Recipe Review

This Creamy Cucumber Salad Gets Even Better as It Sits (It’s the Perfect Make-Ahead Side)

published Jul 4, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

I know firsthand how special family recipes can be — my mom’s cucumber salad and my grandma’s potato salad are two of my most-cherished recipes. So when I came across MHudson’s Dad’s Creamy Cucumber Salad on Allrecipes, I was intrigued. She describes the recipe, which is passed down from her dad, as a “family all-time summer favorite,” and it has garnered a solid five-star rating with more than 270 reviews. A number of commenters even said this salad brought back fond memories of a similar version they enjoyed growing up.

A few things set this creamy cucumber salad recipe apart. You start by salting the sliced cucumbers and sweet onion, then letting them sit for an hour to drain. The dressing is largely made up of mayonnaise (a generous 1 1/2 cups) which is mixed with a small splash of vinegar and dried dill, and the instructions call for chilling the salad for two hours before serving. Here’s how it went when I tried this creamy cucumber salad at home.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

How to Make Allrecipes’ Dad’s Creamy Cucumber Salad

You’ll start by mixing peeled, sliced cucumbers, a sliced sweet onion, and sea salt together in a large bowl, then cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then you’ll transfer the mixture to a colander to drain the accumulated liquid, stir together, and let it sit for another 30 minutes to drain a little more.

Transfer the cucumber mixture to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, dried dill, garlic powder, and black pepper and stir until smooth. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and onion, stir to coat, and cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

My Honest Review of Allrecipes’ Dad’s Creamy Cucumber Salad

The most unexpected thing about this recipe was just how much my opinion of it changed every time I tasted it (which was approximately 10 times over the course of 48 hours). I know that most, if not all, cucumber salads get better and more flavorful the longer they sit. But this one had a serious transformation as time went on!

My first taste was right after assembling the salad and before chilling, and I could not take more than one bite because all I could taste was mayonnaise. It was terrible. But after the recommended two-hour chill, things got better. And by the four-hour mark, the overpowering taste of mayo mellowed, the flavors melded, and this salad was good. By the next day, it was really good. It tasted like a totally different salad from the one I had tasted the day before. With this in mind, I’ll absolutely make this salad again.

With that said, there is one thing I would change: the amount of dressing. As written, this recipe makes A LOT of dressing, most of which is all mayonnaise. I’m talking cucumbers swimming in a pool of dressing. It’s too much, in my opinion. But there is an easy fix for next time — more on that below — so don’t let that deter you!

Credit: Kelli Foster

If You’re Making Allrecipe’s Dad’s Creamy Cucumber Salad, a Few Tips

  1. Use slicing or English cucumbers. The recipe doesn’t indicate which type of cucumbers to use (although the video appears to show slicing cucumbers). You’ll get good results with slicing or English cucumbers.
  2. Reduce the mayonnaise to 1 cup. The recipe makes a lot of dressing. Too much, in my opinion. You can easily get away with using 1 cup of mayonnaise — some commenters on the original recipe also preferred this approach.
  3. Use one large bowl and make the dressing first. Instead of adding the drained cucumbers and onion to a large bowl first, minimize dirty dishes by first stirring together the dressing in the bowl, then adding the vegetables.
  4. Use fresh dill. The recipe calls for dried dill, but it’s worth picking up a bunch of the fresh stuff. Fresh dill is much more flavorful.
  5. Make this salad a day in advance. This recipe gets so much better as it sits. The overwhelming taste of the mayonnaise mellows, and all the flavors in the salad meld into something really delicious. If you can’t make it a full day in advance, I recommend giving it at least four hours to chill in the fridge.

Overall rating: 8/10

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

Have you tried Allrecipe’s Dad’s Creamy Cucumber Salad recipe? Let us know in the comments!