My Grandma’s Best Cucumber Salads are so easy, made with sliced cucumber, onion and dill in a superb vinegar or creamy, sour cream dressing.
Cucumber and Onion Salad
My grandmother had a problem figuring out how to use up all of the cucumbers from her garden, actually my grandfather’s vegetable garden.
My grandmother always had a flower garden filled with her favorite flowers and herbs and spices.
She made cucumber filled bushel basket after bushel basket of the best sweet and dill pickles I have ever tried, to this very day.
But then I LOVED everything she made.
I even remember eating the cucumbers whole, like an apple! Don’t even think I washed them first. She had so many cucumbers and I always loved eating them.
My goodness, if we got hungry while playing outside we would stop by my grandfather’s garden and loot it for a fresh vegetable or two. We were too busy having fun to go back to the house to ask for something.
My grandmother also made lots of cucumber salads and these are two of her favorites, and as a result, my favorites too!
The first salad is a cucumber onion vinegar salad or cucumber vinegar salad. The dressing is light with the right amount of sweet and tang.
Perfect for this cucumber salad.
The second cucumber salad recipe is served with the most wonderful creamy dill dressing. So good and only a few simple ingredients.
Now we use these recipe to use up all of our cucumbers! Unfortunately, I don’t have the time, or the need for that matter, to pickle like she used to.
Cucumber Vinegar Salad
This cucumber vinegar salad could not be easier to make and you have two options.
The first is you grab a small saucepan and boil water with some salt and pepper.
Remove from heat. Add sugar and vinegar and stir until it’s dissolved.
Here’s where you need to make a decision.
You can either wait for the vinegar mixture to become cool enough and then put it into your fridge until totally cool before adding it to your cucumbers, dill and onion.
Allow your cucumbers at least 30 minutes soaking in the vinegar mixture before serving.
So there is your first option.
Your second option is to have a container with a lid ready that can handle boiling water and being placed inside your fridge while still hot.
I put a dish towel down underneath my hot container inside my fridge when I make it this way. My husband wonders why I do this but my grandma always did, so I just do it too.
Place your onions and cucumbers inside this container and pour your hot vinegar mixture directly on top of your cucumbers and onion. Add dill.
Cover and refrigerate your cucumber onion vinegar salad is cold and serve.
Both are super delicious in their own way.
The difference is how soft you prefer your onions and cucumbers. Also, the flavor that is absorbed into your cucumbers might be slightly higher because the vinegar dressing is added while hot.
Overall, we prefer to make this salad once the dressing is cool.
I figure why go through so much effort to dry the cucumbers so they remain crunchy longer, only to soften them by adding the hot water on top of them.
Others prefer vinegar marinated cucumbers so I figure you can figure out what you want to do all by yourself!
Your other alternative is to try your cucumber salad both ways and make your decision from there. That’s how I know how we like ours best!
Cucumber Onion Vinegar Salad
The kind of vinegar you choose to use with your cucumber salad will enhance the natural flavor in the cucumbers. Every crunchy bite is just so refreshing.
The flavor of vinegar you choose to use in your dressing is up to you.
Use your favorite or try them all until you decide which cucumber vinegar salad is perfect for you and your family.
Each vinegar actually changes the taste and flavors in this cucumber salad.
My grandmother tended to use white wine vinegar but I know, over the years, she would have used whichever vinegar she had on hand.
They lived on a farm and there wasn’t a supermarket close by for her to rush out quickly and buy more.
She became an expert at making whatever she had work.
Apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red and white wine vinegar, and white vinegar all give their own unique flavor.
Please let me know which vinegar you prefer most in your cucumber salad.
Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe
You’re in for a real treat with my grandmother’s creamy cucumber salad recipe as well.
Super easy and requires only a few ingredients. You’re going to have a hard time deciding which cucumber salad you want to try first.
Then, once you try them both, you’ll have difficulty deciding which cucumber salad you prefer more.
All I know for sure is if you’re in the mood for a creamy onion cucumber salad, you have definitely come to the right place.
Especially during cucumber season we were served both of these cucumber salads a lot.
She rotated them back and forth as far as I’m concerned. One visit her creamy cucumber salad recipe. The next, cucumber onion vinegar salad.
My mother thinks her decision was based on whether she had sour cream. I think my mother is likely correct.
Cucumber Dill Salad
My grandmother loved using fresh herbs and spices as often as possible. She really loved her dill pickles and she loved using dill in everything she could.
She grew lots of it too.
