Old Fashioned Cucumber and Onion Salad with Vinegar

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This is the old-fashioned cucumber salad recipe you’re looking for…just like your mom made!

A delicious summer classic that’s one of the most budget-friendly side dishes you’ll find.

white bowl of cucumber salad

Grandma’s Cucumber & Onion Salad {Simple!}

A simple vinegar dressing combined with sliced cucumbers and onions for a make-ahead summer side dish you'll love.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chilling time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board

Ingredients 

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • ½ small white onion
  • cup white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions 

  • Make the dressing. Combine the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve.
    pyrex cup filled with vinegar and sugar
  • Prep the veggies. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Cut into ¼ inch thin slices. Cut the onion into very thin slices.
    cucumbers cut and scooped out
  • Combine and chill. Put the veggies in a mixing bowl and pour the dressing on top. Stir to combine, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
    close up view of crescent shaped cucumbers in bowl

Notes

The thinner you slice the cucumbers, the faster they will absorb the dressing, but thicker slices will stay crisp longer.  It’s up to you 😊!
Make sure all the sugar dissolves before you add the veggies. 
If you have any leftover cucumber salad, store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Leftover salad will last for 3-4 days.

Cucumbers: They should be as fresh as possible. Store-bought is perfectly fine, but make sure they’re fresh! You can use English cucumbers (“regular cucumbers”), or Armenian cucumbers, which are a bit easier to get out of season.

White vinegar. Don’t make this complicated. Plain old white vinegar is best.

Sugar. You can use a sugar substitute if needed.

white bowl filled with peeled cucumbers and sliced onion

Onion. The type/ color doesn’t really matter. Yellow onions, red onions, or a sweet white like a Vidalia onion will all work well.

ingredients on counter

You’ll need a sharp knife, a nice sturdy cutting board, and a mixing bowl.

🥫 Storage instructions

If you have any leftover cucumber salad, store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Leftover salad will last for 3-4 days.

Tips for the best salad

Try using a mandoline slicer to ensure even slices when slicing the cucumbers and onions.

Chill the salad for at least 2 hours before serving, so the flavors can meld.

bowl of finished salad

You can add black pepper or fresh dill for a bit of color and extra flavor. But honestly, it’s better without it.

🍽 Serve it with:

We tend to just put this on the dinner table for a few nights until it’s gone, no matter what we serve.

But it’s especially good with burgers,

📘More Cucumber Recipes

This is the perfect dish to bring a light, fresh flavor to any meal, and it’s so easy to make. With just a handful of ingredients and a few minutes of prep time, you can have a delicious salad chilling in the fridge, ready to be served whenever you like.

With just the right balance of sweetness and saltiness, the vinegar dressing beautifully complements the crisp cucumber and sharp onion, creating a perfect side dish that everyone will love.

Old Fashioned Cucumber and Onion Salad with Vinegar
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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you Thank you!! You got these so right! I’m seventy plus, used to make these like Granny since I was a girl! Sad to say I never wrote the recipe down, who could forget something so simple! We’ll I did and try as I may they never tasted quite right! So I started looking for this recipe and it’s amazing what people add to these!😁 Nothing Granny ever had in her country kitchen!
    So again that you! God Bless you and keep you in his loving arms!

  2. 5 stars
    Yes I made this! Just the recipe we were looking for. I actually tripled it so it would cover more of the veggies. Hubby likes to add cut up on the vine tomatoes to this. He loved it. It’s a keeper & I have it written down in my favorite recipe book.

  3. 5 stars
    My sister-in-laws Mother has made this for my family for years,She is in her 90s now and this is the flrst time this summer is not doing a garden. And so she will not be making my fav cucumber salad, I asked her daughter for the reciepe she told me her mom took all the water out of the cuc by putting salt all over them then rinsing them off before making the cuc salad .could this be true? It seems like a lot of work. Have you ever heard of such a thing?? I know she wont give me the recipe…..

    1. Hey Mary, I’ve never heard of that but I could see doing it if you wanted the salad to last days and days in the fridge. I find that scooping out the insides helps a lot though. Bring her some cucucumbers and ask her to make it and just secretly take notes! I bet it’s similar to this one 🙂

      1. 4 stars
        “Salting the cucumbers” is normally done for Tzatziki sauce~ You skin them as you would, quarter them lengthways, and cover them with kosher salt~ You leave them in the fridge, on a rack, over night, and you’ll have a a puddle under them in the morning! RINSE THEM THOROUGHLY!! Soak them if you need to in cold water, and they don’t leach moisture into the greek yogurt~ It turns into a mess, if you don’t! bon appétit!

  4. Was just double-checking my recollection of how my Mom would throw this together in the summertime. It seems almost too easy and I thought I was missing something, but nope! So good.

  5. I use seedless or English cucumbers, no need to remove seeds; also peel the thin skin in stripes, so pretty when sliced