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Low-sugar bread and butter pickles

Make these tangy pickles with less sugar, and good-for-you turmeric.

When I see pickling cucumbers at the farmers market, I am the moth drawn to the flame. I must have them. And when I see fresh dill, I must have that, too. And then I make dill pickles, lots and lots of them.

Sometimes, however, I find cucumbers but no dill, and for those times, I have my friend Pauline's bread and butter pickle recipe. Pauline, who left us for the great kitchen in the sky last year, taught me many complicated dishes, from her French-Canadian heritage and her stints living in other parts of the country, and she taught me this simple one. The only change I've made is to cut down on the sugar (and even at that, most of the sugar remains in the brine). Turmeric doesn't add much pronounced flavor, but it gives the pickles their golden glow, so don't omit it. Make sure a jar of these pickles goes to your next picnic or barbecue.

Turmeric gives these bread and butter pickles their familiar color!

Low-sugar bread and butter pickles {vegan, gluten-free}

From the pantry you'll need: onion, sugar, kosher salt, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, white vinegar.

Makes approximately 1 quart.


4 cups sliced pickling cucumbers
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 cup white vinegar + 1/4 cup water


Mix all together in a microwave-safe glass bowl, and cover. Microwave on high power for 4 minutes, stir, microwave another 4 minutes. Pour pickles and brine into clean jars, and refrigerate.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More pickles:
Dill pickled green beans, from The Perfect Pantry
Half sour dill pickles, from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy quick pickled radishes, from Cookie + Kate
Pickled turnips, from David Lebovitz

It takes just minutes to make a jar of these low sugar bread and butter pickles. Picnic perfect!

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I'm intrigued by the turmeric! Would you believe I have never made pickles of any kind?

This has been my favorite recipe for a sweetened pickle since Pauline posted it in the comments!
The first time I made it, I must have had too much yellow squash and no cukes, so I plunged in and made it with the squash. Easy and delicious either way, and the more turmeric the better.
Thank you for the update on Pauline. I always paid attention to her comments.

Kalyn, making pickles is a ritual of my summer! Whenever I see little pickling cucumbers, I have to make pickles. And they are such a good snack!

Susan, why not make these pickles with squash?! What a great idea. And turmeric is so good for us, I wouldn't even think of leaving it out. I do miss Pauline; she left us after a full and fulfilled life.

Do you mean microwave the cucumber as well?

Kaman, yes!

Wow, these sound so good! I've never tried making bread and butter pickles before; I'll have to try this at some point. I like how the turmeric is used to make the pickles golden.

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