Cucumber-Onion Salad

published Jul 10, 2023
Cucumber-Onion Salad Recipe

When you need a refreshing, easy side, look no further than this cucumber salad, which is crunchy and pairs well with any summer food.


Makes 2 cups

Prep10 minutes

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A bowl of cucumber onion salad on a marble surface.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik. Food styling: James Park

I always eat cucumber — especially on hot days, when I need a refreshing, crunchy snack. One of my go-to cucumber salads is this tangy, slightly sweet, always crunchy cucumber-onion salad. My take has a little fish sauce, which adds extra umami to the dressing.

I make a big batch of this cucumber-onion salad and enjoy it alongside whatever I make for dinner — it makes everything taste better! It’s so easy to make that I keep a batch of this salad in the fridge all the time. And it always adds a wonderful crunch to my summer meals, whether I’m having garlicky soba noodle bowls or grilled chicken

The Best Type of Cucumber to Use for Cucumber-Onion Salad

An English cucumber is ideal for this because it’s longer with fewer seeds and has a thin, edible skin.

Because English cucumbers have fewer smaller seeds, they tend to have less moisture than other varieties. This means they won’t become too watery or lose their crispness as quickly. Similarly, Persian cucumbers also work, but the rounds won’t be as big.

How to Cut Cucumbers for Cucumber-Onion Salad

The key to making crunchy cucumber-onion salad is to slice the cucumbers thinly. You can use a sharp knife to make thin slices, but I highly recommend using a mandoline to keep cucumber slices consistent. Thin rounds work better for this type of salad than half-moon shapes.

How to Keep Cucumbers Crisp for Cucumber-Onion Salad

Salting the sliced cucumbers for a few minutes will keep them crisp for a long time. The salt draws out extra moisture while helping them retain more flavor 

Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik. Food styling: James Park

What to Serve with Cucumber-Onion Salad

This refreshing cucumber onion salad belongs at any summer grilling feast. Serve with any grilled meat or your favorite burgers to add a tangy, zesty bite. It’s also great with grilled seafood, such as grilled prawns.

You can also serve this with your favorite sandwiches. Even a simple cold-cut sandwich will taste infinitely better with cucumber onion salad inside or on the side. It’s fantastic with any saucy noodles like garlicky miso-tahini noodles

Cucumber-Onion Salad Recipe

When you need a refreshing, easy side, look no further than this cucumber salad, which is crunchy and pairs well with any summer food.

Prep time 10 minutes

Makes 2 cups

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium English cucumber (about 10 ounces)

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4

    medium red onion

  • 10 sprigs

    fresh dill, plus more for garnish

  • 1

    medium lime

  • 3 tablespoons

    rice vinegar, plus more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons

    fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    granulated sugar


  1. Cut 1 medium English cucumber crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss together with your hands or a spatula so that the slices are evenly coated with salt. Let sit for at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients and the dressing.

  2. Thinly slice 1/4 medium red onion. Finely chop the fronds and tender stems of 10 fresh dill sprigs until you have 1/4 cup.

  3. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lime into a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Juice the lime until you have 2 tablespoons and add to the bowl. If the lime doesn’t yield enough juice, add enough rice vinegar to make 2 tablespoons total. Add 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

  4. Add the onion, dill, and dressing to the bowl of cucumber slices. Toss until evenly combined. Serve immediately or let marinate for up to 4 hours. Garnish with more chopped fresh dill before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.