Refrigerator Bread-and-butter Pickles {Recipe}

Behold the pickle jar!!

This jar has been through numerous incarnations in my kitchen. It was the vessel for my failed attempt at homemade sauerkraut and my way-too-successful forray into the world of Kombucha. But now it has finally found its true calling. It is the pickle jar.

Whenever I make homemade refrigerator pickles — something that is happening with increasing frequency around here lately — they begin their pickled lives in “the jar”. After a few days, when we’ve eaten a good portion of them, I’ll move the pickles into increasingly smaller containers until, alas!, they are gone, and it’s time to get out the pickle jar again.

My most recent batch was bread-and-butter pickles, which are what a pickle should be, in my opinion. I might play with the recipe a bit with future batches — mainly trying different vinegars — but they are pretty close to perfect the way they are. Give them a try and see if you agree.

Refrigerator Bread-and-butter Pickles


  •  Pickling cucumbers to fill a gallon jar
  • 2 medium onions, peeled, halved, and sliced
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed


  1. Wash cucumbers. Cut off and discard ends. Cut  pickles into desired size and shape. For these pickles, I prefer 1/4-inch slices.
  2. Layer cucumbers and onions in gallon jar. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough to fill it all the way.
  3. Combine sugar, salt, and vinegars in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar and salt dissolve and mixture clarifies somewhat.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in spices.
  5. Pour hot liquid over cucumbers and onions to cover. Push cucumbers down into liquid as much as possible
  6. Cover and refrigerate.

The pickles will be ready to eat in about 24 hours (although we always start into them sooner than that) and will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely. In our house they’re always gone within a few weeks, and the last ones are as good as the first.

As I said, I might tinker with the recipe by trying different vinegars. For the next batch, I think I’m going to substitute rice wine vinegar for some or all of the apple cider vinegar. I’ll let you know how it works out.


  1. Florence Walter said,

    August 3, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    I have just finished (eating) my first jar of these. Discovered that a bit of this pickle juice is now the secret ingredient to my potato salad! A side note, I used all apple cider vinegar in the above recipe with no problem. I am making a second batch tomorrow.

  2. Florence Walter said,

    June 15, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Just filled my jar. Tasted; wonderful already. This will be a keeper!

  3. June 23, 2012 at 11:31 am

    You’ve been holding out on me…I’ve gotta try this!

    • gaaarp said,

      June 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      I just bought some pickling cukes from Brunty Farms. I’ll have fresh pickles in about a day.

  4. Abby said,

    July 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Bookmarking this recipe right now! Looks fairly similar to the one I tried last week…still haven’t sampled those yet. We love refrigerator pickles!!

    • gaaarp said,

      July 31, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      What? You’ve had pickles in the fridge for a week and still haven’t tried them?!? We sample ours the day we make them (even though they aren’t ready). By the next day they’re done and we start into them with gusto!

  5. Kayte said,

    July 31, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Okay, I’m making these (and maybe some others) next weekend for the Pickle Up Weekend with Rebecca (@hobnob), thanks for posting it so I can get all my ingredients on hand…you are right, I have them all, I think, just need to make sure I have correct amounts. I don’t have a pickle jar but I have my Granny’s pickle crocks (and her sauerkraut crock as well), so I will use those before the refrigerator jar time. How fun! Thanks. Yours look delicious!

    • gaaarp said,

      July 31, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks. I hope you like them. Whenever I make pickles around here, they just keep getting eaten until they’re gone. Growing up, we had pickles or some kind of “relish tray” on the table for almost every meal. I’m trying to revive that tradition with homemade pickles.

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