Cucumber Onion Salad

5 from 1 vote
45 minutes
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This Cucumber Onion Salad recipe is refreshing and perfect for summer! Crisp cucumbers and sliced onion are tossed in a delicious vinegar dressing for a bright and flavorful dish. Serve this salad alongside grilled chicken, fish, or meat.

Cucumber Onion Salad in serving bowl with serving spoon.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

This old-fashioned cucumber and onion salad is a summertime classic and a great way to use cucumbers from your garden or farmer’s market. It’s an easy way to elevate plain cucumber slices into a simple, flavorful, and refreshing salad!

This recipe uses a vinegar-based dressing instead of mayonnaise, which keeps it light and makes it a great side for heartier main dishes. The sweet and sour dressing is simple and perfectly balanced with distilled white vinegar and sugar. Chopped fresh dill brings it all together by adding brightness and emphasizing the tangy flavor of the salad.

This Cucumber and Onion Salad is great for entertaining because it can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to two hours while you make your other dishes. It comes together quickly especially if you use a mandolin slicer to cut the cucumbers.

After marinating in the dressing, the cucumbers and onions’ fresh and zesty flavor makes this dish the perfect summer side!

This Cucumber and Onion Salad recipe is:

  • Light and refreshing!
  • Flavorful! The vinegar-based dressing has the perfect balance between sweet and sour.
  • Quick and easy! 
  • Make-ahead! The flavors in the salad get better with a little bit of time in the fridge.
Cucumber Onion Salad in serving bowl with serving spoon.

How to Make a Cucumber and Onion Salad:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Cucumber and Onion Salad recipe, along with instructions for preparing the ingredients. The exact quantities are on the recipe card below.

Ingredients for Cucumber Onion Salad in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Cucumbers: I use English cucumbers (also known as hothouse cucumbers) for salads like this because of their thin skin so peeling is optional. They have a mild, sweet flavor that pairs well with freshly sliced onions. The center, where the seeds are, tends to be less watery. If using a cucumber (such as a Kirby) with darker and thicker skin, you may want to remove all or some of the skin.
  • Onions: You can use any variety of onions in this recipe. I generally use yellow onions because I prefer a more pronounced onion flavor, but white or red may also be used.
  • White Vinegar: This recipe uses regular distilled white vinegar. The best substitutes are apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • Fresh Dill: The tangy flavor of dill works perfectly with cucumbers. I prefer fresh chopped dill for its bright punch of flavor you won’t get from dried.
  • White Sugar: The sugar, vinegar, and water in this Cucumber and Onion Salad recipe create the perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Thinly slice the cucumbers by hand or with a mandoline.
  • Place the cucumber slices in a colander set in the sink or over a bowl.
  • Sprinkle with the salt; toss to coat.
  • Let stand for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cucumbers and onions in white distressed colander sprinkled with salt.
  • Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, water, and sugar in a small mixing bowl.
  • Stir until the sugar is dissolved. (This may take a few stirs to get it fully dissolved.)
Vinegar, water and sugar dressing for salad in glass bowl.
  • Drain the cucumbers well and pat dry.
  • As shown in the second photo, you’ll have a lot of liquid draining off the cucumbers.
  • Transfer the cucumbers to a mixing or serving bowl.
  • Add the dressing, dill, and black pepper and stir.
  • Refrigerate for up to 2 hours or serve immediately.
Cucumber Onion Salad in serving bowl with serving spoon.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Use a mandolin slicer to cut the cucumber slices, saving time and ensuring they are all the exact same size.
  • Salting the cucumbers beforehand draws out excess water, making the salad overall more flavorful.

Money-Saving Tip:

  • I tend to reach for name-brand vinegar. However, store brands are a fraction of the price and taste just as good. Just check the acidity; if you’re using it for canning, you want to make sure the acidity is 5%.
Cucumber Onion Salad in serving bowl with serving spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can Cucumber and Onion Salad be made ahead of time?

This recipe can be made beforehand if you plan to serve it relatively soon after making it. Another option is to prep the dressing and sliced cucumbers and then combine them when you plan to serve the dish.

Does a Cucumber and Onion Salad last in the refrigerator?

This cucumber salad keeps well in the refrigerator for up to two hours. You can also serve immediately. The salad can be kept for up to five days, but the salt and vinegar will soften the cucumbers and onions significantly.

Cucumber Onion Salad in serving bowl with serving spoon.

Storage:

  • Store all leftovers in the refrigerator. It will last up to five days, but the cucumbers will soften more.

Serve with:

More great cucumber salad recipes you’ll love!

Get all my side salad recipes at Side Salad Recipes – From A Chef’s Kitchen.

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Cucumber Onion Salad in serving bowl with serving spoon.

Cucumber Onion Salad

5 from 1 vote

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
This Cucumber Onion Salad recipe is refreshing and perfect for summer! Crisp cucumbers and sliced onion are tossed in a delicious vinegar dressing for a bright and flavorful dish. Serve this salad alongside grilled chicken, fish, or meat.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Draining Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Side Dishes – Salads
Cuisine American, East European
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 3 English (hothouse) cucumbers - unpeeled (approximately 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 medium onion - thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt - preferably sea or kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

Instructions
 

  • Thinly slice the cucumbers by hand or with a mandoline.
  • Place the cucumber slices in a colander set in the sink or over a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt; toss to coat. Let stand for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, water, and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. (This may take a few stirs to get it fully dissolved.)
  • Drain the cucumbers well and pat dry.
  • Transfer the cucumbers to a serving bowl. Add the dressing and stir.
  • Stir in the fresh dill and add black pepper to taste.
  • Refrigerate up to 2 hours or serve immediately.

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 1 vote

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