Gurkensalat (German Cucumber-Dill Salad)

Gurkensalat (German Cucumber-Dill Salad)

Prep: 15 mins

Cook: 0 mins

Total: 15 mins

Servings: 4 servings

This German cucumber-dill salad, called gurkensalat, is a refreshing summer salad that goes well with many types of meat, especially pork. A winning combination of vinegar and sugar come together for a dressing that has the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors. Red onion adds a pleasant bite and fresh dill provides a lovely pop of flavor, though you could leave out either and still have a delicious salad.

Tips for the Very Best Cucumber Salad

  • Choose seedless, thin skinned cucumbers: Look for seedless English cucumbers, sometimes called simply “hothouse cucumbers,” or Persian cucumbers for the best flavor and texture. Avoid standard grocery store cukes if possible—they tend to be seedy and watery and turn mushy when you marinate them.
  • To peel or not to peel? Seedless, thin skinned English and Persian cucumbers don’t need to be peeled and seeded for this recipe, but you can use a peeler to remove strips from the cucumbers for a pretty presentation if you’d like (leaving some skin on will also help hold the thin slices of cucumber together). If you use a regular cucumber, peel it completely and cut in half lengthwise. Remove most of the seeds since they tend to be tougher than those in hothouse or Persian cucumbers. 
  • Thinly slice the cucumbers: Use a mandoline, a food processor with the thin slicer attachment, or the slicer opening on a cheese grater to thinly slice the cucumbers. The slices should be almost see-through. If you only have a knife for slicing, just make the slices as thin as you can—your salad might be slightly more rustic but it will still be extremely tasty.
  • Go for fresh dill: While dried dill works wonderfully in many recipes, fresh dill adds a pretty color and bright flavor to this recipe.
  • If you want less bite, soak the onions: If you’re including the red onion, you can soak the slices in hot water for a few minutes and drain before adding to the salad. This helps remove a little of the bite from the onion and can help make them less likely to cause onion breath.

What to Serve with This Cucumber Salad

Gurkensalat pairs nicely with a range of pork main dishes. Try serving alongside braised pork and cabbage, German-style boneless mustard pork chops, or a showstopping stuffed pork loin. The mixture also makes a flavorful addition to a chicken salad or tuna salad sandwich.

“This German cucumber-dill salad was colorful, crunchy, and deliciously refreshing. I cut the sugar back to 1 teaspoon, and I served the cucumber salad with tuna sandwiches. Before we knew it, the cucumbers were all gone because we continued to stuff them into our mouths with each sandwich bite!” —Diana Andrews

Gurkensalat (German Cucumber-Dill Salad)

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 medium seedless English cucumber, or 2 Persian cucumbers

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt, more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced and broken into rings, optional

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gurkensalat (German Cucumber-Dill Salad)

  2. Rinse and dry the cucumber. If the cucumbers are unwaxed and seedless, leave them unpeeled or peel off strips for a pretty presentation. Waxed cucumbers and cucumbers with seeds should be peeled and seeded before proceeding with the recipe.

    Gurkensalat (German Cucumber-Dill Salad)

  3. Using a mandoline, a food processor with the thin slicer attachment, or the slicer opening on a cheese grater, thinly slice the cucumber(s). They should be almost see-through. Set aside.

    Gurkensalat (German Cucumber-Dill Salad)

  4. Make the dressing by placing the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a medium serving bowl and whisking until the sugar and salt completely dissolve.

    Gurkensalat (German Cucumber-Dill Salad)

  5. Add the cucumber, red onion (if using), and dill, and toss well. Marinate for 5 or more minutes. Then adjust the salt and pepper, if needed, toss again, and serve.

    Gurkensalat (German Cucumber-Dill Salad)

How to Store

Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. The cucumbers will lose some of their crunch over time but will be no less delicious.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 23
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 134mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 87mg 2%
*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.


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