Creamy Cucumber Salad

Jump to Recipe

Easy creamy cucumber salad recipe that’s perfect for barbecues or busy nights. Crisp vegetables soak in a sweet and tangy marinade then get tossed with sour cream and dill dressing. It’s a light summer salad to pair with your favorite protein.

Bowl of creamy cucumber salad

Cucumbers are the unsung heroes of salads

When thinly sliced, these green veggies deliver unbelievably crunchy texture and they hold their shape even after soaking in an acidic marinade. Not to mention, the subtle melon-like flavor effortlessly infuses the taste of other ingredients to give a more complex flavor experience.

Instead of just mixing all of the components together, I give the sliced cucumbers and red onion a little time to marinate in a sweet and tangy liquid. In just 30 minutes the unsuspecting vegetables transform into quick pickles. It’s a really light and refreshing salad that doesn’t require much hands-on time. Just chop, soak, and stir! Pair it with grilled meat or seafood, for a refreshing side dish.

Ingredients spread out to make a side salad

How to make creamy cucumber salad

To elevate the flavors of this simple dish, I marinate the thinly sliced cucumbers and onions first. I use a combination of apple cider vinegar, water to slightly dilute the strong acidity, honey, and salt to create a quick pickling brine.

I suggest at least 30 minutes for soaking, but you’ll notice a significant flavor change after just 15 minutes. Make sure to stir the vegetables halfway through so that all of the pieces get even exposure to the flavorful liquid. Afterward, simply drain and toss with the sour cream dressing.

Cucumber selection

I use English cucumbers for this recipe. The thin skin requires no peeling and the small seeds don’t need to be removed. The firm and robust texture make it the perfect candidate for brief pickling, as it doesn’t become too flimsy and wilted. I use them in my classic cucumber salad as well.

Close up of sliced cucumbers and red onions in a bowl of marinade

Thinly slice the vegetables

The ideal size to cut the cucumbers and onions are ⅛-inch thick. This ensures rapid soaking of flavor from the marinade. Any thicker and the red onions would have a very harsh taste. For the cucumbers, you can use a chef’s knife or a mandoline grater as a quick way to make even slices.

Quick pickling process

When the sliced vegetables sit in the apple cider vinegar brine, the acids quickly transform the taste and texture of the cucumbers. After a brief soak, the bright and tangy flavors shine. The cucumbers will slightly soften, however, leaving the skin on keeps the exterior crisp.

Also, exposure to the salt and sugar forces some of the moisture out of the vegetables during the marinating process. This makes it so there will be less available water to be drawn out when mixed with the sour cream. Therefore, the dressing stays creamy and flavorful.

Mixing bowl whisking creamy salad dressing

Easy creamy dressing

What draws people to this salad is that irresistible creamy dressing. To enhance the taste of the tangy sour cream, I add in a little more apple cider vinegar and honey for a hint of sweetness. To add savory notes, I use garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Fresh dill adds a refreshing herbaceous taste to the dressing.

Wait to combine the cucumber and dressing together until right before you’re ready to serve. This will keep the richness of the cream and nicely coat all of the vegetables. You can also use plain Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream if you want to add extra protein and probiotics to the dish.

What to serve with this salad

Bowl tossing cucumbers in a creamy salad dressing

Why does a cut cucumber get watery over time?

It’s best to enjoy the salad the same day otherwise the dressing becomes watery. Cucumbers are very high in moisture and when sliced, the cell walls of the plant are exposed. When it comes into contact with salt or sugar from the dressing, the moisture gets drawn out by osmosis. That liquid is gradually released into the sour cream dressing, diluting the creamy consistency.

Pin this recipe to save for later

Pin This

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Easy creamy cucumber salad recipe that’s perfect for summer barbecues, it’s a wonderfully light side salad to pair with your favorite protein.
Pin Print Review
4.41 from 5 votes
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American

Ingredients

Cucumber Salad

  • 1 pound english cucumber, cut into ⅛-inch thick slices
  • 1 cup red onion, cut into ⅛-inch thick slices
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Dressing

  • cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

Cucumber Salad

  • In a medium bowl whisk together ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, water, 1 tablespoon honey, and ½ teaspoon salt.
  • Add the sliced cucumbers and red onion. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator, stirring halfway through. Thoroughly drain the vegetables.

Dressing

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, chopped dill, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  • Add the pickled cucumbers and onions to the sour cream dressing, stir to combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.

Equipment

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 3 cups
  • Serving Size: ½ cup

Want to save this recipe?

Create an account easily save your favorite content, so you never forget a recipe again.

Register now

Nutrition Facts
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 76 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 120mg5%
Potassium 186mg5%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 239IU5%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 46mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Tried this recipe?

Tag @jessica_gavin on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!

Tag @jessica_gavin

Filed under:

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

Jessica's Secrets: Cooking Made Easy!
Get my essential cooking techniques that I learned in culinary school.
Jessica Gavin standing in the kitchen

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

1 Comment Leave a comment or review

  1. Lindi says

    Your creamy cucumber salad sounds wonderful. This would be better than a slaw on a Pork Konista Sandwhich or a Chicken, Veal or Pork schnittie Roll(schnitzel) just in case you didn’t know our slang (Australia) …

Leave A Reply

Recipe Rating