint jars.

Combine vinegar, garlic, celery seed, mustard seed, turmeric, ground cloves, seasoned pepper, salt, sugar and a dash of red pepper flakes in a large pot on the stove.

Bring pickling liquid to a boil over medium heat and stir for about 3 minutes until sugar dissolves.

Ladle vinegar brine over vegetables in mason jar. Be careful handling because it's a hot jar! Leave about a ½ inch headspace to allow room for air bubbles.

Place lid on jar and let cool at least an hour until it reaches room temperature. Place sealed jars of sweet pickles in the refrigerator and cool overnight before eating.

Store pickles for up to 3 months in refrigerator. The longer they sit, the better they taste.

single jar of cucumbers, onions and red peppers on a white background

Recipe FAQS

What's the difference between refrigerator pickles and canned pickles?

The refrigerated version is not processed in a water bath canner so they're not shelf stable. They must be kept in the refrigerator to avoid spoilage.

Do you have to peel the cucumbers?

No, that's the best part! The peels on the cucumbers add a nice crunch after they're pickled, so definitely leave them on.

What are the best cucumbers for pickling?

Homegrown cucumbers that come out of your own vegetable garden are the best option, but any type of pickling cucumber will do. The waxy ones at the grocery store are not the best choice since the wax doesn't allow the brine to get through.

Recipes That Go With Pickles

Bread and Butter pickles taste great on hamburgers, barbecue sandwiches and in classic potato salad. Try these recipes that go along perfectly...

 

Recipe Card

jar of bread and butter pickles with three cucumbers on a floral napkin

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles are tart, crunchy, and perfectly sweet. This quick and easy pickling recipe uses spices and vinegar to create crisp and delicious small batch pickles.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 84kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Equipment

  • 1 Quart Mason Jar (or 2 pints)

Ingredients

  • 3 large pickling cucumbers cut in slices
  • 1 vidalia onion cut in strips
  • 3 small red peppers diced
  • 1 ½ cups apple cider or distilled vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. celery seed
  • ¼ tsp. mustard seed
  • ½ tsp. dried turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. dried ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. seasoned pepper ad
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • dash of red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Wash vegetables as well as jars and lids. 
  • Slice vegetables and layer in a quart size mason jar, or use two pint size jars. Cucumbers can be sliced thick or thin to your preference.
  • Mix vinegar, garlic, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, ground cloves, pepper, salt, sugar, and a dash of red pepper flakes in a large pot on the stove.
  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat and stir for about 5 minutes until sugar dissolves. 
  • Ladle vinegar brine over vegetables in mason jar. Leave a ½ inch headspace.
  • Place lid on jar and let cool for one hour.
  • Put pickles in the refrigerator and cool overnight before eating. 
  • Store pickles for up to 3 months in refrigerator.

Notes

  • This recipe makes a small batch that fits in a 1 quart mason jar or 2 pint mason jars.
  • If you use another type of cucumber, you will need to adjust the quantity. 
  • Use a combination of 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and ½ cup apple cider vinegar if preferred.
  • To ensure safety, always check vinegar levels to make sure they have at least 5% acidity. 
  • Substitute pickling spices for other ingredients if desired. 
  • Store pickles in refrigerator. They are not shelf stable. 

Nutrition

Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 484mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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I'd like to give a special shout out to Drew and Julia Anderson who have a channel on YouTube called Live. Love. Life. These special friends have inspired me to grow my own food and live life more abundantly. Check out their channel! I bet you'll be inspired too.

7 Comments

    1. Thanks, Carol. These pickles turned out so great! I'm sure you'll get a batch before it's all over.

  1. What are your thoughts about leaving out the sugar? I prefer a savory pickle versus a sweet one. Thanks for your advice!

    1. I think you could do that without any problem. I've heard that sugar helps the pickling process along, but maybe you could just add one or two tablespoons to see what happens. I've never made dill pickles, but I think I'll try it now!

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