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Bread-and-Butter Pickles

bread and butter pickles in a jar in front of a tray of baked rolls. Courtesy: jeffreyw (CC BY 2.0)
Courtesy: jeffreyw via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Originally shared by Megan Erickson, former SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist.

Try this research-tested recipe for bread-and-butter pickles courtesy of the National Center for Home Food Preservation.


  • 6 pounds, Pickling cucumbers (4 to 5 inch)  
  • 8 cups, Onions, thinly sliced (about 3 lbs)
  • ½ cup, Canning or pickling salt
  • 4 cups, Vinegar (5%)
  • 4 ½ cups, Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons, Mustard seed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons, Celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon, Ground turmeric
  • 1 cup, Pickling lime (optional – makes firmer pickles)

Yield: Makes about 8 pints.


To Prepare

Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch off blossom end and discard. Cut into 3/16-inch slices.


  1. Combine cucumbers, onions, and salt in a large bowl. Cover with 2 inches of ice. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, adding more ice as needed.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large pot and boil 10 minutes. Drain and add cucumbers and onions; slowly reheat to boiling.
  3. Fill jars with slices and cooking syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace.
  4. Secure lids and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (Altitudes above 1,000 ft require an increase in processing time).

For firmer pickles

  1. Complete the “to prepare” step.
  2. Mix 1 cup pickling lime and ½ cup salt to 1-gallon water in a 2-to-3-gallon crock or enamelware container.
  3. Soak cucumber slices in lime water for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from lime solution, rinse and re-soak one hour in fresh, cold water.
  5. Repeat the rinsing and soaking steps two more times. Drain well.*
  6. Continue with steps 3 and 4 listed in the first method above.

*In this option, onions are not limed.

Canning Tips


Adjusting for Altitude

Altitude (feet)
Water Bath (minutes added)
5 minutes
5 minutes
5 minutes
10 minutes
10 minutes

SDSU Extension recommends using evidence-based recipes when engaging in food preservation at home. The recipe above has been research-tested and provided by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Do not modify ingredients.

Related Topics

Canning Recipes