Tangy Cucumber Salad Recipe

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.

Tangy Cucumber Salad Recipe

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.

Easy Tip: Salt the Cucumbers for the Best Cucumber Salad

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.

Salting the cucumbers makes them taste better

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.

Squeeze out the excess water

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.

How to Slice Cucumbers

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

  • PREP

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.

Makes approximately 4 servings

You Will Need

2 hot house or seedless cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt

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).Tangy-Cucumber-Salad-Recipe-Step-1

    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.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: 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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16 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Peggy Luke August 9, 2018, 5:58 am


  • MookieMe February 7, 2016, 5:09 am

    Store had sale on cukes! Went wild and bought too many. Love em, but WHAT was I thinking?! This simple recipe to the rescue! Its really easy and very good. I used regular cukes. I cut in various thicknesses. Also varied skin removal. All…so I could see what I liked best for the next time. Recipe is definitely a keeper. I think I like thicker cut with just a little skin. Seems the cukes held together better. I also made Xtra dressing to use on salads. It’s really good stuff. Now, I have no fear of over purchasing cukes. Lol. Oh, I will try the honey instead of sugar next time. Thanks for sharing this recipe. A total 5 star review.

  • Stephanie May 5, 2015, 3:20 pm

    Looks good! Would white wine vinegar work as well?

    • Joanne May 27, 2015, 10:45 am

      Yes, white wine vinegar would be great.

  • Orah Ruth Kamienny December 30, 2014, 5:28 am

    I have been unable to eat cucumbers without considerable burping ever since I can remember, so it is a food I largely ignore. Because of the salting step, I decided to try your recipe and see what would happen. Miraculously, I am able to eat and enjoy with no ill effect. Thank you for a tasty cucumber salad I can eat.
    P.S. I used regular cucumbers and left the seeds in but left in salt for 1 hr. Great!

  • Di June 6, 2014, 7:05 pm

    Very good! I just made it without leaving it in the fridge, or taking the water out of the cucumbers. Substituted one tsp of sugar for one of honey. It is delicious!

  • blanca May 21, 2014, 6:37 am

    I made this for a sunday brunch. the bowl was licked to clean. it was a total hit I think I’m gonna make it again for lunch :):):)):):)

    • Joanne June 20, 2014, 2:08 pm

      Licking the bowl is the best! So glad you enjoyed the salad.

  • I_Fortuna April 4, 2014, 3:04 am

    If you would like your cucumbers to stay crunchy, salt them (use a lot of salt between each layer) and put them in a Japanese pickle press. This presses out the excess water that causes the cucumbers to go soft. Wash the salt off with fresh water and use them as you wish. They will be nice and crunchy. Also, to avoid the sharper, bitter flavor of freshly cut onions, I blanch them for a few seconds in boiling water, rinse them in cold and they are much more mild and palatable.

    • Joanne April 4, 2014, 11:28 am

      Thanks for the tips!

  • Hannah October 26, 2013, 11:04 am

    Great recipe! I’m doing it right now.
    I just noticed that it says I can’t marinate or more than a day.
    In case there are left overs, can I keep them in the fridge for another day or two?
    Newbie in the kitchen, any help appreciated.

    • Joanne October 30, 2013, 9:56 am

      Yep, you can keep leftovers. The cucumbers do soften and loose some crunch over time, though.

  • Paula September 18, 2013, 12:54 pm

    Do you really mean 1 and 1/2 POUNDS kosher salt????

    • Joanne September 18, 2013, 1:54 pm

      No, the recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of cucumber

  • Carolyn June 17, 2013, 7:29 am

    This looks so fresh and delicious! Bookmarked and pinned.

    • Joanne June 17, 2013, 9:25 am

      Awesome 🙂


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