This creamy cucumber salad, also known as gurkentsalat in German, is cool, creamy and oh so refreshing for the warmer months.
Growing up, my family had a raised postage stamp garden just about every year. What they say is true – it’s really amazing just how much better home or local raised produce is than what you buy from the grocery store! It’s also pretty impressive how much produce you can get from just a few plants. Each summer I couldn’t wait for all the fresh squash, zucchini, and, my favorite, cucumbers. We often ate them sliced with dinner, on a sandwich for lunch or tossed into salads and still had enough to give away to friends and family.
Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe
Mr. Grub Geek is a bit more picky than me in what he likes to eat, but luckily he loves cucumbers too. In fact, I hadn’t even made this recipe before I met him. He was born and grew up in Germany until he was 9 or so and gurkensalat, or creamy cucumber salad, was one of his favorite side dishes. When we moved here, he immediately found this awesome German restaurant, which of course had the cucumber salad he loves. So, after trying it, I wanted to recreate it at home. After a few tries to perfect the recipe, he asks me to make this cucumber salad year round!
The creamy cucumber salad is super easy to make with simple ingredients blended together to make a deliciously fresh side dish. The hardest part is slicing the cucumbers super thin, but I made super quick and easy work of them by just using the thinnest setting on our mandoline slicer. While it does take a bit of time to sit, I find it is very important to let the cucumbers sit with the salt to create the right texture. You can also peel the cucumbers or not. I like it both ways, but the Mr. prefers them peeled. The peeled the cucumbers get a bit softer, while if you leave the peeling on, they stay a bit more crisp and the salad is traditionally on the softer side.
Equipment Faves for this Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe
I’m often asked what equipment I use in making recipes so here are my favorite pieces to make this cucumber salad quickly and easily: Mandoline that slices thinly, fine sieve, and a large plastic container for mixing and storing.
- 2 large cucumbers, such as English; you can also use 4+ pickling cucumbers
- Salt for draining, I use about 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ onion, I like to use a sweet or white onion
- ½ cup sour cream, I always use full-fat
- 2 Tablespoons white sugar, or to taste
- 2 Tablespoons white vinegar, or to taste
- 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, washed and chopped finely
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chives, washed and chopped finely
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, or 1 small clove, finely chopped (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash cucumbers and then peel if desired. Peeled cucumbers will be a bit softer while unpeeled will be a bit crisper. If using pickling cucumbers, you'll definitely want to peel as the skin is too thick.
- Very thinly slice cucumbers, about 1/16" or 1.5mm thick.
- Place cucumbers in sieve or colander and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Let sit over a bowl or clean sink at least 30 minutes so excess water can drain. If you don't do this the cucumbers won't soften as they should, and your salad can end up watery.
- In the mean time, thinly slice ½ onion (or a whole if you really like onion).
- Once cucumbers have set, lightly rinse and squeeze out any excess water, allowing to drain on a paper towel while you make the dressing.
- In a large container or bowl, mix together sour cream, sugar, vinegar, dill, chives and garlic.
- Add in cucumber and onion and toss to coat evenly.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and any extra sugar, vinegar or herbs.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator for several hours before serving, preferably overnight.
- Salad will keep in refrigerator for several days, though it will begin to get watery the longer it sits.