polish/ Salad

Mizeria (Polish cucumber salad)

14 July 2021 | Last Updated: 19 July 2021 By Aleksandra

Mizeria is a Polish cucumber salad. It’s creamy, crunchy, refreshing, and so easy – you just have to toss sliced cucumbers with sour cream, onions, and season with dill and lemon juice. It’s super simple but so delicious. It makes a great side dish to any meal.

Mizeria (Polish cucumber salad) in a white bowl is being stuck on a fork.

Mizeria salad

What does mizeria mean? Many websites with recipes for mizeria salad are saying that the word ‘mizeria’ means ‘misery’. This is just partially true – it’s similar to the word ‘mizerny’ which means ‘pale and sickly-looking’, but the word ‘mizeria’ just doesn’t mean anything.

So why it’s called this way? It was supposedly eaten only by poor people in the old days and it’s made with cheap, simple ingredients. When I was a child and asked my mother why it’s called mizeria she has said it’s because the cucumbers don’t have that many nutrients in comparison to other vegetables. So, I’m not sure which version is right!

What’s important is that this salad is super delicious! It’s very popular in every region of Poland and everyone loves it.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this salad:

  • cucumbers – you can use smaller Persian cucumbers or large English / hot house cucumbers
  • red onion – it’s completely optional, some people like this salad with onions and some don’t, instead of red onion you could also add chives or thinly sliced green onions
  • lemon juice or white wine vinegar – to add some acidity to the salad, use lemon juice if you prefer a more subtle acidity and vinegar if you prefer a more pronounces acidity in your salad, I like to use lemon juice
  • sour cream – it’s absolutely best for this salad but you can swap it for thick Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, creme fraiche, or Skyr
  • dill – not optional! you can use fresh or frozen, do not use dried dill weed
  • salt and pepper
Labeled ingredients needed to make cucumber salad.

A spin on the classic recipe:

  • add some pressed garlic
  • add thinly sliced radishes
  • add tomatoes
  • you can add some mayo

How to make it step by step

A collage of 4 photos showing preparation steps of creamy cucumber salad.

STEP 1: Peel the cucumbers and cut them into slices. Toss them with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let stand for 10-15 minutes.

STEP 2: Drain the excess water, pat the cucumbers dry with paper towels.

STEP 3: Add finely chopped onion, sour cream, chopped dill, and lemon juice (or white wine vinegar).

STEP 4: Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir until combined. Add more lemon juice if necessary.

Enjoy!

Recipe notes

  • If you have young and fresh cucumbers that have thin and tender skin, you don’t have to peel them
  • if you have large watery cucumbers with large seeds you can cut out the middle part with the seeds
  • you can use a food processor or a mandoline if you have lots of cucumbers to chop up
  • you can chop your cucumbers very thin or thick – I like medium-thick slices (like on the photos) but some like it paper-thin (but please note that if you slice your cucumbers very thinly and leave them with salt, your salad won’t be very crunchy)
  • don’t omit salting the cucumbers, or they will release lots of liquid and your salad will be watery (about 95% of cucumbers is just water!)
  • you can add more sour cream if you want it extra creamy (make sure to adjust the amount of lemon juice/vinegar), I don’t like when cucumbers are ‘swimming’ in the cream, I like them lightly dressed

How to serve this salad

Mizeria is usually served with a meaty main course like:

  • kotlety mielone (ground pork patties)
  • breaded chicken cutlets (another classic Polish recipe called ‘kotlety panierowane z kurczaka’ if you won’t use the parmesan, lemon zest, and parsley)
  • kotlety schabowe (breaded pork cutlets, they are made just like the breaded chicken cutlets linked above but using pork meat)
  • pierogi
  • it goes really well with potatoes, either mashed potatoes or just boiled

Other dishes (not Polish) that would go well with it:

Storage

This salad should be served and enjoyed right away. After some time the cucumbers will release more moisture making the salad watery.

If you have some leftover salad, you can store it in the fridge for up to 1 day, then drain the excess liquid, add more sour cream, and season it once again with dill and lemon juice.

Mizeria (Polish cucumber salad) in a white bowl. Lemon slices and kitchen cloth in the background.

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!!

Mizeria (Polish cucumber salad)

Mizeria is a Polish cucumber salad. It’s creamy, crunchy, refreshing, and so easy – you just have to toss sliced cucumbers with sour cream, onions, and season with dill and lemon juice. It’s super simple but so delicious. It makes a great side dish to any meal.
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Mizeria (Polish cucumber salad) in a white bowl.
Print Recipe
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 94kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lbs cucumbers 3 small cucumbers, 250g
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red onion optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Peel the cucumbers and cut them into slices. Toss them with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
  • Drain the excess water, pat the cucumbers dry with paper towels.
  • Add finely chopped onion, sour cream, chopped dill, and lemon juice.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir until combined. Add more lemon juice if necessary.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Ingredient notes:
    • cucumbers – you can use smaller Persian cucumbers or large English / hot house cucumbers
    • red onion – it’s completely optional, some people like this salad with onions and some don’t, instead of red onion you could also add chives or thinly sliced green onions
    • lemon juice – use lemon juice if you prefer a more subtle acidity and vinegar if you prefer a more pronounces acidity in your salad sour cream – it’s best for this recipe, you can swap it for thick Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, creme fraiche, or Skyr
    • dill – you can use fresh or frozen, do not use dried dill weed
  • Recipe notes:
    • If you have young and fresh cucumbers that have thin and tender skin, you don’t have to peel them
    • if you have large watery cucumbers with large seeds you can cut out the middle part with the seeds
    • you can use a food processor or a mandoline if you have lots of cucumbers to chop up
    • you can chop your cucumbers very thin or thick – I like medium-thick slices (like on the photos) but some like it paper-thin (but please note that if you slice your cucumbers very thinly and leave them with salt, your salad won’t be very crunchy)
    • don’t omit salting the cucumbers, or they will release lots of liquid and your salad will be watery you can add more sour cream if you want it extra creamy (make sure to adjust the amount of lemon juice/vinegar)
  • Storage: This salad should be served and enjoyed right away. After some time the cucumbers will release more moisture making the salad watery. If you have some leftover salad, you can store it in the fridge for up to 1 day, then drain the excess liquid, add more sour cream, and season it once again with dill and lemon juice.
  • Calories = whole recipe. This is only an estimate!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine polish
Keyword mizeria, mizeria recipe, mizeria salad, Polish cucumber salad

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