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This make-ahead Cucumber and Onion Salad is a summertime superstar. Simple and delicious, the fresh ingredients let the garden-fresh produce shine in this easy cucumber salad. 

cucumber and onion salad in two bowls with cucumbers and a fork on a white background

This cucumber and onion salad is delicious, but more importantly, I think it is so popular because it reminds people of childhood picnics, potlucks, and backyard BBQs.

Do you love make-ahead salads? Sure you do! You have to check out Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad, Healthy Green Pea Salad, Instant Pot Potato Salad, Zesty Instant Pot Quinoa Salad, Greek Yogurt Egg Salad, and Instant Pot Farro.

cucumbers, a bowl of salt, onions, celery seed, vinegar, dill, and sugar on a white board

What is the Best Vinegar for Cucumber and Onion Salad?

I use plain ol’ white vinegar but have also had great success with apple cider vinegar. Rice vinegar is also pretty dang delicious. In my experience, red wine vinegar and flavored vinegar are not ideal.

Can This Dish Be Made Whole30 Compliant? What about Keto?

You betcha. Just leave out the sugar and then go rock on with your bad self. 

process shots for cucumber and onion salad

Process shots for cucumber and onion salad

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes 

  • Unpeeled cucumbers become tough. If you peel the cucumbers all the way, they get mushy. If you’re going to be using regular cucumbers, peel a few strips off (will give a cool striped effect) and it is the perfect texture compromise.
  • I use a mandoline to slice the cucumbers so that they’re all the same size.
  • The brine (liquid) won’t cover all the veggies completely. That’s ok! As the cucumbers sit in the brine, they will release their own liquids. Give everything a stir after a few hours and you’ll be good to go.


  • If you want to turn this into a creamy cucumber salad, add 1/3 cup of sour cream with 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the seasoning. Do not include the water.
  • To make this a cucumber tomato and salad, add thinly sliced tomatoes just prior to serving.
  • Sub in Pickled Shallots instead of the onion for a milder flavor.

A white bowl full of cucumber and onion slices, and small bowls full of salt and dill

More Delicious Vegetable Side Dishes


One serving has 1 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

5 from 15 ratings

Cucumber and Onion Salad

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 minute
Chilling time: 12 hours
Total: 11 minutes
two bowls of cucumber and onion salad on a gray cloth
Simple and delicious, the garden-fresh produce shines in this old-fashioned cucumbers and onions in vinegar.


  • 6 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced {3 regular cukes or 6 pickling}
  • 1 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar {leave out to make Whole30 compliant}
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced


  • In a microwave-proof container, microwave the vinegar, water, and sugar on high for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
    1 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 2 tbsp sugar
  • Slice the cucumbers and onion thinly, and add to a large lidded container.
    6 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced, 1/2 onion
  • Add the dill, sea salt, and celery seed.
    1/4 tsp dried dill, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 3/4 tsp celery seed
  • Pour the cooled vinegar water solution over the top. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.


The brine (liquid) won't cover all the veggies completely. That's ok! Give it a stir after a few hours and you'll be good to go.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 29kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 120mgPotassium: 117mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 55IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.2mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. Great help. Thank you much!! My husband rememered his dad many yrs back used to love this cuke and onion salad with vinegar. So did my mom and dad!! We are so enjoying it but I just read this wonderful article on all the awesome nutrients in cucumbers!! I never knew how many vitamins and nutrients are in and plus, putting on my puffy eyes. God knew!!