A fresh and easy cucumber salad recipe with a sweet and tangy dressing made with vinegar, a little sugar, and Dijon mustard. Jump to the Cucumber Salad Recipe now or read on to see how we make it.
This is a very simple salad — only 15 minutes hands-on time.
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Easy Tip: Salt the Cucumbers for the Best Cucumber Salad
This salad is so fresh and light. Plus, it’s full of cucumber flavor. We love to serve this alongside other salads or even on top of burgers and sandwiches. This is perfect for picnics, too. The salad is simple to make, but there are a few tricks to make it best.
Cucumbers are made up of lots of water. By salting them, we draw out some of that excess water before tossing with the dressing. We do this for our mayonnaise-free coleslaw salad recipe, too.
This way, the dressing is flavorful, not watered down. Another win with salting cucumbers is the flavor you achieve — salting makes cucumbers taste more “cucumbery.” The salting process takes about 30 minutes and is so worth it.
To do it, toss the cucumbers with salt and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Then rinse away the excess salt with cold water and squeeze the cucumbers dry.
Slicing the cucumbers
By the way, we like the cucumbers thinly sliced. You have two choices when slicing — use a sharp knife or use a mandoline slicer. If you have it, the mandoline really does wonders with making things go quickly.
One tip: If you’re using a mandoline, buy yourself a kevlar glove. Some slicers come with an awkward attachment that’s supposed to hold whatever you’re slicing so you don’t have to. We’ve never really had much success with it, so we throw that part away and just use the glove, which protects your hand from being injured.
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Recipe updated, originally posted June 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Tangy Cucumber Salad Recipe
The secret to this salad is salting the cucumbers. After slicing them thin we generously salt and leave them alone for 30 minutes. As they sit, the cucumbers become even more “cucumbery” and release extra moisture, which if not removed, would make the dressing watery. Then, they are tossed with a simple dressing and left to marinate at least 1 hour, but no more than a day. The salad takes a little extra time with salting and marinating, but your hands-on time is minimal.
The inactive time for this recipe is 1 1/2 hours. We like to slice the cucumbers thin (1/16-inch or 1.5 mm) for this. After making the salad, the cucumbers are crisp, but a little floppy. If you’d like the cucumbers to be more substantial, slice them thicker.
You Will Need
2 hot house or seedless cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 to 3 teaspoons granulated sugar, depending on how sweet you like the salad
1/4 cup (60 ml) cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
Thinly slice cucumbers, toss with 2 teaspoons of salt then add to a colander set over the sink or bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Rinse cucumbers with cold water then squeeze excess water from them. (To make this easy, we add the cucumbers to a clean dish towel then tie it up and squeeze).
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons of sugar, vinegar, and mustard. Taste then add the additional teaspoon of sugar if needed. Add cucumbers and red onion then toss. Refrigerate salad at least 1 hour and up to a day before serving.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Seedless cucumbers: You will often find seedless cucumbers sold wrapped in plastic. They have a thinner skin and are a little sweeter than regular cucumbers. Other names include English cucumber and hot house cucumber. If you cannot find these, buy regular cucumbers, but use a spoon to scoop out the seeds before slicing.
- Variation – Add Lettuce: After marinating the cucumbers, you will notice quite a bit of liquid will be sitting at the bottom of the bowl. If you would like, transfer some of the liquid to a small bowl then whisk in 2 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil, making a salad dressing. Then, tear up lettuce leaves, toss with dressing and serve cucumbers on top.
- We like the cucumbers thinly sliced. You have two choices when slicing — use a sharp knife or use a mandoline slicer. If you have it, the mandoline really does wonders with making things go quickly. If you’re using a mandoline, buy yourself a kevlar glove for safety.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.