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German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat)

This German Cucumber Salad Recipe is Always a Favorite!

Looking for a simple yet oh-so-delicious cucumber salad recipe? Our German Cucumber Salad with dill is for you!

With fresh dill and just the right amount of creaminess, this salad – known in German as Gurkensalat – is packed with flavor, but it’s not overpowering.

To be fair, there are lots of different German cucumber salads out there.

Some are made with just oil and vinegar, some have a little bit of sour cream, some use heavy cream, and some have a bit more of a “fancy dressing”.

brown bowl with green cucumber salad and silver fork taking some away.
This German cucumber salad is dill-icious!

This recipe is a classic version of a German cucumber salad that Lisa grew up eating and used to make with her dad.

It is not that different from the Hungarian cucumber salad we already have on the website.

The main difference is the use of dill and the exclusion of paprika. It’s like dill and paprika swapped jobs in these two recipes – but both are excellent in their own way.

Ingredients

ingredients to make german cucumber salad on counter in bowls with labels.
The ingredients needed to make this cucumber salad!

To make this classic Gurkensalat recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • English cucumbers – Use fresh, firm cucumbers.
  • Salt – To draw out excess water from the cucumbers and to season the salad.
  • Yellow onion – To add some extra flavor to the salad. You can also use a sweet onion if you prefer or skip it altogether.
  • Fresh dill – Adds more flavor to the salad. You can use dried dill if needed, but we recommend fresh dill.
  • Vegetable oil – You can substitute another neutral-tasting oil, such as avocado oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil.
  • White wine vinegar – Alternatively, you can also use regular white vinegar.
  • Granulated sugar – To balance out the flavor; adjust to taste.
  • Sour cream – Adds creaminess and a slight tang to the dressing. Alternatively, you can use Greek yogurt if you prefer.
  • Black pepper – To season the salad.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Before you make this version of traditional German cucumber salad, have a quick read through these tips and substitutions, so you end up with a tasty salad:

  • Use fresh, firm English cucumbers for the best taste. You can peel them if you like, but it’s not necessary (we don’t usually peel them).
  • We recommend using a mandolin to slice the cucumbers so they end up thin and even.
  • Let the cucumber slices and salt sit for at least 20 minutes to draw out some of the excess water. If you are pressed for time and plan to eat the salad right away, you could skip this step – the salad dressing will just end up slightly more watery.
  • If you don’t have fresh dill, you can use a dried salad herb mix for example.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of sour cream to taste. If you don’t like your German cucumber salad with sour cream, you can also omit it completely and adjust the amount of vinegar and sugar to taste.
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How to Make German Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Instructions

In this section, you will see just how we make our authentic German cucumber salad. We have included all the process photos below so you can visually follow along as you make the salad at home.

The recipe card with all the ingredient amounts and instructions is at the end of this post!

hand holding green cucumber slicing over bowl with mandolin slicer.
Slice the cucumbers.

First, wash and dry the cucumbers. You can peel the cucumber if you want, but it’s not necessary. We usually leave the skin on.

Next, slice the cucumbers using a mandolin slicer or box grater. Do this over a bowl to catch all the slices. Be careful with your fingers towards the end!

hand adding salt in small bowl to larger bowl of sliced cucumbers.
Sprinkle salt on top.

Now sprinkle the salt over the cucumbers and give the cucumbers a stir with a spoon to evenly distribute the salt.

Let the bowl of sliced cucumbers sit for about 20 minutes to draw out the excess water.

chopped yellow onion on wooden cutting board with knife beside.
Dice the onion.

In the meantime, peel and finely dice a small onion (or half of a larger onion as we have done here).

Feel free to adjust the amount of onion you add to taste. You can also use a sweet onion instead of a yellow onion if you prefer.

hand holding bowl of cucumber slices with smaller bowl of green juice below.
Drain the excess liquid.

After 20 minutes, gently squeeze the cucumbers with your clean hands and drain the liquid from the bowl.

The cucumbers will still have some liquid left (they are cucumbers, after all), but there should be no excess water in the bowl.

mixing bowl filled with dill, spices, sour cream, and sliced cucumbers.
Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl.

