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Zesty Bread & Butter Pickles

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This recipe for Zesty Bread & Butter Pickles has become the favorite in our house. They’re sweet and sour like all bread and butter pickles but also have this bit of zesty spice that go well with hamburgers and more.

An open jar of bread and pickles with a fork inside sitting in front of sealed jars on a table.

Not Your Usual Bread & Butter Pickle

This recipe has all the basics you’d expect in a bread and butter pickle. It has onions, though less than most recipes, it’s sweet and sour, but it also has a hint of spice that isn’t always common in the American version.

As you work your way through your cucumber harvest be sure to put up a few of these zesty bread & butter pickles for your winter pantry.

Uniform Slices

If at all possible use a mandolin slicer  instead of a knife for this recipe.  The slicing will go so much faster that way. And keeping the thickness uniform makes for better texture overall in these pickles.

A cucumber on the vine in the garden

Don’t Skip the Salt Water Soak

Yes, soak the pickles in salt water for 2 hours. No, don’t be tempted to short cut this step. This salt water bath does a lot for the texture, especially when put through the hot water bath of the canning process.

Jars of bread and butter pickles cooling on a towel after being canned.

For Refrigerator Pickles

Follow all the steps but skip the canning step. You could put the pickles in bigger jars and just refrigerate. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least a week for optimum flavor.

Canned bread and butter pickles in jars with pickle fork.

Amazing Gifts

Be sure to make up an extra batch or two of these bread and butter pickles for gifts. Tuck them into care packages, hostess gifts, and more for a special gift from the garden most anyone will enjoy.

Yield: 6 Pints

Zesty Bread & Butter Pickles

Jars of bread and butter pickles on a table

Put up the abundant cucumber harvest by canning up these easy and tasty zesty bread & butter pickles that are a perfect balance of sweet, sour, & spice.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Soaking Time 2 hours
Canning Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes



  1. Put onions and cumbers into a very large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss everything together well. Cover with cold water. Let sit for 2 hours.
  2. Drain and rinse well to remove the salt.
  3. Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, ginger, and turmeric in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir in the cucumbers and onions, mix well. Bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into jars. Put veggies in jar first, then pour liquid over it. Leave 1/2 inch headspace in jars. Remove air bubbles and wipe rims. Put lids and rings on jars.
  5. Process in water bath for 10 minutes (adjusting for elevation).

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 Tablespoons

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 10Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g

We try our best but cannot guarantee that nutrition information is 100% accurate.

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Wednesday 5th of August 2020

These look so tasty, but the sugar seems too high for my taste. Can I 1/2 the sugar without compromising the texture or longevity of the pickles?

Kathie Lapcevic

Thursday 6th of August 2020

I haven't tried it, but I can't see why you couldn't use less sugar and still have a fine pickle.


Monday 13th of July 2020

Do you add water to the spices and vinegar to boil?

Kathie Lapcevic

Monday 13th of July 2020

No water is added to the brine.

Jordan Fuqua

Wednesday 24th of June 2020

I was in the process of making this recipe but discovered i forgot the Ginger. Can i leave it out?

Kathie Lapcevic

Thursday 25th of June 2020

The flavor will be different but there's no problem in skipping it.


Sunday 15th of March 2020

What’s the shelf life?

Kathie Lapcevic

Sunday 15th of March 2020

All home canned goods should be used up within 1 year.


Sunday 12th of August 2018

Hi! I made these and only got 5 pints instead of 6. I literally had just enough pickles and just enough liquid for 5 jars. I followed everything to a T. And I also made sure not to pack he picked too tightly. Is this okay? Or could I have done something wrong?

Kathie Lapcevic

Monday 13th of August 2018

It could just come down to the size of the cucumbers. You didn't do anything wrong.

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