Table of Contents
  1. Are you ready to make the easiest quick pickles?
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. Other recipes that you'll love to try.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Bread and Butter Quick Pickles Recipe

If you’re scared of canning but want to learn the art of preserving, making a refrigerator pickle is the way to go! This easy-to-make recipe is terrific if you want some quick pickles with a classic flavor profile!

Are you ready to make the easiest quick pickles?

Quick pickles, quickles, and refrigerator pickles are all the same thing. The point of a quick pickle is just as it sounds: to make a pickle quickly.

Traditionally, cucumbers are canned in a vinegar brine or fermented in salt water to create a pickle. Both are delicious, but take some time and a little bit of experience. Quick pickles take a few minutes to put together and just 48 hours to gain the flavor of a pickle, due to their high ratio of vinegar to the water. The big difference between the traditional version and quick pickles is that they must be stored in the refrigerator and are not shelf-stable.

Quick pickles can take on any flavor and be adjusted without worry since they’re not canned. To make these bread and butter pickles, a few spices are added, just like my traditional bread and butter pickles. They’re slightly sweet and are thought to get their name from the Depression era when families would eat these pickles between bread and butter as an economical meal. Either way, they’re super delicious and easy to make!

Large tulip-shaped glass jar sitting on white countertop filled with cucumber spears in bread and butter brine.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

The ingredients for a quick pickle are minimal, which is the best part! The brine is super simple to mix together and has a spice mixture that can be customized for anyone’s preferences. Here are the important ingredients:

  • Cucumbers are fresh and in season during the summer. Use whatever cucumber you can easily find. Slicing them into chips or spears will not change the flavor and is purely a personal preference. English cucumbers, also known as hothouse cucumbers, are always a great option.
  • Apple cider vinegar is what I always use in bread and butter pickles. The acidity is the same as white vinegar, but the flavor is slightly sweet and works well with the spices.
  • Turmeric, celery seed, mustard seed, whole clove, and red pepper flakes are the blend of spices I use for the bread and butter flavor. If you don’t like cloves, you can easily remove them, but I would try the recipe once as you may be surprised.
  • Kosher salt is what will season the cucumbers and help enhance the flavor. Kosher salt measures differently than table salt, so be sure to adjust the salt if using something other than kosher.
White countertop with ingredients needed to make quick pickles including cucumbers, apple cider vinegar, salt, and spices.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

The best part about a quick pickle is the speed! There are four main steps to this recipe, and much of the time required is spent simply slicing the cucumbers. Here are the main steps:

  1. Prepare the brine. To a small kettle, add the water, apple cider vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, turmeric, red pepper flakes, cloves, mustard seed, and celery seed. Stir everything together to ensure the spices begin dissolving into the vinegar and water. Place the mixture on the stove to simmer and fully dissolve all of the spices and sugar. While the brine is coming to a simmer, prepare the cucumbers.

When it comes to pickling, most kitchen-use vinegar will be 5% vinegar. Make sure to check the label on your vinegar to ensure you use a version that is at least this percentage.

  1. Prepare the cucumbers. Any variety of cucumber can be used in this recipe, but the most traditional are 1) the English-style (also called hothouse), and 2) the miniature size. Slice the cucumbers into spears or chips, whichever method is preferred. For chips, make each slice approximately 1/4-inch thick. For the spears, one miniature cucumber can usually be sliced into four spears. Once all of the cucumbers have been sliced, place them into the jar.

Since these are not canned pickles, you do not need to worry about having lids and rings with specific jars. But you should use something that will have an airtight seal so that the pickles last for longer in the refrigerator. Personally, I love using two different sizes of Weck jars: ½ liter (affiliate link) and 1 liter (affiliate link).

  1. Pour the brine over the sliced cucumbers. After the brine has simmered for a few minutes and the sugar has dissolved, remove it from the heat. Using a funnel, slowly pour the hot brine over the top of the sliced cucumbers. Make sure to fill up the jar so that the pickles are covered with brine. This way, everything in the jar will pickle evenly.
  1. Place an airtight lid on top and place the jar in the refrigerator. These pickles are not canned, so they are not shelf-stable. These must be kept in the refrigerator to be edible. After 48 hours, these pickles will be ready to eat. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to two months.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • A high ratio of vinegar to water is necessary for quick pickles. Since these bread and butter pickles are not going through the canning process, the ratio is very important to ensure the acidity gets into the cucumber and pickles them.
  • Canning salt is very important when fermenting or canning a produce item. But when it comes to a quick pickle, kosher salt works very well. Any salt can be used, but each one measures differently. If using canning salt, use only half of the amount.
  • If slicing the cucumbers into spears, make sure to remove both ends of the cucumber. The ends can sometimes be bitter, so I find it best just to remove approximately 1/8-inch on each end of the cucumber.
  • Before ladling the brine into the jars, place the jars on a baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack. This ensures that if any brine drips, it will not stain the countertop and will make for a clean jar that can easily be wiped off.
Small glass bowl filled with a few slices of bread and butter pickles sitting in yellow brine on white countertop.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Are these pickles shelf stable, or do they need to be kept in the refrigerator?

