What Are Bread and Butter Pickles?

Are your gherkins just simply not workin’? Are your half-sours not putting in the hours?? Are you finding each trip to dills-ville totally dullsville??! If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, worry not! You’re not being fickle, you just need a new pickle! It’s time to venture into the wonderful world of bread and butter pickles

What are bread and butter pickles? 

Unfortunately for fans of easy recipes, bread and butter pickles are not just bread, butter, and pickles mixed together. Bread and butter pickles are best described as being a lot like sour dill pickles, but with sweet onion and sugar added to the pickling mix to give them their one-of-a-kind flavor. They are right at home on deli sandwiches, burgers, and charcuterie boards. And they’re fantastic just straight out of the jar! It’s the perfect utility pickle for folks who want a little sweet along with their savory.  

Why are they called bread and butter pickles?

Bread and butter pickles as we know them date back to the early 1920s when cucumber farmers Jim and Cora Fanning trademarked their centuries-old family recipe. Folks around their hometown of Streator, Illinois found the new variety of pickle so delectable that the Fannings were able to trade them for household staples, such as bread and, hold on let me just make sure my research is correct here, checking, checking, ah yes, just as I suspected…butter. The name stuck, and we’ve been enjoying them ever since! 

Are bread and butter pickles sweet?

Oh my, yes. The sugar in the brine ensures a sweet sensation with every satisfying crunch of a bread and butter. Bread and butter pickles bring just the right amount of sweetness to your sandwich. Just please don’t take this as a license to put them on your evening ice cream sundae. We don’t want any complaint letters here. Unless it tastes great, in which case, I call dibs on writing that article. 

What do bread and butter pickles taste like?

One thing to remember about bread and butter pickles is they are not pickles that taste like bread and butter. That being said, hopefully scientists are hard at work on one like that. It’s an untapped flavor market! You just know Jelly Belly would snatch that up! But, in all seriousness, bread and butter pickles’ taste can best be described as sweet, tangy, and mild.

Words can only do so much to capture the singular taste of these bad boys, though, so your best bet is to just buy a jar the next time you’re at the grocery store. Heck, if you’re worried about the cost of a whole jar, just bring your kid and have them “accidentally” drop one in the aisle. Children are expected to be a little clumsy, and you can snatch one up to taste using the five-second rule before an employee comes to clean it up. Just watch out for broken glass. 

best bread and butter pickles

Best Bread and Butter Pickles

Now that you know all about bread and butter pickles, find out about the best bread and butter pickles. Click to see the results of our bread and butter pickle taste test.

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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