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Easy Cucumber Salad Recipe [video]

This cucumber salad may be easy, but it is far from boring. With crunchy, sweet slices of English cucumbers, slightly spicy red onions, and the tangy dressing of white wine vinegar and sesame oil, this dish is bursting with amazing flavors. Then, it is topped with sesame seeds for a crunchy and delicious surprise. It only takes a few minutes to prepare, and you don’t even have to worry about marinating anything.

I love anything that is fast and easy to make, especially during the summertime when my family is so busy running off to the beach, barbecues, and fun family picnics in the park. This cucumber salad is perfect for whipping up in minutes when you get a last-minute invite to bring a dish. And it is vegan so everyone can enjoy it.

I have another version of this, my creamy cucumber salad, made with sour cream and Greek yogurt. You will see the main ingredient, English cucumbers, in many of my salad recipes because I love that its skin is so thin and there are no seeds. Also, they are never bitter so I can just eat them plain.

Made with sesame oil and sesame seeds, this salad is the perfect appetizer or first dish for one of my Asian entrees like Korean beef bulgogi. This vegetarian crunchy and refreshing side dish is perfect to enjoy on its own with some crusty bread on the side with one of my main dishes. This is a delicious way to add more veggies and healthy vitamins to your meals.  

Why you will love this recipe

  • It is quick and easy: You can have this dish prepped and ready in under 10 minutes. Just chop and toss. It is the perfect summer salad.
  • The kids love it: My kids love this salad. They don’t need to know they are eating healthy. All they care about is that it tastes great.
  • It is crunchy and tangy: Unlike many salads, this one is made with crunchy sesame seeds and has a tangy dressing of sesame oil and white wine vinegar.
  • The cost is pennies: You won’t have to break the bank to make this salad. The whole thing probably costs under two dollars, so it is less than 50 cents per serving.

What you’ll need to make cucumber salad:

Special items:

  • Mandoline – Although it is not something you have to have, using a mandoline or another kind of slicer helps you make thin, even slices very quickly.
  • Sharp knife – You will need a sharp knife for chopping the dill and green onions.
  • Mixing bowls – For mixing the salad and dressing.
  • Salad tongs – For tossing and serving.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Cucumbers: English cucumbers and Persian cucumbers work well in this recipe. Keep in mind to choose the ones that are fresh and crisp. If they are soft and mushy to the touch, it means they are not fresh.
  • Onions: Red onions go hand in hand here. It adds quite a lot of texture and flavor.
  • Herbs: I use fresh dill, it goes very well with the other ingredients.
  • Seasonings: Actually I add the regular salt and pepper, and also a bit of sugar. The sugar is added to balance the tanginess from the vinegar. Also, you can replace the sugar with maple syrup, honey, or agave.
  • White wine vinegar: Basically, this is the secret ingredient here. The tanginess is absorbed by the fresh cucumbers and perfectly balanced by the sugar. It goes very well with the crunchy salad and makes it more refreshing.
  • Sesame Oil and Seeds: These add an Asian twist to the recipe, and if you ever had Asian Cucumber Salad you know how great the sesame oil is in this quick and easy recipe.

How to Make a Cucumber Salad?

  • Choose the veggies: First, get the freshest cucumbers that you can find. We prefer using an English cucumber because it’s crunchy enough even when unpeeled. However, any type will perfectly work here. Just remember to go with seedless cucumbers.  
  • Prep the veggies: Next, peel the red onion, wash and pat dry the dill and the green onions. Next, wash the cucumbers and pat them dry with paper towels. After that, slice the cucumbers along with the red onions and add the thinly sliced veggies to a large bowl. Also, if you prefer to add some healthy greens to it, feel free to add some freshly chopped herbs. In this case, add the chopped green onions and dill.
  • Salad dressing: Lastly, in a small bowl mix the white wine vinegar, sugar, water, and olive or sesame oil and pour on top of the salad. After that, toss to coat and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. As you can see, it is super simple and ready in about 5-10 minutes. 
  • Chill: Preferably, chill it before serving. This way the veggies will soak some of the salad dressing. The cold cucumber salad is delicious, but keep in mind, chill it only for 15-20 minutes. If you will chill it longer the veggies will become softer and also release some water, discard the extra liquid before serving.

Expert tip

How to get the best cucumbers

I already mentioned that I prefer English or Persian cucumbers because they have thin skin you do not have to peel and no seeds. They also taste sort of sweet without any bitterness. In addition, these types of cucumbers are easier to digest. English cucumbers are long and slim with sweet skin and no seeds. Great for salads. Persian cucumbers also have thin skin, and the seeds are small and minimal. They are not as sweet but never bitter.

Regular cucumbers (slicing or garden cucumbers) are also good, but they have seeds and thicker skin. If I use these, I prefer to peel them and remove the seeds. Also, I add extra sugar because they are not very sweet. They are perfect if you do not like sweet cucumbers though. They are crunchy and full of crisp refreshing flavor.

When looking for a ripe cucumber, try to find one that is dark green with dull skin. You do not want the shiny ones because they are typically only shiny because they have a wax coating to make them last longer. Since English cucumbers are often sold wrapped in plastic, you may not get to smell it, but it should definitely not have a strong or strange smell. Never buy a soft cucumber either because they are probably overripe.

