Austrian and German Recipes/ Salad

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat)

1 May 2022 | Last Updated: 8 May 2022 By Aleksandra

German cucumber salad is made with cucumbers, onions, and dill, coated in a tangy sweet and sour dressing. It goes well with so many dishes. It’s crunchy, refreshing, and flavorful. A creamy version of this salad is also very popular – all you need to do is to add sour cream to this recipe.

German cucumber salad in a white plate.

Ingredients

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to prepare the recipe. For the measurements and detailed instructions scroll down to the printable recipe card.

Here’s what you need to make this delicious salad:

Labeled ingredients for German cucumber salad.
  • Cucumbers – the best are seedless English cucumbers, also called hothouse cucumbers or Persian cucumbers for the best flavor and texture. Avoid standard grocery store cucumbers if possible – they can be seedy and watery. If you’re using regular cucumbers, peel them and cut in half lengthwise. Remove most of the seeds with a teaspoon and slice.
  • Dill – fresh is best, if you don’t have it, use frozen chopped dill.
  • White wine vinegar – adds a characteristic sharp flavor to the dressing, vinegar is very traditional in German cucumber salad.
  • Neutral-tasting vegetable oil such as canola oil or sunflower oil (not olive oil).
  • Sugar – it’s necessary – it balances the sourness from the vinegar. If you don’t use it, the salad would be too sour. If you don’t want to use sugar, you could add lemon juice which is less sour and sour cream, then you can omit the sugar (see this recipe for Polish cucumber salad which is very similar).
  • Red onion – you can also use white onion but I prefer red because it adds a pop of color.

To make this cucumber salad creamy, add a couple of tablespoons of sour cream to this recipe.

You can omit onion if you don’t like raw onions. Some people also add minced garlic to this salad.

How to make German cucumber salad step by step

A collage of 5 photos showing how to make German cucumber salad step by step.

STEP 1: Peel the cucumbers and slice them thinly. Toss them with 1 teaspoon of salt and let stand for 20-30 minutes.

You can leave the peel on the cucumbers, I peel them because I personally don’t like cucumber peel.

You could slice the cucumbers on a mandoline for evenly-sized cucumbers.

You can slice them as thick as you like. I prefer them slightly thicker but you can also slice them really thinly.

STEP 2: While the cucumbers are sitting, in a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, and sugar until well combined and the sugar is mostly dissolved.

STEP 3: Add finely chopped onion to the dressing.

STEP 4: When the cucumbers are done, drain the water and squeeze out excess liquid.

STEP 5: Add the cucumbers to the dressing along with chopped dill and toss until evenly coated.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

German cucumber salad in a white plate with a blue fork on the side.

Storage

You can store this cucumber salad for up to 24 hours in the fridge. It will still taste great but the red onion will be a little bit discolored so if you plan to make it ahead it’s better to use white onion.

It can be stored in the fridge if you really drained the cucumbers well. If you have not done that the salad will be watery. You can just drain the excess liquid and add some more dressing.

It tastes good cold and at room temperature.

Serving suggestions

It goes well with hearty, rich, meat mains.

Recipe FAQ’s

What is a traditional German cucumber salad?

Traditional German cucumber salad is based on a vinegar-oil dressing. It’s crunchy and tastes sharp. It comes in two versions – a non-creamy version like the recipe below (popular especially in the South of Germany) and a version with sour cream (it’s the same recipe, just the sour cream is added to the dressing).
This recipe is called German cucumber salad, but this same type of salad is also very popular in Austria.

Why is my cucumber salad watery?

You need to let cucumbers sit with salt. Cucumbers contain 80-90% water. The salt draws out the water. The longer you let the cucumbers sit with salt, the more water it will extract. Make sure to squeeze out the excess liquid from the cucumbers.

German cucumber salad on a beige plate with potato salad, Wiener Schnitzel and red currant preserves.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

German Cucumber Salad

German cucumber salad is made with cucumbers, onions, and dill, coated in a tangy sweet and sour dressing. It goes well with so many dishes. It’s crunchy, refreshing, and flavorful. A creamy version of this salad is also very popular – all you need to do is to add sour cream to this recipe.
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German cucumber salad in a white bowl with a fork on the side.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
resting time to extract excess water 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 65kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Peel the cucumbers and slice them thinly. Toss them with 1 teaspoon of salt and let stand for 20-30 minutes.
  • While the cucumbers are sitting, in a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, and sugar until well combined and the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  • Add finely chopped onion to the dressing.
  • When the cucumbers are done drain the water and squeeze out excess liquid.
  • Add the cucumbers to the dressing along with chopped dill and toss until evenly coated.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • To make this cucumber salad creamy, add a couple of tablespoons of sour cream to this recipe. You can store this cucumber salad for up to 24 hours in the fridge. It will still taste great but the red onion will be a little bit discolored so if you plan to make it ahead it’s better to use white onion. You can either chop it or thinly slice it.
  • You can leave the peel on the cucumbers, I peel them because I personally don’t like cucumber peel.
  • You can slice cucumbers as thick as you like. I prefer them slightly thicker but you can also slice them really thinly.
  • You can omit onion if you don’t like raw onions. Some people also add minced garlic to this salad.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/6 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine austrian, German
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
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