Homesteading · Preserving · Recipes

Canning Bread and Butter Pickles

This year I changed up my Bread and Butter Pickle recipe. Normally I do the combining of various spices, but I was feeling lazy and just used a premixed pickling spice blend. What that meant is my pickles are not yellow hued, as I left the turmeric out. I don’t care if my pickles are yellow-ish, so it’s a win for me. They are also a bit spicier than normal, as my blend had dried peppers in it. B and B pickles are an open ended recipe really…pick the spices you like. That won’t change the canning magic. It’s the ratio of sugar and vinegar that is important. But most of all? Your handcrafted pickles won’t be infused with artificial coloring like in the stores, and more so, won’t be tooth rotting sweet either, which a lot of pickles are.

Bread and Butter Pickles


Soak cucumbers in cold water, wash off and drain. Trim off both ends, slice in ¼” rounds.

Trim and peel onions, cut in half and thinly slice. (If very large onions, cut in quarters first.)

Layer cucumber and onion slices with salt in a large glass, or stainless steel bowl. Cover top with a layer of ice cubes. Let sit for 1½ hours. Drain in a colander, rinse well and shake off water, let drain.

Add 7 pint mason jars (preferably wide mouth) to a canning pot, fill jars with water, and the pot halfway with water, bring to a boil, then let simmer.

Place rings and new canning lids in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a simmer.

Bring remaining ingredients to a boil in a large pot, add in drained cucumbers and onions. Return to a boil

Drain jars back into the canning pot, place on a clean kitchen towel.

Pack hot cucumbers and onions in jars, packing down gently, then add liquid. Run an air bubble popper in each jar, add more liquid as necessary to leave a ½” headspace. If you are short on liquid, top off with boiling water (but you should be fine).

Wet a new paper towel in hot water, then run around the top of each jar. Place a lid on each jar, then a band, screw on finger tight.

Turn canner up to high, place jars in water bath rack, lower rack into water. Water should cover by 1 – 2″, if not add a bit more from the saucepan that held the rings. Bring to a rolling boil, covered, process for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully remove jars, placing on a clean dry kitchen towel to cool.

Once cooled, check again that seals are down (you should hear the Ping! as each one seals). Gently remove bands (wash, dry and store for your next project. While they look nicer on, if they have water inside from processing, they can rust. If you are giving away your canned items, you can always slip one back on), note on jar or lid what is in jar with a date. Store in a dry/cool/dark area and use within a year.

As always, if you ever go to use a canned item and the lid is not sealed anymore, or bulging, discard it immediately!

Let rest for 4 to 6 weeks once canned, for flavors to develop, before enjoying. Chill before serving for best taste, and store in refrigerator once opened.

Makes 7 pints.

*If you want to make your own blend, the traditional spice blend for Bread and Butter is:

  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard seed
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns

** Pickle Crisp is optional. It can be very hard to find this year in stores, as it was in 2020. You don’t have to use it, but it will help produce a firmer, crisper pickle.

Note – On salt, you can use kosher salt as well. Avoid table salt with iodine, it can affect coloring.