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German Cucumber Salad – 2 Dressing Options

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 on a plate garnished with chopped dill.

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 side dish with meat and fish.

This German cucumber salad recipe is one you’re going to want to have on hand for parties, cookouts, and family gatherings.

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

  • 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.

Ingredients You’ll Need

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.

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.

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 Creamy German Cucumber Salad

Step 1. 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.

Step 2. 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.

Step 3. Assemble the Cucumber Salad.

Place the cucumber slices, onions, and dill in a large bowl. Add the dressing, toss, and season to taste with salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

German cucumber salad with creamy dressing in a white bowl.

How To Make Cucumber Salad with Vinegar & Oil

Step 1. Prepare the Vegetables.

Using a very sharp knife or mandoline, slice cucumbers and onion as thinly as possible. Chop the dill.

Step 2. Make the Oil and Vinegar Dressing.

In a small bowl, add vinegar, olive oil, and sugar. Whisk until well combined. Season with salt.

Step 3. 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.

German cucumber salad on a plate with a silver fork on the left.

Recipe Tips

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.

Variations

  • This crunchy cucumber salad is delicious as is, and you can also add parsley, tomatoes, and more 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:

How To Store Leftover Cucumber Salad

Store German cucumber salad in an airtight container in the fridge. You can store the salad made with the vinegarette dressing for up to 3 days. The creamy cucumber salad should be consumed the same day. Keep in mind that the longer the cucumber salad is stored, the less crisp the cucumbers will be.

German cucumber salad on a plate.

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.

German Cucumber Salad

German Cucumber Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This simple German cucumber salad is crunchy and refreshing. It's perfect for a family dinner or a party and the leftovers taste great too. Two dressing options.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Place the cucumbers, onion, and dill into a large bowl.

For Cucumber Salad with Vinegar and Oil:

  1. Add the white vinegar, olive oil, and sugar. Mix well to combine. Season with salt.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  3. Keeps well in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

For Cucumber Salad with Creamy Dressing:

  1. In a small bowl, add the sour cream, olive oil, mustard, white wine vinegar, sugar, and garlic (if using). Mix to combine.
  2. Add the dressing to the cucumbers and mix well. Season with salt.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Better to consume the same day.

Notes

Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 4 servings calculated for the salad made with vinegar and oil.

Nutrition Information
Yield 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.

Did you make this recipe?

If you tried this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! To do this, click on the stars above. You can also leave a review or comment below. And don't forget to tag me @mariaushakova.blog if you share a picture on Instagram!

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Christine

Sunday 7th of June 2020

This recipe looks delicious! Can I use a red onion?

Maria Ushakova

Sunday 7th of June 2020

Yes, absolutely :)

Natalie

Thursday 18th of April 2019

Thank you for providing two dressing options! Both were delicious.

Betty

Monday 8th of April 2019

If you add salt to the cucumbers or in water should you rinse them before using or not add any more salt?

Maria Ushakova

Monday 8th of April 2019

I would just drain them and shake off the excess liquid. Then I would add other ingredients and taste the salad. If there is not enough salt, just add a pinch or so.

Claire

Monday 19th of February 2018

Made both versions for a dinner party and everybody loved them! So easy to make and very inexpensive. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

Renate

Monday 8th of January 2018

I salt my Cucumbers and let them sit for about 30 minutes, then i drain the juice before adding the Onions , Vinegar and oil, salting the Cucumbers takes away the bitter taste that you sometimes get by peeling and slicing the Cucumber from the wrong end, my Oma always said to peel from the Bloom to the Stem since the Stem part has a bitter substance in it, also salting the Cucumbers and discarding the juice makes them easier digestible.

Lisa

Friday 13th of July 2018

To stop from not being able to digest cucumbers. My German Dad told me a trick that works. For cucumber salad, slice the cucumbers, put in a few tsp of salt to the water. Completely submerege the THIN cucumbers in the water. He did it several hours. So it takes longer to make, by soaking in the water. Continue with the GERMAN IDEA. You can soak cucumbers the same way, for other meals....Hope it helps others, like ME, who love cucumbers.

Maria Ushakova

Monday 8th of January 2018

Hi Renate! This is such a great tip! Also, salting them first will help to get rid of the excess water. Thank you so much for taking the time to share! :)

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