This crisp and creamy cucumber salad is simple and makes a great appetizer or side dish! Red onions, fresh dill, and the tangy dressing will have people coming back for seconds.
This recipe was originally posted on October 10, 2016. I've since tweaked the recipe, taken new photos, and updated the text of the blog post.
There are so many variations of cucumber salad out there. I don't recall my mom ever making a creamy version of cucumber salad, but it's a pretty common thing in Europe. I've had it at Polish friends' homes. I've seen German versions.
This cucumber salad has a handful of everyday ingredients - sour cream, vinegar, red onions, dill, and a bit of sugar. Some versions use mayo and olive oil as well, but I didn't think it needed it.
What kind of cucumber to use?
I recommend English cucumbers (hot house). You don't need to peel them (the skin is thinner/less tough), the seeds are small, and they're just good all-around cucumbers for salad.
How to cut cucumber for salad?
The easiest way is to use a mandoline slicer. It took me less than a minute to slice up an entire English cucumber. It creates thin and even slices, and as long as you use a protective glove and/or guard (I find a glove is best due to the cucumber's long shape), it's perfectly safe and simple to use. My mandoline has a 2mm setting, but models can vary, and some have 1.5mm (1/16") setting instead, so use that setting if that's what yours has available.
How to salt cucumber for salad?
It's important to salt the cucumber slices before adding them to the salad. This releases some moisture so they're nice and crispy and less watery (unsalted cucumbers dilute the dressing and it just isn't too appealing). I slice the cucumber up, add it to a colander, sprinkle on a fairly generous pinch of salt (I don't measure, but about a teaspoon is good), and then toss the slices with my hands so everything is evenly coated. You then let it sit and do its thing while you prepare the dressing. I find 30 minutes is enough, but you could leave it for even longer.
Recipe notes & tips:
- I like the sugar in the dressing because it adds a little sweetness that contrasts nicely with the sharpness of the onion and tanginess of the vinegar. As always, feel free to taste and adjust the dressing as needed. If you're unsure about adding a bit of sweetness, start with half the sugar and add more if needed. You could even try subbing it with honey if you wish.
- I recommend fresh dill, but if you don't have any, you can sub dried dill. I'd start with 1/2 tablespoon and add more if needed.
- I do recommend quickly rinsing the cucumber slices off prior to patting them dry with paper towel. I've tried it before without doing that, and the salad ends up a bit too salty (and this is coming from me, a salt lover who even named her blog after salt lol).
- If you're feeding a crowd, this recipe easily doubles (just straight double all ingredients).
Questions about this creamy cucumber dill salad? Let me know!
Creamy Cucumber Salad
- 1 English cucumber sliced thin
- 1 generous pinch salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
- Pepper to taste
- 3-4 tablespoons red onion chopped finely
- Slice the cucumber thin. I did this quickly using my mandoline (I cut it into 2mm slices - 1.5mm or 1/16 inch works too depending on what model you have). Add the cucumber slices to a colander and sprinkle them with salt (about 1 teaspoon) and toss with your hands to evenly distribute it. Place colander in the sink or on a plate to catch the water that will be released. Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by adding the sour cream, vinegar, sugar, dill, and pepper to a bowl. Taste & adjust as needed. If you prefer less sweetness, use half the suggested sugar amount. Refrigerate dressing until needed.
- Chop the onion and add it to a salad bowl.
- Once the cucumber is ready, give it a quick rinse in cold water and then thoroughly dry it using paper towel. Add it to the salad bowl and toss it with the dressing. It should still be salty enough, but if not, add more salt prior to serving. I recommend eating this salad within a short time of making it because it does go more watery the longer you leave it, but you can chill it for 15 minutes or so prior to serving if you wish.
- Serves 4 as an appetizer or side salad. Recipe is easily doubled.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. The salt is mostly rinsed off, so it's not included as part of the nutrition info calculation, but keep that in mind if you need to consider salt for health reasons (there will still be more than indicated).