Cucumber Salad is a refreshing, flavor-exploding side dish that can be made for any occasion! Crunchy, fresh, cucumbers are thinly sliced and tossed in a sweet yet zesty Italian dressing, ready for you to serve up in under 30 minutes!
This garden-fresh cucumber onion salad is perfect to make for an outdoor picnic, backyard BBQ or your next weeknight dinner.
Reasons You’ll Love This
Easy Ingredients – The ingredients in this simple cucumber salad recipe are very easy to find, and may be things you already have on hand!
Fast and Fresh – Need a last minute side dish that will please the whole family, and is super quick to make? This recipe is for you
Gardeners – If you harvest cucumbers, and are looking for some recipes to make with your batch, look no further than this recipe.
Veggies – This might just be the most flavorful way to get your veggies in!
Customizable – Feel free to add any extra ingredients, or seasonings you see fit. If you want to make it a German Cucumber Salad, add a ½ a cup of sour cream!
You will be as ‘cool as a cucumber’ when you bring this famous side dish to all the pool party potlucks this summer. However, it doesn’t just have to be a summer side dish. You can make this all year round. Plus, if you always keep these easy ingredients on hand, there’s no stopping you from making this every week!
Let’s discuss how to make Cucumber Salad, as well as the ingredients that are needed. Please take note that below you will find discussion, expert tips, and answers to frequently asked questions about this recipe to help you recreate it in your kitchen. If you *just* want the recipe itself, scroll down. The full printable recipe itself, with exact measurements and instructions, is found at the bottom of this page.
- English Cucumbers – What’s the difference between an English cucumber and a regular cucumber? Well, English cucumbers tend to be a little bit sweeter than the normal cucumber, and have more ridges on the outside. They also have fewer seeds, and have a better ‘crunch.’ You can use whatever cucumbers are most accessible to you. Persian cucumbers, while significantly smaller, are a good substitute for this recipe.
- Rice Wine Vinegar – The great thing about rice wine vinegar is that it’s a lot sweeter, and packs less of a tangy punch than normal. If you don’t have rice wine vinegar, you can substitute for a different kind of vinegar. If you do this, use only 2 tablespoons so you don’t overpower your cucumber salad with a hefty vinegar flavor.
- Kosher Salt – Kosher salt is nice and coarse, and will really draw out the liquid in the cucumbers so your salad doesn’t come out soggy.
- Honey – Any regular honey will work. If you like spice, you can try substituting for some hot honey!
- Red Pepper Flakes – This is optional, but I highly recommend it for those spice lovers!
- Lime Juice – Freshly squeezed lime juice is ideal for this recipe because it compliments the other flavors nicely. You can substitute for lemon juice if you’d prefer.
- Olive Oil – Olive oil is a staple ingredient in most salad dressings. You can substitute this for avocado oil, or grape-seed oil if you prefer a different flavor.
- Fresh Dill – Nothing beats the flavor of fresh dill in this cucumber salad recipe. If you can’t find any, you can substitute for 1 teaspoon of dried dill, or use a different fresh herb like parsley or cilantro.
- Red Onion – When thinly sliced, this adds a touch of a zesty flavor that you don’t want to skip out on.
Step By Step Instructions
- Very thinly slice your cucumbers so they are about ⅛ of an inch thick. Add the sliced cucumbers to a strainer and sprinkle the kosher salt over the cucumbers. Gently massage the cucumbers with the salt and allow the strainer to sit in the sink so the salt can draw out all the cucumber liquid. Once you’ve noticed that the moisture has been drained from cucumbers, rinse the colander under cold water and shake dry.
- Grab a large serving bowl. Add the rice wine vinegar, honey, lime juice and red pepper flakes to the bowl. Use a whisk to combine.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuously.
- Continue to whisk together until all of the olive oil has been added to the bowl and becomes emulsified or evenly combined with the vinegar.
- Add the thinly sliced red onion to the bowl, and let them marinate in the sauce for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the dry cucumbers from the strainer and add them to the serving bowl with the dressing. Throw in the freshly chopped dill and use a soft silicone spatula to toss the salad together. Season the salad with freshly ground cracked black pepper and salt to taste. Serve and enjoy!
Tips and Advice
Storage – I don’t really recommend storing the leftovers for more than a day in the fridge. If you do decide to save it, make sure you drain the extra juices before eating.
Cucumber salad is best when eaten the day of, and since it’s fairly easy to whip up in under 30 minutes, I recommend waiting to make this until you’re ready to eat. The texture will be fresher, crisper, and not super soggy.
Here are the following utensils you’ll need for this recipe:
I highly recommend using a mandolin when cutting the cucumbers. The thinner the cucumbers, the more dressing it will soak up, and the more flavorful your salad will be! Just always use your mandolin with care.
Also, since the cucumbers are so thin, using a silicone spatula to gently toss the cucumbers in the dressing will prevent the cucumbers from ripping and breaking.
If you’re using English cucumbers, or Persian cucumbers for this recipe, you can leave the skin on. If you use regular cucumbers, you may want to peel the skin off, but it’s okay if you leave it on as well.
Gently coating the cucumber slices with Kosher salt will draw the moisture out, and keep the salad crunchy all night long! Also, keeping the salad in cool environment, and not out in the heat, will allow the cucumbers to stay fresh for longer.
Serves Well With
Cucumber salad makes a wonderfully refreshing side dish. Make this at your next BBQ, or for your weeknight dinners along side a few of these foods:
- Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
- Cheeseburger Sliders
- Huli Huli Chicken
- Dinner Rolls
- Marry Me Chicken
- Pork Tenderloin on the Grill
- Buttermilk Fried Chicken
- Air Fryer Meatloaf
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 large English cucumbers approximately 1 3/4 pounds
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice (fresh squeezed) approximately 1 lime
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh dill chopped
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- fresh black pepper and salt to taste
- Thinly slice cucumbers so that they are a thickness of about 1/8” thick.
- Place sliced cucumbers in a colander, sprinkle with salt and stir to coat. Place the colander in the sink to dispose of the residual liquid pulled from the cucumbers. Once all moisture has been drawn from the cucumbers, rinse well with cold water.
- In a large salad bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, and lime juice, and add red pepper flakes. Slowly pour in olive oil while whisking until fully incorporated and emulsified.
- Add sliced onions to the dressing and let them sit for 5 minutes to marinate.
- Add sliced cucumbers to the bowl and gently stir to coat.
- Add chopped dill and stir to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.