Bread and butter pickles are a staple in refrigerators across the South—but finding that perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess can be tough. Great for topping burgers, livening up tuna salad, or served alongside a plate of thinly sliced country ham, they add brightness, sweetness, and acidity. Associate editor Hannah Hayes and I taste tested six brands of bread and butter pickles commonly found throughout the South. We judged on appearance, texture, and flavor and found several brands that delivered on all three. Read on to see which ones made the cut. (Or make your own!)
Vlasic Bread and Butter Stackers
Layer these long, thin pickles on a burger, or tuck inside a grilled cheese. These crunchy, sweet pickles are also easy to chop up for homemade relish.
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Wickles Wicked Pickle Chips
Wickles are billed as a “sandwich and snack chip” and we agree that you could eat these straight from the jar. If you like heat, that is. Whole chile peppers (and garlic) infuse the brine, making a powerfully spicy, not too sweet pickle.
365 Everyday Value Organic Bread & Butter Chips
Surprisingly, Whole Foods’ bread and butter pickles were by far the sweetest of the bunch. We liked the pickles’ crisp texture; unlike other brands they were not soggy or rubbery. We recommend these if you have a very strong sweet tooth.
Brooklyn Brine Maple-Bourbon Bread and Butter Pickles
Can Southern-style pickles be made by New Yorkers? Brooklyn Brine’s Maple-Bourbon Bread and Butter Pickles have a subtle kick from McKenzie bourbon whiskey and a nice amount of sweetness from maple syrup. Mace, black pepper, coriander, and mustard seeds add complexity. These aren’t your grandmother’s bread and butter pickles, but we liked them a lot.
Blackberry Farm Bread & Butter Pickles
At $14 a jar, these pickles are pricey, but they had the best flavor of the bunch but they come with a pedigree. Made from cucumbers grown at the award-winning Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, they are canned with pungent mustard seeds, onions, and spices. We thought the texture of these pickles was on the soft side; they are not very crunchy. Serve on a charcuterie board with cheese and country ham, or chop up the pickles to make relish.
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Mt. Olive Bread & Butter Chips
This old-school pickle is probably the kind you grew up eating. These crinkle-cut pickles are tangy-sweet with lots of mustard flavor, and have a pleasantly crunchy texture. If you’re looking for classic bread and butter pickle, this brand has been doing it since the 1920s.