This Cucumber and Onion Salad is easy to make, inexpensive, and tastes tangy and delicious. It’s a fresh side dish, that’s perfect for holiday dinners, family meals, picnics, barbecues, or a potluck.
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Old family recipe
This is one of those old family recipes that I still love to this day. It’s really easy to make and so good. It’s sort of a cross between the relish tray and a veggie side dish.
This recipe has been in my family for years; we always had it on the Thanksgiving table. It’s a great side dish to serve at the holidays because it keeps in the fridge, and it’s served cold. So, you don’t have to worry about where to heat it or how long to cook it. It’s already made, just take it out and serve it.
The story of this recipe, as I heard it, was that my aunt started making this dish when she was newly married and in collage.
They didn’t have much money (as most college students don’t have much money!), so she was always on the lookout for budget friendly recipes. This one perfectly fit that bill. Especially if you grow your own cucumbers.
Why aren’t there exact measurements?
The recipe as it was handed down to me didn’t have any real measurements, so I’ve tried to give some close approximations for measurements.
But, because everything in the recipe is based on the size and amount of the cucumbers & onions, there’s still some guestimating that needs to go on.
I suggest using one onion and one cucumber for the first time you try it. But, if you have a big family gathering, a church social, or if you really love pickle flavors, you can easily double or even triple the recipe.
I also suggest slicing the cucumber and onions on a (affiliate link) Mandoline; it’ll give you nice thinly sliced even pieces, which makes this super easy to make!
Helpful holiday tips
When I originally shared this recipe back in 2010 I shared it with some tips to help make holiday meal prep easier and less stressful. They are still some really good tips, so I decided to include them in the post today as well.
Sometimes the holidays can be overwhelming, and I expect that this year will be even more so for many people.
My first tip is to make as much ahead of time as possible. This salad is a perfect example. It’s all made and ready to go in the fridge. Other great cold salads that can be made ahead are Mexican Corn Salad and Cranberry Pecan Broccoli Salad. How awesome that you can pull it out of the fridge and serve it without doing anything last second!
Pies and many desserts can be made ahead. Like the BEST pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie.
Side dishes can be made before hand and reheated, like my Baked Barley with Wild Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions dish.
You don’t have to make everything you serve. There’s nothing wrong with a store-bought veggie tray, just make a fresh dip like my skinny ranch or Candied jalapeno ranch dip, as the dips that come with the tray are often tasteless.
Or, make a nice plate of crackers and hummus with some fruits and veggies- all store-bought and minimal work.
Start with a store-bought item and add to it- like a box of stuffing with added fruits, veggies, and store-bought broth. Give my Holiday stuffing a try to see what I mean.
Make a plan
Make a menu and plan out how long each item will take. I always write down when the dish needs to be started or needs to be popped in the oven. That way I don’t have to think about it on the day of the holiday.
What about peeling potatoes?
Ok, this one is my personal belief about mashed potatoes, but, why do people spend so much time peeling potatoes for mashed potatoes when they are so much easier, healthier, and (in my opinion) tastier with the peels on?
Don’t go experimenting too much
And, my final tip of the day, this is not the time to try a bunch of new dishes. I usually try one new thing and the rest are all my go-to dishes.
How to make this dish
I thought some pictures might help. Slice everything up before you start working. Then, layer them in a deep bowl and salt each layer well.
Once everything is layered, simply start marinating them.
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Cucumber and Onion Salad Recipe
Cucumber and Onion Salad
- 1 white onion sliced very thin
- 1 cucumber sliced very thin
- white vinegar
- light vegetable oil like light olive oil, grapeseed oil, or safflower
- ½ cup sour cream or more to taste, optional
- Place sliced onions and sliced cucumbers in layers alternately, salting each layer well. Cover with cold water and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Remove the bowl of cucumbers and onions from the fridge, and place the cukes and onions in a colander; rinse with cold water running tap water. Drain well.
- Marinate the cucumbers and onions again in equal parts (to cover) water, vinegar, and oil. I like to start with ½ cup of each of the water, vinegar, and oil , and see how much more I need. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate 1 hour.
- Remove from the fridge, and rinse well again under cold running tap water. Drain well. Add ½ cup sour cream, and mix well. Check to see if you’d like more sour cream for a creamier salad. Place salad back in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve cold.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
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