Easy Cucumber Salad

I love this easy cucumber salad with red onion and the simplest vinegar dressing. This is one of the tastiest cucumber salad recipes I’ve made.

Tangy Cucumber Salad Recipe Video

My favorite vinegar cucumber salad recipe requires only 6 ingredients. It’s so simple and tastes light and refreshing. Thanks to the vinegar dressing, this salad is dairy-free and mayo-free!

I love this cucumber salad with vinegar so much. It’s fantastic served next to richer dishes like pulled pork, burgers, and grilled steak. For more cucumber salad recipes, see our cucumber avocado salad or this creamy cucumber salad inspired by tzatziki sauce.

Tangy Vinegar Cucumber Salad

Key Ingredients

  • Cucumbers: I love thin-skinned cucumbers like Hot House or Persian cucumbers. Garden cucumbers are fine, but they usually have thicker skins and seeds, so I peel them and scrape out most of their seeds before using them in this salad.
  • Salt: The secret to the best cucumber salad is to salt your cucumbers. The salt makes the cucumbers taste better and removes excess water, diluting the dressing. I use sea salt, but any salt will do.
  • Vinegar: I love apple cider vinegar in this dressing, but distilled or white wine vinegar also works nicely.
  • Sugar: I don’t like sweet salad dressings, but I think a teaspoon (or two) of sugar balances the vinegar in this cucumber salad. I share a suggested amount in my recipe below so you can add it to your taste.
  • Dijon mustard: Creamy Dijon adds a tangy flavor to this salad. I love it.
  • Onion: Cucumber and onion are a classic combination, so I toss some sliced red onion into this salad. I like the red onion for color, but a sweet onion like Vidalia or Walla Walla onion would be amazing.

How to Make Vinegar Cucumber Salad

The secret to this cucumber salad recipe is salting the cucumbers. Cucumbers are mostly water, so salting them draws out excess water before tossing them with the dressing. Salting the cucumbers makes the dressing tasty, not watered down. It also makes the cucumbers taste more like cucumbers. It intensifies their flavor.

How to Make Vinegar Cucumber Salad: Salting the cucumbers

The salting process takes about 30 minutes and is well worth it. I also salt cucumbers them when making dill pickles and salt cabbage when making this mayo-free coleslaw salad. I slice cucumbers into thin coins and toss the cucumber coins with salt, then let them sit in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.

How to Make Vinegar Cucumber Salad: Squeezing the cucumbers dry

After 30 minutes, I rinse the cucumbers with cold water to remove any excess salt so the salad will not be too salty. Finally, I squeeze them dry by adding them to a clean dishcloth and squeezing out as much liquid as possible.

Then, I toss the salted, rinsed, and squeezed cucumbers with the rest of our cucumber salad ingredients. You can enjoy the salad immediately, but it gets even better after an hour in the fridge.

Tangy Vinegar Cucumber Salad

Easy Cucumber Salad

  • PREP

The secret to this incredible cucumber salad is salting the cucumbers for 30 minutes. As they sit, the cucumbers become even more “cucumbery” and release extra moisture, which, if not removed, would make the vinegar dressing watery.

Makes approximately 4 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

2 hot house or seedless cucumbers, about 1 ½ pounds


2 to 3 teaspoons granulated sugar, depending on taste

1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced


    1Thinly slice cucumbers, toss with two teaspoons of salt, then add to a colander set over the sink or bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes.

    2Rinse the cucumbers with cold water, then squeeze out excess water. To make this easy, we add the cucumbers to a clean dish towel, tie it up, and squeeze.

    3Whisk together two teaspoons of sugar, vinegar, and mustard in a large bowl. Taste, then add the additional teaspoon of sugar if needed.

    4Add the cucumbers and red onion, then toss. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate up to a day before serving.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Cucumbers: You will often find seedless cucumbers sold wrapped in plastic. They have thinner skin and are a little sweeter than regular cucumbers. Other names include English cucumber and hothouse cucumber. If you cannot find them, use regular cucumbers and a spoon to scoop the seeds before slicing. If the cucumbers have a thicker, waxy peel, we recommend peeling all or some of it away.
  • Storing: This cucumber salad is best enjoyed within a day of making it since the cucumbers continue to soften as they sit in the fridge.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe / Calories 45 / Protein 1 g / Carbohydrate 9 g / Dietary Fiber 2 g / Total Sugars 6 g / Total Fat 0 g / Saturated Fat 0 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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28 comments… Leave a Review
  • CONNIE S. September 2, 2023, 3:11 pm

    The mustard is an inspired addition! (I used a “country dijon.”) This is a great recipe, and so easy to modify/vary.

  • Steve Simonds April 29, 2023, 2:08 pm

    It’s great, and I added chopped sweet red pepper and some cherry tomatoes.

  • Steve Simonds March 27, 2023, 11:05 am

    Mine were very salty. Should I rinse them after 20 minutes next time, or rinse longer?

    • Joanne June 17, 2023, 5:11 pm

      Hi Steve, You want to rinse the cucumbers after they have had time sitting with the salt.

  • Jean Jurlina October 15, 2022, 2:51 am

    I have made a similar recipe for years, instead of a bowl I layer the cucumber coins in circle on large plate, salt cucumber, place a plate on top ( upside down) and left it in the fridge then just run liquid off and sprinkle with vinegar, but this recipe is on another level & using djon mustard is the masterpiece. My new cucumber salad so thank you

  • Barbara Hilary September 26, 2022, 5:43 pm

    My Mother made this when I was young and I was always looking for a recipe to recreate it and enjoy it again! Thank you for the recipe.


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