Chef John's Bread and Butter Pickles


At the end of summer during the Great Depression the excess cucumber crop was sliced, salted, pickled, and put up in jars for the cold, lean months ahead. I can just imagine what a treat it was to fill a sandwich with these sweet crunchy coins (bread and butter pickles, as they came to be known). I'm sure it was a wonderful break from what must have been a fairly flavorless existence. For longer storage, you can process the pickles in canning jars in a boiling water canner.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
5 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
2 pints


  • 2 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced

  • ½ yellow onion, sliced

  • 2 red jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced into rings

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar

  • 2 cups white sugar

  • ¼ cup water

  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed

  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Combine cucumbers, onion, and peppers in a bowl; pour kosher salt over the top and stir to coat completely. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 hours. Rinse cucumber mixture in a colander under cold water until all salt is washed away, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain.

  2. Stir vinegar, sugar, water, garlic, mustard seed, celery seed, peppercorns, turmeric, and ground cloves together in a saucepan; bring to a simmer and cook until brine flavors combine, about 2 minutes. Add cucumber mixture to brine; heat until almost boiling, remove from heat, and cool completely. Transfer to jars and store in the refrigerator.

    close up view of Bread and Butter Pickles with pepper in a jar
    Chef John


The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of salt. The actual amount of salt consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

38 Calories
0g Fat
10g Carbs
0g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 48
Calories 38
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 361mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 40mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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