Corn and Cucumber Salad is a classic summer side that goes well with anything off the grill, and makes a nice change from coleslaw and potato salad. It’s got a mild flavor, lots of crunch, and an extra dash of personality from a creamy buttermilk dill dressing!
There’s always that moment, every summer, when you bite into the first good ear of corn. The kernels practically pop off the cob and into your mouth, it’s sweet but not starchy, and you just want that ear to go on forever. I had my moment last week and it kicked off an annual corn frenzy in my kitchen.
This salad is ultra simple and I’m absolutely in love with it. The sweetness of the corn, the creaminess of the buttermilk dill dressing, and the crunch of the cukes is delicious. The bite from the red onion is just perfect, I couldn’t stop eating it. It’s one of the most refreshing salads ever.
It’s super easy to throw this salad together, too. I par cook the corn just long enough to bring out its natural sweetness and flavor, without making it too soft. This way it keeps a nice firm texture. Here’s my secret…
The best way to cook corn for a salad~
If you haven’t tried this microwave method for cooking corn you’ll be amazed at how well, and how quickly it works. There’s no water to boil, and no big heavy pot to lug from stove to sink.
- Keep your corn in the husks.
- Wrap 1 or 2 ears of corn together in a double layer of wet paper towels.
- Microwave for 4 minutes. (My microwave is 1000 watts and has a turntable.)
- Carefully remove the corn, it will be hot. When it’s cool enough to handle, peel off the husks. The husks and all the silk will slip right off!
- Slice the kernels off with a sharp knife and use as needed.
The best way to peel cucumber for salads ~
Cucumber is a classic salad ingredient, but the perennial question is: ‘to peel, or not to peel?’
- The issue is that cucumber peel can be mildly bitter, and on the tough side.
- I like to buy English cucumber, which is long and narrow and usually shrink wrapped in plastic. It’s got few to no seeds, and a much thinner peel.
- With English cucumber you have a choice: you can leave the skin on, or you can peel it.
- My preferred method us to split the difference and partially peel my cukes so you get a little of the color and texture of the peel without any of the negatives.
- Peel it in alternating stripes, or peel it lightly, leaving a thin layer of darker green behind, like I did with today’s salad.
The creamy buttermilk dressing is a nice combination of mayo, buttermilk, and dill. Dill is one of the few herbs that I use in dried form pretty often. But if you’ve got fresh, use it. The dressing is mildly tangy and perfect with the subtle flavors of corn and cucumber.
Just like with other similar salads like coleslaw, there will be some moisture given off from the cucumbers as it sits. Generally I think it’s best eaten the same day it is made, although the leftovers were plenty good, there was just some extra liquid at the bottom of the bowl. If you do want to serve lftovers, you can drain any liquid off and add more dressing before serving.
To make this corn and cucumber salad ahead ~
- Cook and prep your corn, slice the onions, and make the dressing.
- Dress the corn and onions lightly, then cover tightly and refrigerate.
- About an hour or two before you want to serve, slice the cukes, add them, and toss with more dressing. Refrigerate until serving.
One of the nice things about this recipe is that the sweet carb-rich corn is balanced by the light cucumber. I’m super happy with it, it’s going in our regular summer rotation.
More summer salads to enjoy ~
- Greek Lemon Potato Salad
- Broccoli Honeycrisp Slaw
- Mediterranean Bean Salad
- Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad
Reader Rave ~
“I assembled this at work for those of us working on the 4th of July and it disappeared! Everyone asked “who made the corn salad?! It was a hit. Thanks.” ~Debbie
Corn and Cucumber Salad
- 2-3 ears corn, white or yellow, cooked
- 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped, about 3 cups
- 1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 t dill
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Remove the kernels from the ears of corn with a sharp knife and put into a mixing bowl. Add the cucumber and onions, separating the strands of the onion as you add it.
- Whisk together the dressing and taste it to adjust any of the ingredients. Toss the salad with a generous amount and season with salt and pepper. Chill for about an hour before serving.
Make this corn and cucumber salad your own ~
- I almost grilled or charred my corn, which would add a nice smokey flavor to the salad. You can throw it on the grill, or cook it in the microwave first and then char it over your gas stove top flame, or even under the broiler.
- If you don’t have buttermilk you can use sour cream or yogurt.
- Try fresh basil or thyme instead of dill.