Next, add the freshly chopped dill, sour cream, vegetable oil, white wine vinegar, sugar, and black pepper. Hold off on adding more salt until you taste it later.

wooden spoon mixing cucumber salad ingredients in white mixing bowl.
Mix well.

With a large spoon, stir well to combine. Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, sugar, and/or vinegar if needed.

top view of bowl of cucumber salad on wooden board with dill around.
Enjoy this delicious cucumber salad.

You can eat the salad right away, or you can place it in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to serve.

This gives the flavors time to mingle and the salad to become chilled. It will taste quite refreshing if it has time to cool in the fridge, but it will also be a bit more watery.

You can serve the salad as an appetizer or as a side to main dishes such as Rouladen, Käsespätzle, Schnitzel and more!

Storage Tips

If you have leftover cucumber salad, you can store it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.

However, for the best taste, consume it by the next day to prevent it from becoming too watery. Before serving, give it a good stir and, if necessary, drain off any excess liquid.

FAQ

What can you serve with German cucumber salad?

German cucumber salad goes well with meat-based dishes like Rouladen, Schweinebraten, and Schnitzel and also dishes like Käsespätzle (cheese spaetzle). You can serve it as an appetizer or side dish. It can also be part of a classic mixed salad plate, with green bean salad, carrot salad, and other salads of your choice.

What can you put in German cucumber salad?

You can add different ingredients to different types of German cucumber salad. Some recipes include dill, chives, onion, and/or garlic. As for the dressing, some are just vinegar-based, while other recipes are creamy using sour cream, heavy cream, or yogurt.

Related Recipes

If you’re looking for more great German salad recipes, give these ones a try:

brown bowl with creamy cucumber salad with fork in it.

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat)

This German cucumber salad is a delicious cold side dish. With fresh dill, onion, and just the right amount of sour cream, this salad is really easy to make!
4.70 from 10 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Wash 2 English cucumbers and peel them if you prefer. Thinly slice the cucumbers using a mandolin or box grater. Add the cucumber slices to a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over the cucumbers and toss them well. Let them sit for about 20 minutes to draw out excess water.
  • While you're waiting for the cucumber slices, wash, dry, and finely chop 1/3 cup fresh dill. Discard the tough stems. Peel and finely dice 1 small yellow onion.
  • After 20 minutes, gently squeeze the cucumbers with your hands and drain the liquid from the bowl.
  • Add the dill, onion, 1/3 cup sour cream, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and black pepper to the bowl (hold off on the salt). Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, sugar and/or vinegar if needed.
  • Serve right away or place in the fridge until ready to serve to allow the salad to chill and the flavors to meld.

Notes

  • Use fresh, firm English cucumbers for the best taste. You can peel them if you like, but it’s not necessary (we don’t usually peel them). 
  • We recommend using a mandolin to slice the cucumbers so they end up thin and even.
  • Let the cucumber slices and salt sit for at least 20 minutes to draw out some of the excess water. If you are pressed for time and plan to eat the salad right away, you could skip this step – the salad dressing will just end up slightly more watery.
  • If you don’t have fresh dill, you can use a dried salad herb mix.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of sour cream to taste. If you don’t like your German cucumber salad with sour cream, you can also omit it altogether and adjust the amount of vinegar and sugar to taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 594mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine German
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This recipe was first published in September 2020 and updated with new photos and tips in November 2023.

8 thoughts on “German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat)”

  1. I don’t understand the nutrition information. How can a one gram serving contain 7 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fat, 1 gram each of fiber and protein. The macros listed as up to 37 grams. So, what is the actual serving size?

    Reply
    • Hi Marlene, sorry about that – thanks for bringing it to our attention! We moved our recipes to a new plugin a while ago and the nutrition information might not have moved over correctly – the serving size is definitely not supposed to be 1 gram in this case. In general, we try our best to provide accurate estimates (since we don’t know the exact products that people use), but it should never be seen as a replacement for professional dietary advice. /Lisa

      Reply

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