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Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

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In the world of pickling, do any varieties evoke as much nostalgia as the classic bread and butter pickle? And, why wouldn’t we take it a step further and craft delicious spicy bread and butter pickles with our garden harvests?

spicy bread and butter pickles

These tangy and sweet slices of cucumber are marinated in a vinegar brine with a subtle kick from fresh jalapeño peppers. You can enjoy these pickles on a sandwich, as a side, or straight from the jar which we often do when the midnight snack monster comes knocking.

The satisfying crunch is hard to resist, and this recipe is fairly easy to make. With a bit of prep, you’ll have several jars of perfectly sweet and subtly spicy pickles that make an excellent gift.

Tip: Try them on our Nashville hot chicken recipe.

Ingredients needed for spicy bread and butter pickles

Spicy bread and butter pickles ingredients needed
  • Pickling cucumbers – If you’re growing cucumbers in the garden, these will make the best, crunchiest, freshest-tasting pickles.
  • Jalapeño peppers – I prefer fresh picked peppers from the garden for the best spice. Remove the stems and seeds (it’s okay if some seeds get in).
  • Onion – Yellow onion works best in this recipe, but you can also use white. Red onion yields a very different flavor which is often too harsh for our taste.
  • Apple cider vinegar – For this recipe, I prefer apple cider over white, but you can use either.
  • White sugar – These are bread and butter pickles, so sugar is not optional in this recipe.
  • Pickling salt – I use Morton brand.
  • Water

Pickling spices

  • Yellow mustard seed
  • Celery seed
  • Whole clove
  • Turmeric
  • Pickle crisp (optional but recommended)

How to make spicy bread and butter pickles

spicy bread and butter pickles

Note: This recipe is for refrigerator pickles. They will last several months in the fridge, but they are not intended for long-term storage unless a hot water bath is used. See the notes below regarding canning these recipe.

Slice fresh cucumbers into ½ inch rounds, discarding the ends of the cucumbers. Quarter the onion and cut into thin slices. De-stem peppers, de-seed, and cut into ½ inch rounds.

Toss sliced cucumbers, onions, and jalapeño pepper in a large bowl along with the salt. Refrigerate for 3 hours, then drain in a large colander (without rinsing). After draining, pat dry with paper towels.

Combine 1 cup of water along with the apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, and celery seeds in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a rolling boil. Cover pot, then remove from heat.

Add ⅛ teaspoon of pickle crisp to each jar. Then, pack each jar tightly with the salted cucumber/onion/pepper mixture. Leave about ½ inch of space at the top.

Using a ladle or canning funnel, pour the hot brine over vegetables, making sure the spices distribute evenly. Leave ½ inch headspace. At this point you can also use a chopstick around the edges to help remove any air bubbles.

Making bread and butter pickles

Cover with lids and allow the jars to cool completely at room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate. Allow 1-2 days in the fridge for flavors to develop before eating.

FAQS and recipe tips

spicy bread and butter pickles

Can you can these pickles for long-term storage? This recipe is suitable for canning. You’ll want to use a water bath canner or pressure cooker. Always follow the USDA guidelines for home canning when making pickles for long term storage.

Can I use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar? You can use a different vinegar. However, keep in mind the flavor will be very different and I prefer the zing that this recipe gets from apple cider vinegar.

How spicy are these pickles? These pickles are very low heat. Freshly pickled jalapeños from your garden or peppers from the farmer’s market will have more flavor and spice.

Can I use different peppers? I encourage you to experiment with different hot peppers. You can use serrano peppers for a bit of extra heat, or even habanero peppers if you like it really spicy.

Can this recipe be scaled up or down? You can easily scale this recipe up for a larger batch of these pickles, or make small batches depending on your harvests.

Can I use different spices? You can mix up the spice mixture in this recipe or experiment with different flavors very easily. As long as the vinegar, water, sugar and vegetable ratios remain constant, feel free to add in your own unique spice blends.

spicy bread and butter pickles

I think this spicy version of bread and butter pickles is the perfect blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. They taste better than grocery store pickles, and you can’t beat the fresh crunch of pickled veggies, right from the garden. If you try this amazing recipe, be sure to leave a comment and let me know how you liked it!

Other pickle recipes

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

These spicy bread and butter pickles are a fiery twist on the classic sweet pickle.
Print Pin Rate
Cuisine: Topping
Keyword: Pickles
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4 pints

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pickling cucumbers sliced into 1/2" rounds
  • 1 small yellow onion Thin sliced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers de-seeded and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. pickling salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. whole yellow mustard seed
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp whole clove
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ½ tsp pickle crisp optional

Instructions

  • Slice cucumbers into ½ inch rounds. Quarter onion and slice thin. De-stem jalapeño peppers, de-seed, and slice into ½ inch rounds.

Sweating the vegetables

  • Toss sliced cucumbers, onion, and jalapeño pepper in a large bowl along with the pickling salt. Refrigerate for 3 hours, then drain in a colander (without rinsing). Pat dry with paper towels.

Making the pickle brine

  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine 1 cup of water with the apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, turmeric, clove, and celery seed. Bring to a boil. Cover, then remove from heat.
  • Add ⅛ tsp pickle crisp to each jar. Then, fill each jar with the salted cucumber mixture, packing it down tightly.
  • Ladle or funnel hot brine over vegetables, making sure the spices distribute evenly. Leave ½ inch of headspace in each jar.
  • Cover the jars and allow them to cool completely at room temperature. Allow 1-2 days in the fridge for flavors to develop.

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