Cucumber Salad is the perfect refreshing summer side dish. With a sweet-and-sour dressing made with vinegar and sugar, along with some fresh herbs for flavor, this is the kind of simple recipe that helps you make the most out of a bumper crop of cucumbers from the garden. Serve Cucumber Salad at your next backyard get-together or whip up a batch to serve alongside grilled chicken for an easy weeknight dinner.
The Best Way to Use Cucumbers This Summer
Even if you don’t have your own garden, it’s easy to end up with a fridge full of cukes in the summer. You go to the farmers market and they’re practically giving them away, your neighbors leave bags of them on your porch—but what do you even do with cucumbers? If you’re not a pickler, you probably just slice them and eat them or add them to a salad, but after a while, that gets boring, right?
Cucumber Salad is the answer. What’s interesting to me is that so many cultures around the world have a version of this recipe—it’s almost as if all of humanity is united in trying to find something easy to do with cucumbers! A sweet-and-sour Cucumber Salad is just as at home at a summer potluck as it is tucked into a carryout order from your favorite Thai restaurant.
Cucumber Salad Recipe
I really can’t stress enough how easy this recipe is. All you do is put the cucumbers in a bowl, then make a super simple vinegar-based dressing and pour it over the top. Fresh herbs from the garden can be used to dress up Cucumber Salad, but if you don’t have any on hand or in your yard, don’t bother buying them.
For another variation, try my Cucumber Tomato Salad!
Here’s what you’ll need to make Cucumber Salad:
- Cucumbers – If you’re using big cucumbers from the garden, you might want to cut them in half lengthwise first and scoop out the seeds.
- Cider or white vinegar – Or, for an Asian-inspired Cucumber Salad, use rice wine vinegar instead.
- Sugar – You need 2 tablespoons, just to balance out the acidity added by the vinegar.
- Fresh dill weed or parsley – Again, if you want to switch things up and do a Thai or Japanese style Cucumber Salad, you could add finely chopped peanuts or sesame seeds.
A number of Cucumber Salad recipes are made with tomatoes. If you have tomatoes on hand to use up, by all means, toss them into the salad! Asian cucumber salads often contain very thinly sliced red onions, too.
How to Make an Easy Cucumber Salad
1. Prepare Cucumbers
Slice the cucumbers thinly, then place them in a medium bowl.
2. Make the Dressing
In a mason jar or other container with a cover, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper and give it a good shake.
Pour the dressing over the cucumbers, then pop them in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours so the flavors can blend.
Drain off the excess liquid, then add the fresh herbs, if you’re using them, and serve.
How long will Cucumber Salad last in the refrigerator?
Cucumber Salad will last for about 3 days; after this, the cucumbers will start to get limp and sad.
Do you peel cucumbers for Cucumber Salad?
It’s up to you! Sometimes cucumbers from the garden or farmers market have thick, tough skins, in which case you may want to peel them. It’s really up to your personal preferences. (Of course, the skins are the healthiest part of the cucumber, so you may want to leave them on for that reason alone!)
More Veggie Salads to Try This Summer
Get your family to eat their veggies with these tasty salads:
- 2 medium cucumbers thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup cider or white vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Chopped fresh dill weed or parsley if desired
- Place sliced cucumbers in bowl.
- In tightly covered container, shake remaining ingredients except dill weed. Pour over cucumbers.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours to blend flavors.
- When ready to serve, drain cucumbers and sprinkle with dill weed.