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Cucumber Salad Recipe

4.89 from 36 votes

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 My Grandma’s Cucumber Salad Recipe is cool, crunchy, refreshing, and easy to throw together on a hot summer day! Great for BBQ’s or potlucks. 

This Cucumber Salad Recipe is one of my Grandma’s beloved recipes. I use the term ‘recipe’ loosely because she never really wrote any recipes down. “Just make it until it tastes right.” Really hard to do with any of Grandma’s recipes, especially this cucumber salad. But don’t worry, I have cracked the code!

Cucumber Salad

Grandma’s Recipes

Since my Grandma is no longer with us, her recipes have become that much nearer and dearer to our hearts. We can never get them *quite* right, but getting close enough is fine by me. I’m 99% sure she’s smiling down on me, enjoying her little heavenly garden, chucking her damn-it doll around {most likely out of frustration from my Grandfather}, handing out the last few mints from her purse to the little ones that have yet to join our family while trying to figure out what to do with all the cucumbers and zucchinis that never seem to stop growing. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am happy to be sharing my Grandma’s recipe with you all, I hope you like it as much as I do!

Cucumber Salad Recipe

This simple Cucumber Salad Recipe is filled with fresh crunchy ingredients! So get your shopping list ready, because here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cucumbers – I used English Cucumbers but if you have garden fresh cucumbers, feel free to use those too!
  • Onions – for a sharp, strong oniony taste, use white onions. If you’re looking for a more mild flavor, try using red onions.
  • Green Bell Peppers – these peppers are the most bitter and unripe of all of the bell pepper colors. It goes perfectly with this salad.
  • Garlic – garlic enhances any dish including this one.
  • White Vinegar – this plus water, makes the marinating liquid. It brings a sour but also bright and fresh note to the salad.
  • Sugar – to balance out the sour, and bitterness of other ingredients.
  • Salt and Pepper – don’t forget to season, salt and pepper to taste!

Cucumber Salad ingredients

How to Make Cucumber Salad

  1. Peel and slice your cucumbers. You can use a knife or a mandoline slicer. You want them 1/4-1/8 inch thick. The thinner they are, the easier they absorb the dressing. I use English cucumbers, but if you have fresh garden cucumbers, feel free to peel, slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the larger seeds.
  2. Cut onion, green pepper, and garlic. These don’t have to be nearly as thin as the cucumber but small enough to be bite size.
  3. Make the dressing. This vinegar and water based marinating liquid is as good as it gets. Stir it together with salt, pepper, and sugar.
  4. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and marinate. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!
  5. Refrigerate and then serve.

Cucumber Salad Recipe Storage Tip

You need to store your cucumber salad in an airtight container in the fridge. You’re essentially pickling your cucumbers and the best way to do that is in an air-free environment. Also, you don’t want your fridge to stink! So, a bowl with a good lid, a large jar or a plastic container all would be great. My grandma used to use larger jars with a little plastic wrap under the seal for a little extra anti-leak insurance.

How Long Does Cucumber Salad Last?

Because this is vinegar based and essentially pickles, this cucumber salad can last in the fridge for up to two weeks. I don’t think it will last that long because it’s so good, but it should be good for at least two weeks.

vinegar dressing for cucumber salad

How to Make Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream

The most common question I get about this recipe is how to make this cucumber salad recipe with sour cream. Lots of German grandma’s used to make their cucumber salads with sour cream and mine did not, hence this recipe. The best answer I have for you is to add your sour cream sparingly and taste as you go. Find what is most delicious to you and go from there. Some stir in half a cup to the entire recipe while others just dollop it on top at the end. It’s totally up to you!

Or try using Greek Yogurt, Ranch Dressing or Mayonnaise as your creamy stir in. Whatever floats your boat.

Perfect for Summer

Easy Cucumber Salad is absolutely perfect for summer. It’s easy to double for a large gathering, is full of flavor and is SO refreshing. Plus cucumbers are in season from May until August actually making it the perfect summer salad!

If you don’t like cucumbers or cucumber salad, here are a few other summer salads that are delicious and perfect for potlucks, family get-togethers and BBQ’s: Simple Macaroni Salad, Classic Coleslaw, Amazing Broccoli Salad, Southwest Chicken Chop Salad.

