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Nana’s 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.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Cucumber Salad

  • It’s so fast to make! Like 5 minutes total of hands-on time.
  • You can keep it in the fridge for days and days. Total make-ahead/meal prep game changer.
  • It can be safely served at room temperature, which makes it the best dish for BBQs and potlucks.
  • Cucumber salad is super affordable! 

Do you love make-ahead salads? Sure you do! You have to check out 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 fought with the “dillness” of this recipe.

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.
  • 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.

Variations

  • 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. Leave out the water.
  • To make this a cucumber tomato 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 Vegetable Side Dishes

WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

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 easy cucumber salad.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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 container that has a lid. 
  • 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.

Notes

Unpeeled cucumbers become tough. If you peel the cucumbers all the way, they get mushy. If using regular cucumbers peel a few strips off (will give a bitchin' striped effect) and it is perfect texture compromise.
 
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 “Nana’s Cucumber and Onion Salad”

  1. My mom made this but also put in tomatoes. Where there are cucumbers growing, there will probably be tomatoes so throw some in. Oooo, just writing this is making my mouth water. 😋

    • I have a thing where tomatoes do not belong in the fridge (it makes them mushy and mealy) so I would 100% get on board with the tomatoes if they were added in the last minute. I agree with you though, tomatoes and cucumbers just go hand and hand!

  2. This is my husband’s absolute fav summer food. We also cut the sugar WAY down and the heat WAY up which makes everyone happy. 

    If I could leave a picture of my newly cleaned and organized pantry it counts as pantry porn. I am so happy (and probably a little high from the bleach and ammonia) at how pretty it is…for now. 

  3. I need to try cucumbers and onions again.  As a kid, the vinegar made me gag.  I really liked the recipe my mom made that included a creamy, delicious sauce that went over the cucumber and onions.  I’m thinking it’s time to give the good old vinegar infused cucs a try again!  

  4. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. It was the perfect way to use cucumbers we’d been given. I made it when my parents came to visit and everyone loved it. I’m taking it to a barbecue tomorrow. I’ve been sharing your page with everyone, I love it so much. I have seen similar recipes online that use a LOT more sugar, but this is perfect and refreshing.

  5. You triggered my memory. My grandmother and mother both made cucumber salad almost exactly the same way, only they served it with a bowl of sour cream on the side. It is one of the most refreshing side dishes for the summer. Going to make it now…..

  6. our family always did what I think is called ‘german cucumber salad’ and the quick version is basically vinegar and mayo …I’ll have to try this one! 🙂

  7. This is a lot like Japanese Sunomono. We make it all the time in my family, but it’s biggest at New Years which is huge for Japanese peeps. We sometimes will add octopus, clams or shrimp, but it’s usually just the cucumbers and rice noodles. It’s my favorite thing in the world and yes, it reminds me of my Ba-chan.

  8. My Louis Dean LOVES cucumbers so I am buying the ingredients on my way home from Quadville today and making it as soon I get there! PLUS I am going back to PIN IT! I am new to doing that so I hope my friends will be impressed!

  9. I totally agree with half peeling cucumbers. It seems to be the perfect balance and it looks pretty too!

  10. My auntie and your Nana sound similar… she made a version of this salad. I have changed up her recipe as well. The original called for TWO cups of sugar. I use about a 1/4-1/2 and prefer rice vinegar to white. We treat her chocolate covered peanut butter balls like your Nana’s roca…. Wow I miss that lady. Thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