Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

Indulge in the sweet and tangy flavors of homemade refrigerator bread and butter pickles. Made with crisp cucumbers, onions, and a blend of vinegar, sugar, and spices, these pickles are easy to prepare and perfect for adding a burst of flavor to sandwiches, salads, or enjoyed straight from the jar. Learn how to make and store them with our simple guide below.


  • 7 pickling cucumbers
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Prepare the Cucumbers and Onions:

  1. Slice and Season: Wash the pickling cucumbers and thinly slice them. Do the same with the white onion. Toss them in a large bowl with kosher salt, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Rinse and Drain: After an hour, rinse the cucumber and onion slices thoroughly under cold water in a colander. Allow excess water to drain.

Prepare the Pickling Solution:

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a saucepan, mix brown sugar, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, celery seeds, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Heat and Dissolve: Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar completely dissolves (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat.

Combine and Chill:

  1. Mix and Coat: Pour the pickling solution over the cucumber and onion mixture in the bowl. Gently stir to ensure all slices are coated.
  2. Cool and Refrigerate: Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to enhance the flavors.

Prep Time: 1 hour | Cooking Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 25 hours (includes chilling time) | Servings: Not specified

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Tips:

  1. Accompaniments: Serve these tangy pickles alongside deli sandwiches, grilled burgers, or chopped into salads to add a sweet and crunchy bite.
  2. Appetizer Platter: Include these pickles on a charcuterie or appetizer platter with cheeses, crackers, and cured meats for a balanced flavor combination.
  3. Garnish: Use them as a garnish for dishes like pulled pork sandwiches or barbecue plates to cut through rich flavors and add a refreshing contrast.
  4. Snacking: Enjoy straight from the jar as a quick and satisfying snack, especially on hot days when you crave something cool and flavorful.

Storage Tips:

  1. Airtight Containers: Store your refrigerator bread and butter pickles in clean, airtight jars or containers to maintain freshness and prevent them from absorbing other flavors in the fridge.
  2. Refrigeration: Keep the pickles refrigerated at all times. They are not shelf-stable like canned pickles and require cold storage to preserve their crisp texture and flavors.
  3. Chilling Time: Allow the pickles to chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving. This resting period allows the flavors to meld and intensify.
  4. Shelf Life: These pickles will typically keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Check periodically for any signs of spoilage, such as cloudiness or off odors.
  5. Labeling: Consider labeling your jars with the date they were prepared to track their freshness and ensure you consume them within the recommended storage period.
  6. Reuse Brine: If you have leftover pickling liquid (brine), you can reuse it for another batch of pickles or as a marinade for chicken or pork to add a tangy flavor.
  7. Refreshing Pickles: If the pickles lose their crispness over time, you can refresh them by soaking briefly in ice water before serving to restore their crunch.
  8. Transporting Pickles: When transporting pickles to a picnic or gathering, keep them chilled in a cooler or insulated bag with ice packs to maintain their temperature and quality.
  9. Share and Enjoy: Share your homemade refrigerator pickles with friends and family, or gift them as a thoughtful homemade treat that showcases your culinary skills.
  10. Experiment: Feel free to experiment with additional spices or flavors in your pickling solution, such as dill or garlic, to customize the pickles to your taste preferences.

These serving and storage tips ensure that your refrigerator bread and butter pickles remain fresh, flavorful, and ready to enjoy whenever you need a tangy addition to your meals or snacks.


  1. Spicy Kick:
    • Add sliced jalapeños or red pepper flakes to the pickling mixture for a spicy version of these pickles. Adjust the amount to suit your heat preference.
  2. Garlic Infusion:
    • Include thinly sliced garlic cloves in the pickling solution to impart a savory garlic flavor to the pickles.
  3. Herb Infusion:
    • Add fresh herbs like dill, thyme, or bay leaves to the pickling liquid for an aromatic twist.
  4. Sweet and Tangy Blend:
    • Experiment with different ratios of brown sugar to vinegar for a sweeter or more tangy flavor profile.
  5. Pickled Vegetable Medley:
    • Mix in other vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, or radishes along with the cucumbers and onions for a colorful and diverse pickle medley.
  6. Asian-Inspired Pickles:
    • Replace some of the vinegar with rice vinegar and add ginger and soy sauce to the pickling liquid for an Asian-inspired flavor.
  7. Mustard Seed Pickles:
    • Increase the amount of mustard seeds in the pickling mixture for a stronger mustard flavor that complements the sweetness of the pickles.
  8. Smoky Pickles:
    • Add a touch of smoked paprika or chipotle powder to the pickling solution for a smoky undertone.
  9. Fruity Twist:
    • Include slices of fruit such as apples or peaches along with the cucumbers and onions for a sweet and savory pickle combination.
  10. Pickled Eggs:
    • You can also use the brine left over from pickling to make pickled eggs


  1. How long do refrigerator bread and butter pickles last?
    • These pickles can typically last up to 2 months when stored properly in the refrigerator in airtight containers. Check for any signs of spoilage before consuming.
  2. Can I use regular cucumbers instead of pickling cucumbers?
    • Pickling cucumbers are preferred for their firm texture and thin skin, which holds up well during pickling. Regular cucumbers can be used, but they may not retain the same crispness.
  3. Do I have to use both brown sugar and white sugar in the pickling solution?
    • While the combination of brown sugar and white vinegar provides the classic sweet and tangy flavor of bread and butter pickles, you can adjust the sweetness by varying the ratio of sugars to suit your taste.
  4. Can I reduce the salt in the recipe?
    • The salt helps draw out moisture from the cucumbers and onions, which contributes to the texture and crispness of the pickles. It can be reduced slightly if desired, but avoid omitting it altogether as it affects the overall pickling process.
  5. Do I need to sterilize the jars for refrigerator pickles?
    • Unlike canned pickles, refrigerator pickles do not require sterilized jars because they are not processed in a water bath. Clean, airtight containers are sufficient for storing them in the refrigerator.
  6. How soon can I eat refrigerator bread and butter pickles after making them?
    • For the best flavor, allow the pickles to chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours after preparing them. This resting period allows the flavors to meld and intensify.
  7. Can I reuse the pickling liquid (brine) for another batch of pickles?
    • Yes, you can reuse the pickling brine for another batch of pickles or as a marinade for meats or vegetables. Store it in the refrigerator and use within a reasonable time frame.
  8. Why are my refrigerator pickles cloudy?
    • Cloudiness in pickles can occur due to natural pectin in the cucumbers or from minerals in the water used. It is generally safe to eat and does not affect the flavor, but using filtered water can reduce cloudiness.
  9. How can I make my refrigerator pickles more crunchy?
    • Ensure the cucumbers are fresh and firm when starting. Additionally, soak them in ice water for about 30 minutes before pickling to help maintain their crispness.
  10. Can I adjust the spices in the pickling mixture?
    • Absolutely! Feel free to adjust the spices to your preference or experiment with different herbs and seasonings to create unique flavor profiles for your pickles.

These FAQs provide valuable insights into making, storing, and enjoying refrigerator bread and butter pickles, ensuring you get the most out of this delicious homemade treat.

These refrigerator bread and butter pickles offer a delightful blend of tangy sweetness that complements a variety of dishes. Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue or looking for a quick snack, their crisp texture and flavorful profile make them a versatile addition to your kitchen. Prepare a batch today and savor the fresh taste of homemade pickles that are sure to impress!