Creamy cucumber salad is a refreshing summer staple with crisp cucumbers, crunchy red onions, fresh dill and a light sour cream dressing. This classic cucumber recipe is made with ingredients you likely have on hand and is a light and delicious side dish for summer grilling, barbecues, picnics, or potlucks.
You’ve likely come across this family favorite side dish before – either from your grandma or at a summertime gathering or potluck. This chilled, old-fashioned creamy cucumber salad pairs well with almost everything and is the perfect antidote to warm summer days. It’s creamy but light with an addictive crunch factor from fresh cucumbers and red onions mixed with a tangy sour cream dressing.
This refreshingly simple salad is ready to serve in 10 minutes with many ways to customize it to your tastes. Add more fresh herbs like parsley, chives, basil, or mint, or toss in a few more veggies like grape tomatoes, avocadoes, or radishes. Make it lighter with Greek yogurt or add some bright flavor notes with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Pair it with summertime favorites and your grilled masterpieces or with other main dishes that can benefit from a pleasing but simple palate cleanser. If you’re looking for more fresh salads, I think you’ll like this chicken salad, Italian pasta salad, creamy potato salad, or tuna pasta salad.
Ingredients in Creamy Cucumber Salad
CREAMY CUCUMBER SALAD RECIPE TIPS
- Cucumbers – I used English cucumbers because they are sweeter and seedless. I peeled the cucumbers in this recipe but you can keep the skin on. Either way will work – you’ll just get a little more crunch leaving the skin on. I also sliced my cucumbers thin but slice them thick if you prefer them that way.
English cucumbers are also known as European, hothouse, or seedless cucumbers. They are long and thin and you’ll often find them shrink-wrapped at grocery stores.
- Red onion – Red onions add a little color and crunch to the salad. Slice them really thin so they don’t end up overpowering the cucumber which is the star of the show! The recipe uses red onions but sweet onions will also work.
- Sour cream and mayonnaise – The base of the dressing is a creamy mix of sour cream and mayonnaise. Feel free to adjust the portions or switch to just using one or the other. You can also substitute either with some Greek yogurt for a healthier option.
- Vinegar – Vinegar adds a little brightness to the dressing and balances out the other flavors. You can also use lemon juice for a fresher option.
- Sugar – Sugar is optional but I like using it to balance out the tang of sour cream and mayonnaise. Skip the sugar if you don’t like a sweet creamy dressing or adjust the amount to your liking.
- Dill – I like using fresh dill whenever a recipe calls for it. It’s one of those herbs where the dried version does not compare – just like fresh basil! You can substitute it with dried dill, it just won’t taste as great and you will need to use more.
How are Leftovers?
Like most salads, creamy cucumber salad is best enjoyed fresh. Cucumbers have high water content and the salt in the dressing will eventually draw out moisture from them. This will make the salad watery if left to sit for too long. I would recommend scaling down the recipe so you can mix the cucumbers and the dressing just before serving. If you don’t mind the excess water in the salad, drain it off before mixing up the salad to get it creamy again. You can also add more sour cream to thicken up the salad again.
- Add more flavor – Add a little garlic powder or fresh minced garlic to the dressing for more flavor.
- Substitute sour cream – Lighten it up with some Greek yogurt.
- Substitute dill – Substitute dill with parsley, chives, basil, or mint.
- Substitute vinegar – Try a squeeze of lemon juice to add some bright flavors to the dressing.
- Add more crunch – Leave the skins on the cucumbers for more crunch and texture.
- Add some heat – Add a dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne for some low-key spice.
- Add more veggies – Add grape tomatoes, avocado, or radishes to bulk up the salad.
And that’s about it. Let me know how you liked it, what substitutions you made, or what you paired it with in the comments below.