Cucumber Onion Salad

Make a fresh-tasting sliced cucumber onion salad recipe anytime. This is the perfect light side dish with any meal.

overhead view of cucumber onion salad in a bowl

Make a fresh-tasting sliced cucumber salad anytime with this easy cucumber salad recipe. Cucumber and onion salad is the perfect low-calorie side dish for any number of meals. It’s also perfect for potlucks and picnics.

Sliced cucumber salad was a staple of my family when I was growing up. All my family members had huge gardens that produced plentiful crops of cucumbers. These “refrigerator pickles” were on the table at dinner almost every night. 

This cucumber salad vinegar recipe is perfect for making during the summer. You can use cucumbers from your garden, the farmers’ market, or even the grocery store. This recipe is so basic that you can make it with any type of cucumber, although seedless or ones with fewer seeds are best (see notes about preventing a watery salad). 

You will also need some onions. I prefer white or red ones because they are less hot than the yellow ones. The other ingredients are sugar, vinegar, vegetable oil, salt, and black pepper.

How to Make Cucumber and Onion Salad

First, you will need to slice your cucumbers and onions. I like to cut them about 1/4-inch thick. You can use a sharp knife, or you can use a mandolin. Then your sliced cucumbers and onions are covered with sweet and tangy pickling brine. The flavor is intensified if you cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours before you are ready to serve.

Is Cucumber With Vinegar Good for You?

Fresh cucumbers and vinegar provide great potential health benefits. Not only does the combination taste good, but it also contains several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight the effects of free radicals and strengthen defenses against cancer and other diseases. In addition, cucumbers come with natural fiber and small amounts of over ten nutrients, including vitamin K, which helps regulate bone mineralization and density. 

How to Prevent Cucumber Salad From Becoming Watery

Marinated ucumber salad, whether dressed simply with vinegar or made creamy by using mayonnaise, sour cream, or yogurt, can quickly become watery. This happens when the crisp cucumber releases its water content after it has been sitting awhile. To prevent this from happening, remove as much liquid as possible from the cucumbers before dressing. 

  • About the Seeds – All parts of a cucumber are naturally full of water. However, the seeds contain the most liquid and should be removed. The flesh around each seed is particularly watery and can quickly transform your cucumber salad into a runny mess. If possible, choose seedless cucumbers or cucumbers with tiny seeds like Lebanese cucumbers or English cucumbers

Salt Your Cucumbers

Salt encourages the cucumber to leach out excess liquid. Here’s what to do:

  1. Place your sliced cucumbers in a colander and toss them with 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt, coating all the pieces evenly.
  2. Let the cucumbers rest for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Press down gently on the sliced cucumbers to drain excess liquid.
  4. Run cold water over the slices to remove excess salt and let them sit for 10 more minutes.
  5. Place the cucumber slices in a single layer on paper towels. Blot dry by pressing gently with a second layer of paper towels. Repeat until the excess surface liquid has been absorbed.

Variations on This Cucumber Onion Salad

If you find this cucumber and onion salad is too sweet for your taste, add the sugar slowly and stop when you are satisfied. You can also choose to sweeten with a non-sugar sweetener, such as Stevia, if you desire.

Here are a few different ways to serve this classic dish.

  • Let the cucumbers sit in the vinegar mixture for about 12 hours, drain, and then combine with sour cream to make a creamy cucumber salad.
  • Click here for a recipe for a Lebanese cucumber yogurt salad.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of fresh dill to bring out the bright flavors. (Basil, parsley, and mint also go well with this salad).
  • Add a few sliced carrots or daikon radish for variety.
  • Increase the nutrition by adding white beans, tomatoes, or red peppers.

How Long Will a Cucumber Salad Keep?

This cucumber onion salad will keep for a week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Cucumber Onion Salad

I hope you try this easy cucumber salad recipe. It’s been popular around my house for as long as I can remember. Please read the notes above on how to avoid a watery salad.

Recipe Ingredients

This cucumber salad is perfect to make during the summer.

  • Cucumbers – You can use cucumbers from your garden, the farmer’s market, or even the grocery store. This recipe is so basic that you can make it with any type of cucumber.
  • Onion – There are many different onions you can try. Sweet onion, red onion, or white onion are my favorites. I tend to find the yellow onion to be a little hotter.
  • Vinegar – I recommend white vinegar but you can also use apple cider vinegar.
  • Sugar – For a little sweetness to balance the vinegar tang.
  • Vegetable oil – So the flavors carry through the whole salad.
  • Salt and Pepper – for a little seasoning.
cucumber onion salad ingredients

How To Make Cucumber Onion Salad

  1. Slice the cucumbers and onions. I like to slice them about 1/4-inch thick. You can use a sharp knife or a mandolin.
    sliced cucumbers and onions in a bowl
  2. Make the sweet and tangy dressing. You will combine oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper.
    cucumber onion salad dressing in a mixing bowl
  3. Pour the dressing over the cut cucumbers and onions.
  4. The flavor blooms if you cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours before you are ready to serve.

Store the salad in an air-tight container in the fridge. The refrigerated salad will keep for a week.

cucumber onion salad on a plate

Recipe Variations

There are different ways you can serve this classic dish:

  • Add a teaspoon or two of fresh dill to the bring for a bright flavor
  • Add a few sliced carrots or daikon radish for a variety
  • Drain liquid from cucumbers and mix in sour cream for a real treat

I hope you try this recipe, it is one that has been popular around my house for as long as I can remember.

cucumber onion salad in a black bowl

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overhead view of cucumber onion salad in a bowl

Cucumber Onion Salad

Cucumber Onion Salad is a wonderful side dish and perfect for potlucks and picnics.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cucumber Onion Salad, Cucumber salad, Sliced Cucumber Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 10
Calories: 160kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Place sliced cucumbers and onions into a bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk sugar, vinegar, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper to combine.
  • Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and onions.
  • Refrigerate a couple of hours before serving.

Recipe Tips for the Cook

Store cucumber onion salad in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
The salad will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 170mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 4.3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CopyKatRecipes or tag #CopyKatRecipes!

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Roger Noyes

    A single guy who has never purchased a cucumber in my life (70 yrs.). Made this recipe exactly using balsamic vinegar. Simply delicious and easy.
    Thank you, Rog.

  2. Drakequeen

    5 stars
    I love cucumber salad but the amount of sugar is way too much. If it is too sweet for you as well try less and less sugar till you are satisfied.

    • Stephanie

      That is one of the beauties of cooking, you can always adjust a recipe to your personal taste. I have learned there is no arguing taste, you just enjoy what you enjoy.

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