Zesty Bread and Butter Pickles Plus a Homemade Pickle Recipe Round-Up

by heidi on September 20, 2012

Bread and Butter Pickles from FoodieCrush.com

Growing up, we were a house of dill.

Everything I ate had to have a dill pickle on it. My lunchtime tuna sandwich wasn’t complete without long slices of kosher dills (plus one or two on the side.) My after school snack of Triscuits, liverwurst, mustard and dill hamburger chips was my favorite treat as I watched Gilligan mess up the rescue attempts of Ginger and MaryAnn every. single. episode. And I will never, ever be able to eat a cheeseburger without some sort of cucumber stick topping (can I get extra pickles please?) thanks to the memories of stacking my mom’s homemade dills high on just-off-the-grill summer cheeseburgers.

I haven’t changed much. You’ve heard of Wisconsin Cheeseheads? I know you’ve heard of Deadheads. Well call me a Picklehead, perhaps in need of a hat  or maybe some pickle earrings

Bread and Butter Pickles from FoodieCrush

My first taste of spicy–sweet Bread and Butter Pickles was in my husband’s grandmother’s root cellar. Long lines of mason jars with all sorts of slightly dusty, canned produce resting on old wooden shelves—and dappled with a few cobwebs here and there—is where I spied jars and jars of pickles.

Standing on the dirt floor with just a bare light bulb shining the light—cue singing angels—we used a screwdriver to pry open a jar of Bread and Butter Pickles right then and there.

My love affair with dill was over. I had a new crush: spicy–sweet Bread and Butter. Just like most crushes, I spent the next fifteen years searching for the same pickle-love I experienced in that delicious underground pickle lair.

Bread and Butter Pickles from FoodieCrush

When we first moved back to Utah from Los Angeles, I was all getting-back-to-my-roots. I was going to make my own laundry detergent (I didn’t, but I did segue from Tide to Mrs. Meyers.) I was going to prepare raw dog food every week (yes, I did do that—for about 2 months until they said it was safe to buy bagged dog food again.) And I was going to can up a storm to fill up the shelf-lined cold storage pantry nearly every Utah home’s basement possesses.

Canning was one thing I definitely wanted to give a whirl. It was my year.

My sister-in-law Ginni—a fan of Grandma’s pickles too—said she knew the recipe and so we went for it, channeling Grandma Tilly, to recreate her Bread and Butter Pickles.

Let’s just say they weren’t Grandma Tilly’s. What they were was a bit more like a pickle mush. At least the jars that I took home were. Apparently we were a little nervous about the amount of time we processed them for thanks to the altitude ’round these parts. But I still ate them. Every last non-crunchy one.

Every year I’m inspired to give them another go but just haven’t made it happen yet due to the season getting away from me or my general lack of motivation. So I was totally stoked to raid my friend Sherrie’s stash of freshly pickled Bread and Butters she spent the weekend canning a few weeks ago. But would they stand up to Grandma Tilly’s?

Oh glory be! Yes. They. Do.

Bread and Butter Pickles from FoodieCrush

Although I doubt any pickle will ever beat my first taste/mouth-memory I hold dear, these zesty nibbles are pretty darn close. I’ll be pulling out my canner as soon as the three bottles I “borrowed” from Sherrie are gone.

Which means I should have about 3 more sandwiches worth of pickles.

Remember…I’m a picklehead.

*the photo above does not represent the actual ratio of pickle to sandwich I normally enjoy. There are usually twice as many pickles. I’m rationing, remember?

Zesty Bread and Butter Pickles

Yield: makes 8 1-quart jars

Zesty Bread and Butter Pickles


25 cucumbers, ¼-inch slices
6 onions, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup salt
3 cups cider vinegar
5 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons celery seed
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 teaspoons ground turmeric


  1. Mix cucumbers, onions, red bell pepper, garlic and salt in a large bowl or dutch oven and let stand for 3 hours.
  2. In a large dutch oven or large saucepan bring cider vinegar sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, cloves and turmeric to a boil. Drain liquid from the cucumber mixture and add to the boiling vinegar. Remove from heat just before the mixture comes back to a boil so not to cook the cucumbers.
  3. Transfer to sterile containers and refrigerate or can your goods with instructions from a pro like Marisa of Food in Jars.

very slightly adapted from allrecipes.com


Pucker up people. It’s time for more pickles.

