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Cucumber and Onion Salad

Nothing says summer like this cool, crisp, sweet and tangy Cucumber and Onion Salad! It’s super quick and easy to put together, and it goes great with all things grilled!

Often, the simplest recipes are the most delicious. This salad is proof of that!

Thinly sliced cucumbers and onions seasoned with salt and pepper and then marinated in vinegar, sugar and water – so unbelievably simple and yet soooo yummy!! I can’t get enough of them!

This recipe is a summer favorite that I’ve been enjoying for as long as I can remember. My mom made this salad just about every Sunday during the summer when I was growing up. Sunday was the big grilling day at our house and, no matter what she was grilling, this awesomely delicious and refreshing salad was always on the table!

I used to get in trouble because I would always try to sneak into the fridge and grab some out of the bowl with my fingers before dinner was ready. I loved it so much I couldn’t wait! I still love it just as much (these days, I use utensils instead of my fingers – well, most of the time anyway).

This Cucumber and Onion Salad is a winner with grilled steak, chicken, pork chops, ribs, fish, burgers, hot dogs, and whatever else you want to grill up! It’s great for barbecues, picnics, potlucks, and all those summer get-togethers. Try it instead of pickles with a sandwich. It’s also nice to have around just for snacking!

sliced cucumbers and onions on a wooden cutting board with a knife


  • Cucumbers (I use English cucumbers)
  • Onion (I use Vidalia or other sweet onion)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper


three images showing steps to make cucumber and onion salad
three images showing steps to make cucumber and onion salad
two images showing steps to make cucumber and onion salad

I use English cucumbers for this recipe (also known as seedless cucumbers, European cucumbers, burpless cucumbers, or hothouse cucumbers). In the grocery store, they are the cucumbers that are wrapped in plastic. They are longer and thinner than regular cucumbers.

Why do I use English cucumbers? They have smaller seeds and less seeds than regular cucumbers. I want to eat cucumber – not big seeds (they can be bitter).

Plus, English cucumbers have a thinner skin, and they usually don’t have that nasty wax coating on them, so you don’t have to peel them. I partially peel them for some nice color in the salad.

Of course, if you’ve got fresh awesome cucumbers in your garden, by all means, use them! It doesn’t get any better than that!

spoonful of cucumber and onion salad being taken out of the bowl

I recommend using Vidalia or another type of sweet onion for this recipe since they are less strong than regular onions. They complement the cucumbers perfectly! But regular onions will also work.

I use rice vinegar because I think it’s a little sweeter and has less of a bite than other types of vinegar, but you could use regular white vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar (taste the liquid and add more sugar if you need it). I wouldn’t recommend using a dark-colored vinegar like balsamic because it discolors the cucumbers.

At first, you may think there’s not enough liquid. Don’t worry. The salt will draw out some of the water from the cucumbers as they sit in the fridge. This is also why I use a bag instead of a bowl to marinate the salad. With the bag, the cucumbers and onions get more contact with the vinegar mixture.

For the best flavor, you definitely want to let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours before you serve. It needs some time for the flavors to meld together and soak into the cucumbers. Don’t skip this step!

bowl of cucumber and onion salad with a spoon

When my sister makes her version of this salad, she adds some chopped fresh basil. It’s sooo good! Definitely give that a try if you want to change things up a bit!

This salad will last in the refrigerator for a few days. The longer it sits, the softer the cucumbers become and the stronger the flavor. It never lasts that long in my house!

I hope you try this Cucumber and Onion Salad recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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cucumber and onion salad in a white bowl with a spoon

Cucumber and Onion Salad

Nothing says summer like this cool, crisp, sweet and tangy Cucumber and Onion Salad! It's super quick and easy to put together, and it goes great with all things grilled!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Refrigerator / Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 side dish servings
Estimated Calories: 42


  • 2 large English cucumbers, partially peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/8 inch thick), about 4 cups total
  • ½ Vidalia or other sweet onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup total
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Place the sliced cucumbers and onions in a large Ziploc bag.
  • In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Season the cucumbers with salt and pepper. Pour the vinegar mixture into the bag.
  • Close the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, and massage lightly to distribute the marinade.
  • Place the bag in a dish or on a plate (just in case the bag leaks) and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Turn the bag a few times while the cucumbers are marinating.
  • Pour into a bowl and serve. This salad is best served cold!
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