Not only did she grow it outside in the summer months, she kept plants growing all year long in her front room that included dill, mint, parsley, chives and I believe oregano too.
So long ago that I just can’t remember them all. At least I remember the herbs and spices that were important to her. Also, she taught me how to care for them and I still have some around the house.
I’m sure I always will.
Over the years I have tried so many different cucumber vinegar salads and this cucumber dill salad version is always my favorite.
I have tried cucumber salads with oregano, chives and mint too. Don’t get me wrong. Those salads were tasty too.
There is just something about a cucumber dill salad that I absolutely love. I believe dill blends perfectly with the flavors in this cucumber salad.
Also, my grandmother agreed that dill was best in her easy cucumber salad so I likely will forever too.
I can’t wait to hear what you think works best. If you have any other ideas I’m all ears too. I LOVE trying new foods.
Easy Cucumber Salad
The only difference between my grandmother’s cucumber salads and these recipes is the way I dry out the cucumbers.
For the record she would have loved this technique. The excess water from the cucumbers always drove her crazy when making these cucumber salads.
Especially her creamy cucumber dill salad.
She hated when the liquid made her creamy cucumber onion salad watery. Hated it.
She used clean dish towel after dish towel to dry them after they were salted. She felt that she could never get enough water out and a cucumber salad had to have crunchy cucumbers.
I saw a technique used at cookscountry.com that works so well you won’t believe it either! I would give anything to be able to show her how terrific this works.
She salted her cucumbers and let them sit to try and dry them out as best she could.
If my grandmother would have figured out this technique herself, or if I could have showed it to her, she would have been so impressed with it.
Basically, you still salt the cucumbers and now you salt the onions too.
You place them both inside a strainer on top of a bowl, or inside a bowl. Both will work. You need somewhere for all of the water to go once it drains from the pile of cucumbers and onions.
You’ll also need room inside your fridge.
Next, place large resealable bag or bags, filled with water, and sealed up tight, on top of the cucumbers and onions so the surface is covered.
Weighing your cucumbers and onions down helps them or should I say forces them, to release more water than by simply salting them.
Wait until you see all of the water that is released in the bottom bowl, once you remove the cucumber and onion filled strainer.
I was shocked the first time I saw how much water is expressed. You will be too. I can almost guarantee it.
I say almost because some aren’t shocked by anything! ?
Most importantly, the look on my grandmother’s face when she saw all of the water released would have been priceless.
I know she would have whipped up one of her cucumber salad recipes. Just to see for herself how much better the end result, especially with her cucumber sour cream dill salad.
I know she would have been so impressed.
Best Cucumber Salad
Generally, there are a few types of cucumbers and all will work well to make the best cucumber salad!
No matter which kind of cucumber you’re looking for to make this easy cucumber salad, when purchasing them, choose cucumbers that are firm and ideally don’t have any visible marks or soft spots.
Regular, slicing cucumbers are shorter, fatter and heavier than English cucumbers. They have seeds and have a much thicker skin.
This is the kind of cucumber my grandfather grew and my grandmother used to make the best cucumber salads. Sometimes she would leave a few thin lines of peel on the cucumbers so they looked prettier when serving.
English cucumbers are generally a little sweeter than common slicing cucumbers. They’re longer, thinner and lighter. They have a thinner skin and are usually sold wrapped in plastic to protect the skin from being easily damaged.
As a result of the thin skin they don’t need to be peeled. They have fewer seeds that are easily edible.
This is the kind of cucumber I use most frequently when making either a creamy or vinegar cucumber onion salad.
Persian or mini cucumbers are thin skinned and only grow to be between five to six inches long. They’re almost seedless and have a mild, sweet flavor.
Persian and English cucumbers can be used interchangeably in any recipe I have ever seen.
Pickling cucumbers are shorter and bigger than slicing cucumbers as a rule. They are yellow to dark green color, have thin skins and are bumpy with black spines so they will look better pickled inside a glass jar.
Pickling varieties can be eaten fresh and slicing varieties can be pickled, but you wouldn’t want to use pickling cucumbers for anything other than picking if you have a choice, in my opinion.
Cucumber Red Onion Salad
You see, this cucumber red onion salad can be made with any onion you have on hand or desire. Any kind of onion will work for this easy cucumber salad recipe.
My grandmother loved the color from red or purple onions. I like red or purple onion for their color too.
I’m sure the sweetness of the onion was as important to my grandmother as it is to me.
I have used white and yellow onions and frankly no one said a word. The entire cucumber dill salad disappeared exactly like it always does. At lightning speed.
