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Hungarian Cucumber Salad

Here’s A Delicious Hungarian Cucumber Salad Recipe To Try Out!

If you want to make a cucumber salad that will have people nagging you for the recipe, this is it.

This authentic Hungarian cucumber salad – known as uborkasaláta – is the perfect mix of creaminess, sweetness, and tanginess, all in one bowl.

Cucumber salad is a classic Hungarian side dish for meat dishes such as chicken paprikash and a staple of Hungarian cuisine.

bowl of creamy cucumber salad on wooden board with bowls and paprika behind.
This Hungarian cucumber salad is a personal favorite!

That said, many other countries have similar versions that include different ingredients like dill, as in this German cucumber salad!

We are big fans of cucumber salad and make it regularly. This particular cucumber salad recipe was provided by a good friend of ours – it’s the way his Hungarian nagymama (grandma) used to make it.

It’s one of our absolute favorites because it’s a nice balance of sweet and creamy with just enough bite from the fresh garlic.

Ingredients

ingredients on counter to make cucumber salad seen from above with labels.
The ingredients to make this cucumber salad recipe!

To make this recipe for Hungarian cucumber salad with sour cream, here are the ingredients that you will need:

  • English cucumbers – Fresh, firm cucumbers.
  • Salt – Helps release excess moisture from the cucumbers and seasons the salad.
  • Hot banana pepper – Optional; adds a touch of heat.
  • Garlic cloves – For extra flavor.
  • Granulated sugar – To balance the acidity; adjust to taste.
  • Vinegar – White vinegar or white wine vinegar both work.
  • Sour cream – Makes the salad creamy and rich; feel free to leave it out.
  • Black pepper – To season the salad.
  • Paprika – Preferably sweet Hungarian paprika, but you can use other types of paprika. Adds color and flavor to the dish.
  • Fresh chives – Optional garnish.

Recipe Tips

Before you make this cucumber salad, read our recipe tricks so that your salad will turn out delicious:

  • You can peel the cucumbers or leave the skin on. If you leave the skin on, be sure to wash them thoroughly.
  • Slice the cucumbers thinly and evenly. This works best with a mandolin, but you can also use a box grater or sharp knife.
  • After sprinkling the cucumbers with salt, squeeze out as much water as you can. This will prevent the salad from being too watery.
  • If you like your cucumber salad with a bit of heat, add more hot banana pepper. The level of heat can vary from pepper to pepper, so taste as you go. In general, though, banana peppers are pretty mild.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of salt, sugar, and/or vinegar to your liking – especially if you decide to skip the sour cream.
  • Let the cucumber salad chill in the fridge for at least one hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
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How to Make Hungarian Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Instructions

Making Hungarian cucumber salad is pretty simple. But if you’re not feeling super comfortable and prefer visuals, we’ve included all the recipe process photos in this section so that you can follow along at home.

Alternatively, you can find the recipe card with all the relevant details, but no photos, at the end of this post!

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

First, wash the cucumbers and peel them if you like. Then use a mandolin, box grater, or sharp knife to slice them thinly and evenly.

sliced cucumbers in mixing bowl on counter covered in salt.
Add the salt.

Place the cucumbers in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix. Then place the bowl in the fridge for about 1.5 hours.

hand squeezing green juice out of cucumber slices in bowl.
Squeeze out the excess water.

Drain the excess water from the bowl and squeeze the cucumbers well with your hands to remove and drain additional liquid.

ingredients to make cucumber salad in white mixing bowl on counter.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl.

Add the chopped hot banana pepper (optional), crushed garlic, sugar, vinegar, sour cream, pepper, and paprika to the bowl with the cucumbers.

hands holding two silver spoons mixing cucumber salad in a bowl.
Taste and add more seasonings if needed.

Stir well and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

large serving bowl of cucumber salad seen from above with chives and paprika on top.
Garnish the salad with some Hungarian paprika.

Refrigerate the cucumber salad for at least one hour. You can garnish it with more paprika and chopped chives before serving.

This cucumber salad goes well with meat dishes such as authentic chicken paprikash, easy chicken paprikash, Marhapörkölt (beef stew with Nokedli, egg noodles), Hungarian goulash, or easy cabbage roll casserole if you want to create a well-rounded Hungarian meal at home!

