This German Cucumber Salad was handed down from my Great-Grandmother and we make it all summer long. The method is definitely different than you might be used to, but it’s the only way I have ever made it! (And it works!) If you love cucumber, don’t miss my Buffalo Chicken Salad!


Cucumber Salad

German Cucumber Salad

Also called Gurkensalat, this version of this recipe is simple, easy, and delicious. As I mentioned, it was handed down by my 100% German Great-Grandmother! After serving it over the years I understand that there are several variations of this recipe in Germany, similar to an apple pie for Americans. Some folks add potatoes, some add carrots, some use a soured-cream and dump it all together and let the cucumbers sweat. We have always left the skins on the cucumbers for more texture and flavor, but they can also be peeled prior to slicing if you prefer. I think the flavor is great when it can be marinated for several hours before serving, but my favorite is eating it right after the heavy cream is added!

How to Make a German Cucumber Salad

What is in a Cucumber Salad?

Not only does this old-fashioned salad taste so good with a strong dish like Stuffed Buffalo Chicken or Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken, but it uses up all of those abundant cucumbers in the garden! It is cool, refreshing, and crunchy.

The method is what makes this recipe unique!

Spoonful of Cucumber Salad

How to Make German Cucumber Salad

Start by cutting the cucumber. I like to use a mandolin to make sure that every piece is the same size, but it is not necessary. (And can be therapeutic to chop by hand if you like chopping vegetables!) Then chop the onions and separate them into pieces. Add all of the cucumber and onion to a bowl and cover in 1/4 cup (nope, that is not a misprint!) salt. The salt will draw all of the liquid out of the cucumber. Let that sit about a couple of hours.  You just might be surprised with how much liquid comes out!

Drain the liquid and then rinse the cucumbers and onion in cool water. My MIL rinses them well at this stage, however, we love a saltier flavor so only lightly rinse.

I highly recommend taste testing at this point! If it is too salty now, it will be too salty when you prepare it! Rinse again if needed. Also, when you add the heavy cream it will tone down much of the saltiness.

Once the cucumbers are rinsed, add in the heavy cream, vinegar, and fresh chopped dill. Stir well.

It can be served immediately (my fav!) or refrigerated until ready to serve, up to overnight.

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4.95 from 34 votes

German Cucumber Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours
Also called Gurkensalat, this version of this recipe is simple, easy, and delicious!


  • 2-4 medium cucumbers about 8 cups cucumbers
  • 1 large white onion thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped fine


  • Slice cucumbers thin and place in a large bowl. (We use a mandoline.)
  • Slice onion and place in the bowl with the cucumber.
  • Sprinkle salt over top. Let sit for 2 hours, or until there is a large amount of liquid in the bowl, almost covering the cucumbers.
  • Drain cucumbers and onion and rinse with cold water. (Taste test here. You can always rinse again if it seems too salty.)
  • Add heavy cream, vinegar, and fresh dill and stir well.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Reader Comments

  1. This is amazing. I’m so blessed to have come across something so simple yet so tasty. Amazing. Truly outstanding recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Make this as well bot instead of heavy cream or sour cream I use 2-3 tablespoons of Miracle Whip mayonnaise.

  3. My grandmom was from Hungary and used much more vinegar, dill, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and soaked for an hour, then drained and added the sour cream. My favorite!

  4. 5 stars
    My mom was raised minonite. This salad graced our table quite often during growing season. As a child I always loved eating it. She didnt use sour cream.DELICIOUS!

  5. Hi my German Mother in law makes it without the cream, she makes it with apple cider vinegar amazingly yummy!

  6. Do you peel the cucumbers and do you use regular cucumbers rather than persian or seedless?

  7. When I let the cucumbers, onions, and salt set for 2 hours. Do I need to put that in the refrigerator or just let it set out ?

  8. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. A good family friend made this years ago for us almost every time we went to their farm. She made it using sour cream & it was delicious!

  9. I can’t have dairy so I make mine with dairy free yogurt. It is the best. Thank you Amanda for the recipes. I use them all the time.

  10. I cannot get my husband near a dill pickle or fresh dill. Is their another option for the dill?

  11. It looks like you peeled your cucumbers first before slicing? Just picked off the vine two cucumbers will use them in this recipe. Thank you.

    1. 5 stars
      I remember my Gramma made this but at the end she sprinkled a little sugar on it. Apparently, Grandpa had a sweet tooth!

  12. I am posting this question from my bed in a cardiac unit. Can I use low fat or non fat sour cream?

  13. This is a family favorite that I take to all holidays, birthdays, picnics, graduations, well you get the picture. This recipe is so easy yet all the “kids ask me to make it now that mom is older snd not able to anymore. I make it exactly as you list it. I do add a spoonful of mayo or miracle whip depending on my mood. The cucumbers still comes out good. I prefer the English cucumbers because of the consistent good taste and virtually no seeds.
    Thanks for sharing.

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