I love it. Cucumbers are so healthy for you and I always love to see food disappearing. The fewer leftovers the better I always say! I bet you do too!
Bottom line is that you can definitely make this cucumber red onion salad with whichever onions you have on hand or are available.
Healthy Cucumber Salad
This healthy cucumber salad is a delicious way to encourage your family to eat more cucumbers.
Cucumbers are so low in calories and high in so many important vitamins and minerals.
They contain antioxidants, they promote hydration, may lower blood sugar and the list goes on. Cucumbers are definitely a terrific vegetable to eat.
Hopefully your family enjoys this healthy cucumber salad as much as we do.
Simple Cucumber Salad
You can make this simple cucumber salad recipe right before serving or ahead of time to let the cucumbers have longer to marinate.
You can store these vinegar marinated cucumbers in your fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Any longer than that and the cucumbers will not be as firm.
This easy cucumber salad will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about a week. The cucumbers will get soften the longer they sit, but they’ll still taste great!
Summer Cucumber Salad
Grandma’s Best Cucumber Salads makes the best side dish, especially in the hotter months. This is the perfect recipe for a picnic, potluck or barbecue.
My grandma used to call this summer cucumber salad “cheap and cheerful”.
Se loved the taste and the gorgeous colors in this salad. The green from the cucumber, the purple or red onions and the dill.
Plus, depending on what she needed to get rid of or use up she would add other vegetables like corn. Fresh or even canned corn add a little sweet to this amazing cucumber red onion salad.,
On occasion, she would add tomatoes, either chopped up or small grape or cherry sized tomatoes. If she was using small tomatoes sometimes she sliced them in half and sometimes she didn’t.
I know she loved radishes but we didn’t. I know that she included radishes when were not around or she would put them on the table and add them to her salad at that time.
She also added slices of avocados a few times that I recall.
Sweet bell peppers were chopped up or sliced and added once peppers were in season.
Myself, over the years, I have used thinly sliced shallots instead or red or purple onions and they worked out great.
My close friend Julie adds chickpeas to her version of these cucumber dill salads, creamy or not.
On occasion she also got me started adding some crumbled feta or goat cheese all over the top of this simple cucumber salad.
So many options. So little time.
As you experiment and figure out the best cucumber salad for you and your family, please let me know what you add in the comment section below.
Like you, I’m always looking for new things to try myself.
I have been making this exact recipe for a very long time and sometimes it’s nice when someone else points out the obvious! ?
Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream
More often than not, when I’m in the mood for a creamy salad, this wonderful creamy cucumber onion salad is my go to recipe. It has been for years.
I make this cucumber salad with sour cream as often as I can. I think I LOVE creamy everything. Don’t you?
This creamy cucumber salad comes together so easily, what’s not to love?
I just love the taste of the sour cream with the apple cider vinegar. LOVE it.
Then, when you add dill and a couple other ingredients I almost am ready to get out a spoon and devour the creamy dill dressing by the spoonful.
I kid you not.
Cucumber Yogurt Salad
My close friend Julie always makes this salad with Greek yogurt and just loves it.
I get it that this cucumber salad with dill, or whichever fresh herb you decide to use, is a little healthier when you use Greek yogurt.
Myself, I can combine equal amounts of sour cream and Greek yogurt but any more than that and I just don’t enjoy the cucumber salad as much.
My friend believes it’s because of my grandmother and the fact that she always used sour cream when she made it.
I suspect she’s correct.
Everyone that tries this healthy cucumber salad agrees that it tastes great with just Greek yogurt. Even my husband and son.
I am the only problem.
I can’t wait for you to try it and let me know what you think of this creamy cucumber onion salad when using Greek yogurt.
Cucumber Sour Cream Dill Salad
I can go on about how much more I enjoy this cucumber sour cream dill salad than my cucumber yogurt salad but I figure what’s the point.
For those of you that want to enjoy this creamy cucumber onion salad with sour cream you will.
If you want to make it using only Greek yogurt that is wonderful too.
I recommend you try blending them both together. You only need one cup of sour cream to make this creamy cucumber salad recipe.
Try taking three quarters of a cup of sour cream and one quarter cup of Greek yogurt, the first time you do it.
If you like the flavors just increase or change your ratio from there.
You might enjoy this salad more. You never know unless you try it!
Creamy Cucumber Onion Salad
Choosing which fresh herb to use can be difficult decision to make too. My grandmother preferred dill so I, automatically it seems, do too.
That being said, mint, parsley, basil or chives will work and work well to make this creamy cucumber onion salad.
