This simple marinated cucumber vinegar salad with dill is fresh, crunchy, sweet, tangy, and versatile! With just 10 minutes of prep and some marinating time, this healthy cucumber dill salad is ready to serve at potlucks, BBQs, dinner parties, and more!
Simple, Fresh, and Flavorful Marinated Cucumber Salad
Whether you’ve grown up enjoying some version of cucumber salad or they are new to you, this marinated cucumber vinegar salad embodies everything summer. It’s healthy, vibrant, fresh, and a perfect combination of sweet, salty, and tangy. And all with just a handful of inexpensive pantry staples and some cucumbers!
Unlike most salads that we chuck chopped cucumber into, this one has a delicious twist. This cucumber dill salad marinates cucumbers in a vinegar sugar mixture for a healthy, low calorie, yet vibrant and flavorful summery side dish.
Minimal effort (no peeling or de-seeding!), quick to prepare, flavorful, and low budget—what’s not to love? Simply slice and sweat the cucumbers, prepare the marinade, combine the two, and marinate to perfection! Cut the prep time further by using a mandoline or food processor disk for the slicing.
It’s also fairly versatile, whether you want a creamy cucumber salad recipe, spicy cucumber salad, a cucumber radish salad, cucumber onion salad, or more! Keep reading for our top recommendations. Once assembled, the longer the marinated cucumber salad sits, the better it tastes. Enjoy it at BBQs/ cookouts, potlucks, dinners, picnics, and more.
All you need are five inexpensive ingredients (plus salt and pepper) for this easy cucumber salad.
Cucumber: Use Dill, Persian, or English cucumbers for the best results.
Vinegar: Use a combination of apple cider vinegar and white vinegar for different flavor profiles and depth to the cucumber vinegar salad.
Lemon or lime juice would work in place of the white vinegar. You could also experiment with rice vinegar or red wine vinegar in place of either vinegar.
Sugar: We used regular white sugar. Maple syrup or dandelion honey (vegan) would also work. If preferred, use a sugar replacement like erythritol or xylitol for a keto cucumber salad.
Dill: Use fresh dill to pack in tons of flavor.
Water: We’ve included water as the most budget-friendly option.
Salt & black pepper
Optional add-ins & Recipe Variations
This easy recipe can be adapted and boosted in several ways. This includes the addition of:
Onion: Old-fashioned cucumbers and onions in vinegar are a classic. Use thinly sliced half-moon pieces of red onion or white onion (which are sweeter and milder than yellow onions) from one small-medium onion.
Radish: Thinly slice small pink radishes along with the cucumbers for a delicious, peppery cucumber radish salad.
Cherry tomatoes: Tomatoes are another popular addition to any marinated cucumber salad. Simply slice them in half and enjoy.
Bell peppers: Use finely sliced bell peppers of any color (red, orange, yellow, green).
Olive oil: Add a spoonful or two of extra-virgin olive oil for a silkier mouthfeel and a more traditional Mediterranean cucumber salad.
Other herbs: Swap out the dill for chives, green onions, or parsley.
Creamy cucumber salad: Swap out some of the water with vegan Greek yogurt or vegan sour cream. You could also reduce the amount of vinegar.
Celery salt: Use celery salt instead of regular salt for added flavor depth.
Spice: Our favorite option for a spicy cucumber salad is to add red pepper flakes.
Protein: Make a heartier healthy cucumber salad with the addition of some chickpeas, white beans, or kidney beans (canned or cooked from dry).
How to Make Cucumber Salad?
There are just a handful of low-fuss steps required to prepare this cucumber vinegar salad, including:
1) First, slice the cucumbers (about ⅛th inch) using a knife, mandoline, or food processor slicing disk. The latter two will create perfectly even slices.
2) Then, place the cucumber slices in a colander, sprinkling salt over every layer and tossing to combine. Leave the cucumbers to ‘sweat’ and drain in the sink for an hour.
3) Meanwhile, heat the water, vinegars, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then remove the vinegar mixture from the heat. Set aside to cool.
For a crisper salad, combine the vinegar and sugar only, and then add ice cubes to the salad while it marinates. This helps it chill faster, marinate quicker, and keeps the cucumbers crisp.
4) Rinse the cucumbers to remove excess salt, and then pat dry with paper towels. Then, transfer the cucumber to a large bowl/container, pour over the vinegar marinade, mix, and allow it to marinate in the fridge for at least two hours.
5) Before serving, sprinkle the cucumber vinegar salad with fresh dill and salt and pepper to taste.
How to Make Ahead and Store?
This salad requires two hours of marinating time, so factor that in when you plan to serve it. Otherwise, this marinated cucumber dill salad doesn’t store particularly well before becoming soggy. We recommend eating it within 1-2 days, though it should be okay for 4-5 days.
Before serving, add some extra cucumber slices to add extra ‘freshness’ back to the dish.
We don’t recommend freezing the marinated cucumbers, either, as cucumbers don’t freeze well. You can, however, prepare the vinegar marinade up to a week in advance and store it in the fridge.
Do I need to peel the cucumbers?
I like to keep the cucumber peel as it adds extra crunch. However, peel the cucumbers if preferred.
What are the best cucumbers for cucumber salad?
It’s best to use either English or Persian cucumbers. These contain fewer seeds, and both have a thin peel, so they don’t require de-seeding or peeling. Depending on where you live, there are small Asian cucumbers that work very well, too.
Why is the cucumber salad watery?
There are several reasons this could be. First, if you haven’t allowed the cucumber to sweat (or sweat them for long enough). Second, even after sweating, the cucumbers will continue to release liquid, so it will become watery if you leave it too long.
You can also reduce or eliminate the added water in this cucumber dill salad recipe.
Do I have to use water?
We know it seems a little odd to drain the excess liquid from the cucumbers and then add separate water to the marinade. But it just works.
However, feel free to experiment with omitting the water and increasing the vinegar and sugar instead, though more tweaks may be needed. If doing so, the marinated cucumbers will only require 30 minutes of marinating time.
Top Recipe Tips and Notes
Don’t skip the sweating step: This is necessary to achieve the correct texture and avoid the cucumber vinegar salad going soggy too soon.
Adjust the sweetness: You can increase, reduce, or even eliminate the sugar entirely (though we highly recommend leaving it in).
Allow the marinade to cool: If you combine it with the cucumbers while warm, they will become soggy/limp faster.
The texture will vary: How thin you slice the cucumber and if you use peeled vs. unpeeled will change the overall texture of this marinated cucumber salad.
If your cucumber is overly seedy: Slice it in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then continue with the recipe minus the seeds.
How to Serve Cucumber Vinegar Salad?
This versatile marinated cucumber vinegar salad will pair with all sorts of meals. It’s probably easier to ask what it doesn’t go with. Here are just a few optional pairings.
Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.