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Old Fashioned Cucumber and Onion Salad with Vinegar

A simple vinegar dressing combined with sliced cucumbers and onions for a make-ahead summer side dish you'll love.

This old-fashioned cucumber salad recipe is made with a simple vinegar dressing poured over sliced cucumbers and onions. A delicious summer classic.

white bowl filled with peeled cucumbers and sliced onion

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s a quick and easy side dish: It only takes 10 minutes to prep!
  • Cucumber salad is a great make-ahead dish: The salad will taste even better after the flavors have had a chance to meld, so it’s perfect for making ahead of time for your summer cookouts.
  • It’s perfect for summer: This recipe is perfect for those hot summer days when you don’t feel like cooking.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients on counter

You’ll need the following for this easy and perfect side dish:

  • cucumbers
  • white onion
  • white vinegar
  • sugar 
  • salt (kosher salt or table salt are both fine)
  • Large bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board


Step One: Make the dressing

pyrex cup filled with vinegar and sugar

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, add the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Mix until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.

Step Two: prepare the cucumber slices

cucumbers cut and scooped out

Prepare the vegetables. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a spoon. The onion slices should be cut as thinly as possible.

Step three: Mix

close up view of crescent shaped cucumbers in bowl
Mix in a mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the cucumber and onion slices and stir to combine. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Serve chilled.

🥫 Storage instructions

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

🔍 FAQs

What is the best vinegar to use for old-fashioned cucumber salad?

Plain old white! You can try apple cider vinegar, but we prefer white.

What kind of onion is best for cucumber salad?

It doesn’t really matter. Yellow onions, red onions, or a sweet white like a Vidalia onion will all work well.

What kind of cucumbers work best?

You can use English cucumbers (“regular cucumbers”), or Armenian cucumbers, which are a bit easier to get out of season.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • 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 have time to meld.
  • You can add black pepper or fresh dill for a bit of color and extra flavor.

🍽 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’re serving.

But it’s a great recipe to serve with hot dogs and burgers.

📘 Related Recipes

bowl of finished salad

📖 Here’s the recipe

white bowl of cucumber salad
4.79 from 14 votes

Old Fashioned Cucumber & Onion Salad

Print Recipe
A simple vinegar dressing combined with sliced cucumbers and onions for a make-ahead summer side dish you'll love.
Prep Time:10 mins
Chilling time:2 hrs
Total Time:2 hrs 10 mins
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!


  • Mixing bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board


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


  • Make the dressing. Combine the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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. 


Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2339mg | Potassium: 885mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 630IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: cucumber and onion salad, cucumber and vinegar salad, grandmas cucumber salad
Calories: 167kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
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