German Cucumber Salad is a refreshing summer salad made with simple ingredients that are a staple in most kitchens! This recipe is easy to make, budget-friendly, and perfect for a potluck, family dinner, or summer cookout.
German Cucumber Salad is light, refreshing, and so easy to make! A perfect salad to bring to a party or potluck. My family especially loves this salad in the summer months because it is so light and tastes super fresh. This recipe is similar to how my German Grandmothers make their cucumber salad. I say similar because none of them can ever tell how much of each ingredient they use. But it tastes like Oma made it!
Cucumber Salad is called Gurkensalat in German and is made with sour cream, vinegar, and fresh dill. Like most German salads, this one tastes best after it has chilled for a few hours in the fridge. You can make it up to one day in advance! Perfect for a big party or barbecue.
This easy salad tastes great with fish or meat. In Germany, cucumber salad is often served with Schnitzel.
Julia’s Tips and Tricks for making this German Cucumber Salad Recipe
- This salad needs to rest in the fridge for 4 hours or longer to fully develop its flavor. It tastes great when you just made it but it tastes even better after a few hours. The dressing will get a bit watery but that’s totally normal. If you want you can season the sliced cucumbers with salt before adding the dressing and squeeze out the moisture after a few minutes then toss them with the dressing.
- The secret to a perfect German Cucumber Salad is to slice the cucumbers super thin! The thinner the better! The slices should be almost translucent. The mandoline slicer I use and love is linked below.
- You can add thinly sliced onion or a minced clove of garlic to this salad. I grew up without garlic or onions in my sour cream cucumber salad because garlic is not really common in the German cuisine and I’m not a big fan of raw onions.
- English cucumbers work best for this recipe. They often are wrapped in plastic and are unwaxed. You don’t need to peel these cucumbers. But you can also use regular cucumbers.
- There are two versions of cucumber salad in Germany. This sour cream cucumber salad and a vinegar and oil version. To make a vinegar and oil dressing for the cucumber salad use 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/4 cup white vinegar instead of the sour cream and vinegar the recipe below calls for. The other ingredients are the same.
Looking for more summer sides & salads?
- Authentic German Potato Salad
- Roasted Corn Zucchini Salad
- Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
- Balsamic Chickpea Feta Greek Salad
- Bavarian Wurst Salad with Cheese
Tools used in the making of this German Cucumber Salad
Mandoline Slicer: This slicer is the BEST! It’s super sharp, made in Germany, and you can slice different thicknesses, julienne, and shred. Perfect for super thin cucumber slices, coleslaw, and making homemade fries! I bought this for my husband’s birthday last year and he loves it.
Cut Resistant Gloves: Better also get a pair of these with the slicer! Trust me this thing is extremely sharp. Luckily we haven’t had any accidents since we bought these but I wish we had these a few years ago when my husband tried to make coleslaw.
Vinegar: I like to use this German seasoned vinegar for salads but you can also use distilled white vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. But do NOT use balsamic vinegar!
German Cucumber Salad Recipe
- 2 English cucumbers, or 4 medium cucumbers
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp dill, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste
- Peel the cucumbers if desired and thinly slice them with a mandoline slicer. The thinner the better! Put them in a large salad bowl.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and dill. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour dressing over cucumber slices and toss until combined. Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Serve with a slotted spoon.