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Easy German Cucumber Salad Recipe

Easy German Cucumber Salad Recipe

We love to eat homemade cucumber salads.

Cucumbers are refreshing, cheap, and easy to turn into a delectable salad.

When I’m looking for a comfort food that is tasty but also refreshing, I’d often eat a simple cucumber sandwich.

We serve cucumbers on the side of almost every meal.

Sometimes, we just slice them up and eat them raw; sometimes we do something a bit more fancy such as this German cucumber salad recipe and sometimes we mix up some vinegar and spices to make our own pickles.

The only bad part about this classic cucumber salad recipe is that for it to taste best, you need to allow it time to chill in the fridge.

I got so excited and always want to hurry up and eat it.

I really should learn to cook when I’m not so darn hungry.

But…maybe it’s the aromas that make me hungry no matter what!

Ingredients for German cucumber salad

  • Cucumbers. We prefer to buy and cook with English cucumbers, but this recipe will be delicious with classic cucumbers as well. You don’t need to peel the cucumbers for this recipe. 
  • Red onion. Now, I should warn you upfront that using purple onions in this recipe is a deviation from the traditional salad recipe. This is me adding my southern flair to the recipe. If you’d like to use white onion, feel free to do so.
  • Sour cream. This is an important ingredient to this recipe. It adds that kick that you’ve always been curious about when eating German salads over the years. When you combine sour cream with white vinegar you get an unexpected flavor profile. Note: If you are out of sour cream, we have sour cream substitution ideas for you. 
  • Chives. Fresh chives are always welcome but can be hard to find. This is why we recommend keeping a container of dried chives on hand for recipes such as these.
  • Dried dill. I think that dried dill is best for this recipe. I’d rarely choose dried dill over the fresh variety, but this is that moment. Now, feel free to test me on this and throw in a fresh dill. You won’t regret it, but for us, dried dill adds a particular texture to this recipe that is quite welcome. 
  • Garlic salt. Be careful not to overdo it with the garlic salt here. Also, be a bit cautious when measuring this one out. Rarely is there such a thing as too much garlic but when it comes to garlic salt; you can make a dish better or you can ruin it quickly. Remember that you can always add more seasoning to this cucumber salad but you can’t remove it once it’s there.
  • White vinegar. If you find yourself out of white vinegar, you can substitute apple cider vinegar in this recipe.
  • Paprika. Admittedly this ingredient feels out of place in this recipe, but surprisingly it isn’t. It really adds more than you may first think. It adds a tiny bit of sweetness with a flair that’s undeniable. Stay away from smoked paprika here, though. For sure, only use plain paprika.
  • Dried parsley. This could be considered an optional ingredient, but it’s a traditional ingredient and it really is worth adding to the recipe. While you don’t have to have it, I strongly recommend that you use it.
  • Sugar. We admittedly go heavy on the sugar here but it is worth it in the flavor. You can leave the sugar out or reduce the amount used to suit your taste.

Tips on making homemade German cucumber salad

  • The cucumbers need to be sliced extremely thin. Instead of using a knife to slice the cucumbers, you may want to consider a mandoline slicer or a cheese grater.
  • After you slice the cucumbers, lay them out on a paper towel or a kitchen towel for a bit and allow them to drain some moisture. I recommend allowing them to dry out on a towel for about 2 hours.
  • We suggest that you allow this cucumber salad to chill in the refrigerator for about 6 hours prior to serving. Also, stir every couple of hours to make sure that the flavors are fully mixed in.
  • This salad is rather loose, by design. So keep that in mind when serving it. I prefer to serve it in a small bowl instead of directly on the plate.

How to make German cucumber salad

This is an overview of how to make this cucumber salad recipe. Below you’ll find detailed instructions with measurements.

Step 1: Wash and dry the cucumbers. Then slice them as thinly as you possibly can. I like to think of these as shaved cucumbers slices. We recommend using a mandoline so that your cuts are even and thin. If you don’t have a mandoline, then consider using a cheese slicer.

Step 2: Drain the cucumbers. Lay the cucumber slices out on paper towels and pat them dry. Then leave them covered out on the counter for 2 hours. The goal is to remove as much moisture from them as possible.

Step 3: Thinly slice the onion. Wrap the onion slices in a paper towel and allow them to drain while the cucumber slices are draining.

Step 4: Prep the dressing. Mix the sour cream, the herbs and spices, sugar and vinegar in a large bowl.

German cucumber salad recipe

German cucumber salad recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes

German cucumber salad is a delightful salad made with cucumber, sour cream, vinegar, and spices. It is ridiculously easy to make and cheap as well. Also, this cucumber salad recipe is easy to scale so that you can feed just a few or serve it at a family reunion.


  • 2 cucumbers
  • ¼ red onion
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T white sugar
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 1 t paprika
  • 2 t dried dill
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • 2 t dried chives
  • ½ t garlic salt


  1. Thinly slice the cucumbers. Lay the cucumber slices out on paper towels and allow them to drain for 2 hours. 
  2. Thinly slice the onion and lay them on a paper towel. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix sour cream, herbs, sugar, vinegar, and spices. 
  4. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge until the cucumbers and onions have had time to drain. 
  5. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and fold in the cucumber slices and the onion slices. 
  6. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 6 hours. (Remove the bowl from the fridge and stir the salad every couple of hours.)
  7. Serve cold!
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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The bottom line

German cucumber salad is an easy recipe to make.

It is light and refreshing any time of year.

It also pairs well with all types of dishes.

We love to eat it with braised chicken or prime rib.

Just remember to cut the cucumbers thin and you will be all set.

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