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Cucumber and Onion Salad

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

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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, and Instant Pot Farro Salad.

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.

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.

two bowls of cucumber and onion salad on a gray cloth
Print Recipe
5 from 12 votes

Cucumber and Onion Salad

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 min
Chilling time12 hrs
Total Time11 mins
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.
  • Slice the cucumbers and onion thinly, and add to a large lidded container.
  • Add the dill, sea salt, and 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.
Nutrition Facts
Cucumber and Onion Salad
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 29 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 120mg5%
Potassium 117mg3%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 55IU1%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 17mg2%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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37 comments on “Cucumber and Onion Salad”

  1. Can regular brown or white onions be used with apple cider vinegar? This is my first time trying this. Will let you know how it turns out.

  2. This is always a huge hit in the summer when the garden is exploding with cucumbers and I don’t want to heat up the kitchen making long-term pickles. Even my little eats these! He requests them by name, “I have frugalpants cucs, Mom?” Note: We call Sarah by MrFrugalpants…

    • Oh my gosh I forgot the stars!!!

      This is always a huge hit in the summer when the garden is exploding with cucumbers and I don’t want to heat up the kitchen making long-term pickles. Even my little eats these! He requests them by name, “I have frugalpants cucs, Mom?” Note: We call Sarah by MrFrugalpants…5 stars

      • LOL, thanks for taking the time to leave a review and stars!

        The fact that D calls me frugalpants just made my WHOLE YEAR!!!

  3. Super easy to make and so tasty, it’s going to become a summer staple in our house5 stars

    • Awww, Heather, that would make my Nana so happy! I’m thrilled you guys liked it! Thanks for taking the time to post a review. 🙂

  4. Hey Sarah! How would this be without sugar? A touch of coconut aminos maybe? I’m missing something on my salads, would normally have gherkins or beetroot.


  5. You know those dinners made of this and that – whatever is in the refrigerator? Well, it was one of those days and I knew it wouldn’t add up to quite enough. Nana to the rescue! I started my dinner prep with this recipe and threw it in the refrigerator to chill while I finished the rest. It MAY be better with more time to marinate, but everyone in this family enjoyed it after about an hour! Cool, crisp, flavorful – a nice addition to any meal! (I seeded regular cucumbers for this.)5 stars

    • So glad to hear that A! It is one of those dishes that invites lots of substitution and personalization.

      I actually just updated the post and will be republishing it tomorrow. Good timing on your part!

  6. Oh man, this recipe makes me miss Walla Walla onions so much! There’s nothing over here that replicates that perfect sweetness. Cucumbers + onions is such a genius yet simple combination, and I love how the quick picking mellows out the bite of the onions and gives the salad tang. Perfection!5 stars

  7. Super refreshing salad and I really appreciated the recipe going easy on the sugar! As an aside, I had no idea English cucumbers were the only ones sold in plastic. Here, we just call them cucumbers!5 stars

  8. I love cucumber salad! This recipe is very similar to the one I make!! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I can smell this dish just looking at your pictures. I totally remember my parents making this as a kid and thinking it was just nasty…but I’d like to think my tastebuds are more mature nowadays! No way I’d ever get hubby to try it though :/

    • Not even a no thank you bite for the hubs?

      • Ugh, probably not. The vinegar would be too strong for him…he won’t eat vinegar/sea salt chips either. More for me I guess! Although man, I wish I’d ever be able to make this with home grown cucumbers…but mine are looking terrible this year! Some of them are yellowed/shriveled (too much water? Not enough? I don’t even know anymore) and the squirrels have been digging in my planter box too 🙁

      • I have such a terrible track record with cucumbers so I wouldn’t be of any help with diagnosing the problem. With my tomatoes, crispy leaves are lack of water, but yellow sad leaves are generally over watering or they need a nice dressing of composted chicken crap.

        Freaking squirrels!

  10. The recipe calls for cool water-at what point do I add the water? Thanks!

    • Hi Amy, yes it is noted in the first step of the recipe. I updated it on Saturday after I published the recipe (when another reader pointed that question out), so you may need to refresh your browser if the changes are showing up. Basically, you just add it with the vinegar and sugar.