How to Make Pickled Bread-And-Butter Zucchini at Home - Easily! With Step-by-step Directions, Photos, Ingredients, Recipe and Costs

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And we have home canning, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write me! Also make your own ice cream; see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy  directions

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Yield: 8 to 9 pint jars

Click here for a PDF print version (coming soon)

Making and canning your own bread and butter zucchini pickles is relatively easy and inexpensive with this traditional and tested (USDA / Ball Blue Book) recipe.  Anyone with a garden knows you will soon have more zucchini that you can eat or give away, so here's a way to preserve (pickle) them to enjoy in the cold winter months.  And it's less than $1 per pint jar! Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated.   It is much faster than the old method your grandmother used with tons of pickling salt and de-scumming the brine! Ugh!  This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this!  It's a great thing to do with your kids!

If you want to make cucumber bread and butter pickles, see this page instead or click here for regular zucchini pickles.  And see this page for a great and easy Zucchini Bread!


Yield: About 8 to 9 pints

  • 16 cups fresh zucchini, sliced
  • 4 cups onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup canning or pickling salt
  • 4 cups white vinegar (5%)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 tbsp celery seed
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric


  • 1 Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.).  Note: we sell many sizes and types of canners for all types of stoves and needs - see canning supplies
  • Half pint canning jars (Ball or Kerr jars can be found at grocery stores, like Safeway, Publix, Kroger, grocery stores, even online - about $9 per dozen jars including the lids and rings).   
  • Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar.  They may only be used once.
  • Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars.  They may be reused many times.
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars) 
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
  • Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
  • 1 large pot; teflon lined, glass or ceramic.
  • Large spoons and ladles

Directions - Step by Step

Step 1 - Slice and Brine

Slice the ends off the zucchini and onions and then slice them lengthwise into quarters. Cover the zucchini and onion slices with 1 inch of water and salt. Let the mix stand for 2 hours.

Step 2 - Drain

Drain (and discard) the liquids from the zucchini and onions.  Rinse the zucchini and onions thoroughly in a colander or drainer.

Step 3 - Mix the spices, vinegar and heat

Combine the

  • 4 cups white vinegar (5%)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 tbsp celery seed
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric

in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Step 4 - Add the zucchini and onions

Add the zucchini and onions. Simmer 5 minutes.

Step 5 - Fill the canning jars

Fill the jars with zucchini/onion mixture and pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch of headspace.

Adjust lids and rings snugly.

Step 6 - Process in a water bath canner

Process according to the recommendations in the table below or for more crispy, crunch zucchini pickles, use the low-temperature pasteurization treatment. Click here to see "Low-Temperature Pasteurization Treatment,".

USDA Recommended process time for Pickled Bread and Butter Zucchini in a boiling-water canner.
 Hot Packed Process Time at Altitudes of
Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Pints or Quarts 10 min 15 20

Step 7 - Remove from the canner

Remove the jars, let them cool in a draft-free place, and the store in a cool dark place.  They will be good for up to a year.  After that, the taste declines, but they're still safe, if the seals are intact and there are no signs of spoilage.


Low Temperature Pasteurization Treatment

The following low temperature pasteurization treatment can be used to prevent excessive softening.

This treatment results in a better product texture but must be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage.

Place jars in a canner filled half-way with warm water (120° to 140° F). Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars. Heat the water enough to maintain 180° to 185° F water temperature for 30 minutes. Check with a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180° F during the entire 30 minutes.


This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 1994, reviewed June 2006.

Pickle Making Problems?

See this page for a more complete set of frequently asked pickling questions and answers

Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs
    to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter
    - to remove lids from the pot
    of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid
    - disposable - you may only
    use them once
  4. Ring
    - holds the lids on the jar until after
    the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
    - to fill the jars

Canning tool kit

You can get all of the tools in a kit here:

Home Canning Kits

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You will never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!

Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Zucchini Pickles - makes 12 pint jars, 16 oz each*

Item Quantity Cost in 2022 Source Subtotal
Zucchini 30-36 (about 2 small per pint jar) free from the garden or a neighbor, or $3.00 at a PYO Pick your own $0
Canning jars (pint size, wide mouth), includes lids and rings 12 jars $7.75/dozen Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.) $7.75
Vinegar 4 cups $0.99  Safeway,
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
Spices, sugar See above $3.00 Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.) $3.00
Total $11.75 total
 or about  $0.98 per jar INCLUDING the jars - which you can reuse!
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars!  Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning.  For example, Classico Spaghetti sauce is in quart sized jars that work with Ball and Kerr lids and rings. Note that the Classico's manufacturer does not recommend reuse of their jars: see what they have to say on this page:

How to make other pickles -  recipes and instructions:

This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2006.

Reviewed May 2009.


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