The warm summer season is here, and what better way to beat the heat than with a refreshing cucumber salad? Cool, crisp, and bursting with the bright flavors and satisfying crunch of fresh cucumbers, this salad is the perfect side dish for smoked meats, grilled lamb, seared tuna, or grilled salmon.
With just a few simple ingredients, it delivers a fresh taste, balanced with a tangy dressing made from vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. It's extremely easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time, making it fantastic for gatherings when you have lots to do.
A refreshing (and hydrating) cucumber salad that perfectly complements grilled and smoked meats, lightening up your summer meals. Not only will it tantalize your taste buds, but cucumbers are also an excellent source of hydration, providing the refreshment you need while sipping on a few cocktails during those long summer days.
What You'll Need
- Cucumbers - English or Persian cucumbers have tender skin and don't have seeds. If you get a different variety with tougher skin, you might want to peel them for optimal texture.
- Red Onion - These are great when raw. You can also use sweet onions or shallots.
- Vinegar - I usually use red wine vinegar, but white wine vinegar, champagne or even cider vinegar will work great.
- Salt & Pepper for seasoning. Salt is used first to pull out some of the water from the cucumbers (more on that down the page).
- Sugar - A little sugar helps balance out the acidity of the vinegar. You can sub in a little honey.
Choose Your Shape
Sliced Thin - You can use a mandoline slicer or your knife skills.
Bite-size Cubes - Slice off the ends then slice the cucumber into quarters lengthwise. Then slice crosswise into nice bite-size cubes.
Keep it Crispy - Remove Water from the Cucumbers
Cucumbers contain a lot of water, which will come out after dressing your salad making it soggy and much less desirable. To avoid this, we extract some of the water out of the cucumbers by sweating them with salt, so they stay nice and crunchy. This is especially important if the salad will be sitting for more than a few minutes.
Place the cucumber slices in a colander in the sink or over a bowl, then sprinkle with salt in layers so all the cucumber slices come into contact within. Allow them to sit with the salt for 20 to 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour before rinsing to remove excess salt and patting dry with a clean towel before using in your salad.
This recipe is a great base, but there's so much you can add to change the flavors or make it more filling to add some variety.
- Fresh herbs such as mint or dill
- Feta cheese
- Sesame seeds
- Sour cream to make it a creamy cucumber salad.
Cucumber Salad Pairs Perfect With
Super Easy Cucumber Salad Recipe
- 1 lb English or Persian cucumbers (about 1 large or 4 small)
- 1 tablespoon Diamond kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar (can also use other vinegars such as white wine, champagne or cider)
- 1 ½ teaspoon sugar or honey
- ½ red onion, sliced thin (can substitute sweet onion or shallot)
- Thinly slice the cucumbers crosswise or quarter the cucumbers lengthwise and cut into bite-size cubes.
- To remove extra water from the cucumbers (optional but recommended): Place the sliced cucumbers in a colander over a bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle on the salt and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes, or up to an hour. Rinse the slices to remove the salty water.
- Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar with the sugar and pepper. Season with a little salt if you didn't already salt the cucumbers.
- Toss it all: Combine the cucumbers, sliced red onion and any optional add-ins. with the dressing. Taste test and season with a little salt and extra freshly ground pepper as needed.
- Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes to chill slightly before serving.
- Use a vegetable mandoline for the fastest and most consistent slices.
- Optional Add-Ins: Fresh dill, mint, avocado slices, tomatoes, sesame seeds, or sour cream to make it creamy cucumber salad.