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5 from 2 votes

Bread and Butter Pickles with Water Bath Canning Instructions

Learn how to make delicious Bread and Butter Pickles that can be stored in your refrigerator. This recipe also includes steps on how to water bath can your pickles to make them shelf-stable.
Prep Time1 hr 45 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Water Bath Canning10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Canning, Condiments
Cuisine: Americana
Keyword: Bread and Butter Pickles, Pickles, Water Bath Canning, Water Bath Canning Pickles
Servings: 6 Pint-sized jars
Author: Mary's Nest


  • 6 pint-sized jars or 3 quart-sized jars with screw top lids
  • Water bath canner, optional
  • 6 pint-sized wide mouth canning jars with lids and rings (bands), optional


  • 4 pounds Cucumbers, preferably Kirby pickling cucumbers, approximately 12 cucumbers Other thin-skinned cucumbers can be substituted, such as English or Hot House cucumbers.
  • 2 pounds Yellow onions, thinly-sliced, approximately 2 large onions.
  • 1/3 cup Salt that is free of preservatives and anti-caking agents. Sea salt or Himalayan pink salt are good choices. However, if you are going to water bath can these pickles, use salt made for pickling and canning.
  • 3 cups Sugar You can reduce this ingredient, but using this amount of sugar will give you a flavor that's close to grocery store or deli bread and butter pickles.
  • 2 tablespoons Yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons Celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Whole black peppercorns
  • 3 cups White vinegar, 5% acidity
  • 1 teaspoon "Pickle Crisp," optional for water bath canning This is calcium chloride. It will keep your pickles "crisp," however, I do not recommend this ingredient, as it is a chemical that I prefer not to add to my pickles. And personally, I think the salt keeps these pickles sufficiently crisp.


Making Pickles

  • Using a colander, rinse the cucumbers under cold water. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Remove the stem and blossom end of each cucumber. Cut cucumbers crosswise into 1/4 inch slices and place the slices into a colander that you have placed over a bowl to catch any liquid drippings.
  • Add sliced onions to the colander that contains the sliced cucumbers. Toss the entire mixture with salt.
  • Allow the mixture to drain at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, you can drain the mixture in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  • After the cucumber mixture has completed the draining process, combine sugar, spices, and vinegar in a large non-reactive saucepan or stockpot (stainless-steel or enameled). Bring this brine mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Now add the un-rinsed cucumbers and onions, along with any liquid that has drained into the bowl, into the saucepan and bring the brine back up to a boil. Stir well. Once the mixture comes up to a boil, remove it from the heat.
  • If you are NOT water bath canning your hot pickles and brine, transfer them to clean jars that have been washed in hot soapy water and rinsed well. Make sure the jars are still hot when you fill them with the pickles and brine.
  • And if your NOT water bath canning, once the jars are filled, allow the pickles to cool slightly, place the lids on the jars, and refrigerate. Pickles should stay fresh stored in the refrigerator for six months.

Steps for Water Bath Canning Pickles

  • Pack the hot pickles and brine into a hot jar leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.
  • At this point, if you are using the "Pickle Crisp," add approximately 1/8 teaspoon to the jar.
  • Use a debubbler to remove any air pockets and recheck for 1/2 inch headspace. If headspace has dropped, add a bit of additional hot brine.
  • Wipe jar rim with a paper towel dipped in white vinegar.
  • Center the canning lid on to the rim of the jar.
  • Apply the canning ring (band) and adjust to "fingertip" tight. (See video.)
  • Place the jar into your water bath canner and repeat this process until all your jars are filled. Place the lid onto the canner. Bring the water in your water bath canner up to a rolling boil and process (boil) for 10 minutes. (Be sure to check with the National Center for Home Food Preservation's website for altitude adjustments.)
  • After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid of the canner. Be careful when you remove the lid, as steam will be released. Allow the jars to stand in the hot water for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, remove the jars, one at a time, from the water bath canner using a jar lifter. Keep the jars upright as you remove them and place them on a well-padded surface. Allow them to cool for 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, verify that each jar is sealed properly by checking to see that the "button" (raised area) on the canning lid is now depressed. (See video.) If all the jars are sealed properly, remove the rings (bands) and store them in a cool, dry place, preferably in the dark but at the very least out of direct sunlight.
  • If, for any reason, a jar did not seal properly, refrigerate it to keep the contents fresh. Water bath canned pickles should stay fresh, unopened, for 18 months. Once opened, they must be refrigerated and should stay fresh for six months.



Find this recipe and video at https://marysnest.com/bread-and-butter-pickles-recipe-with-water-bath-canning-tutorial/
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