Take a bite into summer with my oh-so-creamy cucumber salad! Juicy cucumbers, slathered in a sour cream dressing so good it should be illegal. It’s the ultimate summer side dish that will have you coming back for seconds (and thirds!)
Cucumber salad ~ it’s the classic potluck slash church supper salad that’s been refreshing outdoor diners for generations. It’s so satisfying made with your own garden cukes and dill, but no backyard necessary for this simplest of all summer salads. Just hit up the produce aisle or nearest farm stand for some slender cukes, a bouquet of dill, and a bright red onion.
what’s in cucumber salad
- I highly recommend English cucumbers (the long thin cucumbers that come wrapped in plastic.)
- RED ONION
- you might also use a sweet Vidalia onion.
- FRESH DILL
- if you can’t find fresh dill you could use dried, but you won’t get that wonderful fresh grassy flavor.
- SOUR CREAM
- sour cream is the base of the dressing. Some old time recipes add mayo. You can substitute yogurt or skyr if you like.
- LEMON JUICE
- you could substitute vinegar for that hit of needed acidity.
- SALT & PEPPER
- just the merest smidge ~ it brings out the flavors!
why I recommend using English cucumbers
if you’re looking for a cucumber with a tender texture, milder flavor, fewer seeds, and longer shelf life, English cucumbers are the way to go. English cucumbers are longer and slimmer compared to regular cucumbers, and they’re wrapped individually in plastic to protect their delicate skin. Bonus: you don’t need to peel these cucumbers because the skin is so thin. I love the color the peel adds to this cucumber salad, too.
do you need a mandoline to slice the cukes?
If you have a sharp knife and good knife skills you can slice the cucumber very thinly without a mandoline. But I do think the mandoline slices come out so much nicer, thinner, and more uniform. I use it for the red onion, too.
Just be extra careful when slicing cucumbers on a mandoline because it’s difficult to use the safety guard with the long shape of the cuke. I recommend using a safety glove instead.
Cucumber Salad FAQs and variations
Do you salt and drain your cucumbers first?
- No, I don’t feel it’s necessary for this cucumber salad, particularly when I’m using English cucumbers which tend to be less watery. If you’re concerned you can drain your cucumber on paper towels after slicing.
How long in advance can I make this salad?
- Feel free to make it several hours in advance, but not a whole day in advance. If you need to make it the day before, I recommend keeping the dressing separate and tossing with the salad a couple of hours before serving.
I don’t care for dill, what else can I use?
- You can use fresh mint, or fresh parsley in cucumber salad. You might also try tarragon, basil, or thyme.
Can I add other ingredients to creamy cucumber salad?
- Yes, how about cherry tomatoes, corn, bell peppers, or feta cheese.
Is cucumber salad healthy?
- Yes, cucumbers are low in calories and a good source of hydration due to their high water content. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium. Consider substituting Greek yogurt for the sour cream in this recipe for added health benefits.
Add a little smoked salmon or baby shrimp.
- Make this a delicious and satisfying lunch or brunch salad with added protein.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
- mandoline slicer, optional I use this one.
- Slice your cucumber into very thin slices. Do this with a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer set at 1/8 inch. Be careful using the mandoline with cucumbers, I recommend using a safety glove.*
- Slice your red onion the same way as above. Put both into your serving bowl, separating the onion layers with your fingers. Cover with plastic, and refrigerate while you clean up and make your dressing.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and be sure to take a taste to see if you'd like to adjust anything.
- Gently toss the salad with the dressing, making sure to get all the cucumber slices coated. You may have to separate the slices with your fingers if they stick together. Chill until ready to serve.
- The salad keeps for 2 days, refrigerated.