Melissa of The Boastful Baker did it up good and put up 220 jars of fruit and veggies thus far this year, including these tasty Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles  via Food in Jars 

Rebecca takes care of her salt-tooth—rather than sweet-tooth—shares a homemade version of a grocery store favorite in Foodie With Family’s Homemade Claussen Knock-off Pickles 

Jennifer reminds me that canning isn’t essential to enjoy a fantastic, crunchy pickle with Use Real Butter‘s Refrigerator Pickles 

Happy to see that Hannah shares the same sort of birthday present I’d welcome every year with Honey & Jam’s recipe for cinnamon spiked Quick Sweet Pickles

And oh yes sir. We had to go there. Fried Pickles with Lisa’s sneaky, secret dredge on Homesick Texan. ‘Nuff said now pass me the Ranch dressing.

Related Posts
A Craving for Pickled Jalapeños
10 Top Tomatillo Recipes and Roasted Tomatillo and Olive Salsa
Chunky Citrus Guacamole

Thanks for reading and please keep in touchSubscribe to Foodie Crush and follow me on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest and check out Foodie Crush magazine and  Cookie Cravings cookbook.


Posted in: appetizers and small bites,recipes,sandwiches,sauces and condiments,vegetables and fruits

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan September 20, 2012 at 8:11 am

I’ve had fried pickles and they are the best! Love the recipes and I’ll be making up a batch when I get home. XOXO


Bev @ Bev Cooks September 20, 2012 at 8:23 am

OMG, I just posted about homemade pickles too! Well, a couple of weeks ago. I love being puckered!


Deborah September 20, 2012 at 8:27 am

I LOVE pickles. Pickled anything, really. But I have to say, the bread and butter pickles were not my fav as a kid. But I haven’t had them in years, and I’m thinking now that I’m more mature :), I just might need to give them a try again!


Lana @ Never Enough Thyme September 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

I’ve been pickling and canning for at least 30 years and *always* find time to make several pints of bread and butter pickles each summer. Although I make lots of other kinds (especially kosher dills), the b&b’s are my personal favorite. And this reminds me…I need to do a few jars before the season is completely over!


heidi September 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I’m hoping you have a good kosher dill recipe on your blog. I’m craving them too.


Lana @ Never Enough Thyme September 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm
Jen @ Savory Simple September 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

Bread and butter pickles are my favorite! Yet I’ve never made them at home. These are a must try!


Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking September 20, 2012 at 9:16 am

I looooove pickles!!! I always ask for extra pickles on my burgers! There is a restaraunt in Chicago that serves fried pickle tots! I have been wanting to recreate them!


heidi September 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

What is a fried pickle tot?


Delishhh September 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

LOVE pickles – but i still have not done it myself! I have all the equipment just had a chance to use it YET. This is a great start! My favorite is a sandwich with pate and pickles!!! Must be the Swede in me!!


brandi September 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

i made some awesome zucchini pickles a few weeks ago – i can’t wait to crack them open this winter!


heidi September 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I keep having to remind myself I don’t have to can them, I can just make some on the go, right? Zucchini pickles sound superb.


Helene September 20, 2012 at 10:21 am

These are definitely a favorite! I like the cider vinegar in the pickles for added flavor. One trick that has worked for me is to include 1 teaspoon of alum in step 1 for added crispness. Also, as I live in Alberta at an altitude of 3000 feet, I like to steam these beauties for 15 minutes. Thanks for including this recipe!


heidi September 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Thank you Helene for the info! I’m at about 4000 feet and steaming for 15-20 minutes is what I had read. I’ll look for alum, that’s a terrific tip.


