Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles: The Perfect Crunchy Delight

I absolutely adore bread and butter pickles. The sweet and tangy crunch they bring to burgers, tuna fish sandwiches, or even when enjoyed straight out of the jar is simply irresistible. As a child, sweet pickles were the only pickled treat I truly enjoyed. Dill pickles, pickled onions, pickled beets – none of them appealed to my young palate. But as I grew older, my love for pickled delights expanded, especially after immersing myself in Vietnamese cuisine for over two decades. The Vietnamese have a knack for pickling anything, and Diane’s mom (along with Diane herself) is a true pickling virtuoso. Her pickled baby white eggplant, slightly spicy and crunchy, is a genuine wonder of pure deliciousness. However, despite my newfound appreciation for various pickled delicacies, my heart still belongs to bread and butter pickles.

Bread and Butter Pickles in a mason jar

The Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe: Elevating the Crunch Factor

While all bread and butter pickles offer a good flavor, the true test for me lies in their crunch. The perfect bread and butter pickles must have an exquisite crunch, which can either make or break the overall experience. Among commercially-made pickles, my absolute favorite is Bubbies. Their Bread and Butter Chips are a staple in our fridge. Although I’ve tried numerous homemade or artisan pickles from other brands, many of them disappoint with their lackluster texture. Where is the coveted crunch? Perhaps I’ve yet to find a pickler that matches the excellence of Bubbies.

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Bread and Butter Pickles in a mason jar top view
Easy Bread and Butter Pickles in a jar with a fork

Persian and Japanese Cucumbers: The Key to Maintaining Crunch

Over the years, we’ve managed to grow cucumbers in our garden that truly thrive. Our harvests have been bountiful, primarily consisting of Persian cucumbers or Japanese cucumbers (unless the nursery mislabels the starters, which has happened more than once). These cucumbers possess an exceptional crunch, even if we slightly delay picking them from the vines for our bread and butter pickles.

Despite having a steady supply of perfect cucumbers, I hesitated to use them for bread and butter pickles. I fretted over the possibility of pickling them poorly and ending up with lifeless, soft cucumbers. It would be an utter waste. So, how exactly do you retain that coveted crunch when pickling these cucumbers?

Easy Recipe step by step photos

Tips for Crafting Sweet Pickles with the Perfect Crunch

During one summer, I resolved to find the answer. I consulted the pickle masters, Diane and her mom, to devise a plan of action. Here’s what I discovered:

  • Start with good cucumbers, preferably Persian cucumbers or Japanese cucumbers.
  • Salt the cucumbers and let them sit for an hour or two.
  • Rinse the cucumbers, pat them dry, and let them sit out overnight to further dry out.
  • Finally, prepare the pickling brine and jar them up.
  • Adjust the sweetness according to your personal taste. Refer to the recipe box below for all the details.
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I’m thrilled to report that the resulting pickles are phenomenal. Their crunch is superb, and the flavor is outstanding. I may not need to buy any Bubbies for a long while. My apologies, Bubbies.

-Update- These pickles have become a refrigerator staple, and we’ve been making them for years. Although we occasionally buy Bubbies when time is of the essence, our homemade bread and butter pickles remain a top favorite. We hope you love them as much as we do!

Canning and Storing the Bread and Butter Pickles

For the best possible crunch, always store these pickles in the refrigerator. Freezing them will result in a mushy texture. If you choose to refrigerate the pickles, using a hot water bath is unnecessary (but make sure to use sterilized jars and lids). After pouring the hot vinegar mix over the cucumbers, simply turn the jars upside down for about 15-20 minutes to ensure the hot liquid reaches the inside of the lids. Then, flip them right-side up, allow them to cool, and listen for the comforting “pop” that signifies a sealed jar. We prefer to keep our pickles refrigerated at all times.

When stored in the refrigerator, these pickles will stay of high quality for at least 8-12 months, if not longer. We’ve never had a jar last longer than that because they’re too tasty to resist. However, as with any canned food, if a jar smells or looks off, it’s best to discard it.

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While these pickles can technically be stored at room temperature, their texture won’t hold up as well. They tend to become softer when stored this way. If you plan on storing them outside the fridge, ensure the jars are thoroughly sealed (sterilized jars and lids are crucial for any long-term food storage). Most people opt for hot water bath canning to seal the jars for shelf storage.

Another downside of storing the pickles at room temperature is that the hot water bath used during canning often partially cooks the pickles, resulting in a softer texture. This is yet another reason why we prefer to store them in the refrigerator and simply turn the jars upside down for a short while to ensure a proper seal.

When correctly processed and stored at room temperature, these pickles can last over a year. However, their texture will gradually soften the longer they are stored outside the fridge. And, as mentioned earlier, if a canned food smells or looks off, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it.

Enjoy these delightful homemade bread and butter pickles!


This article on sweet pickles was originally published in 2014 and was republished in 2019 with new updates.

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More easy recipes:

  • Quick Pickled Sugar Snap Peas with Mint
  • Inside a watermelon mojitos
  • Spring Sweet Pea/Asparagus Pickles
  • Curry Cauliflower Pickles & Love of salty crunch
  • Vietnamese Style Pickled Carrots from Eating Local Cookbook
  • Spicy Shrimp Ceviche
  • bbq grilled cheese sandwich

Here’s a great and unique cucumber recipe.

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