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Bread and Butter Pickles

One of the most popular condiments since the 1920s, bread and butter pickles are perfect with meats, burgers and sandwiches.
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or scroll for tips (and a little nostalgia).

bread and butter pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles is the depression-era condiment that is still so popular today.

These salty, sweet and crunchy pickles turn a sandwich, burger or meat dish into something extra special.

This home made Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe is based on recipes from the 1930s through to the 1980s, and includes step-by-step instructions and pictures to help you create this tasty and versatile condiment.

bread and butter pickles easy

How did Bread and Butter Pickles get their name?

These pickles are made with cucumbers. So, why are they called Bread and Butter Pickles?

No one knows the reason with certainty, however there are two explanations that both sound quite plausible.

The first version of the story is that these pickles were often eaten with bread and butter during the Great Depression.

Another version re-tells the story of cucumber farmers from Illinois in the US, Omar and Cora Fanning, who filed a patent for the name in 1923. When they found themselves struggling to make ends meet, they started pickling the cucumbers they would have otherwise thrown away, following an old family recipe. The pickles became popular, and they started exchanging the pickles for basics like… you guessed it, bread and butter.

Recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles

The Bread and Butter Pickles recipe found its way to Australia within a decade, and we’ve loved them ever since.

The old fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles recipes below are from The Macleay Chronicle, November 1933 (top left), The Australian Women’s Weekly, November 1967 (top right) and another from The Australian Women’s Weekly, April 1980 (bottom).

bread and butter pickles recipe

How to make Bread and Butter Pickles

Making Bread and Butter Pickles takes two days, so plan ahead.

Day one

On day one, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 4 Lebanese cucumbers (or equivalent)
  • 1/4 red capsicum
  • 1 small white or brown onion
  • 1/2 cup salt.
bread and butter pickles ingredients

Wash the cucumbers. Slice very thinly using a food processor, cheese slicer or knife.

You’ll also need to thinly slice the capsicum and onion.

In a baking tray, layer cucumbers, capsicum and onion in a baking tray, sprinkling each layer with salt. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave overnight in a cool, dark place.

making bread and butter pickles

Day two

The next day, get a medium sterilised jar ready along with these ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric.
bread and butter pickles sweet

Add these ingredients in a saucepan.

Stir over medium heat to dissolve the sugar before increasing the heat and simmering the mixture, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

While the pickling mixture is simmering, rinse the cucumbers, capsicum and onion in water and drain off the liquid.

Once the pickling mixture has simmered for 5 minutes, add the cucumbers, capsicum and onion. Bring the mixture to the boil again and then remove from heat immediately.

bread and butter pickles australia

Using tongs or a slotted spoon to fill sterilised jar with cucumbers, capsicum and onion. Pour liquid into the jar to the top and then seal the jar.

Allow to cool and then store in the fridge.

bread and butter pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles FAQs

Q. How long do bread and butter pickles last?

A. They’ll last up to about 6 months in the fridge.

Q. How do I store Bread and Butter Pickles?

A. Use a sterilised jar (placing jar, lid and any rubber seal in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle before removing and placing onto a paper towel-lined tray to air dry completely) and place jar in fridge once it cools.

Q. How do I use Bread and Butter Pickles?

A. Pair them with burgers, salads, cheese or cold meats. Also great as a gifting option.

Q. Why are they called Bread and Butter Pickles?

A. Scroll back up to find that information in the post above.

Q. What else can I do with cucumbers?

Make this lovely Cucumber and Fetta salad or chop up some cucumber sticks and pair with this easy Corn Relish dip.

bread and butter pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles

One of the most popular condiments since the 1920s, bread and butter pickles are perfect with meats, burgers and sandwiches.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American, Australian, British
Keyword: bread and butter pickles
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting time: 12 hours
Servings: 1 medium jar
Calories: 1121kcal

Equipment

  • 1 medium jar, sterilised
  • medium baking tray
  • medium saucepan
  • tongs or slotted spoon
  • food processor, cheese slicer or small knife (to finely slice cucumbers)

Ingredients

  • 4 Lebanese cucumbers (or equivalent)
  • 1/4 red capsicum
  • 1 small white or brown onion
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric

Instructions

  • Wash cucumbers. Slice very thinly using a food processor, cheese slicer or knife.
    thinly sliced cucumbers for pickles
  • Thinly slice capsicum and onion.
  • Layer cucumbers, capsicum and onion in a baking tray, sprinkling each layer with salt. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave overnight in a cool, dark place.
    resting cucumbers overnight for pickles
  • The next day, add the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Increase heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
    pickling solution cucumbers
  • While the pickling mixture is simmering, rinse the cucumbers, capsicum and onion in water and drain off liquid.
  • Once pickling mixture has simmered for 5 minutes, add the cucumbers, capsicum and onion. Bring the mixture to the boil again and then remove from heat immediately.
  • Use tongs or a slotted spoon to fill sterilised jar with cucumbers, capsicum and onion. Pour liquid into jar to the top and then seal jar.
  • Allow to cool and then store in the fridge.

Notes

  1. Bread and Butter Pickles will last in a sterilised jar up to about 6 months in the fridge.
  2. Sterilise jars by placing jars, lids and rubber seals in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle before removing and placing onto a paper towel-lined tray to air dry completely.

Nutrition

Calories: 1121kcal | Carbohydrates: 262g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 56650mg | Potassium: 2347mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 227g | Vitamin A: 2196IU | Vitamin C: 81mg | Calcium: 320mg | Iron: 6mg

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