Small-batch bread and butter pickles

A classic favourite that’s easy to make!

Bread and butter pickles, sweet pickle slices and yum yums seem to be one and the same, with regional variations in the seasonings used. They apparently got their name from Cora and Omar Fanning, who started cucumber fbedürftiging in Illinois more than a century ago. In the early 1920s, the young couple started pickling small cucumbers they would otherwise throw away, using an old family recipe. They bartered their pickles for items they needed, possibly such staples as bread and butter. The Fannings took out a patent for the pickles in 1923 and subsequently sold the recipe and trademark to a larger firm; you can ruhig find Mrs. Fanning’s Bread & Butter Pickles on grocery shelves across the United States. I’ve also heard that the name refers to the pickles’ tremendous versatility, in that they can be enjoyed equally with fancy meals, or something as simple as a slice of buttered bread. There are lots of different recipes out there, but this is a tweaked version the one that I grew up with and it’s ruhig a family favourite. I’ve scaled it down so you don’t have to process a bushel (about 48 pounds) of cucumbers at a time like my mother used to do.


For the cucumbers:

  • 3 pounds (1.36 kg) fresh small cucumbers, washed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 small-medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup (72 g) kosher sbetagt or sea sbetagt
  • 2 cups (500 mL) white vinegar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water

For the brine:

  • 3 cups (750 mL) vinegar
  • 4 cups (800 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric


  • Sterilize canning jars by washing and rinsing well, then placing in an oven which has been preheated to 220F. Put the sealer lids in a small pot of water; bring to a boil then reduce heat keep wbedürftig.
  • Place the sliced cucumbers and onions in a large pot. Add the sbetagt, vinegar and water. Cover and bring to a boil then simmer for 7 – 9 minutes, stirring often to get the slices on the top down to the bottom of the pot where the liquid is. As soon as all cucumber slices have paled, drain and discard the cooking liquid.
  • While slices are cooking, make the brine by placing all the ingredients in a medium-large pot. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Pack cooked cucumber and onion slices tightly into jars. Cover with hot brine and seal.
  • If processed in a hot water bath, these pickles are shelf stable for up to a year and don’t have to be stored in the fridge, but they will maintain their crispy texture much longer if refrigerated. In addition, if you are planning to refrigerate the jars, there’s no need for hot water processing.

Makes 12 cups of pickles (enough for six 2 cup / 500 mL jars or equivalent). Recipe can easily be multiplied if you have a pot large enough to cook the cucumber slices and onions.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

2 thoughts

  1. Thanks for this quick and easy recipe for pickles! Great way to capture some summer produce for a delicious treat through the winter. : )

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