Cucumber Salad

Delicious main courses to serve with this salad:

Like my own family, this recipe can become an heirloom to pass down so try making it the next time you’re looking for a salad to eat.

Printable recipe card below! Pin it, print it, bookmark it! You won’t regret it.

4.89 from 36 votes

Grandma's Cucumber Salad Recipe

My Grandma's Cucumber Salad Recipe is cool, crunchy, refreshing, and easy to throw together on a hot summer day! Great for BBQ's or potlucks. 
servings 6 servings
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 1/4 small onion sliced thin
  • 1/4 green bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Peel cucumbers and slice very thin. Place into a bowl with onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
  • In a liquid measuring cup, stir remaining ingredients together. Pour over veggies and stir. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours {at least!!} to overnight before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Sodium: 779mg | Potassium: 155mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 7.2mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Lunch, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: German
Keyword: cucumber salad, cucumber salad recipe, summer salad
Polaroid photo of granola bars

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Recipe Rating




174 Responses
      1. Michael L Ward

        This recipe is my comfort food. My Dad had family from NC, who made a salad very much like this and I searched for years to find one that was remotely close. This is it, dead on. I make it as often as possible. My kids will not even try it (another comment for another day) but I don’t care because it’s all mine. Memories abound and it transports me to my happy place.

      1. Vicki

        5 stars
        I love cukes and snack on them all day every day even with nothing on them. This recipe is a bit different than what my gramma made but very similar. I know she didn’t use garlic but did use a little dill weed and mayonnaise of all things. It made it creamy and just the right amount of sweet & tangy too! I don’t know how much mayo was used and I was never able to get the exact results when I made it but seeing this now again makes me want to try it over the weekend since its SuperBowl weekend and we will have some snacks etc. I’ll try the mayo and maybe use a half-cup or a cup. I don’t know. If I get it right to where it tastes good & others are wondering how much etc I’ll reply back with that. Stay warm my friends in the mid-west and northeast. I’m from Pittsburgh but living in GA last 2years. I don’t miss the weather but we’ve had our share here this winter, this week with temps in the 20s.

  1. Salma

    Thanks a lot for the recipe! Sounds absolutely delish! Will be making it soon. One question though so how do I store it, in the fridge

  2. Salma

    Sorry my phone has a mind of its own! Anyhoo so u need to refrigerate it or u can it on the counter? Can we use other veggies like celery n beets? It looks a lot like te fermented veggies so wasnted to know. TIA

  3. Karen

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing your grandmother’s dear recipe. It looks beautiful in the jar. Next time I make cucumber salad, I will put it in a jar….guess everything looks good in a jar, come to think of it. I got a huge laugh at the dammit doll reference. Thank you for that…I have one!

    1. Pat in Miss.

      I laughed at the dammit doll reference too. I bought one when they first came out. My cousin and I each bought one and laughed until we lost our breath because they were so funny. That was either 1962 or ’63. They went out of style for awhile but when my daughter was in late elementary or junior high, they got popular again. They called them trolls and made fun of me because I called them dammit dolls.

      My parents used to make a similar cucumber salad that I really liked. I still make it occasionally but prefer it with sour cream.

  4. Lynda Wise

    5 stars
    This salad is dear to me as well. It proves that some of the most wonderful gifts we’ve received from our parents and grandparents are cheap, insignificant to some and full of love to us.
    Thank you. I will make it today for my too busy daughter to pick up on her way home tonight. It is a special treat to her.

  5. Sarah

    I’m not a fan of bell peppers. Do they give it that distinctive flavor or is it just another taste that blends in and makes it better?

  6. Pat

    This just like or almost like mine (but I never measure anything either) – I’ve never put garlic in it but will be giving it a try!

  7. Emilee

    My dad used to keep a big bowl of this in the fridge during the summer and snack out of it. I think he used to add some red pepper flakes for a little heat too. I never touched it as a child, but have wanted to try it as an adult. And it will be much less daunting with a recipe. Thanks!

    1. Lauren

      Yellow onion. And you can use apple cider vinegar, it just won’t taste quite the same ๐Ÿ™‚ Still good though!

