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Cucumber Salad Recipe

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Cucumber Salad is cool, crunchy, refreshing, and easy to throw together on a hot summer day! It’s easy to double for BBQ’s, potlucks, or just as an afternoon snack. Plus cucumbers are in season from May until August actually, making it the perfect summer salad! If you’re in a cucumber kind of mood, you must also try my Cucumber Tomato Salad!

Cucumber Salad

Perfect for Summer

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.” is really hard to do with any of Grandma’s recipes, especially this cucumber salad. But don’t worry, I have cracked the code! “Just make it until it tastes right” is today’s “measure with your heart”.

Easy Substitutions

The most common question I get about this recipe is how to make this cucumber salad recipe with sour cream. Lots of German grandmas 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.

What kind of cucumbers should I use?

I used English Cucumbers but if you have garden fresh cucumbers coming out of your ears, feel free to use those too!

What kind of onions are best in this recipe?

For a sharp, strong oniony taste, use white onions. If you’re looking for a more mild flavor, try using red onions.

What about the green peppers?

Green pepper is the most bitter and unripe of all of the bell pepper colors. It goes perfectly with this salad.

Cucumber Salad ingredients

How to Make Cucumber Salad

This simple cucumber salad is filled with fresh crunchy ingredients. For full recipe details, see the printable recipe card below.

Peel + Slice Cucumbers

You can use a knife or a mandoline slicer. You want your cucumbers 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.

Thin Slice the other Veggies

Slice onion, green pepper, and garlic. These don’t have to be nearly as thin as the cucumber but small enough to be bite sized.

Make the Dressing, Pour over Veggies + Marinate

This vinegar and water based marinating liquid is as good as it gets. Stir it together with salt, pepper, and sugar.

Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and marinate. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!

Refrigerate and then serve.

vinegar dressing for cucumber salad

Cucumber Marinating Tip

You need to store your cucumber salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator . 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.

Storing Leftover Cucumber Salad

Because this is vinegar based and essentially pickles, this cucumber salad can last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Of course it won’t last that long because it’s so good, but it should be good for at least two weeks.

Delicious main courses to serve with this salad:

Cucumber Salad

More Summer Salads to Try…

Here are a few other summer salads that are delicious and perfect for potlucks, family get-togethers and BBQ’s:

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.

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

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


  • 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


  • 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.


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

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Recipe Rating

178 Responses
  1. mary

    Ive been looking for a recipe for what we call refrig pickles, your s sounds a lot like what I want, I will try it. Just wondered how long you can keep it in the refrig?

  2. Judy D.

    Your grandma’s cucumber salad reminds me of the Fire and Ice Salad from Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate blog. The main difference is the Fire and Ice Salad has tomatoes along with the same ingredients in your Grandma’s salad.


  3. Debbie

    5 stars
    My grandma always made hers with sour cream but these sounded good so I gave them a try. They are wonderful!! Will definitely make them again. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Maria Ladouceur

    Do you add the sour cream just before you serve it or do you put the sour cream on the table for people to add it themselves if they wish?

  5. eleanor delaney

    5 stars
    I love your grandmother for having this incredibly scrumptious recipe and I love you for sharing it with the world. emd

  6. Michael L Ward

    5 stars
    My favorite of yours because it reminds me of both my parents who are now passed, but they introduced this salad to me and finally about a year ago I found this recipe which matches what my mm always made. Thank your.

  7. Maureen

    I really want to make this tonight but do not have any bell peppers. Do you think it would be ok to add radish slices instead, for color?

    1. Lauren

      1-2 weeks. It’s a vinegar solution it’s sitting in so as long as it’s in an airtight container, it can last a long time 🙂

  8. Andrea

    Love this. Make it year round. Instead of water add ice cubes. Crisps it quicker and melts down to balance the vinegar taste.

  9. Patti

    This was my grandmas recipe EXCEPT no green pepper and seasoning salt instead of plain salt!! We always used apple cider vinegar and today I mix up the recipe a lil by adding red wine vinegar and garlic vinegar!! We make this for every family gathering, “who’s bring the cukes and onions!?!”

  10. Rick Johnson

    My sister-in-law and I love refrigerator pickles of all kinds. This looks like a particularly good recipe. I thank you and hope to find more like it on your site.

  11. Carol Blais

    How long will it keep. Is it like pickles and will keep a while in the refrigerato? I remember my Aun’ts dill pickles and I wish I had her recipe. But she’s gone now. She would tell me how to make it, but I never wrote it down… …..

  12. Nancy Vandegrift

    5 stars
    My mother in-law used to make it for me and I haven’t had it in over twelve years since just before she passed away. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. Have a blessed day.

  13. Jessie

    Sounds yummy I sometimes makes this without the peppers and use balsamic vinager but I am going to try your Grams way tonight with our dinner. My husband is on a diet and driving me crazy! He doesn’t need to diet! Lol thanks for sharing!

