grandma’s cucumber salad

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“He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sun beams out of cucumbers which were to be put into vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw, inclement summers.” ~Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels

My grandma has been making this awesome summer salad for as long as I can remember. It’s always present at family picnics, and is especially good with fried chicken and potato salad. It would seem everyone has a version of cucumber salad that they make and love, but nobody makes it like my grandma.

*Note: If you decide to make this salad with mayonnaise, add the 1/4 cup sugar. If you use Miracle Whip, omit the sugar, or use less. Miracle Whip is much sweeter than regular mayonnaise.

~ serves 8 ~

5 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced very thin

1 large onion, peeled, sliced very thin, and separated into rings

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup white vinegar

3/4 cup mayonnaise OR Miracle Whip

1/4 cup sugar (*omit if using Miracle Whip)

1/4 cup fresh, chopped dill OR 2 Tablespoons dry dill

salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until very cold. This salad will keep, covered in your refrigerator, for 5 days.



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  71 comments for “grandma’s cucumber salad

  1. Bobbi Maidic
    June 22, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    cant wait to receive your recipes!

    • Gail. Wilson
      March 28, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      I use sour cream instead of mayonnaise if I dont have it.

    • Julie Utley
      July 2, 2017 at 9:32 am

      want to print and use your recipies

  2. Sandy Weber
    June 23, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Almost like mine.

  3. Debbie
    June 26, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I am trying this today

    • Melissa
      June 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Enjoy, Debbie 🙂

      • Dee
        March 23, 2017 at 10:19 am

        J need a. Chicken salad!!

        • Melissa
          March 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm

          What sort of chicken salad are you looking for, Dee? 🙂

  4. Jan
    June 27, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I’m going to try this

    • Melissa
      June 27, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      Enjoy, Jan! 🙂

  5. Mary Kahkola
    June 27, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    I’m NOT a cook my any stretch of the imagination, but I went to WalMart for “dill” they had dill seed and dill weed, which one do I need for this?

    • Melissa
      June 27, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      Hi Mary! 🙂
      You want dill weed. Fresh, if you can find it. (Usually available in the produce section.) If you can’t find fresh dill weed, dry will work.

    • Lori Lorenz
      July 20, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      I use fresh dill, myself. Learned this recipe from my German mother in law!

      • Petra
        August 19, 2016 at 5:55 pm

        Yeah that’s how we Germans do it. Lol. Yummy. Enjoy.

        • Sylvia Clark
          February 28, 2017 at 1:28 pm

          Yes – that’s almost like my mother’s, except she didn’t use Salad dressing or mayonnaise — only sour cream.

        • April Butler
          April 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm

          I worked in a German restaurant and the German couple made cucumbers like this, but they soaked the cukes in vinegar and salt and pepper for about an hour first, then drained the vinegar then proceed like this recipe. So good!

      • Shirley
        March 1, 2017 at 9:03 pm

        Just like my moms…she was German also!

        • Marilyn Sanders
          March 7, 2017 at 7:32 am

          I use sour cream instead of mayo and sometimes plain yogurt instead of sour cream and omit the sugar.

          • Kay
            June 29, 2017 at 8:23 pm

            I make this with sour cream also except I add some fresh dill to it. Delicious. I make this all the time. Also I like cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and Italian dressing. This one you can add cooked Spaghetti. You can eat it warm or cold. Great for picnics. They also have in the herb section a bottle that states cold spaghetti herbs.

    • Bonnie Berger
      May 25, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      Dill weed!

  6. Brenda Mantelli
    July 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Do you sweat the cukes I’ve got them in a bowl with the onion and they are very wet..also do you need all the milk?

    • Melissa
      July 8, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      You don’t have to sweat the cukes… and that’s the amount of milk I use, but you could certainly cut that back if you don’t want as much creamy sauce. Adjust according to your tastes. This is one of our favorites! 🙂 Enjoy, Brenda.

    • P olson
      March 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      I soak my cubes in salt water first then rinse then blott dry them

      • Melissa
        March 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm

        Thanks for sharing! 🙂

      • Loro
        April 17, 2017 at 8:58 pm

        5 Generations making this check cucumber salad it consists of vinegar Miracle Whip sugar salt and pepper pretty explanatory you drain salt on the cucumber and squeeze it out and then you go ahead and make sure mixture of a little vinegar and Miracle Whip and you added together and add salt and pepper to taste and that’s my great-great grandmother’s recipe that has been handed down

  7. Sharon Williams
    July 21, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Can you use an artificial sweetener. I am a diabeti

    • Melissa
      July 22, 2016 at 10:51 am

      sure! 🙂

  8. judi edwards
    July 22, 2016 at 9:53 am

    been making my German grandmother’s dirty 30’s version for 60+ years… Love it.. will try yours… Bast served over NEW potatoes…. yummmmmm

  9. Andrea Sinofsky
    July 24, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Oh I just made this. this morning. I only used 2 cucumbers because it is just 2 of us that will eat it. and I used cilantro.