      1. karen barry

        5 stars
        Lauren…..I have made many cuke recipes. I followed yours to a tee except a smashed a couple of extra cloves of garlic.
        This salad was the best ever cuke salad I’ve ever made. So crunchy, refreshing with just the right bite. I cannot thank you enough for being thoughtful enough to share your Grams recipe with us.

        Thank you, Karen Barry

  8. Valerie | From Valerie's Kitchen

    I love old timey, Grandma recipes like this. It seems we can never duplicate them exactly because Grandma always added her loving touch to it. Beautiful post, Lauren.

    1. Gloria

      We have a cucumber and onion salad in the fridg almost year round. It is a favorite of mine and my husbands. So good as a side dish for just about anything.

  9. DeeDee Bolander

    My mom covered the cucumbers and sliced onions with salt first and let them sit…the cucumbers will them have to be drained. You will have abit of liquid, then add sugar, vinager, and salt & pepper. No green pepper or garlic in ours. Some add sour cream…..not us.

    1. Becky Schneider

      DeeDee- Yours is more like my mother made. Peeled the cucumbers and sliced very thin (she used her potato slicer) and salted. Sometimes, we had to rinse them if it seemed too salty. We used a LOT more sugar than this called for, cider vinegar and water. No green pepper or garlic. My mother liked it with onions but I have never liked raw onions, so I make it without. I can’t wait until fresh cucumbers come in season in the summertime so I can make a big batch!

    2. Gertraud C Davis

      Sounds like my German grandmother made her cucumber salad. She salted the slices, let sit for 15-20 minutes, then rinsed some of the salt off. She added thinly sliced onions, vinegar, water and sugar, as stated and also added some dill. No green pepper, garlic or sour cream.. Served only icecold. I could have eaten the whole bowl by myself, lol

    3. Maria

      When you say “sour cream;” instead. Do you make it the same way and when you serve it you add sour cream . Or what do you mean ?

  10. suzi salmon

    My mother is Hungarian and she makes cucumber salad all the time a little different, lots of garlic, and salt. sit the cucumber in water then she squeeze all the liquid out. And sprinkles paprika over the top, sometimes she adds sour cream.

  11. Michelle

    5 stars
    This is the exact recipe I have used forever– except mine doesn’t have bell peppers in it. I will have to try that!

  12. Benjamin Hall

    My grandmother measured by handfulls. A hand full of this a hand full of that. She poured liquid in until it looked right. Hard to duplicate that. I do the same when i am cooking. My bicuits neve turn out like hers.

  13. Suzanne C

    My gramdma never wrote her recipie down either, but I think they used the same recipie sans the bell pepper, made it today and I could almost close my eyes and be back in her kitchen. Thanks for restoring the memory!

  14. Marlene

    My Grandma used to make something like this all the time when she was living … Except she didn’t use water …
    Her’s was: Cucumbers, Onion, Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, and Sour Cream … and Dill if you like …
    LOVED it!!!

  15. Libby

    My grandmother made dammit dolls for the church bazaar! After she died and I was going thru her patterns & recipes, I chuckled at all the little slips of paper she had typed the explanation which included, “dammit, dammit, dammit”. She was the cutest little granny and that always cracked me up. We also ate a similar version of refrigerator pickles.

  16. barbara

    Love the sounds of this, and headed to the grocery store soon, does this require pickling salt, or regular table salt?? all I have in the house right now is light sea salt, I am assuming that will not work? thanks for the great, simple, recipes….

      1. barbara

        So sorry, I meant to say fine sea salt, Mortons brand, no clue where light came from, think it might have been a senior moment, lol….ok, thanks for the fast reply…

  17. Diane Volk Harris

    I had all the ingredients and a bit of free time this morning so I just stirred it up and put it in the fridge. We’ll have it for dinner this evening. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  18. Angie Gary

    I sprinkle the sugar salt n pepper over the onion and cucumbers let it stand for a while. It draws the natural juices out add vinegar no water needed. I have never added garlic but love it. Trying it today! I can’t handle green pepper so I’ll omit it. Thanks Does anyone have a picture of a dammit doll?

    1. Tom

      http://www.amazon.com/Dammit-Dolls-Doll-Leopard-Rose/dp/B00DEUCHWW

      Just an example. Amazon has many different patterns available.

