Maybe you forgot all about Creamy Cucumber Salad, or maybe you’ve never had it at all. Either way, this German favorite is about to become your crunchiest best friend. Imagine crisp cucumber slices, lots of fresh dill, and a punchy sour cream dressing that comes together in minutes.

Creamy cucumber salad on a blue plate.

Creamy Cucumber Salad Ingredients:

  • Cucumbers. Hothouse, homegrown, whatever your favorite variety of cucumber may be.
  • Sour cream. Lighten it up with low-fat sour cream, if you like, or plain Greek yogurt.
  • Mayonnaise. Good quality mayo tastes great. Try Hellman’s or Best Foods.
  • Dill. Fresh dill is amazing in this recipe.
  • Lemon juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice makes the salad pop.
  • Garlic. Minced fresh garlic is tempered by the sour cream.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper.
    Creamy cucumber salad ingredients in various bowls.

Optional ingredients:

There aren’t really any hard and fast rules, here. People made cucumber salad with something creamy, something acidic, and something savory/herby. Therefore the ingredients, though different, all basically do the same thing to the sliced cucumbers.

  • Cider vinegar. In place of lemon juice, some cooks add a splash of vinegar.
  • Onion. Sliced red onion or sweet onion are often used.
  • Chives. If you got ‘em, add them! Same with parsley.
  • Half and half or heavy cream. Some recipes get the creaminess from actual cream, but sour cream makes a less watery salad.
  • Garlic powder. Dried garlic or onion powder
  • Ranch dressing. This creamy garlic herb salad could be compared to Ranch dressing, so it makes sense that some folks just use Ranch.

Cucumbers: to peel or not to peel?

It is completely up to you whether or not you want to peel the cukes. Are your cucumbers thick-skinned, fresh from the garden? In that case, maybe you want to remove all or most of the peel with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.

Most hothouse or Persian cucumbers have a softer outer skin that’s easy to eat; they’re less likely to need a peeling.

Another fun way to prepare cucumbers is to score their skin with a dinner fork before slicing. Take the tines of a fork and run it firmly along the length of the vegetable, so that the tines dig into the green skin. When you slice the cucumber, you’ll have slices with “striped” skin that look great.

Creamy cucumber salad on a blue plate.

Slicing and salting cucumbers:

Because this recipe is such a classic, almost everyone has a slightly different way of preparing it.

Some cooks prefer a chunky slice, while others strive for perfection and use a mandolin to make uniformly paper-thin slices. Again, it’s up to you. You can slice the cucumbers by hand with a chef’s knife, if you like.

Salting the cucumber slices helps them release their extra moisture, which helps the salad stay creamy, not watery.

Once you slice the cukes, you can layer them with some salt in a colander that is set over a bowl to catch the cucumber water. Use about ¼ teaspoon salt for each layer of cucumber slices—about 4 layers in all.

Sliced cucumbers in a silver colander being drained into a clear bowl.

Then let the salt do its work for one hour. If there’s room, pop the colander into the refrigerator to keep the cucumbers cold while they release their liquid.

How to make Creamy Cucumber Salad:

For best results, German cucumber salad with sour cream is best when assembled just before serving time, up to an hour ahead, if covered stored in the refrigerator. Otherwise, the sour cream could break down and become watery, and the cucumbers risk turning soggy and limp.

  1. First, Have you sliced and salted the cucumbers? Great! While the salted cucumbers are working, make the creamy herb dressing.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper. Then set this aside in the refrigerator until you need it.
  3. When the cucumbers are ready, gently remove them from the colander and pat the slices dry with paper towels. Discard the liquid—you don’t need it.
    Sliced cucumbers being dried on a white towel.
  4. Add the cucumbers to a large bowl and then toss them in the dressing until thoroughly coated. Garnish with a little extra dill, if you like.
  5. Cover and chill until you’re ready to serve!
Creamy cucumber salad on a blue plate.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

This Creamy Cucumber Salad is a classic German recipe, an all-around summer favorite, and an easy, tasty way to use up your cucumber bumper crop.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Salting Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 8 servings (1 cup each)
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 97

Ingredients 

  • 4 hothouse cucumbers thinly sliced (see note 1)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill minced (see note 2)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (see note 3)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

Instructions 

  • Add cucumbers to a colander set over a medium bowl, salting in layers (I do about 4 layers, ¼ teaspoon per layer). Let stand for 1 hour. Drain excess liquid and pat cucumbers dry.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine sour cream, mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper). Cover and chill while the cucumbers are draining.
  • In a large bowl, add drained cucumbers and sour cream mixture, tossing until evenly coated. Serve immediately (see notes).

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Cucumbers: If you use thick-skinned cucumbers, you may want to peel them for this salad. To remove any large seeds, cut them in half lengthwise, then scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Slice and salt as direct in the recipe.
  2. Dill: Or substitute 2 teaspoons dried dill.
  3. Lemon juice: Or substitute 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes 8 cups of cucumber salad (8 servings, 1 cup each).
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. The dressing will begin to break down and turn watery and the cucumbers will become soggy (but the salad is safe to eat for up to 4 days).
  6. Make ahead: This dressing is best assembled right before serving (30-60 minutes in advance is okay; store it covered in the refrigerator until serving time).
  7. Ranch dressing: This creamy dressing here is similar to classic Ranch, so grab a bottle if you're looking for a shortcut.
  8. More mix-ins: Stir in minced fresh parsley or chives if you have more herbs on hand.

Nutrition

Calories: 97kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 52mgPotassium: 252mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 285IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!
Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Love ,love this creamy salad, I added some dill pickles finely chopped. So refreshing thanks. Also I’m new to your blog , your taste buds are so like mine, Yeah,keep them coming.thx

  2. Made this tonight with the fresh cucumbers in my garden it’s so yummy. I did add white onion to the recipe. It was really food!5 stars

  3. Hello…excited that I just discovered your site. I’m wondering a couple of things, do you use a garlic press that you like? I haven’t yet found one that is perfect for me. Also, do you ever use jarred or tube garlic?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Sharon, I don’t use a garlic press anymore. But, back in the day when I did, I loved the OXO Good Grips Soft-Handle garlic press. It’s great! As far as jarred garlic, no, I don’t use it. It is heat-treated so it doesn’t taste the same as fresh garlic, in my opinion. However, I know a lot of people who love that convenience. So, if you want to use it, I would say use it in cooked recipes like spaghetti sauce or gravy, but not in raw recipes like salad dressing. But I cannot honestly recommend it. The tube garlic, however, is NOT heat-treated and it tastes just like fresh. I have that in my fridge all the time, and I love it. I think its great. Most of the time I just mince fresh cloves, but sometimes if I have to hold my baby or something, a squeeze from the tube is all that is happening LOL. :) If you have any other questions, please let me know! Thanks a lot! So glad you found me. -Meggan

  4. Hello! Just wondering if you have a garlic press that you prefer. I haven’t yet found the perfect one for me. Also, do you ever use jarred or tube garlic? Thanks!

  5. Can’t wait to try this. Sounds like what my grandmother used to make. She used red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice5 stars