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Zesty Bread & Butter Pickles

Switch up your pickling routine with this spicy bread and butter pickles recipe.

There is just a bit of heat here thanks to some freshly grated ginger but they are not hot, rather spicy with plenty of flavor from the mustard and turmeric.

They’re sweet and sour like all homemade bread and butter pickles but also have this bit of zesty spice that go well with hamburgers and tuna salad and more.

Jars of pickles on a table with text overlay reading Spicy Bread & Butter Pickles.

Not Your Usual Bread & Butter Pickle

This recipe has all the basics you’d expect in a traditional bread and butter pickle recipe. It has onions, though less than most recipes, it’s a perfect mix of 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 pickling cucumber harvest be sure to put up a few of these sweet pickles for your winter pantry.

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Uniform Slices

If at all possible use a mandoline slicer instead of a knife for this recipe. The slicing will go so much faster that way.

Plus it will keep the onion and cucumber slices uniform which makes for better better texture overall in these pickles.

A cucumber on the vine in the garden

Vinegar Choices

White vinegar is the most traditional choice for bread and butter pickles. Personally, we’re just bigger fans of apple cider vinegar here.

The apple cider vinegar does result in a slightly darker color and for us a better flavor. However, use white vinegar if preferred.

As with all pickling for canning purposes, make sure to use a vinegar that is diluted to 5% to keep it safe for canning.


Admittedly, there is a good bit of sugar in these pickles. These homemade pickles should be sweet. You can adjust it lower if you feel like you must.

These should be occasional additions not a staple part of a diet in my opinion and so I leave it.

Brown sugar is used instead of white sugar here, I feel like this adds a different depth of flavor but I imagine the white would work just fine if you wanted to substitute.

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

While the following is intended to be a spicy bread and butter pickles canning recipe, however you can skip the canning if you really want too.

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

Granted the recipe makes a big batch for sitting in the fridge, but they will keep for at least 6 months, maybe longer without canning.

Canned bread and butter pickles in jars with pickle fork.

Amazing Gifts

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

Yield: 6 Pints

Spicy Bread & Butter Pickles

Jars of bread and butter pickles on a table

Put up the abundant cucumber harvest by canning up this easy and tasty sweet pickle recipe for 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 cumber and onion slices into a very large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss everything together well. Cover with cold water. Let sit for 2 hours.
  2. As it gets close to the end of the 2 hour soak, get canning jars and water bath canner ready for use.
  3. Drain and rinse well to remove the salt.
  4. Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, ginger, and turmeric in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir in the cucumbers mixture, stirring well. Bring to a rolling boil.
  5. Remove from heat and pour into hot jars. Use a slotted spoon to put the veggies in jar first, then pour hot vinegar mixture over it. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace in jars. Remove air bubbles and wipe rims of jars with a damp cloth. Place lids and rings on jars, securing to finger tight.
  6. Process filled jars in boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust processing time for elevation).
  7. Store sealed jars (without rings) in a dark place. Let sit for at least a week for best flavor. Use up canned goods within 1 year.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 Tablespoons

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 10Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 296mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g

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

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Wednesday 8th of June 2022

Why don't you put on the rings after the water bath?

Kathie Lapcevic

Thursday 9th of June 2022

they're unnecessary if the jars have sealed. Also, if a seal does pop for some reason (which can happen in storage) the rings can cause enough pressure for the lids to reseal - which is gives you the sense that the food inside hasn't been compromised when in reality it is no longer safe to eat.


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.

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