Easy Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles
Super easy, Quick Bread and Butter Pickles are both sweet and tangy. Made with minimal ingredients, they’re the perfect summertime treat. Fantastic on burgers, with sandwiches or just as a snack.
Originally published in June 2017 and updated in September 2019.
Let’s throw it back a couple years….um, decades? Shall we? I grew up in a REALLY old house….like really old, when we moved in we found a set of skeleton keys that actually worked on a lot of the doors.
We had a big iron grate in the entry hallway floor that air would blast through when the heater kicked on andI’d spend, what seemed like hours, floating balloons over the hot air until it would shut off.
There was a grape arbor behind the house that actually produced grapes…it also attracted Japanese beetles by the truckload and that’s probably why it vanished a few years later.
And we had a super creepy basement (although my parents tried their best to convince me that it was NOT creepy)…..but a creepy basement is almost a pre-requisite in an old house, am I right?
The stairs leading to the basement (which I would absolutely NEVER go down) were lined with shelves filled with jars of homemade canned goods. Things like grape jelly (from that arbor I mentioned), beets, strawberry jelly, tomato sauce.…and….Bread and Butter Pickles.
I remember the pickles were my favorite thing and if there was anything that could get me to open the basement door…it was the Bread and Butter Pickles.
Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles
If you’ve never tried a Bread and Butter Pickle, you’re in for a real treat. These pickles are like my favorite thing ever and I can polish off a whole jar in just one sitting.
Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles are slightly sweet with a bit of a puckery tartness making them fantastic on burgers. They’re made from a smaller Kirby cucumber which can be found at most grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
This is seriously the easiest refrigerator pickle recipe around because there are only a few steps before you’re stashing them in the refrigerator to pickle for an hour. Yes, your bread and butter pickles will be ready to eat in just one hour!
How To Make Them
I have a vague recollection of how they were made but over the years I’ve developed my own version and came up with this easy Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickle recipe. So simple even my basement hating child-self could make them with minimal assistance.
A simple brine…well, I’m not sure it’s technically a brine since I didn’t add any salt but let’s just call it that for simplicity sake.
The simple brine (pickling solution?) is made by boiling a bit of apple cider vinegar, water, brown sugar and pickling spice, it takes minutes. While the brine cools….you slice your cucumbers for the pickles.
Add all your cucumber slices to clean canning jars and then fill the jars with the pickle brine. Top with a lid and stash in the refrigerator for 1 hour. So easy!
Why are they called Bread and Butter Pickles?
So….supposedly Bread and Butter Pickles were named during the Great Depression. They were an inexpensive kitchen staple so people used them in sandwiches made of bread and butter because they were affordable.
BUT, there are other stories on the origin of the name and the spread of their popularity in the United States. Attributed to Omar and Cora Fanning, a pair of Illinois cucumber farmers who started selling sweet and sour pickles in the 1920s and filed for the trademark “Fanning’s Bread and Butter Pickles” in 1923 (though the recipe was developed earlier as history has it written.)
Apparently, the Fannings survived the depressive years by making pickles with their surplus of undersized cucumbers and trading them with their grocer for staples such as bread and butter.
To make my Quick Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles pretty I used the OXO Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0. It’s pretty amazing because it create up to 21 different cuts with thickness settings in 0.5-mm intervals, straight and wavy blades, and built-in julienne and French fry blades.
The indicator window shows each setting from above, so you can prep like a chef without needing professional knife skills….. or a knife at all. I set my slicer blade to a wavy setting and finished all my cucumbers in less than 2 minutes.
How Long Do Pickles Keep
Though your Refrigerator Pickles will be ready to eat in an hour, they’re even better if you let them sit for a few days. Your Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles will last (refrigerated, of course) for up to 3 months.
But, the longer your refrigerator pickles sit the more they’ll lose their crunch. So, more flavor, less crunch but still mighty tasty!
What To Serve With Them
We ALWAYS have these easy Bread and Butter Pickles at family barbecues but they’re also fantastic on sandwiches.
Or try with these easy recipes:
- Easy Barbecue Beef Brisket Sundae….not your average sundae.
- Oven BBQ Chicken Thighs
- On a Chicken Salad Sandwich
- Next to a pile of Carolina BBQ Chicken
More Easy Pickle Recipes
Get the Recipe: Easy Quick Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles
- 6 small English cucumbers
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pickling spice
- Using a mandolin, slice the cucumbers into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place the cucumbers in canning jars and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, add the vinegar, water, brown sugar and pickling spice. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour the liquid into the jars filling approximately 3/4 full. Place the lid on the jars and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
- Serve as desired.