Easy Cucumber Onion Salad

4.72 from 82 votes

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This Easy Cucumber Onion Salad is a light, refreshing, summertime side dish, made with just six ingredients and done in 10 minutes!

Cucumber salad with marinated cucumbers in a bowl and a plate with a fork holding a bite-sized piece
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in Cucumber Onion Salad
  2. Where this Recipe Came From
  3. Types of Cucumber to use in this Salad
  4. The Best Dressing for Cucumber Salad
  5. Salad Dressing Substitutions
  6. Is Cucumber Salad Keto Friendly?
  7. Suggestions for Cucumber Onion Salad
  8. Frequently Asked Questions about Cucumber Onion Salad
  9. More Fresh Side Dishes
  10. How to Make Cucumber Onion Salad
  11. Cucumber Onion Salad Recipe

If you’re looking for a light, fresh side dish to serve at your next barbecue, picnic, or potluck, look no further than our Cucumber Onion Salad. This vinegar-marinated cucumber salad is a perfect complement to the flavors of summer, whether you’re cooking out on the grill or enjoying a picnic in the park. It’s the perfect side for grilled chicken, hot dogs, steaks, burgers, you name it!

Ingredients in Cucumber Onion Salad

This is one of those easy recipes that I always keep on hand, because it’s so easy and goes so well with everything summer. Six simple ingredients:

  • Cucumbers – I usually start with five fresh cucumbers from my garden or the grocery store. Add more or less, , depending on how many you’re serving.
  • Red onion – The color of this onion is so gorgeous in this salad. It really pops against the onion. If you prefer a more sweet onion, you can include a Vidalia onion as well.
  • Apple cider vinegar – This vinegar is so flavorful and tangy, it’s delicious in this salad. You can also substitute white vinegar, red wine vinegar, or rice vinegar.
  • Sugar – about half a cup, or more depending on your personal preference for sweetness.
  • Water – half a cup
  • Salt – one teaspoon, along with some black pepper to taste.

You can serve them as an appetizer, snack, or side dish. They’re perfect for picnics because they keep well in the fridge and can be made ahead of time.This Easy Cucumber Onion Salad is a light, refreshing, summertime side dish. Add regular or cherry tomatoes to make it an even more colorful cucumber salad.

Where this Recipe Came From

Our mom made this salad often when we were growing up, and we still make it today. It’s such a great way to bring some freshness into your meal! The sliced cucumbers and red onions soak up the sweet and tangy vinegar dressing so well. It tastes so fresh and delicious. This is definitely one of my favorite salads for summer nights. You can serve immediately or store in the fridge to eat as a snack or to complement a quick lunch.

Types of Cucumber to use in this Salad

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.

Cucumbers marinated in vinegar in a bowl with red onion slices

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.

Salad Dressing Substitutions

There are also creamy cucumber salads that use a sour cream and mayonnaise based 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.

Sliced cucumbers and red onion in cucumber salad

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!

Suggestions for Cucumber Onion 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. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • You can store these vinegar marinated cucumbers in your fridge in a jar or air-tight container for up to three 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 three days, but I know some people keep them in their fridge and continue to eat them for up to a week without any issues.
Marinated Cucumber Salad in a clear glass bowl with wooden serving spoons

Frequently Asked Questions about Cucumber Onion Salad

What vinegar is best for cucumber salad or marinated cucumbers?

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.

How long should you marinate cucumbers?

At least 20 minutes and up to 3 days.

Should I peel the cucumbers?

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

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.

How to Make Cucumber Onion Salad

Cucumbers in a bowl marinated with red onion. Wooden spoons, a sliced onion, and a plate are next to the bowl

Cucumber Onion Salad

4.72 from 82 votes
This Easy Cucumber Onion Salad is a light, refreshing, summertime side dish. Add regular or cherry tomatoes for a more colorful cucumber salad.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10 people




  • Peel and slice cucumbers into thin slices.
    Cutting Cucumbers
  • Cut onion in half and cut into very thin slices.
    Cutting Onions
  • Combine onions and cucumbers in a large bowl.
    Mixing cucumbers and onions
  • In a separate, medium-sized bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Stir until sugar dissolves. 
    Stirring together marinade ingredients
  • Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers and onions. Stir until the cucumbers are evenly coated in the dressing.*
    Pouring marinade over cucumbers
  • Refrigerate at least 20 minutes. Before serving, drain liquid and place in a serving bowl to serve.
    Draining marinade from cucumbers


*You can also combine the cucumbers, onions, and dressing in a resealable plastic bag to marinade. Drain liquid from the bag and pour the salad into a bowl to serve.
*See notes above for instructions on saving in refrigerator.
*You can store these vinegar marinated cucumbers in your fridge in a jar or air-tight container for up to three 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 three days, but I know some people keep them in their fridge and continue to eat them for up to a week without any issues.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 66kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 237mgPotassium: 220mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 108IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

More about Erica Walker

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this and it’s DELICIOUS!!! Perfect recipe. I only used 1jumbo cucumber and used apple cider vinegar. Everything else used what was called for. I love it ! Thanks

  2. 4 stars
    This was delicious! I added halved, cherry tomatoes. Yum. Next time I’d cut back a little on the sugar, though…it was just a tiny bit too sweet for me.

  3. 5 stars
    This is so good…. I just made this. I made it with yellow onions(all I had). I didn’t use the water, as I figured the cucumbers and the tomatoes I added would give them enough water. This is a nice change from my sour cream dressing I make. I’ve been looking for a recipe like this, and this hit the spot!!! Thank you so much for the recipe!!

  4. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! I added an 1/8 tsp.
    of dried dill but followed the recipe other than that. Right amount of sweet tart flavor. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Love, love, love, love…… I have an abundance of cucumbers. This recipe is a very tasty solution to my bumper cucumber crop. Thank you.

    1. That is amazing you have so many cucumbers! This is the perfect dish and so easy to make!

  6. 5 stars
    My mom used to sprinkle salt on the cucumbers first let’s sit for a few minutes and then with clean hands squeeze the cucumber and you will get lots of juice. So where it says add salt in the recipe you’re going to sprinkle it on the cucumbers and you’re going to use this liquid to make the dressing. Then continue with the recipe

  7. I have read other recipes that call for sprinkling kosher salt over the sliced cucumbers and let sit 30 minutes. Then rinse well and pat dry before adding to dressing. This takes out a lot of the water in the cukes. This adds more water. Why is that? Just curious. Haven’t made but hoping to this weekend. It’s so hot to eat hot.

  8. 5 stars
    I have not made it yet, but it is very similar to what I’ve made in the past. I usually, substitute the sugar with Splenda and it tastes just as good.

    I will be making this in a couple days.

    1. Recipe calls for 5 cucumbers, just cut everything in half. Once you get it put together you should taste and adjust ingredients to your desired taste. I noticed that it did not indicate salt and pepper. I would definitely add some. Adding some diced fresh tomatoes is always good too.

      **On another note I do not use regular sugar. I substitute Splenda instead.

      Good Luck

  9. 5 stars
    This takes me back to summers spent at my grandmothers farm. We would pick the cucumbers, get them sliced, and grandma would make this with cider vinegar, water, sugar, and celery salt instead of regular salt. It was perfection. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

      1. Yes, heat the liquid then cool. But for crisp cukes and onions, soak in crushed ice in water for an hour or so. Then continue with the recipe. After they are in the fridge, they will keep for a long time – a month or so.

        1. Debbie Claitior,

          Interesting tips on heating the liquid and putting the cucumbers in ice. I will be trying it that way.

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