    • Melissa
      July 24, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      So happy you like it, Andrea! Thanks for stopping by to let me know! 🙂

  10. Astheart
    July 25, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Czech version: cucumbers, salt, sugar, black pepper, vinegar, sour cream. Very popular!

    • Melissa
      July 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks, Astheart! Sounds very good! 🙂

    • Jan
      February 27, 2017 at 11:13 pm

      This is how I learned to make it too! & My granny was 100 percent German!

  11. Patti
    July 26, 2016 at 9:35 am

    My grandmother made this with sour cream and apple cider vinegar, sugar dill and onions and of course salt and oepper.
    Thanks for reminding me of some thing from my childhood.
    I’m going to make this today

    • Melissa
      July 26, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      My pleasure, Patti 🙂 Your grandmother’s version sounds good! Thanks so much for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

  12. Jim
    August 3, 2016 at 8:52 am

    White vinegar?

  13. Barbara A.
    August 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I make this at least once a week in summer. It totally is a memory from growing up and my mom making it. I have used the whites of green onions also.

    • Melissa
      August 17, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      Awesome, Barbara! 🙂 I love it when people share their food memories with me. Thanks so much for stopping by! ~M

  14. Charlene
    September 9, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    This can also be made using tomatoes and omit the dill.

    • Melissa
      September 10, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks for the inspiration, Charlene! I’ll have to try that! XO ~M 🙂

  15. mary
    November 23, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    This is really good with sour cream instead of the mayo

  16. Sandra s.
    January 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Would love a vegan version of this. I will need to try it by replacing with non-dairy milk and use Just Mayo. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Melissa
      January 14, 2017 at 12:37 am

      I’ve made it with Vegenaise before. Very good 🙂

  17. Annie
    February 28, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Great with plain yogurt, and tomatoes.????

  18. Gaynor
    March 10, 2017 at 12:33 am

    Red or white onions ?

    • Melissa
      March 12, 2017 at 10:34 am

      either will work 🙂

  19. Sharon
    March 11, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    My grandmother always wilted the cucumbers first (soaked in salt water). Love this recipe! My Dad called them cooked cucumbers! They never got near the stove . Lol

    • Melissa
      March 12, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Hee hee! Love it 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Sharon! XO ~M

  20. lus
    March 18, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    i tried with yogurt and little garlic !!

    • Melissa
      March 19, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Now you’re talkin’ 😀

  21. Elaine
    March 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I guess many years ago it was different…my Mom just use to use sliced cucumbers, finely sliced onions, salt and pepper, vinegar and water…..we I guess werent’ exposed to other kinds of cucumber salad….she would also maked pickeled beets the same way! I survived and liked them and have made them the same way as Mom did…..still make the cucumbers and the beets just like Mom 😉

    • Melissa
      March 19, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      I totally get it! We tend to love what we grew up eating 🙂

    • Beth
      April 6, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      My Grandma use to use vinegar and oil mixture as I think back with salt and pepper. I have made it myself with sour cream, but never added anything else to it. I will definitely have to try it a few different ways. They sound so yummy!

    • Pat
      July 24, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Me too never had cucumbers and beets any other way. Going to try this.

      • Melissa
        July 27, 2017 at 1:34 pm


  22. Nina
    March 19, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    I was introduced to these 50 yrs ago by my mother-in-law. She used half ‘n half instead of milk. I was pregnant, and could NOT stop eating them!! Haven’t made them for a long time…thanks for putting it back onto my table!! 🙂

    • Melissa
      March 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Oohhhh! I bet the half and half makes the salad extra rich and delicious. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Nina.

  23. Christine PERGL Estes
    March 19, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    My family’s version was : salt the cucumbers after slicing really thin, let sit a little, then squeeze them to get alot of “juice”,add finely diced garlic,sour cream,til it’s the consistency you like!! So refreshing..And yes we are German!!

    • Melissa
      March 20, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Great tips! I’ll try the salt treatment sometime! Thanks, Christine 🙂

  24. Leslie
    March 19, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    My grand mother use sour cream and no milk or sugar in it . Great for summer time when it’s too hot to cook .

    • Melissa
      March 20, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Sounds fabulous! Thanks, Leslie! 🙂

  25. Lynn
    March 30, 2017 at 8:53 am

    English cukes or regular cukes. Sounds wonderful. Tks.

    • Melissa
      March 31, 2017 at 11:42 am

      either 🙂 enjoy!

  26. Juanette
    April 1, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Did not have dill, used basil instead. Haven’t tasted it yet. We’ll see!

    • Melissa
      April 3, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Enjoy! 🙂

  27. Ruth
    April 3, 2017 at 11:12 am

    This looks delicious but I’m allergic to dill. Is there a substitute I can use?

    • Melissa
      April 3, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Use your favorite herb then. 🙂 Possibly basil or thyme? 🙂

  28. Joye Bolick
    April 5, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Love this recipe! I use cucumbers, red onion, vinegar, salt and pepper! Always an empty plate!

    Do you have a good shrimp and pasta salad (chilled)
    Simple like above, but good!

  29. Janie
    April 6, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Can not wait to try this. recipe

  30. Coralynn
    July 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    That’s the way I make mine and my mother did too.

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