Refrigerator bread and butter pickles are easy to make at home with no canning required. Thin sliced cucumbers and onions are pickled in a sweet and flavorful brine in the refrigerator.
Ever wanted to make your own pickles, but didn't want to heat up your kitchen and spend the whole afternoon canning? You'll love these refrigerator bread and butter pickles because you only need ten minutes of prep to make two pint size jars.
The fresh and bright flavor of these homemade pickles is made with onions, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, and salt. Sugar is also added to make bread and butter pickles sweet, which sets them apart from the traditional dill pickle.
Add these homemade pickles to your next hamburger, BLT sandwich, or eat them straight out of the jar! If you like a little heat, you may enjoy my recipes for sweet & spicy pickles and spicy dill pickles.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Apple cider vinegar - Can be substituted with white vinegar.
- Cucumbers - Pickling cucumbers or any slicing/salad cucumber can be used in this recipe. You'll need about 1 pound of cucumbers.
- Onion - Adds flavor to your pickles, helping create that bread and butter flavor. I don't recommend omitting the onions.
- Granulated sugar - Adds sweetness, part of the classic bread and butter flavor. Sugar can be reduced slightly (by ¼ cup) for a slightly less sweet jar of pickles.
- Seasoning - Mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric add color and flavor to your pickles.
- Kosher salt - Can be substituted with sea salt or non-iodized table salt. Iodized salt can change the color and flavor of your pickles and is not recommended.
Great news, you can pickle any type of cucumbers you have on hand. The best option is the pickling cucumber, which is grown for pickling. However, any cucumber will work.
I used an English cucumber for these pickles because it's what I had on hand. English cucumbers and slicing cucumbers produce a softer pickle, but otherwise taste the same.
I made thin, ⅛" thick pickles for this recipe. This size is great for adding on top of hamburgers. Feel free to slice them ¼" thick (or larger) if preferred.
This recipe makes 32 ounces of jarred pickles. Feel free to use any combination of these jar sizes:
- One quart size (32 ounce) jar
- Two pint size (16 ounce) jars (shown in the photos)
- Four half-pint (8 ounce) jars
Any clean jars you have on hand will work - as long as they seal tightly with a lid. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the recipe to fill randomly sized jars.
How long do refrigerator pickles last?
These refrigerator pickles will keep for up to two months stored in the refrigerator. Since they're not canned, they are not shelf stable and need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles
- 1 pound cucumbers, thinly sliced
- ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Pack two pint size jars with sliced cucumbers and onions. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add vinegar, sugar, water, salt, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric. Whisk to combine.
- Heat to boiling and cook for 1 minute, or until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Pour liquid into jars to completely cover cucumbers and onions. Depending on how tightly packed cucumbers are, you may have leftover brine.
- Tightly seal and refrigerate for 2 days to allow cucumbers to pickle. Store pickles in refrigerator for up to 2 months.
- Any cucumbers can be pickled. Pickling cucumbers produce a firmer pickle and slicing/English cucumbers produce a softer pickle.
- Your refrigerator pickles need to be stored in the refrigerator. Since they are not canned, they are not shelf-stable and need to be refrigerated.
- The cucumbers need 2 days to pickle in the brine before enjoying. They are edible immediately, but need at least 2 days of rest for best results.
- Kosher salt can be substituted with sea salt or non-iodized table salt. Iodized salt can change the color and flavor of your pickles and is not recommended.