Creamy Cucumber Salad – German Style

I love this creamy cucumber salad with dill. It’s one of my life long comfort foods and a classic German side dish. It’s especially good with potatoes – yum!

cucumber salad

I’ve been making this salad since I was a little kid helping mom make supper. We never had a recipe, we just mixed a little of this and a little of that, letting our taste buds be our guide. Mom always said, you gotta taste it to know if you’ll like it. This summer, I’ve made notes every time I’ve made it and have finally penned a recipe for it. I still recommend you taste and adjust to make it just right for you. And if you don’t have borage or chives, that’s okay too. Use parsley instead of borage and green onions instead of chives or just leave them out.

cucumber salad

Recipe for Creamy Cucumber Salad – German Style

German cucumber salad in bowl
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5 from 3 votes

Creamy Cucumber Salad - German Style

This creamy cucumber salad is a classic German style "Gurkensalat" that uses sour cream, vinegar and dill. It's especially good with potatoes to soak up the sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers English or slicing variety
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar or dill pickle juice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped borage optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Salting Cucumbers to Draw out Water

  • Wash and peel slicing cucumbers. The peel on English cucumbers is more tender and can be left on or partially peeled.
  • Slice cucumbers into thin, even slices - a mandolin really helps.
  • Mix sliced cucumbers and 1 tsp salt in large bowl for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture.

Dressing

  • Meanwhile mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl (except salt and pepper). (Instead of vinegar, you can use the brine from a jar of dill pickles).
  • Drain liquid from cucumbers and add the dressing.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • The dressing should generously coat the cucumber slices. Leftovers can be refrigerated. Some liquid may separate in the fridge, just stir everything back together again.

Notes

If you're in a hurry, you do not need to let cucumbers rest in salt, but be prepared for the sauce to get quite runny after an hour or so.
Borage may be difficult to find in grocery stores, but it's a favorite in home gardens because of its pretty blue flowers and fuzzy, slightly prickly leaves. It has a peppery cucumber flavor that goes well with cucumber dishes like this one.
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What Kind of Cucumber?

Use whatever cucumber you have. Long English cucumbers have a tender, wax free skin that doesn’t need to be peeled. Slicing cucumbers are equally delicious but the skin may be a little more tough. The choice is totally up to you. I usually peel strips off both types to keep the slices nice and tender but still have a little dark green in the salad.

cucumber salad ingredients

You can even use large, overgrown garden cucumbers. If the seeds are too large, I recommend cutting them out and cutting half moon slices like in the following photo.

cucumber salad cut
Remove the seeds if they bother you.

Why Salt the Cucumbers?

Letting the cucumber slices rest in salt draws out some of their moisture. It’s the same technique used when making tzatziki. By draining this liquid before combining the cucumbers with the dressing you prevent your salad from turning too liquidy. It also softens the cucumbers so they’re not as crisp in this salad – which is ideal in this case.  You can skip this step, but be aware that the water content of the cucumbers will pool in your salad dressing. If that happens, just stir it in or drain it before serving.

cucumber salad salt
Salting cucumbers helps draw out water.
cucumber salad
In as little as 15 minutes a pool of water forms.

Hope you enjoy this cucumber salad. It’s one of my favorites to put with meat and potatoes.

What’s one of your all time favorites from when you were a kid?

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