Frankly, there are so many herbs to choose from that would work in this easy cucumber salad.
Use your favorite. It can’t hurt to try any of them if you want to.
Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad
In my opinion, this cucumber is best served as a creamy cucumber dill salad. Just like my grandmother used to make it.
When my son Patrick was young, I decided to carry on the tradition and recipe that she handed down.
Just like he used to carry on the tradition of raiding the garden for goodies. Ken loves to grow anything and everything and his summer garden is definitely a sight to see.
All types of vegetables lined up in rows of tempting goodness for Patrick and his friends to swipe when they were hungry but having too much fun to go inside.
They all love the easy cucumber dill salads I make as well. Each having a vinegar or sour cream preference and all being too polite to tell me which one.
Too polite to ask for their preference but not too polite to sneak produce from the garden…those rascals! ?
Ingredients in Grandma’s Best Cucumber Salads
- white wine vinegar
- mint, parsley, basil or dill
Creamy Dill Dressing
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- cider vinegar
- fresh dill
Cucumber Salad Options
- sweet peppers
- tomatoes, grape or cherry
- feta or goat cheese
How to make Cucumber Salad
Peel your cucumbers if desired. I try and use the English cucumbers so I don’t have to.
Slice all of your cucumbers in half LENGTHWISE.
Using a spoon, scrape out seeds and pulp from your cucumbers. Pat freshly scooped cucumber surface with paper towel.
Slice cucumbers into slices that are 1/4 of an inch thick.
Next, thinly slice the onion.
Place cucumber and onion slices into a strainer over top of a bowl that will catch all of the drained water from the cucumbers.
Toss cucumber slices and onion with 1 tablespoon of salt.
Now, here is the trick. Grab one or two of your largest resealable bags and fill them up with water. Make sure the bags are sealed up tight.
Place bags on top of cucumber onion mixture and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
Once ready, remove cucumbers from strainer, place inside a good sized bowl and discard juices from bowl or reserve for another use.
In a small saucepan boil water and add salt and pepper.
Remove from heat.
Add sugar and vinegar and stir until dissolved.
When cool enough place sugar mixture in to the refrigerator.
When sugar mixture is cold pour it over all of the cucumber and sliced onions.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh dill or parsley.
Leave the cucumber salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Creamy Dill Dressing
Ideally, using a bowl with a lid, whisk sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and dill together until blended.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and place inside your fridge until needed. Allowing this dressing to sit inside your fridge allows the flavors to blend together better.
If time permits you’ll be glad you did this.
Toss creamy dill dressing with cucumbers and onions.
Serve cool and store inside your fridge.
Grandma’s Best Cucumber Salads Video
Grandma’s Best Cucumber Salads
- 3 cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 small onions, purple, sliced
- salt - sprinkles
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar, more or less to taste
- 1/4 cup mint, parsley, basil or dill, fresh, chopped
Creamy Dill Dressing
- 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 -1/3 cup fresh dill, minced
- feta or goat cheese
- tomatoes, grape or cherry
- shallots, thinly sliced
- sweet bell peppers, sliced or chopped
Prepare Cucumbers and Onions
- Peel cucumbers if desired. I usually use english cucumbers so I don't have to peel them.
- Slice your cucumbers in half lengthwise and using a spoon scrape the seeds and pulp from the cucumbers.
- Dry your cucumbers with paper towel along the freshly scooped center.
- Thinly slice your cucumber. Make each slice around 1/4 of an inch thick.
- Thinly slice onions.
- In a strainer with a bowl underneath, toss your cucumber and onion slices with 1 tablespoon of salt. Excess water will drain into the bowl while it sits in your fridge for 1 to 3 hours.
- But wait! First you must fill your biggest resealable bag with water and place it on top of your cucumbers and onions. If you only have smaller sized resealable bags, use enough of them to cover the top of your bowl and weigh down your cucumber and onions.
- Once drained, Transfer cucumber and onions to medium bowl.
- Add any options you want to use.
- In a small saucepan boil water and add salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat.
- Add sugar and vinegar and stir until dissolved.
- When cool enough place sugar mixture in to the refrigerator.
- When sugar mixture is cold pour it over all of the cucumber and sliced onions.
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh dill, mint or parsley.
- Leave the cucumber salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Creamy Dill Dressing
- Whisk sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and dill together in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate until needed. Allowing time for the flavors to come together and blend is important. You'll be glad you did this if time permits.
- Add cucumbers and onion.
- Toss to coat.
- Serve chilled and enjoy!