Storage Tips

If you have leftovers, it’s important to refrigerate any uneaten cucumber salad right away (especially if you used sour cream).

Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. However, ideally, you eat the cucumber salad by the next day since it can become soggier and more watery over time.

Don’t forget to give the leftover salad a good stir before serving. You may also need to drain off some excess liquid.

FAQ

What is Hungarian cucumber salad?

Hungarian cucumber salad – known as uborkasaláta (literally “cucumber” and “salad”) is a classic side dish made with thinly sliced cucumbers, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and spices.

What goes with Hungarian cucumber salad?

This Hungarian cucumber salad pairs well with meaty, hearty Hungarian dishes such as authentic chicken paprikash or marhapörkölt (beef stew with egg noodles).

How do you slice the cucumbers thin enough for cucumber salad?

To slice cucumbers thin enough for cucumber salad, use a mandolin slicer (preferred method), the slicing side of a four-sided box grater, or a sharp chef’s knife.

How long should you let the cucumbers sit with salt before squeezing out the water?

We leave our cucumbers sit in salt for 90 minutes before squeezing out the water. If you’re pressed for time, a minimum of 15 minutes is fine, but you may not draw out enough liquid to get a creamy, non-watery cucumber salad. You can adjust the time to suit your personal preference.

What kind of vinegar should you use for cucumber salad dressing?

Regular white vinegar works well for cucumber salad dressing. It usually has an acidity of 5%. You can also use white wine vinegar if you prefer, just keep in mind that the taste may be slightly different.

Related Recipes

For more great Hungarian recipes, check out these other classic dishes that Eric grew up eating!

Hungarian Cucumber Salad

With the perfect balance of creamy and bite, this Hungarian cucumber salad recipe is absolutely delicious. Made with fresh cucumbers, garlic, sour cream, and spices – of course, paprika – this salad is so easy to make and best served chilled!
4.85 from 19 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers, peeled if preferred
  • 1 tablespoon salt, approximately
  • 1/2 small hot banana pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar, or to taste
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • a sprinkle of paprika, more for garnish
  • fresh chives, chopped (optional garnish)

Instructions

  • Wash the cucumbers and peel them if you like. Use a mandolin or a box grater to slice them thinly and evenly.
    2 English cucumbers
  • Place the cucumbers in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix. Then place the bowl in the fridge for about 1.5 hours.
    1 tablespoon salt
  • Drain the excess water from the bowl and squeeze the cucumbers well with your hands to remove and drain additional liquid.
  • Add the chopped hot banana pepper (optional), garlic, sugar, vinegar, sour cream, black pepper, and paprika. Mix everything together in the bowl and add more spices or sour cream to taste.
    1/2 small hot banana pepper, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2/3 cup sour cream, ground black pepper, a sprinkle of paprika
  • Refrigerate your cucumber salad for at least one hour. You can garnish it with more paprika and chopped chives before serving.
    fresh chives

Notes

  • You can peel the cucumbers or leave the skin on. If you leave the skin on, be sure to wash them thoroughly.
  • After sprinkling the cucumbers with salt, squeeze out as much water as you can. This will prevent the salad from being too watery.
  • If you like your cucumber salad with a bit of heat, add more hot banana pepper. The level of heat can vary from pepper to pepper, so taste as you go. In general, banana peppers are pretty mild.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of salt, sugar, and/or vinegar to your liking – especially if you decide to leave out the sour cream.
  • Let the cucumber salad chill in the fridge for at least one hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

Nutrition

Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 1760mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 472IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 68mg | 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 Hungarian
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This recipe was first published in May 2020 and updated with new photos and tips in November 2023.

4 thoughts on “Hungarian Cucumber Salad”

  1. 5 stars
    I love cucumber salads, and this one didn’t disappoint! It’s creamy, tangy, and delicious! Followed the recipe exactly except for the sugar, which I cut in half.

    Reply
  2. I make it all the time too and all my family like it. As my late mother showed me how to make it and she use too make it all so.

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    My grandma made this exact recipe for years and so have I! She was from Hungary, and she passed on 10/31/1979. She was a fabulous cook!

    Reply

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