Mom’s Best Cucumber Salad combines thinly sliced cucumbers and onions with a delicious creamy dressing. The perfect combination of crunchy, creamy, sweet, and savory all at once. This salad brings back so many wonderful memories of childhood!
Using cucumbers in recipes is commonplace for me. I love them in my Healthy Tuna Chickpea Salad and my Mediterranean Grain Bowls with Chicken, as well as my Spinach Salad with Avocado and Goat Cheese. SO many great ways to include them in recipes!
Norma Jean had the greenest of thumbs. She loved tending both her beautiful flower garden and vegetable garden. Summertime was an exceptional time of year, and she shared her bounty of fresh garden produce with her friends and neighbors. Fresh lettuce, onions, radishes, beets, carrots, green beans, rhubarb, potatoes, cucumbers, and tomatoes GALORE!
Dad got his fair share and then-some, and Mom made sure his lettuce and cucumber salads had an excessive amount of vinegar and onions, just like he wanted. 🙂 I can picture her now, bent over in the garden getting every ripe veggie, bringing them into her kitchen, and then working her magic. Gosh, what I would give for another glimpse.
Why we love this recipe!
There are so many spins on cucumbers these days, but I love how these make me feel. (Oh, the nostalgia!) Here is how I describe them.
- Crunchy – Cucumbers are naturally crunchy if you are using fresh ones. I love the mouth-feel!
- Creamy – That dressing gives them a nice creamy coating.
- Zesty – The vinegar gives that little bit of tang which is so necessary for great cucumbers.
- Sweet – I used way less sugar than my mom did, but I feel like they are sweet enough.
- Salty – Confession. I usually add a little extra pinch of salt to my serving. So good!
From the moment Mom could pick them from the garden, her delicious cucumbers were made on repeat. Dad loved his with lots of STRONG white onions (instead of the milder red I used here) and plenty of vinegar. It was rare that he told Mom they were perfectly made. I think he just liked to tease her that they needed “more vinegar and onions, Norma”. 😀
Ingredients Needed for Creamy Cucumbers
- Fresh Cucumbers – If you don’t grow your own or have access to a Farmer’s Market, grocery store cucumbers work fine. I don’t have a garden, but I wish I did! Also, Mom used regular cucumbers, but I think English cucumbers would be good too.
- Onions – Mom used strong white onions, but I prefer red. Not as strong and really delicious in this salad.
- Mayonnaise – I rarely buy Miracle Whip anymore (which is what Mom used all the time), and prefer the mayo with olive oil. Just use whatever you like best.
- Sugar – The sugar is needed for this version of cucumbers. You could try using less than the recommended 1/4 cup in this recipe.
- Vinegar – Use Apple Cider or even white vinegar.
- Salt – I love kosher salt and that’s all I use anymore. But you could use regular table salt as well (but use less).
- Pepper – While I normally use freshly ground black pepper, I recommend using regular black pepper for this recipe.
How to make the Best Creamy Cucumber Salad:
This delicious salad, my friends, can be made in only 20 minutes. But it’s best to make it ahead of time for those flavors to meld together!
Peel and thinly slice the cucumbers. If you have a mandolin slicer, feel free to use that for slicing. Otherwise, a knife works just fine.
Thinly slice some red onion. You could use white onion if you prefer a stronger onion flavor.
Combine. Add the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl and toss.
Make the dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Whisk, and pour over the cucumbers and onions. Mix well.
Let the flavors meld. Place the cucumbers in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to let the flavors come together.
Serve. To serve, add some black pepper and additional salt if needed. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you make the dressing with other ingredients? Yes, you could try making the dressing with combinations of plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, half and half, and milk. I have a lighter version on the blog, called Fresh Cucumber Salad. Confession…I prefer Mom’s version!
- Do I need to sweat the cucumbers? When sweating a vegetable, salt is used to draw out excess moisture. My mom used to sweat the cucumbers by soaking them in salt water overnight, and then rinsing and straining them the next day. She eventually stopped doing this before making her cucumber salad, and I never noticed a difference. I don’t see the need to sweat the cucumbers either.
- How long do these cucumbers keep? You can store this creamy cucumber salad in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for 2-3 days. I’ve found them to stay crunchy for several days. You could also halve the recipe, and just make it more often. It’s simple!
Make this “Norma Jean” salad next: Creamy Potato Salad
Best Cucumber Salad
- 5-6 medium cucumbers – peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup red onion – you could also use white
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise – or Miracle Whip
- 1/4 cup sugar – more or less to taste
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar – can also use white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt – I use Kosher salt (add more or less to taste)
- black pepper – to taste
- Peel cucumbers, and slice thin. You can also use a mandolin to slice. Slice onion thinly as well. Combine cucumbers and red onion in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix up the dressing by combining the mayonnaise, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Pour over the cucumbers, and combine well.
- For best results, place cucumber salad in your refrigerator for a couple of hours to help meld the flavors together. Check flavors before serving.
- To serve, add black pepper and more salt if desired.
- You can store this creamy cucumber salad in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for 2-3 days. I’ve found them to stay crunchy for several days.