This easy Cucumber Salad recipe combines thinly sliced cucumbers and onion with a tangy vinegar dressing. It’s a refreshing summertime side dish that goes with absolutely EVERYTHING – perfect for any picnic, potluck, or backyard gathering!
My Favorite Cucumber Salad Recipe
This is one of those recipes that I’d love to have in our fridge at ALL times. I adore a fresh, tangy Cucumber Salad!
My favorite cucumber salad recipe is this one that uses vinegar. It’s light and refreshing, incredibly easy to make, and goes with absolutely EVERYTHING – which makes it the perfect summer side dish!
Where Does Cucumber Salad Come From?
Cucumber salad – whether it’s made with vinegar or with a creamy sour cream dressing – comes from Germany, where it’s called Gurkensalat. This helps to explain why I feel like I grew up on it, as I have strong German heritage on both sides of my family. Mom made it regularly during the summer, and it could often be found at potlucks and family gatherings.
And speaking of German recipes, have you tried my German Potato Salad? It’s SO GOOD!
Our girls are proficient in the kitchen, and I often task them with making this quick cucumber salad. I love how the recipe requires only fresh cucumbers, onion, and dill – and the remaining few ingredients are common pantry items!
Grab the following ingredients:
- Cucumbers – I prefer to use large English cucumbers. I like that they have less seeds, plus their skin is thinner and more tender than common garden variety cucumbers – which means no need to peel them! Smaller Persian cucumbers also work great.
- Onion – Red onion is my #1 choice, because I like the pretty color it adds to the dish. But a white onion will work in a pinch!
- Vinegar – White vinegar is the go-to vinegar for this common side dish.
- Water – Just a little bit is used when making the vinegar dressing.
- Granulated sugar – This helps to balance the vinegar’s acidity.
- Kosher salt – Salt is the perfect accompaniment to a vinegar and sugar dressing!
- Dill – I use fresh dill whenever possible, especially when I can easily pluck some from our herb garden. But when I can’t find fresh, dried dill fills in just fine. For dried dill, reduce the amount to 1 to 2 teaspoons.
- Black pepper – This is optional, but I like to include a bit of finely ground black pepper over the top of the salad right before serving. Ask our girls, I love me some black pepper! :)
How To Make Cucumber Salad With Vinegar
This salad is simply made of cucumbers marinating in a vinegar based dressing, similar to a quick pickle. So much alike, in fact, that I often top my burgers and sandwiches with these delicious cucumbers!
Here’s how to make this salad:
- Make vinegar dressing – Combine vinegar, water, and sugar in a small saucepan and place over high heat. Whisk vigorously until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare remainder of salad.
- Slice cucumbers and onion – Aim for thin, even slices. Place slices in a large bowl.
- Marinate together – Pour vinegar dressing over the cucumber and onion slices. Add dill. Stir to incorporate. Then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
My #1 tip for this salad: Slice the cucumbers and onion very thin, and both the same size.
Take a look at the cucumber slices above. For geeking-out purposes, I even measured my slices for you! I think these are the perfect thickness for this cucumber vinegar salad, between 1/16″ and 1/8″.
How To Slice Cucumbers Thin
A mandoline is one of my favorite kitchen tools. I use it whenever I want thin and/or especially uniform slices, so it comes in super handy for the cucumbers and onion in this recipe. Also – the slicing goes so much faster than when using a knife!
My favorite recipes to use a mandoline:
- Pickled Red Onions – One of my top favorite recipes, slice the onions thick for more crunch or thin for a more delicate bite.
- Refrigerator Pickles – My Mom’s recipe, I love it!
- Strawberry Salad – To get the red onion nice and thin, the perfect contrast to the sweet strawberries.
- Pickled Squash – A fresh, fun way to use up all that summer zucchini and yellow squash.
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad – Shaved Brussels sprouts are a glorious thing. This makes a beautiful, fresh salad for the holidays!
What To Serve With Cucumber Salad
This salad is a dream when it comes to summer gatherings. It goes with absolutely any menu and can stand the heat of a hot summer day. Here are a few main entrée suggestions – my favorite ways to enjoy these tasty cucumbers in vinegar!
- Easy Grilled Beer Can Chicken
- Sugar Grilled Beef and Asparagus Kebabs
- Margarita Grilled Shrimp
- Easy Grilled Pork Chops
- Grilled Turkey Tenderloin with Brown Sugar and Whole Grain Mustard
- Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Chili Kebabs
How Long Will This Salad Last?
To store this cucumber salad, simply cover it with an airtight lid and refrigerate. The salad will be at its best when eaten within 3 or 4 days, but keeps well for up to a week.
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More Cucumber Recipes
Cucumbers are cool, crisp, and refreshing; you’ll always find them in our fridge. Here are a few more recipes for inspiration:
- Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
- Hawaiian Poke Bowl
- Mom’s Refrigerator Sweet Pickles
- Greek Chopped Salad
- Pickled Vegetables
- Green Juice
- Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Pork
- 1 cup white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large English cucumbers about 2 to 2.5 pounds
- 1 small red onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- finely ground black pepper optional
- In a small saucepan over medium-high to high heat, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk vigorously until sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks clear. Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the cucumbers and onion.
- Slice cucumbers and onion thinly. I prefer them to be between 1/16" and 1/8" thick – a mandoline works great for this!
- Add sliced cucumbers and onion to a large bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over the top. Add dill and then fold to incorporate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle with finely ground black pepper if desired.