Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe (VIDEO)
Creamy Cucumber Salad is so easy, creamy, and refreshing. The nostalgic flavors feature crisp summer cucumbers and onions coated with fresh dill and a sour cream dressing. It’s a must-have summer side dish!
This creamy cucumber salad recipe, sometimes called German Cucumber Salad, is in our top 3 cucumber recipes along with our Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad and Ceviche. Our entire family loves this salad even our youngest, so it is on the regular rotation all summer long.
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The Best Cucumber Salad Dressing
The thick creamy sauce made with fresh lemon, dill, and sour cream, reminds me of Tzatziki Sauce (and I could put that stuff on anything!) This is the perfect cucumber salad recipe for when the fruit is in season from May through August. Each bite is more refreshing than the last.
Fresh dill and crispy cucumbers pair perfectly! Then, you coat that flavor combination in the creamy sour cream dressing making this creamy cucumber salad recipe truly an iconic dish that tastes of summer.
Creamy Cucumber Salad Video
Watch how easy it is to bring the dish together in a few simple steps. It will quickly become a summer side dish you’ll make year after year.
You don’t need a long list of ingredients to make the best cucumber salad. Try this recipe with fresh garden-grown cucumbers and you will be hooked!
- Cucumbers – Fresh garden-grown cucumbers are my favorite for this dish, however, you can make this dish year-round with cucumbers from the grocery store.
- Onions – I love using red onions for their sweetness and bright pop of color against the green cucumbers. Sweet Vidalia onions or chopped green onions also work for a milder onion flavor.
- Sour Cream – provides a tangy and thick base for this yummy salad. You can substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream, but it thins the dressing, and it adds more tangy flavor.
- Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice works the best (trust me!) and helps cut the thick sour cream to make the sauce taste lighter.
- Garlic – Again, fresh garlic is best, but pre-minced or even garlic powder will work.
- Dill – Fresh or frozen dill tastes the freshest. We love to freeze the abundant fresh dill from summer and use it for this salad in the colder months. You can substitute dill with finely chopped parsley or chives (whatever you have growing in your garden).
Pro Tip: To freeze fresh dill – rinse, dry, chop, and then lightly pack into freezer zip bags and freeze flat. You can enjoy it right out of the freezer for any recipe that calls for dill, from Egg Salad to Tartar Sauce.
How to Make Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Stir together the sour cream, lemon, garlic, dill, and salt and pepper in a small bowl to make the scrumptious creamy dressing. Then, set the bowl aside.
- Slice the cucumbers and onions thinly using a mandoline set to 1/8″ or a sharp knife. Remember to peel the cucumber if wax-coated. Place in a serving bowl.
- Pour the creamy sour cream dressing into the serving bowl, and then mix to evenly coat the onions and cucumbers. Serve immediately.
Pro Tip: Wait until right before serving to add the creamy dressing. After adding sauce, the salad will only stay fresh for about 2-3 hours if refrigerated
What Cucumbers are Best for Salad?
The varieties of cucumbers are almost as endless as the types of cucumber salads. These are my favorite cucumbers to include in salads and whether or not you need to peel before slicing:
- Garden Cucumbers: Crisp, crunchy, and our favorite when they come fresh from the garden. They can be served peeled or unpeeled.
- English Cucumbers: Also known as European cucumbers. This variety is mild in flavor, almost seedless. They are typically sold wrapped in plastic to protect their thin skin, so there is no need to peel them.
- Cocktail Cucumbers: Deliciously crunchy and much smaller than other varieties of cucumbers. They are also more expensive per pound, but there’s no need to peel them.
- Wax-Coated Cucumbers: Found at most grocery stores year round. They have a wax covering to help preserve the cucumber and will need to be peeled prior to eating.
How to Keep Cucumbers from Getting Soggy
This recipe is best eaten immediately and only stays truly crispy for three to four hours in the fridge. After that, the cucumbers release water, thinning the dressing.
- Dry the cucumbers before using– Pat the cut cucumbers dry with a paper towel before adding the dressing. You can also use a salad spinner.
- Try salting– You can add a teaspoon of salt to the cucumbers in a colander for 30 minutes before making the salad to draw some of the water out, but the texture will be softer and not as crispy.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try some of these other variations and ways to serve this cucumber salad:
- Change the herbs– you can swap the dill for fresh parsley or chives. If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use about a third of the amount of dried dill.
- Opt for Mayo– substitute mayo for the lemon juice for a thicker sauce.
- Add heat – add some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste.
- Include other fresh vegetables – try adding sliced radishes for an extra crunch, or add grape tomatoes, corn, or even avocado
What to Serve with Creamy Cucumber Salad
This delicious summer side salad pairs perfectly with meaty main dishes at summer barbecues and picnics, or all year around:
- BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- Hamburgers (or Smashburgers)
- Instant Pot Ribs
- Grilled Steak
- To Refrigerate: The salad is best served immediately, but it will last for two or three days in the fridge. If the salad gets watery, you can drain the water and add a bit more sour cream for leftovers the next day.
- Freezing: This isn’t a good recipe to freeze as cucumbers and sour cream do not freeze well.
Try this iconic salad recipe as a simple side for your next barbecue or picnic, and you’ll see why this creamy cucumber salad recipe is handed down for generations in so many families.
More Cucumber Recipes
If you love summer cucumbers as much as we do, you will find some new favorite cucumber recipes in this list. When cucumbers are abundant in our garden, these are the recipes we make most often:
- Avocado Cucumber Shrimp Bites
- Creamy Cucumber and Tomato Salad
- Avocado Cucumber Salad
- Cucumber Feta Salad
- Refrigerator Pickles
- Tomato Cucumber Mozzarella Salad
Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe
- 1 1/2 lbs cucumbers, 2 english cucumbers or 7-10 small ones
- 1/2 medium purple or yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp fresh or frozen dill, chopped
- 1/2 cup sour cream, reduced fat is ok
- 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, from 1/2 small lemon
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or grated
- 1/2 tsp sea salt and pinch black pepper, or to taste
- In a small bowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice, garlic, dill, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and set aside while prepping salad.
- Peel (if necessary) and slice cucumbers into thin rounds or half rounds if using large cucumbers. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add thinly sliced onion.
- Just before serving, pour the sauce over the cucumbers and onions, and mix to coat. After adding sauce, the salad will stay fresh for about 2-3 hours if refrigerated.
- Chives – add 1/3 cup chives or green onion instead of onion for a milder onion flavor.
- Mayo – lately we’ve been loving the addition of 1-2 Tbsp mayo to the dressing instead of lemon juice.
- Greek yogurt – I’ve tested plain Greek yogurt and it works (although not quite as good), just omit lemon juice if using.