Easy Cucumber Salad

Use up the bounty of summer with this refreshing and crispy salad with cucumbers, rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh dill or basil.

Easy Cucumber Salad served in a bowl
Elise Bauer

This easy cucumber salad consists of nothing more than the cucumbers, some rice vinegar, either dill or basil, and salt and pepper.

You don't even really need the herbs! Cucumbers are crunchy and cool with just some vinegar, salt, and pepper. But added dill or chopped fresh basil will elevate this simple cucumber salad to something just a bit more interesting.

I like adding a mix of regular basil and Thai basil (the one that tastes somewhat licorice-y).

Using Garden Cucumbers With Cucumber Salad

About this time of year, we start having an easy cucumber salad almost every night with dinner. If you are a gardener, you know how prolific cucumbers are, right? They can easily grow out of control, climbing up the tomato cages and all over other plants we may have in the garden bed.

Every other day I bring in a handful, peel them and chop them up for this simple, easy cucumber salad to serve as a side.

To Seed or Not to Seed Cucumbers

With cucumbers you can either seed them or not. Some varieties have thicker seeds that can be a little harder to digest or a bit bitter if the cucumber is on the mature side.

There is a lot of flavor right around the seed, so if the cucumber's seeds are still small and tender, you can easily leave them in.

Cucumber dill salad
Elise Bauer

To Peel or Not to Peel Cucumbers

Should you peel your cucumbers for cucumber salad? Again, it depends on the variety and maturity of the cucumber. English or Persian cucumbers have thin skins which you do not need to peel.

Regular market cucumbers may have thicker peels that can be tough and bitter, so it's best to peel those.

How to Determine the Bitterness of a Cucumber

Cucumbers can vary in their level of bitterness. Usually the older they are, the more bitter they are—and the seeds are often more bitter than the flesh. Once you cut into a cucumber, taste it.

If bitter, scrape or cut away the seeds. You might also want to soak the chopped cucumber in salt water to help offset the bitterness. The cucumbers we get are usually fine as is, but I have had some bitter ones.

Make-Ahead and Chill

This salad is great to make and eat immediately, or you can assemble it ahead of time and chill it in the fridge. Note that if you let the cucumber salad sit longer than an hour or two, chilled or room temperature, the cucumbers will start to lose their crispiness.

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Watch This Easy Cucumber Salad Recipe

What to Serve With Cucumber Salad

This simple salad is a perfect side to just about any summer meal. Try it with grilled chicken or salmon, in particular. This salad also travels well so it makes a good choice for a picnic.

Suggestions & Substitutions

So many of you have made this salad over the years and sent us notes about how you changed or added to the recipe. Here are a few favorites!

  • Top with toasted sesame seeds
  • Add thinly sliced red onions, sweet onions, or scallions
  • Toss with feta cheese
  • Add chopped summer tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • For a creamy version, add a few spoonfuls of mayo or sour cream, or even a splash of heavy cream
  • Add a few pinches of sugar if needed

Stay Cool as a Cucumber With These 5 Salads

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Easy Cucumber Salad

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 2 to 4 servings

Cucumbers can vary in their level of bitterness. Usually the older they are, the more bitter they are—and the seeds are often more bitter than the flesh. Once you cut into a cucumber, taste it. Scrape away any bitter seeds or soak the chopped cucumber in salt water to help offset the bitterness.

We almost always peel thick-skinned cucumbers, but there are some varieties with thin, mild peels that you don't need to peel. Taste first if there is a question.

To chop the basil, chiffonade it by stacking the leaves on top of each other, rolling them up like a cigar, and taking thin slices from one end to the other.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 large cucumbers (or 4 to 5 smaller cucumbers), peeled (if using thick-skinned cucumbers), quartered lengthwise, then sliced crosswise

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, basil, or Thai basil (see Recipe Note)

  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Make the salad:

    Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat.

  2. Serve the salad:

    You can serve this immediately, or make ahead (up to a couple of hours) and chill.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
24 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 24
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 77mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 4mg 21%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 211mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.