  19. Deb Zemek

    My grandma made the best cucumber salad – it was very similar to yours but none of us has ever been able to duplicate it. She showed us and showed us and tried to write it down but something was always missing. Her salad dressing was the same. No salad has ever come close. I’m going to try this one and see if it’s close. I sure miss my Grandma. She was an amazing cook!

  20. Linda

    5 stars
    I made and LOVE !!! This cucumber salad…..thanks grandma!!! I used a red pepper because well, that’s what I had, I also used a bag of Persian cucumbers I got from my 99cent store., they worked great. My cucumber plants outside are starting to flower, now when I have too many home grown I know what I’m making…..

  21. Jannelle

    My mother in law makes this as well (hungraian style) she some times adds paprika to it and even cream and i love it

  22. Michal

    5 stars
    These are the best cucumbers I’ve ever tasted. I shared with my facebook page today. I can’t stop eating them. I eat them for breakfast lunch and dinner, then snack all day. Thank you for sharing this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. iluvs2fish

    My great-grma & grma made what was called “Bellyache” similar to this. No garlic. Just super tart & crisp. If you ate a lot of it you could end up w/a bellyache.

  24. TransplantedEntwife

    This looks so wonderful! Just one question- what size of jar would you recommend for storage? I’d be making this without the green peppers due to a food allergy. Thanks in advance. =)

  25. Leah

    This looks so yummy! Pinning to use when my cucumbers grow! Question: can you can this for later use? I’m sure it would give it more of a pickled taste, but I’m thinking that would taste good?

  26. ginny

    2 stars
    I just made this salad tonight. Sorry to say, but my husband and I both thought there was too much vinegar in it. I added more water and sugar; but still too sharp. Sorry.
    Ginny

  27. Sharon Hedge

    Am thankful to have many of my dear Mother’s recipes to pass on. It’s like sharing my memories
    with future generations! I will try your grandma’s cuke recipe when I return home as am out of town. Thanks for sharing!
    I have to ask where one can find the measuring cup in the photo – it’s AWESOME!

  28. Amanda Jenkins

    5 stars
    Just wanted to say thanks SO MUCH for sharing this recipe — I’ve been craving a really vinegar-y cucumber salad ever since last week when I saw a girl at work chowing down on some salted cucumber spears. ๐Ÿ™‚

    One dip of the finger confirmed it — this is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I’m sure it’ll taste even more amazing once it sits overnight!

    So…thanks a million!

  29. Cheryl

    5 stars
    I was unsure about the amount of sugar but decided not to cut back. Added a little extra garlic. Delicious! I’d like to try adding sour cream as others have suggested. Any ideas how to do so?

  30. Cucumber Salad - Purple Patch DIY Crafts Blog

    […] found this cucumber salad recipe on Pinterest from Lauren’s Latest, and I just had to try it. Just like Lauren, my Grandma used to make a similar version to it. I […]

  31. Wendy

    Thank you for this recipe! It is the closest I’ve had to recreating my grandmother’s. Don’t feel bad about giving out the family secret! I gave out my grandmother’s Passover sponge cake that was NEVER to leave the family. If I Haden’s, a great recipe would have been lost forever!

  32. Lauren Rader

    so funny – I’m doing thanksgiving this year and want to do my grandma’s recipe for cucumber salad but i don’t remember it. so looked up cucumber salad and found Lauren’s Grandma’s cucumber salad. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Enjoy –
    Also Lauren

  33. Kerri

    Hi Lauren! Can you tell me what happened to the Ziplist save option on all of these blogs lately. I used to save the majority of the recipes that I like to Ziplist and now I can’t see a save button. Thanks so much!!

  34. Barbara

    I love this recipe my Mom & Grandma made this all the time in the summer time. Sometimes if the mood hit them they would add sour cream. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. Brought me back to so many good memories ๐Ÿ™‚
    .

  35. Karen Turner

    This sounds so yummy!! Can’t wait to make it ๐Ÿ™‚ Any chance you know the nutritional values for this? Thank you so much for sharing your Gramma’s recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. JudyB

    Very much like my mother’s recipe–except she always used cider vinegar, and probably more sugar than this recipe. Yummy! We always had a jar of it in the refrigerator all summer, with the veggies from our garden.

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