Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

Spicy bread and butter pickles are easier to make than you think.

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles in mason jars.

I was looking to make a pickle from scratch similar to Wickles. I didn’t want to use store-bought dill pickle chips and add spices to them. We tried our hand at canning the first batch of these but they became mushy and soft. No Bueno!

So I began researching how to keep them extra crispy. Apparently, the trick is to add tannins. Like from grape leaves, white oak leaves, or black tea. The easiest available to me was black tea.

Pickles in mason jars.

Why You’ll Love These

This pickle recipe is simple to make and produces spicy, sweet, and extra crunchy bread and butter pickles!

Key Ingredients

  • Cucumbers – We like to use mini cucumbers for extra crunch.
  • Pickling Salt – Pickling salt has a fine grain making it dissolve easily. It also keeps the liquid clear featuring the bright vivid green color of the cucumbers.
  • Seasonings – Granulated sugar, whole mustard seeds, celery seeds, whole black peppercorns, turmeric, garlic cloves, and red chili peppers.
  • Black Tea – For the tannins that help keep the pickles crunchy and firm.


  • Use the freshest pickling cucumbers you can find. It’s key to keeping the pickles crunchy.
  • Do not use table salt. The anti-caking additives in table salt will produce a murky, cloudy brining liquid and discolor the cucumbers.
Pickle brine in metal sauce pan.

How to Make Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

Begin by soaking the cucumbers in a saltwater brine overnight or longer. We soak ours for about 18 hours. Helpful article.

The next day in a medium saucepan add the onion, vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, garlic, and red chili peppers bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Set aside while preparing the jars.

Overhead view of the Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles in canning jars.

Place 1/4 teaspoon of black tea leaves in each canning jar. Pack the cucumbers as tight as possible. Fill each jar with the pickle brine, leaving about 1/2″ space below the neck of the jar.

Overhead view of Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles in 4 canning jars on wooden cutting board.

Place the lids on and refrigerate.  It took our pickles about 7 days to become as spicy as we like. You can eat them sooner but they are so much better if you can wait.

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles in canning jars fresh pickles and dried peppers scattered around.


Enjoy these refrigerator spicy bread and butter pickles as a snack or as a condiment on sandwiches, burgers, or even salads.

close up Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles in jars

Crunchy, spicy, sweet, and tangy pickles.

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Can be stored for 2-3 months in the fridge.

More Delicious Recipes

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles in mason jars.

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe

Spicy, sweet, and extra crunchy pickles! A Wickles Pickle copycat from scratch.
4.41 from 20 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Pickles, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 40
Calories: 54kcal
Author: Don’t Sweat The Recipe


  • 2 pounds mini cucumbers
  • 1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tbsp pickling salt heaping tablespoons
  • 2 cups ice cubes or more
  • 3 cups cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon black tea leaves divided
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 16 dried red chili peppers*


  • To draw out excess liquid and increase crunch, toss cucumbers with salt in a large bowl.
  • Add ice, fill with cold water and refrigerate overnight. Drain. Rinse well, and drain again.
  • In a medium saucepan add the onion, vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, garlic, and red chili peppers bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Set aside while preparing the jars.
  • Add the cucumbers to the pickling liquid.
  • Place 1/4 teaspoon of black tea leaves in each canning jar. Fill 4-pint jars with cucumbers, onion, garlic, and peppers packed tightly. (Adding 2 garlic cloves and 4 peppers to each jar.)
  • Ladle the pickling brine into each jar, leaving about 1/2 inch below the jar’s neck. Wipe rims of jars with a clean, damp cloth; cover tightly lids and screw tops.
  • Refrigerate jars immediately.
  • Serve in 7 days.
  • (use within 3-4 weeks)


Adjust the amount of spice to your taste. We wanted them to be really spicy like Wickles Pickles. Yield: Approximately 4 pints.
Nutrition information is based on serving size of 10 servings per 1 pint.


Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 526mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 69IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. I can bread and butter pickles regularly. 10 mins in hot water bath (180 degrees). Either do the processing while the pickling liquid is still hot or put cooled jars into cool water and heat to simmer together. Learned the hard way that if you put cold jars into hot water bath you risk cracking the mason jars.

  2. Fantastic recipe. So crunchy — perfect heat and sweet. My family loves them and I am making my second batch today. Thanks for this great recipe. The tea is the key to the crunch!5 stars

  3. Well I just made these pickles and followed the directions to the letter… went to clean up and found the black tea on the counter. Will it ruin the outcome?

  4. Just what I was looking for. I tweaked it slightly, I added a few tablespoons of salt to the brine. I also crushed the mustard seeds and the pepper corns. I also minced the garlic. I substituted 1 cup of the vinegar with white instead of 3 apple cider. I used red onions too. PERFECT! My friends love them.5 stars

  5. Is the only salt in the brine the fresh cucumbers sit in over night? And NOT in the brine that is mixed with the other seasonings and poured over them in the jar?

  6. What is meant by preparing the jars? Do the jars need to be sterilized as you would do if you were canning?

  7. Could these be canned if I did the proper canning process? I made a batch a couple weeks ago and they are fantastic! I’d like to give them as teachers gifts and wanted to can them regularly rather than the refrigerator. Thanks for a FANTASTIC recipe for using my fresh garden grown cucumbers!5 stars

    1. You could certainly give it a try! I would be very careful not to “cook” the pickles too much during canning, they might become too soft. Let us know how it goes!

      1. I did a ten min hot water bath canning method and soo far great. Def lost some crunch but not much.5 stars

    2. Did you can them? I think I am going to give it a go adding 1/4 tsp per pint of pickle crisp. Just wondered how yours went?5 stars

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