Quick Zucchini Bread-and-Butter Pickles

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Quick Zucchini Bread-and-Butter Pickles

Bread-and-butter pickles are my absolute favorite pickle, hands down.

When I was a little girl, my mother made bread-and-butter pickles during the short summer season when pickling cucumbers flooded the local farmstand. My aunt and her husband would drive to Pennsylvania from New Jersey, my mom would drag out her huge meat slicer, and the four adults set up a pickle production line in our crowded kitchen. It was an all-day affair, slicing the cucumbers, brewing up the brine and filling the quart jars with hot pickles.

For some reason, maybe because it was such an ordeal, my mother and father never made pickles when they retired and moved to San Diego. Even worse, after they had passed away, I was unable to find the original recipe for those pickles, which dated back to my maternal great-grandmother. I guess I need to try some other recipes, but my heart isn’t really into it.

Still, when I saw an easy recipe for quick zucchini bread-and-butter pickles in the current issue of Food & Wine, I decided to try it. I had everything on hand and was craving those pickles.

Unfortunately, the first batch of pickles were disappointing, not sweet enough and way too salty. The sharpness of the vinegar in the brine hit the back of my throat and made me choke. I threw that batch away and started over, after a trip to the store for more zucchini…

This batch, I cut back on the salt and doubled the sugar. Because these are refrigerated pickles, not canned, I wasn’t concerned about the salt-sugar ration, only in terms of taste. Next time, I will throw in some chopped fresh dill. These aren’t as good as Mama’s pickles, but they are a step in the right direction.

TIP: Unfiltered organic apple cider is available at Trader Joe’s.

TIP: I sliced the zucchini using my handheld OXO mandoline at its widest setting.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Quick Zucchini Bread-and-Butter Pickles
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 quart
An easy no-canning recipe for zucchini bread-and-butter pickles.
  • 1 pound firm zucchini, sliced ⅛ inch thick
  • ½ cup sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ice water
  • 1½ cups unfiltered apple cider
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1½ teaspoons dry mustard, such as Colman's
  • 1½ teaspoons ground tumeric
  1. In a large bowl, toss the sliced zucchini and onion with the salt. Cover vegetables with ice water and allow to soak 45 minutes.
  2. Drain the vegetables and pat dry with a clean dish towel.
  3. To make the brine, use a medium-sized saucepan and combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, mustard powder and turmeric. Add half cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolves. Set aside, allowing brine to completely cool.
  4. Transfer the zucchini and onions into a glass quart-sized container. Completely cover the vegetables with the brine. Cover the jar and refrigerate overnight before serving. Pickles will last a week in the fridge.


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20 Responses to Quick Zucchini Bread-and-Butter Pickles

  1. Lynda - TasteFood August 1, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    I am a complete sucker for pickles. I love the use of zucchini in place of cucumbers.

    • Liz August 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      I was surprised that they tasted pretty much like a cuke, Lynda –

  2. suzanne August 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Love pickles and using zucchini is brilliant, they look fantastic Liz!

    • Liz August 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      Thanks, Suzanne, it took two tries but I think I will make this recipe a “keeper”.

  3. Wendy Read August 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    They look so good Liz, love the yellow from the mustard! You can always add equal amounts vinegar and water and still have a very safe recipe. I usually use, for example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of vinegar, I will use 3/4 cup unfiltered cider and 1/2 cup white, then I match that 1 cup of vinegar to 1 cup of water. I know what you mean about choking on the vinegar! Also, If I soak the vegetables first with ice and salt, I always rinse very well to remove this salt, and I will add let’s say 2 tsp kosher salt (to 1 cup vinegar) and put it directly in the brine so that I can control how salty it is.The other great thing is that when you eat all these you can just place more veg right into the brine! I loved hearing about your family story too, sounds like alot of fun!

    • Liz August 1, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

      You are the champion here – I wanted to rinse them too…You are such a good friend and support, Wendy. X0

  4. susan @ the wimpy vegetarian August 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    I loved reading about the story from your childhood. It made me feel so good inside :-). And I love bread and butter pickles. I just ordered jars from Amazon and plan to do a lot of pickling next week, so this is perfect timing. I love that you used zukes too!

    • Liz August 2, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

      Hope you post your pickle recipe, Susan –

  5. Elizabeth August 4, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    This time of year everyone has too many zucchinis and then we miss them when they are gone. This is why I love pickling things. The sweet and sour is the only kind of pickle that my son likes. I love all pickled things. I am bookmarking this recipe. Thanks again.

    • Liz August 4, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      I was pleased by the taste, very “pickle-y” because I am not a huge fan of zucchini.

  6. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence August 4, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Love this! I tried fermenting zucchini slices, and they turned to mush. Since that failed attempt, I’ve been meaning to go the quick pickle route. Looks like they hold up well.

    • Liz August 4, 2014 at 9:55 am #

      They do, Brandon – give them a try.

  7. sippitysup August 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    My mom spent a few seasons making pickles too. The Bread and Butter pickles were the only ones we kids would even touch. GREG

    • Liz August 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Just wish so much that I had my mother’s/grandmother’s/great-grandmother’s family recipe.

  8. Maggie Unzueta @ Mama Maggie's Kitchen August 7, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    Pickles! Yummmmm… I’ve never tried to make them on my own. Will definitely have to try them out.

    • Liz August 7, 2014 at 8:42 am #

      Hope you try them – thanks for your comment.

  9. Beth (OMG! Yummy) August 8, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    Hi Liz – I also love bread and butter pickles, especially with hard boiled eggs or tuna. I have never made pickles but I did make pickled onions the other day – YUM! So maybe this will be my next effort.

    Hope you are well – sorry I’ve been a bit absent from visits – I am struggling this summer to keep up with my blog or social media with both kids home and lots of their stuff to attend to daily. But I am always a fan 🙂

    • Liz August 8, 2014 at 8:09 am #

      You are too sweet, Beth – I, too, have been taking a much needed break this summer – we will get our energy back this fall –

  10. Priscilla @ She's Cookin' August 17, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Bread & Butter pickles are our fave! This is a great recipe for everyone who is over run with zucchinis right now. And for those of us who need some low sodium pickles!!

    • Liz August 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      Yes, low sodium pickles are a challenge, Priscilla – hope to see you SOON.

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