Denise July 24, 2013 at 11:35 am

Alum used to be quite common in pickling, because it does work. The problem is that it adds a lot of aluminum, which is destructive to many of our bodies systems. People quit using it because it’s just not that good for you. Look into it before you use it, it’s good to make informed decisions about such things.


Barbara | Creative Culinary September 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

When I lived in North Carolina and we had a huge garden I spent weeks ‘putting up’ tons of produce and my favorite thing ever was Bread and Butter pickles. I could sit and snack on them straight out of the jar. Nothing has changed…still love them the best and these look gorgeous.


heidi September 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I’m the same as you. I stand at the refrigerator 2 knuckles deep in the jar. My mom would be horrified.


Averie @ Averie Cooks September 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I love pickles! And I actually had my hands on some vinegar in the groc store the other day and then realized that I needed to actually make like, dinner food, rather than spend time pickling…lol But it’s on my agenda. Thanks for the beautiful recipes and images!


heidi September 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Canning is a pretty big undertaking, that’s why I’m going to start doing them jar by jar and just making enough to last a week or until they’re gone. They’re so easy, I forget that.


Becky @ Project Domestication September 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Okay, I’m totally craving that tuna and pickle sandwich now.

Love the roundup! Totally inspired.


Gin September 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Mushy pickles=exotic chutney ;)


Kathryn September 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Random question…why are they called bread and butter pickles? I’ve always wondered (but been too lazy to google obviously ;))


Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes September 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I love pickles! I don’t understand people that don’t :)


Lindsey (Cafe Johnsonia) September 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I love, love, love pickles! Those look great, Heidi!


Kiran @ KiranTarun.com September 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm

That fried pickles has me in a trance. Looks so delish!!!


Martyna @ Wholesome Cook September 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

These sound very interesting. I’ve tried sweet and sour pickles before, but I don’t think the store-bought variety has anything on yours!


Wendy@chezchloe September 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I’m just back on our property after 3 years of city living abroad. And I’m ready to move into ‘homestead’ gear. Pickles, jams, frozen fruit… and well, I’m crushing on goats. But now at 44, I’m actually being thoughtful and realistic. Boy is that new.
But I can handle these pickles.
Thanks for the crunchy roundup.


kelley {mountain mama cooks} October 2, 2012 at 7:31 am

Well look who jumped on the preserving train. Welcome, friend. I’ll trade you another jar of pear butter for a jar of sweet pickles….


heidi October 3, 2012 at 11:30 am

You are on!


Annie, A Visual Artist October 8, 2012 at 1:25 am

I love B&B’s like all the others on here so it would be natural that my fanily would also enjoy Candied Dill Strips. My Oma would make them from scratch and I wanted to replicate that same crunchiness and unique flavor but was unable to… until I figured out to let someone else do the pickling and I will do the “candying”.
So what I do is by a good brand of Dill Strips (it doesn’t have to be an expensive brand, some store brands work very well), pour out almost all of the pickling juice leaving somewhere between 15 to 20% of the juice in the jar then slowly pour in about 1 cup of sugar. You will need the remaining pickle juice to help dissolve the sugar and you have to turn it either upside down or right side up everyday but you will have something really special to add to your pickle addiction in about a week. The pickles remake the juice and your pickle jar will be almost full again. But W.O.W., will you ever have something to get your salivary juices flowing once you bite into your first one! I hope you enjoy my super-simple-all-the-hard-work-done Candied Dill Strips. Pickleheads UNITE!


geri loughery July 27, 2013 at 1:11 pm

would love to try your zesty bread & butter pickles but you don’t mention how long before they are ready to eat or how many jars it makes.


CWiren August 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm

How much does this recipe make? I want to be sure to have enough jars, but also be able to divide it down if needed. Thx!


Penny August 28, 2014 at 7:13 pm

This is a delightful site! I want to tell the world about it. So very excited to make my favs: Bread an Butter, and so totally chose this site because you love your B B’s with tuna fish. The combo for sure adds to my happiness! Be Great and keep on pickling!


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