Recipe Variations:

  • Add other veggies: Feel free to add thin slices of radish into the mix. They are crunchy and go well with the rest of the ingredients and the dressing.
  • Make Greek Cucumber Salad: Skip the sesame oil, and add some kalamata olives and feta cheese on top.
  • Herbs and condiments: Feel free to add more ingredients you desire, such as fresh minced garlic, chives, shallots, or other herbs to it. 
  • Thai Cucumber Salad: Actually, adding a Thai twist to this recipe is pretty simple. Basically, you keep all the ingredients the same, just skip the dill and add cilantro instead. Also, chop some peanuts and chili and add them into the mix.
  • Creamy: As noted above, this dish can be made with a creamy salad dressing. For that, you can use sour cream, or Greek yogurt and mix it with the ingredients. Also, add some lemon juice for a more citrusy flavor and season with salt and pepper per taste.
  • Spicy salad: Speaking of spicy, if you love spicy food, you could add some chopped jalapenos, chiles, or some red pepper flakes.
  • Nutty salad: Instead of (or in addition to) the sesame seeds, chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans would make this salad extra crunchy and nutty.
  • Gluten-Free: The recipe is naturally gluten-free, just make sure that the ingredients used for the dressing are produced in a gluten-free facility.
  • Ranch twist: You can also add some ranch dressing to it for extra flavors. 

How to serve:

Frequently Asked Questions:

What dressing tastes good on cucumbers?

Although I prefer white wine vinegar and sugar, cucumbers are actually great with all sorts of dressings and toppings. If you have a favorite salad dressing, try that. If not, experiment with different flavors. I have tried and enjoyed many flavors including ranch, Catalina, Italian, and Greek dressings. I think they also taste wonderful drizzled with yum-yum sauce, honey mustard, or even chipotle sauce.

How can I make my cucumbers taste better?

Try topping them with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, or some bacon bits. If your cucumber is bitter, try adding some salt to it. If it is not an English or Persian cucumber, you may just need to peel and rinse it. The bitterness is typically in the skin. Then, slice and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Let them sit for 10 minutes and try them again. They should taste much better now. If not, you may need a different cucumber.

Why are you supposed to rub the ends of cucumbers?

Although I have never known this to work, some people say that rubbing the end of cucumbers can remove the cucurbitacin that causes bitterness. This is supposed to be because this organic compound is more concentrated at the end near the stem. First, cut about an inch off the end and then rub the end and the cucumber together. If you see a white milky substance, you are supposed to keep rubbing until it stops and then rinse it off.

How long do cucumbers last in the fridge?

Four to seven days is how long I have found. The best way to keep your cucumbers fresh is to put them in the fridge right away. Use your vegetable crisper but do not put them anywhere near melons, bananas, or apples because they have ethylene gas that ripens cucumbers. Others say that you should wrap them in a wet paper towel and put them in your refrigerator door and they will stay fresh for 12 days.

How to store:

  • Refrigerate: This salad will last about 24 hours in the fridge. After that, it will start getting soggy. Place it in a salad container or loosely covered bowl on the bottom shelf.   
  • Freezing: I do not recommend freezing cucumber salad.

More healthy salad recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • Use a mandoline slicer to cut the veggies, this way you will have evenly and thin cut ingredients. 
  • If you have any leftover dressing, it can stay fresh in the fridge in a sealed jar for about a week.
  • Do not add the dressing until you are ready to serve it, so it does not get watery.
  • If your salad gets watery after being in the fridge, just drain it and add some dressing, sesame seeds, and dill before serving.
  • Don’t soak your cucumbers in salt before using them. All this will do is leech out the flavor.

Best Cucumber Salad Recipe

Cucumber Salad is light and refreshing, made with red onion, green onion, dill, and tangy white wine vinegar, and sesame oil dressing.

  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time
  • Servings 4 servings


  • 2 long English cucumbers about 1 1/2 pounds Persian cucumbers
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh green onion chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


Prep the veggies:

  • Slice the cucumbers in half and cut them into thin slices or rounds. Add to a large bowl.
  • Slice the onion into thin strips and add to the bowl. Next, add chopped fresh dill, and green onions.


  • Mix white wine vinegar, water, some sesame oil, and sugar in a small bowl.
  • Pour over the cucumbers and onions, and stir well.
  • Drizzle with sesame oil—season with salt and pepper.


  • Sprinkle some fresh chopped dill and sesame seeds.

Nutrition Facts

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This recipe was fantastic as written! I love the vinegar zip mixed with the red onions. Question: I am interested in making the creamy version of this, how much sour cream or Greek yogurt do you recommend adding to the recipe?

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Hi Jen, I am so happy that you enjoyed it! Please follow my recipe for Creamy Cucumber Salad (search on the blog) and you will love it!

Ida R Diamond

Ida R Diamond

I saw a lot of comments about "going to try this recipe", and "this recipe looks amazing." Well, I actually made this recipe as a side for my smothered cube steaks. The cucumber salad IS amazing! Brought me back to my youth; my mom adored cucumber salad from her own growing up years. Thank you!

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Very happy that you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for the feedback!

Katrina Ellen

Katrina Ellen

Cucumber salad is one of my favorites! This has me totally wanting some right now as the weather changes.

Mama Ash{Erica}

Mama Ash{Erica}

It's one of my favourite salads. I love dill and red onion and sometimes I add feta cheese. So good!

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