This crisp and refreshing cucumber salad is the perfect to-go side dish with its mix of thinly sliced cucumbers, vibrant red onion, and tangy vinaigrette.
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About Cucumber Salad
If you’re hunting for a way to use up fresh cucumbers (whether it be from a garden or a great sale), an easy cucumber salad is always a great choice.
Perfect for outdoor BBQ’s, a simple side dish, or even just a quick lunch, this recipe is easy to whip up and travels well.
And though there are countless versions of cucumber salads out there, I tend to like the sweet-and-tart kind. The tangy combination of vinegar and sugar just can’t be beat, the dill adds just the right amount of freshness, and the crisp and crunchy cucumbers (and onion!) just add to the satisfying flavor.
If it isn’t already obvious, this is the kind of side dish I love making but have a hard time sharing.
What’s in cucumber salad?
To whip up a batch of this classic summer salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- White wine vinegar – The base of the dressing, giving it a nice tartness.
- Sugar – Counters the “rough edges” of the vinegar to create a sweet and tangy flavor.
- Fresh dill, salt, and pepper – Adds refreshing flavor, which you can customize to your tastes. The salt can also help keep the vegetables from becoming soggy.
- English cucumbers – The star of the show!
- Red onion – For a pop of color and flavor.
- Water – Helps keep the vinegar from being overpowering.
Which vinegar for cucumber salad?
There are a lot of versions of this salad out there (German, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and the list goes on and on…) but this is a more “classic” recipe that focuses on simple ingredients. The key point is the flavor combination of tart vinegar and sugar.
And to keep that simplicity, this recipe uses white wine vinegar.
Which cucumber is best for salad?
In truth, you could use any type of cucumber you’d like for this recipe. And that’s not to say that there aren’t subtle differences in texture and tastes between all the types of cucumber out there – cause there are – but keep in mind that the dressing in this recipe is pretty powerful. The most important thing will be using a fresh cucumber that’s a good shape and even side for a pretty looking salad.
All that being said, I tend to like using English cucumbers for this recipe, if for no other reason than they do have a sweeter flavor (which works well with the dressing) and they usually grow in similar shapes and sizes, making it easier to ensure your salad looks pretty, too.
What to serve with cucumber salad
This salad has a sweetly tart taste, so matching it with mild savory dishes works best.
Some of my favorites:
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- BBQ Pulled Pork
- Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
- Coconut Macadamia Crusted Salmon
- Chimichurri Steak
- Pizza Chicken
- Easy Salmon Cakes
- Breaded Dijon Chicken Skewers
- Ritz Cracker Chicken
- Pasta Alio e Olio (Pasta with Garlic and Oil)
Can cucumber salad be made ahead?
Yes, it totally can!
Just whip it up and store it in the fridge until ready to serve.
However, keep in mind that the longer the veggies have to marinate in the dressing the more they’ll lose some of their crunchiness. The cucumbers also may discolor a little, turning a yellow color (sort of like a pickle).
The salad will still taste just as good – in fact, I actually like it more after it’s had time to marinate a bit – but if the texture and the color are a concern for you, I’d recommend mixing the dressing and storing it in a separate container from the veggies until you’re ready to serve.
How long does cucumber salad last?
Given the above, this salad has a shelf life of about three to four days when stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. If you’re concerned about color and texture, only plan to keep this salad for a maximum of one day.
Notes & tips for cucumber salad with onion
- Want to make this salad but worried about slicing all of these veggies? Don’t worry, I felt the same way! Thankfully for you and me, there’s a kitchen gadget for that (and it actually worked). I use this Slicer+Peeler for any recipe that calls for a lot of cutting. I’ve tried a ton of other slicers, many of them way more expensive than this one, and this one has outperformed them all.
- This recipe makes a decent amount of dressing so that the salad keeps a ton of flavor. However, you can drain any excess dressing if you’d like; just be sure to leave enough dressing so that a simple stir is enough to refresh the coating on the veggies.
More great side dishes
How to make cucumber salad
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 2 – Add the sliced cucumber and red onion to the bowl with the dressing, then use a spatula to gently toss and mix until the cucumber and onion are coated.
Step 3 – Cover the bowl and chill for one hour.
Step 4 – Serve and enjoy!
- Add the cucumber and red onion to bowl, then use a spatula to toss and mix until veggies are coated in dressing.
- Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
- Serve salad immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.