  14. aunt valerie

    Hi Lauren, it’s your Aunt Valerie here, I was recently going through Grandma’s recipes and did find a some what recipe for cucumber salad. Here it is, like you said there are no quantities for the cakes, onion and peppers but here goes ;
    Cucumber Salad
    Cukes sliced
    Onions sliced
    Green peppers -smaller pieces
    Garlic minced
    1cup white vinegar
    1cup water
    2 level tablespoons salt
    4 level tablespoons sugar
    Mix and pour over cuke mixture.

  15. FABBY

    Thank you so much for your grandma’s recipe, they are usually the best! I love cucumbers, so I just pinned it.
    Will try it and let you know!

  16. This recipe is like my Mother in law’s as well. She was Hungarian and was a very good cook.She also made a tomato,onion and cucumber salad that was pure summer! Mmmmmmm she has passed away,when we make one of her recipes we always see if it comes close to hers!!!

  17. Janice

    Soak your cubes in salt water for about an hour, then drain and make your salad. That is what my granny and others used to do. It does make a difference, maybe that is the missing step to getting her recipe exactly the same.

  18. saf

    With cucumbers abundant at this time of year, I’ve tried this recipe several times over the past couple of weeks. It is very similar to the “Sweet and Sour Cukes” my mother made as we were growing. Like your Grandma, my mother never wrote down the recipe. I am glad to have this as my “go to” recipe.

  19. Cathy Parker

    5 stars
    When I saw the picture of the salad it looked familiar. As I read the ingredients – even more. Then the clincher was the mention of goulash and nookedly. Lol Hello, my fellow HungarIan friend!

    My mother has made the same salad for years, often with paprikas csirke, paprikas krumpli and porkolt. ?

  20. Liz

    I would love to know where your Grandma came from. As my Grandma made a similar cucumber salad and like your Grandmother she would not write any of her recipes down. My Grandmother was Austrian. I so miss my Grandma’s cucumber salad thank you for sharing this one.

  21. Rene

    5 stars
    Made this and it was delicious! Reminded me of my own grandmother’s.I think I will try pickling so beets with this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing!

  22. minnie

    my grandma made the world’s most amazing apple pie, and though she showed me and i tried several times, i can never get it right. the closest i’ve ever come is my mother-in-law’s apple pie, and she doesn’t bake any more. needless to say, no more apple pie for me. 🙁 glad to hear you’ve got your grandma’s cucumber salad close enough!

  23. Sue Lierle

    My mother and grandmother made this all the time only they didn’t slice quit so thin and never put peppers or garlic in it. For better flavor use apple cider vinegar as it has a much better flavor than white vinegar. My mother got to where she would use equal brand sweetener after finding out she and dad were diabetic. Believe it or not it even was better than with sugar. I am going to try it with the garlic and peppers in it cause I think they will be delicious in it but going to use my mothers recipe for the liquid. Have everything I need so plan to make it tomorrow.

  24. Dawn Kramer

    I remember mom making it without the green peppers and would make a small amount for dinner after letting it set for awhile. There was never any left to save, I always liked it but mom only made once in a time. Thank you for the recipe. I’m going to make it more then she did even if my boys don’t like it. Lol

  25. Sonia

    Cucumbers were on sale today, so I looked for a recipe on my smart phone, and here I am! This might be a “duh” question, but I am wondering how you use sour cream with it? Do you just serve a Dollop of cream on top or on the side after removing the salad from the container with a slotted spoon?(or is the cream stirred into the liquid brine while its sitting?)… also, would red onion be ok to substitute for yellow? I also bought some Mexican style table sour cream that I want to try with this…thanks for honoring your grandma by talking her up for us, giving us a peek at her throwing around the dammit doll (great for my imagination!) and writing out and sharing her recipe(now YOUR recipe too!) I love it….thank you and God Bless!

    1. Lauren

      I wouldn’t know how to serve this with sour cream because I never have and my Grandma never did. So, I’m no help. Red onion would be a fine substitution. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  26. Ashlyn Jones

    hey Lauren I’m really looking forward to trying your grandmothers cucumber salad, but can I use like olive oil? Or is the white wine and cold water better? Plus I’m making it for like a group of almost 30-40 people, should I double the ingredients and make 8 servings?

    1. Lauren

      You might want to make two small batches: one my way and one with your variations to see what you like the best. Then, you can make the best one as a larger recipe for the group.

  27. Fi

    We have a similar salad in Malaysia using cucumbers, sliced onions and peppers with vinegar, salt and sugar but we omit the water and black pepper, add in fresh pineapple slices and replaced the green pepper with red pepper. Very refreshing and lovely to eat with hot Indian curries which tends to be oily

  28. Upstate NYer

    Looks delicious! Especially after a long winter. I will be making this for the first time. How long would you say this keeps in the fridge? I am single and not sure how long I would take to eat a batch at time.I enjoy your recipe ideas. Keep them coming!