Vinegar Marinated Cucumbers are a light, refreshing, summertime side dish. Add regular or cherry tomatoes to make it an even more colorful cucumber salad.
Looking for more summer side dish ideas? Check out some of our favorite BBQ side dishes including our Chopped Broccoli Salad and our refreshing Watermelon Feta Salad.
Vinegar Marinated Cucumbers (Cucumber Salad)
Cucumber Salad is a healthy and vibrant summer side dish. Who would’ve guessed that cucumbers in vinegar could be so good? Our mom often made these vinegar marinated cucumbers with cucumbers from our garden. It was the most frequent side dish for our summer evening dinners. The sliced cucumbers and red onions soak up the sweet and tangy vinegar dressing. It tastes so fresh and delicious. This a great, light side dish for barbecues, picnics, or potlucks. You can serve immediately or store in the fridge to eat as a snack or to complement a quick lunch.
You can use any variety of slicing cucumber for this salad, and it will taste great. Cucumbers fresh from the garden are always a first choice, no matter what the variety. However, English cucumbers, Persian cucumbers, or the regular grocery store variety cucumbers are also delicious. If purchasing cucumbers, choose cucumbers that are firm, without any blemishes or soft spots.
The Best Dressing for Cucumber Salad
It is hard to beat cucumbers in vinegar with a little sugar, which is the basis of the dressing in this recipe. The vinegar enhances the natural flavor in the cucumbers, and every crunchy bite is refreshing. The flavor of vinegar used in the dressing is a matter of preference. Apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, and white vinegar all give their own unique flavor to the dressing.
There are also creamy cucumber salads that use a sour cream and mayonnaise base dressing. Again, it’s a matter of preference. This adds calories to the salad, and makes a heavier dressing that can dominate the fresh cucumber taste. With the vinegar based dressing, this cucumber salad is only 66 calories per serving.
Is Cucumber Salad Keto Friendly?
Leave the sugar out or replace the sugar with a monk fruit sweetener (or your favorite keto sweetener) to make this cucumber salad keto-friendly! Even if you decide to add mayonnaise, it will still be ok to eat on the keto diet. It is also gluten-free!
Tips for Making Cucumber Salad
- Turn the vinegar marinated cucumbers into a colorful summertime salad by adding cherry tomatoes or sliced tomatoes, some red onions and a splash of olive oil.
- You could also add green bell pepper, red or yellow peppers, slices of squash, or fresh herbs to the mix. Fresh basil or fresh dill add a burst of flavor. There is no wrong way to dress up this salad.
- Any kind of onion will work for this cucumber salad recipe. I like red or purple onion for the color, but any onion you have on hand is great.
- You can make this recipe right before serving or ahead of time to let the cucumbers have longer to marinate. To do this, divide the cucumbers into a couple of quart jars and pour the vinegar mixture over the top instead of putting in Ziploc bags (as directed in the recipe card below). This makes it easier for snacking right out of the jar.
- You can store these vinegar marinated cucumbers in your fridge in a jar or air-tight container for up to 3 days. Any longer than that and the cucumbers will lose their “crisp-ness” and become limp. There is also a slight risk for microbes forming after 3 days, but I know some people keep them in their fridge and continue to eat them for up to a week without any issues.
Apple cider vinegar has a nice crispness to it that isn’t too strong. It is perfect for cucumber salad. For a brighter flavor you can use red wine vinegar. You can also use plain white vinegar or rice vinegar.
At least 20 minutes and up to 3 days.
If the skin of the cucumber is light and thin, you can totally leave it on. Just remember to wash it first. If the peels are thick and tough, it is best to peel them.
More Fresh Side Dishes
- 5-Minute Caprese Salad – This easy Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes is only 3 easy ingredients and can be made in 5 minutes (or less). A bright and fresh side dish that is perfect for summer!
- Asian Cucumber Salad: Another fresh, cucumber salad with an Asian twist! A great, low-calorie side dish.
- Light Greek Pasta Salad: Light Greek Pasta Salad a fresh, flavorful pasta salad that is perfect for lunch, dinner, potlucks, or BBQs! Great as a main dish OR a side dish!
- Wedge Salad – This crisp Wedge Salad is a simple, yet classic, recipe we love. With only a few ingredients, it is easy to make and the presentation is lovely.
How to Make Cucumber Salad
- Peel and slice cucumbers into thin slices.
- Cut onion in half and cut into very thin slices.
- Combine onions and cucumbers in a large bowl.
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Stir until sugar dissolves.
- Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers and onions. Stir until the cucumbers are evenly coated in the dressing.*
- Refrigerate at least 20 minutes. Before serving, drain liquid and place in a serving bowl to serve.