German Cucumber Salad with dill, aka Gurkensalat in German, is the perfect budget-friendly side dish for family dinners, parties, and potlucks.
This popular German recipe has plenty of flavorful dill and can be dressed in a vinaigrette or sour cream dressing.
German cucumber salad is a very popular side salad in Germany and is usually served in German restaurants.
The secret to making the best German cucumber salad is slicing the cucumbers as thin as possible. I sliced mine a bit thicker because I like that extra crunch, but in authentic Gurkensalat, the cucumbers are sliced so thin they are nearly translucent.
German cucumber salad is often served as a refreshing side dish with meat and fish.
This delicious salad recipe is one you’re going to want to have on hand for parties, cookouts, family gatherings, and summer BBQ.
The flavors and textures in this refreshing summer salad are absolutely amazing, and your guests are guaranteed to love it.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Here are four reasons why this German cucumber salad recipe is a keeper:
- This easy salad is a great way to switch up your summer side dish routine and try something a little different.
- It’s budget-friendly. You only need a handful of fresh ingredients, most of which you may already have on hand.
- It’s a time-saver. If you make this salad with vinaigrette dressing, you can keep it overnight, and it will taste even better the next day.
- It’s healthy. Fresh cucumbers provide lots of vitamins and minerals and help keep you hydrated during hot summer days.
Here is an overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make German cucumber salad:
Ingredients For the Salad:
- Cucumbers – I use small field cucumbers. English cucumbers also work. Be sure to slice them as thin as possible.
- Onion – you can use a white onion or red onion for a pop of color.
- Fresh Dill – gives this salad a traditional fresh Gurkensalat flavor.
Ingredients For the Creamy Dressing:
- Sour Cream (or plain yogurt) – creates a rich, tangy, and creamy dressing.
- Olive Oil – loosens up the sour cream a bit to give it a dressing consistency.
- Dijon Mustard – adds subtle spice and mustard-y flavor.
- White Wine Vinegar – gives this dressing light and refreshing sweetness and adds acidity.
- Sugar – balances the tangy flavors.
- Garlic – it’s optional, but if you love garlic, don’t skip it.
Ingredients For the Vinaigrette Dressing:
- White Vinegar – gives the dressing the perfect amount of sour, tangy taste.
- Olive Oil – neutralizes the vinegar, creating a vinaigrette.
- Sugar – sweetens the dressing and balances the acidity of the white vinegar.
- Salt – enhances and balances the flavor of the salad.
How To Make German Cucumber Salad
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make German cucumber salad:
Option # 1 – Creamy German Cucumber Salad
- Prepare the vegetables: Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, slice the cucumbers and onion as thinly as possible. Roughly chop the dill. Mince the garlic if using.
- Make the creamy dressing: In a small bowl, mix together sour cream, olive oil, mustard, white wine vinegar, sugar, and garlic (if using). Combine well.
- Assemble the cucumber salad: Place the cucumber slices, onions, and dill in a large mixing bowl. Add the dressing, toss, and season to taste with salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Option # 2 – German Cucumber Salad with Vinegar & Oil
- Prepare the vegetables: Using a very sharp knife or mandoline, slice cucumbers and onion as thinly as possible. Chop the dill.
- Make the oil and vinegar dressing: In a small bowl, add vinegar, olive oil, and sugar. Whisk until well combined. Season with salt.
- Assemble the cucumber salad: Place the sliced cucumbers, onions, and dill in a large bowl. Add the dressing, toss, and season to taste with salt. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Here are a few tips on how to make the best cucumber salad:
- I prefer small field cucumbers for this recipe. I love them because they are local, super fresh, crunchy, and slightly sweet. But large field cucumbers or English cucumbers work great too. If you use large field cucumbers, make sure to peel them and scoop out the seeds.
- For the best flavor and texture and to keep things authentic, slice the cucumbers VERY thin.
- If your cucumbers are on the watery side, you can sprinkle them with salt, let them sit for a few minutes, and then blot away the released moisture before adding them to the salad.
- This cucumber salad tastes better when chilled, so place it in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.
- Don’t be afraid to make a big batch! The cucumber salad made with vinegar and oil keeps well in the fridge and tastes even better the next day as cucumbers ferment a bit. If you make the creamy version, it’s better to consume it the same day.
- This crunchy cucumber salad is delicious as is, and you can also add parsley, green onions, tomatoes, and garlic for even more great flavor.
- Instead of sour cream, feel free to use Greek yogurt or your favorite plain dairy-free yogurt.
What to Serve with Gurkensalat
German cucumber salad is often served with meat or fish. The recipes below pair perfectly with this German cucumber salad:
- Pan-Fried Rainbow Trout
- Roasted Salmon with Vegetables
- Baked Rainbow Trout with Vegetables
- Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs
- Healthy Turkey Meatballs
How To Store Leftover Cucumber Salad
Store German cucumber salad in an airtight container in the fridge.
The creamy cucumber salad should be consumed on the same day. You can store the salad made with the vinegarette dressing (the non-creamy version) for up to 3 days.
Keep in mind that the longer the cucumber salad is stored, the less crisp the cucumbers will be.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is German Cucumber Salad Sweet or Savory?
German cucumber salad is the perfect balance of sweet flavors and savory aromas. The end result is pleasantly tangy and absolutely delicious.
Why is My Cucumber Salad Watery?
Cucumbers are naturally high in water and release their natural moisture in the presence of salt and/or acid, which can make a cucumber salad watery.
How Do You Keep Cucumber Salad From Getting Soggy?
After slicing the cucumber, sprinkle the slices with salt. The salt encourages moisture to release from the cucumbers, so all of that excess water doesn’t end up in your salad.
Let the cucumbers sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the released liquid and make the salad. Taste the salad before adding more salt.
- 2 pounds small field cucumbers (English cucumbers would also work), thinly sliced
- 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, loosely packed
For Vinegar and Oil Dressing:
- 4 Tbsp white vinegar
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
For Creamy Dressing:
- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped (optional)
- Place the cucumbers, onion, and dill into a large bowl.
For Cucumber Salad with Vinegar and Oil:
- Add the white vinegar, olive oil, and sugar. Mix well to combine. Season with salt.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Keeps well in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
For Cucumber Salad with Creamy Dressing:
- In a small bowl, add the sour cream, olive oil, mustard, white wine vinegar, sugar, and garlic (if using). Mix to combine.
- Add the dressing to the cucumbers and mix well. Season with salt.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Better to consume the same day.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 4 servings calculated for the salad made with vinegar and oil.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 portions Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 142Total Fat 10.5gSaturated Fat 1.5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 0mgSodium 11.4mgCarbohydrates 11.7gFiber 1.6gSugar 5.6gProtein 2g
Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.