Quick pickles must be stored in the refrigerator. That is why this recipe only makes two pint jars. These pickles will not have a seal and cannot be stored at room temperature.

Can white vinegar be used in the brine instead of apple cider vinegar?

Yes, you can easily use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. Slight flavor differences but just as tasty.

When it comes to canning, what types of salt can be used?

Any salt can be used, but you need to know how to measure properly if the amount needs to be adjusted. This recipe is written with Kosher salt, so the amount listed is correct if using that type of salt. Pickling salt is the smallest, so you will use only half the amount listed in this recipe if using pickling salt. Iodized salt is slightly larger than pickling salt, so 2 teaspoons will be needed.

Does the sugar have to be added to the brine?

The sugar can be left out if necessary, but it does work to balance out all of the flavors in these pickles. And while some old recipes used copious amounts of sugar, this recipe keeps the sugar to a minimum, meaning that the pickles will be sweet but not overly so. You can easily add more or less to your taste.

How long does it take after making the pickles before they can be eaten

Wait at least 48 hours before tasting these pickles. The salt and vinegar in the brine will flavor these quickly.

How long do the pickles last in the refrigerator?

Quick pickles have a long life in the refrigerator. They’ll last for at least two months, but these could last longer if left undisturbed.

Can this recipe be used with other vegetables?

You can easily adapt this recipe to any vegetable. Cucumbers are on the softer side when it comes to vegetables, so depending on the vegetable, you may want to cook it slightly. Onion is a perfect swap for the cucumber, and carrots will also work well. Cauliflower will be extra crunchy, so I would recommend blanching it for about 30 seconds to a minute before pickling.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More preserving recipes to try

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your dessert table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!

Bread and Butter Quick Pickles

5 from 2 votes
If you’re scared of canning but want to learn the art of preserving, making a refrigerator pickle is the way to go! This easy-to-make recipe is terrific if you want some quick pickles with a classic flavor profile!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 2 pint jars

Ingredients

  • 2 lb cucumbers
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¾ tsp whole cloves (about 5 cloves)
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • ¼ tsp celery seed

Instructions
 

  • Remove ⅛-inch from both ends of the cucumbers and slice into ¼-inch slices or spears. Pack the prepared cucumbers into two clean pint jars, leaving ½ inch of head space at the top. Set the filled jars aside while preparing the brine.
    2 lb cucumbers
  • In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, salt, sugar, turmeric, red pepper flakes, cloves, mustard seed, and celery seed. Stir and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer until the sugar and salt are dissolved, about 3-4 minutes.
    1 cup water, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp kosher salt, 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, ¾ tsp whole cloves (about 5 cloves), 1 tsp mustard seed, ¼ tsp celery seed
  • Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, remove the brine from the heat. Immediately pour the hot brine over the prepared cucumbers in the jars. Fill the jars so that the brine covers the cucumbers fully. Place lids on the jars and allow the brine to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place the jars in the refrigerator for 48 hours before consuming. The pickles will last at least two months in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • A high ratio of vinegar to water is necessary for quick pickles. Since these bread and butter pickles are not going through the canning process, the ratio is very important to ensure the acidity gets into the cucumber and pickles them.
  • Canning salt is very important when fermenting or canning a produce item. But when it comes to a quick pickle, kosher salt works very well. Any salt can be used, but each one measures differently. If using canning salt, use only half of the amount.
  • If slicing the cucumbers into spears, make sure to remove both ends of the cucumber. The ends can sometimes be bitter, so I find it best just to remove approximately 1/8-inch on each end of the cucumber.
  • Before ladling the brine into the jars, place the jars on a baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack. This ensures that if any brine drips, it will not stain the countertop and will make for a clean jar that can easily be wiped off.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 22kcal
Course Preserving
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Cooking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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