Easy and refreshing German cucumber salad made with crunchy cucumber slices and onions tossed in a creamy dill dressing. Have this salad recipe ready for the fridge in 15 minutes!

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This is a cool and creamy cucumber salad recipe that’s filled with fresh, tangy flavors and savory dill. Since cucumbers are available all year round, it’s an easy and economical salad for any season. 

How long it takes: 15 minutes of prep, an hour to chill

Equipment you’ll need: mixing bowl

Servings: 10

Overhead view of German cucumber salad in a white bowl, next to small ramekins of salt and pepper.
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Cool and Creamy German Cucumber Salad

Fresh and crisp German cucumber salad, also known as gurkensalat, is a staple in German households. There are two popular versions: oil-and-vinegar (like this non-creamy cucumber salad), and today’s recipe, dressed in a cool and creamy sauce made from tangy sour cream and a burst of savory dill. This is the ultimate summer salad, but you can serve cucumber salad year-round as a light, refreshing side to your favorite hearty dishes.

Why You’ll Love This Cucumber Salad Recipe

  • Fresh, clean flavor. Juicy cucumbers, tangy sour cream, and citrusy dill combine in a bright, flavorful salad recipe that’s crisp and refreshing.
  • Low-effort. This creamy German cucumber salad is a breeze to make. If you have a mandolin to slice the cucumbers, it’s even easier!
  • Versatile. The fresh flavors in this salad are super neutral, so you can pair it with just about any main dish, whether that’s grilled chicken or breaded pork chops. Scroll for lots of tasty serving ideas.
Ingredients for German cucumber salad.

Recipe Ingredients 

This German cucumber salad is made with only a handful of easy ingredients. I’ll get you started with some notes below. As always, you’ll find the full measurements and recipe details in the recipe card.

  • Cucumbers – This salad works best with long English cucumbers (I know, the irony of using English cucumbers to make a German cucumber salad). English cucumbers have tender edible skins, and are less watery and seedy than American or Persian cucumbers, which are shorter and wider.
  • Sour Cream – I recommend full-fat sour cream, as the cucumber juices tend to water down the salad with time. Plain yogurt also works as a substitute for sour cream in this recipe.
  • Vinegar – Plain white vinegar, but just about any variety will work. Apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar are good alternatives but they will change the flavor of the salad a bit.
  • Dill – Fresh dill is best. Dried just isn’t the same! If you’re not a fan of dill, other herb choices for this cucumber salad are mint, chives, garlic, or coriander.
  • Sugar – The recipe is written for white granulated sugar but you can use a natural sweetener like agave, if you prefer.
  • Salt and Pepper

How to Make a German Cucumber Salad

Ready to toss together this fresh and creamy cucumber salad? It’s quick and easy to do:

  • Make the dressing. First, in a large bowl, whisk up the sour cream with vinegar, dill, and sugar for the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Assemble the salad. Add the sliced cucumbers and onions to the bowl with the dressing. Toss everything together to get the veggies well-coated.
  • Chill. Cover the cucumber salad and place it into the fridge for 1 hour, to give the flavors a chance to mingle. 
  • Serve! Give the chilled salad a stir, garnish with more fresh dill, and serve.
mandoline product image on white background.

Use a Mandolin

This salad is even quicker to make with the help of a mandolin to slice the cucumbers. This is my favorite model!

Overhead view of German cucumber salad in a white bowl, next to small ramekins of salt and pepper.

Tips for Success

Here are my last-minute tips for the best German cucumber salad:

  • Peel and deseed your cucumbers if needed. If you’re not using English cucumbers, consider peeling fatter, shorter cucumbers and removing any seeds. Many cucumbers have thick skin which is often wax-coated; use a vegetable peeler to peel that type of cucumber. If the cucumber has large seeds, cut out the middle portion which contains the seeds.
  • Serve with a slotted spoon. The dressing will become runnier the longer the salad sits. Serving with a slotted spoon helps to keep the excess liquid off of your plate.
A black serving spoon scooping German cucumber salad from a large white bowl.

Cucumber Salad FAQs

How do you keep cucumber salad from getting watery?

If the cucumbers you’re using are on the watery side, toss the cucumber slices in salt first. Over time, salt allows the cucumbers to release some of their moisture. In this case, consider adding less salt when seasoning the final salad.

Why are there bubbles in my cucumber salad?

If your creamy cucumber salad looks a little foamy, don’t worry. Cucumbers release liquid over time, which can cause small bubbles to form in the salad. It’s nothing out of the ordinary!

Overhead view of German cucumber salad in a white bowl, next to small ramekins of salt and pepper.

Make This Salad Recipe Your Own

Delicious on its own, like any salad, you can change up this German cucumber salad recipe to suit. Try these ideas:

  • Cut the cucumbers into ribbons. Use a mandolin to slice the cucumbers lengthwise into ribbons, as I do in my cucumber ribbon salad.
  • Add cheese. Give this German cucumber salad a Mediterranean twist with a sprinkle of fresh feta cheese or shaved parmesan. Blue cheese is another good option.
  • Add more veggies to the mix. Change up your cucumber salad with the addition of sliced or grated vegetables like carrots, radishes, or fennel.
  • Different herbs. Dill tastes amazing, but as mentioned earlier, feel free to substitute a different herb, such as chives, mint, cilantro, garlic, etc.
  • Lemon. Give the finished salad a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
Close up view of German cucumber salad.

Ways to Serve German Cucumber Salad

Serve this refreshing cucumber salad chilled from the fridge alongside sausage or schnitzel for a Bavarian-inspired meal. It’s also great paired with family-friendly pork dishes like juicy air fryer pork chops or roast pork and a side of potato wedges.

German cucumber salad makes a tasty barbecue side dish served next to BBQ chicken wings and BBQ pulled pork, with more easy sides like potato salad and corn on the cob. And in the cooler months, this salad’s clean, fresh flavors taste great next to hearty mains like pot roast or meatloaf

It’s a perfect side salad, or you can top this cucumber salad with grilled salmon or crispy chicken bites for a light meal or lunch.

Overhead view of German cucumber salad in a white bowl with a serving spoon.

Storing Leftovers

Store leftover German cucumber salad refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 days. Any longer than that and the cucumber tends to soften too much. Avoid freezing fresh salads of any kind, as the veggies and dressing won’t hold up well when frozen and thawed.

More Salad Recipes

Recipe

German Cucumber Salad

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Easy and refreshing German cucumber salad made with crunchy cucumber slices and onions tossed in a cool and creamy dill dressing.
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Ingredients 

  • 2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ pounds or 5 cups sliced)
  • ½ small yellow or white onion, thinly sliced, optional (about ½ cup sliced)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (more for garnish if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, dill, sugar, salt, and black pepper.
  • Add the sliced cucumbers and onions. Toss everything together until the vegetables are evenly coated with the dressing.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate the cucumber salad for at least 1 hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the taste of the salad
  • Just before serving, stir the salad to redistribute the dressing.
  • Optional: Garnish the German cucumber salad with additional chopped fresh dill.

Notes

  • The dressing will get runnier over time due to the water content in the cucumbers. We recommend serving with a slotted spoon.
  • Serve the salad chilled as a refreshing side dish with German sausages, schnitzel, pork dishes, or alongside hearty meals.
  • If you don’t use English cucumbers, you may want to remove some of the seeds from the cucumbers and peel them.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 39kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 238mg, Potassium: 110mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 138IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. Vicki L Enteen says:

    5 stars
    Perfect

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Thank you so much!