German Cucumber-Dill Salad (Gurkensalat)

German Cucumber-Dill Salad (Gurkensalat)

German Cucumber-Dill Salad (Gurkensalat)

This German cucumber-dill salad, called gurkensalat, is a refreshing summer salad that goes well with many types of meat, especially pork. The dressing is a winning combination of vinegar and sugar for a refreshing side dish. The mixture also makes a flavorful addition to a chicken salad or tuna salad sandwich.

You can leave out the fresh dill and/or red onion and still get a delicious salad. A similar salad from Thailand uses rice vinegar and adds a spicy component with the addition of chiles, while a Greek version adds oregano instead of dill and a salty hit from feta cheese.

Gurkensalat pairs nicely with a range of pork main dishes. Try serving alongside braised pork and cabbage, German-style boneless mustard pork chops, or a showstopping stuffed pork loin.

Ingredients
1 seedless English cucumber, long and skinny, or 2 Persian cucumbers
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced and broken into rings, optional
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped, optional

Steps to Make It

Gather the ingredients.

German cucumber-dill salad (gurkensalat) ingredients

Rinse and dry the cucumber. With unwaxed, seedless cucumbers, you can leave part or all of the skin on in strips, which looks attractive when you cut it and actually helps hold the slices together. Other varieties should be peeled and seeded first.

Cucumber on a cutting board

Using a mandoline, a food processor with the thin slicer attachment, or the slicer opening on a cheese grater, thinly slice the cucumber(s). They should be almost see-through. Set aside.

Cucumber slices on a cutting board

Make the dressing by placing the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a serving bowl and whisk until the sugar completely dissolves.

Vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a serving bowl

Add the sliced cucumber, red onion rings, and chopped dill (if using) and then toss well. Marinate for 5 or more minutes, toss again, and serve.

German Cucumber-Dill Salad (Gurkensalat) in a bowl

Tips
Look for seedless English cucumbers, sometimes called simply “hothouse cucumbers,” or Persian cucumbers for the best flavor and texture. Avoid standard grocery store cukes if possible—they tend to be seedy and watery and turn mushy when you marinate them.
If you use a regular cucumber, peel completely and cut in half lengthwise. Remove most of the seeds since they tend to be tougher than hothouse or Persian cucumbers. Slice.
If you’re including the red onion, you can soak the slices in hot water for a few minutes and drain before adding to the salad. This helps remove a little of the bite from the onion and can help avoid onion breath.
Serve at room temperature or put it in the fridge for a couple of hours and serve cold.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but after a prolonged time in the marinade, the cucumbers will start to break down and lose their crunch.