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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. Darryl

    This is so delicious!! I do the cooking in the house and my mother-in-law if she was alive would be proud !! She is from German decent! I only wished I took notes when she did the cooking!! But I believe I have someone just as talented You!!! Thanks so much for all the great recipes 😊

  2. Christine M Woods

    4 stars
    Just so many ads. Seems like all blogs these days are monetized with so many ads. Do you really need to make $ from all these ads or could you cut back & make blog easier to read, more user friendly? Just too little space owing to being crammed with ads.
    Re: recipe. I grew up in my Grandmother’s restaurant kitchens. She was a great cook & friend of the man who created The Tavern or Maid-Rite Sandwich in LeMar, Iowa. She did a free fish fry every Friday nite at 1 of their cafes in Sioux City, IA & people drove from all over for the food & friendship. Her “Bellyache” (cuke-onion salad) is famous along with her BBQ,, spaghetti & Maid-Rites & dozens of pies she baked @3a.m. each morning. Her recipe calls for lot less sugar & ratio of vinegar/water of 4:1. We love tart bite using more vinegar. I use a well known brand of distilled white vinegar & at times change it up using 1/2 apple cider vinegar or white balsamic. Also add lots fresh dill from my herb garden or bit of celery seed.
    Like many women my age I just go out & pick more cukes out of our garden & keep adding to solution. I finally have to stop making so much bellyache so I can get to making my home canned bread & butter, dill & sweet pickles. Put up 87 jars last summer cuz we love pickles. I entered 3 to 5 midwest state fairs for years then became a county & state fair judge in MN, IN, FL, & KY. Love teaching the mini-4H kids home preservation, gardening & bread baking. Nothing like the toothy grin of a 5yr old!
    I grow 13 varieties organic fresh fruits: apples, blueberries, red currants, grapes,figs, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, peaches, sour cherries, pears, elderberries for wine & immune tincture & last year added gooseberries-wow! Talk about tart! I’m making cordials with Tito’s gluten free vodka & they’re so yum.
    Okay time to close & water my garden beds. 91°! Best regards,
    Chris in IN.🍇🍉🍋🍎🍐🍑🍒🍓🍅🥝🥔🥕🌽🥒👍👍

    1. Lauren

      Hi Christine, thanks for your comment! Running a website is actually pretty expensive (hosting, domain, photography equipment, editing software, computers, groceries, etc..) and instead of asking you to pay for a monthly subscription to access my recipes, you ‘pay’ for my free recipes by having to scroll through the ads. Pro tip: wait 5 seconds for everything to load and then close them with the “x” or the “close” buttons. If this is too much of a hassle, feel free to use a cookbook.

      Enjoy your garden! Sounds wonderful!

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  4. Molly Barth

    5 stars
    This is so good! I have extra cucumbers and peppers and this is a nice gift to give someone. I love this recipe and love that I can prepare it in the late morning and we can eat it with our dinner.

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  6. Lynn

    5 stars
    To cut sugar, try making the dressing with Splenda. I make it this way all the time including sweet simple syrup. I can detect no difference in the finished dish.

  7. Jenn

    5 stars
    Love this salad. I’ve made it several times. I’ve even just made the dressing so I can put it on other salads and veggies.

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    […] for more of my family’s recipes? Try these: Grandma’s Cucumber Salad Recipe, Goulash Recipe with Nookedly, Broccoli Salad Recipe with Bacon & Hungarian Chicken Paprikash […]

  9. Joanne Munns

    Have6tried your recipe yet although I’ve had similar. My German mother made a cucumber salad I’ve never seen on the internet before. She would use a potato mandoline and slice the cucs thin after peeling them first. She would then mix equal parts water, white vinegar and vegetable oil along with some finely diced onion and salt and pepper and chill that in the fridge for a couple of hours. She would then drain the cucumber slices and add the dressing mixture just before serving. She also used this dressing mixture on cut up iceberg lettuce in the same manner. She would cut her lettuce in 1/4″ slices so it was quite thin and stringy. Everyone in our family always requests this salad at family get-togethers. It is light and tasty. She always 3 Tbls each water, vinegar and oil for a large bowl of salad. It goes a long way.

  10. Barbara Ruby

    The Nutrition Facts have to be off. No way is there 345 calories in vegetables marinated in a vinegar/water dressing with a little sugar & salt. 59g of sugar & 4679mg of salt?! None of this correlates to the ingredient amounts.

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  13. Katie

    5 stars
    Amazing salad! I was given eight cucumbers this year and searched for interesting recipes. This salad is wonderful and thank you for sharing your grandmother’s recipe. I will be adding dill leaves and radishes, but followed your recipe exactly and I can’t stop eating it. Thank you so much.

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  15. Teresa Shedd Cangiano

    Thank you for sharing your Grandmas Recipe ….i make this too.But, With no garlic..Gonna make this soon…

  16. Daniella Richardson

    5 stars
    My Nana is still luckily with us and has a very similar recipe. We do ours only with cucumber vinager sugar and salt. And I’ve always loved it. She always says to make it to taste some like it sweeter than others and some like more vinegar than water. In the end we are all very fortunate to have tried some classic old style European dishes. My Nana is Hungarian and so I have become a master at nookedly and cook it when ever I can. Will have to try this version and see what she says. Thanks Lauren

  17. Danny Utley

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this, as it was timely for me because I needed something similar to the cucumber recipe, that was called Summer Salad in my family circles. What I like the most about yours, is that it is very basic and is delicious alone, but can be adaptable with many variations. My Dad use to spoon some on to his sandwich in the Summer. An Aunt, added small shrimp and capers and allowed it to marinate overnight. A real Greek salad, has no lettuce, but is a basic cucumber salad with some additional ingredients, including Olive Oil, Olives, Feta. and stuffed grape leaves (Domathes). Thanks you for sharing, It brought a smile to my face, remembering Family and Summers of the past! Opa!

  18. Paula M Schlotterbeck

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe- I am a recently diagnosed Celiac and this is a wonderful (and delicious!) salad option for me.

  19. Vera Stocks

    5 stars
    I’ve made this, what I call Summer Salad”, for years!! I’m a Grandma, also! I use 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and one cup vinegar. It is delicious!!!

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