Cucumbers and sour cream are a win-win combination: a refreshing, crisp and juicy salad perfect not only for hot summer days, but also for any other time of year when you want a light vegetable snack.
So let’s make Cucumber and sour cream salad!
But I suggest a slight modification of the classic recipe.
After slicing the cucumber, put it in a sieve or colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle the cucumber with salt, stir and place in the refrigerator for half an hour.
During this time, the salt will draw out excess moisture from the cucumber, making it crispier and more evenly salted. Moreover, in half an hour to an hour in the refrigerator cucumbers will cool down, which will give the salad even more freshness.
The origin of cucumbers and sour cream salad can be traced back to Eastern Europe, particularly in countries like Poland & Ukraine (Mizeria), Hungary (Uborkasaláta), Germany (Gurkensalat). The simplicity of this dish, which primarily features sliced cucumbers, sour cream, and fresh dill, has made it a popular and enduring choice for generations.
In Eastern European cuisine, cucumbers and sour cream salad is commonly enjoyed as a refreshing side dish during warm summer months or as a palate cleanser between heavier courses. The combination of cool, crisp cucumbers with the tangy, creamy sour cream and aromatic dill creates a satisfying and well-balanced flavor profile.
Over time, this humble salad has spread to other parts of the world, with variations incorporating different ingredients such as onions or garlic. It remains a beloved choice for its simplicity, versatility, and the delightful contrast of flavors and textures it brings to the table.
How to keep cucumber salad from getting watery?
- Sprinkle salt on sliced cucumbers, let them sit for 30 minutes, and pat dry. Salting the cucumber slices helps draw out excess moisture. Draining them for 30 minutes allows the liquid to be released, and patting them dry removes any remaining surface moisture.
- Use a sieve to remove excess liquid from sour cream if necessary. Draining the sour cream removes any excess liquid, making it thicker and less likely to contribute to a watery salad. This ensures the dressing maintains a creamy consistency.
- Remove cucumber seeds. Cut out the seeds with a spoon before slicing to reduce moisture. The seeds inside cucumbers contain a significant amount of moisture. By removing them before slicing, you are reducing the overall water content in the salad.
- Serve promptly. Serving the salad soon after mixing helps prevent the cucumbers from releasing more moisture into the dressing over time. This keeps the salad fresh and crisp.
⏱ Cooking time — 55 minutes overall. Includes 10 minutes of preparation and cooking + 45 minutes unattended.
🍽 For 4 servings:
- 300 g (11 oz) cucumbers
- 1 shallot (or 1/2 white/red onion) (optional)
- 2-3 sprigs of dill
- 1/4 lemon (lemon juice + zest)
- 60 g (3 tbsp.) sour cream
Cut off the tails of the cucumber and one shallot, peel the shallot.
Let the size and shape of the slicing be at your discretion. But today I suggest thinly slicing them.
Thinly slice the cucumber and shallots into circles about 2 mm thick. I use a mandolin slicer for this.
Transfer the cucumbers and onions to a sieve or colander set over a bowl where the liquid will drain off.
Salt with a pinch of salt and stir gently with your hands. You don’t need to squeeze too hard. Put in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, but it is not necessary.
In the meantime, prepare the dressing.
First, cut off the stems of 2-3 sprigs of dill, and finely chop the herbs. Grate the zest of 1/4 of the lemon.
Take a salad bowl and put 60 g (3 tbsp) of sour cream in it. Add a pinch of salt, dill and lemon zest.
Squeeze juice of 1/4 lemon, pepper with freshly ground black pepper and mix. Taste for salt, add more if necessary. Set aside.
After 30 minutes, remove the cucumbers and drain off any accumulated liquid (or use as you see fit).
Add the cucumbers and onions to the dressing. Stir well.
Serve at once.
Shallots/white/red onions – can be substituted for leeks, onions or yellow onions.
Dill – can be substituted with parsley, coriander or basil to add a fresh herbal flavor.
Lemon – can be substituted with lime or orange to add sourness and citrus flavor.
Sour cream – can be substituted with Greek yogurt, kefir or coconut milk sour cream for a lighter flavor.
How to store
🥡 How long does cucumber salad last?
Cucumber salad typically lasts for about 2-3 days in the refrigerator when stored in a covered container.
It’s important to remember that the salad may become more watery over time as the cucumbers release moisture. This is especially true for cucumber salads that are lightly dressed or seasoned. Those dressed with sour cream or yogurt may last slightly longer, but their texture and taste may still change as they sit.
For best quality, it’s recommended to consume the salad within the first day of preparation. Always keep it refrigerated and ensure that your storage container is airtight to maintain the salad’s freshness as long as possible.
🥗 What to serve with?
- Grilled chicken or shrimp.The mild flavor of the cucumber salad complements the tangy and slightly smoky flavor of the grilled chicken or shrimp.
- Grilled or roasted vegetables. Another great option is to pair the salad with grilled or roasted vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers or eggplant. Slightly charred and caramelized vegetables create a nice contrast to the cool and creamy cucumber salad.
- Baked Potatoes. Baked potatoes — are a classic side dish that go well with just about anything. The starchiness of the potatoes helps balance out the refreshing flavor of the salad, and the creamy texture of the sour cream complements the fluffy texture of the potatoes.
- Crusted bread. Crusted baguette or another type of bread – is a great choice if you want to serve something simple with your salad. The crusty crust of the bread creates a nice contrast to the creamy texture of the salad.
How do you make a cucumber salad not watery?
To prevent the cucumber salad from turning watery, slice the cucumbers and sprinkle them with salt. Leave them for about 30 minutes, then drain off the excess water before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients.
Why does cucumber salad foam?
Cucumber salad can become frothy if you add too much dressing and then stir too vigorously. To avoid this, add the dressing gradually and stir gently. But there’s nothing wrong with the froth, if anything.
How do you make cucumber salad thicker?
To make your cucumber salad dressing thicker and denser, simply add more sour cream, and try to use a higher-fat sour cream.
How do you keep cucumbers crispy in a cucumber salad?
Slice them just before you are going to make the salad and keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.
How long does a cucumber salad keep?
Cucumber salad usually keeps 2-3 days in the refrigerator if kept in an airtight container.
Why can cucumber salad be bitter?
Cucumber salad can become bitter if you use cucumbers that are already ripe or if you leave the skins on. To avoid bitterness, use fresh, young cucumbers and remove the skins if they are tough or bitter.
Does cucumber salad taste good the next day?
Yes, cucumber salad is still good the next day, although the texture may be a little softer and the flavors may blend.
Cucumber salad with sour cream, onion and dill
- 300 g cucumbers
- 1 shallot (or 1/2 white/red onion) (optional)
- 2-3 sprigs of dill
- ¼ lemon (lemon juice + zest)
- 60 g sour cream (3 tbsp.)
- Finely slice the cucumber and shallots into circles about 2 mm thick.
- Put the cucumbers and onions in a sieve or colander to drain the liquid.Salt with a pinch of salt and stir gently with your hands. You don't have to squeeze too hard. Place in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
- Prepare the dressing. Cut off the stems of the dill sprigs and finely chop the herbs. Grate the zest of 1/4 of a lemon.In a salad bowl, mix together the sour cream, a pinch of salt, dill and lemon zest, squeeze the juice of 1/4 lemon, and pepper with black pepper. Taste for salt, add more if necessary. Set aside.
- After 30 minutes, remove the cucumbers and drain off any accumulated liquid.Add the cucumbers and onions to the dressing. Stir well.Serve at once.