Grandma’s Cucumber Salad

Grandma’s Cucumber Salad is cool, crunchy, refreshing, and easy to throw together on a hot summer day!

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

I can’t believe I’m about to give you this recipe: my precious, beloved Grandma’s cucumber salad recipe.

Technically it’s my recipe because my Grandma never wrote this one down for anyone. “Just make it until it tastes right.”

Easier said than done, lady.

SO, I tried to make it ’til it tasted right from what I remembered and this is the closest I’ve gotten. The last time I actually ate the real thing was at least 5 years ago. My older sister had just had a baby and my Grandma shipped her a few congratulatory jars because it was her very favorite thing she made. I snuck a few bites from the fridge when I thought she wasn’t looking and boy oh boy was she mad. Sorry Shayna, except I’m not sorry at all. #worthit

Since my Grandma is no longer with us, her recipes have become that much nearer and dearer to our hearts. We can never get them *quite* right, but getting close enough is fine by me. I’m 99% sure she’s smiling down on me, enjoying her little heavenly garden, chucking her damn-it doll around {most likely out of frustration from my Grandfather}, handing out the last few mints from her purse to the little ones that have yet to join our family while trying to figure out what to do with all the cucumbers and zucchinis that never seem to stop growing. 🙂

So, without further ado, here is how I make this cucumber salad recipe. Please make this and enjoy it with your family this summer. Ideally with fresh cucumbers from the garden, just like Grandma.

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

Start out by peeling and slicing as thinly as possible some cucumbers, onion and green pepper. Also smash a clove of garlic too. *Just smash the garlic in so people can still see it, figure out what it is and pick it out.

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

For the liquidy part of this recipe, measure out some vinegar and cold water. Lets pretend you can tell one from the other in this photo.

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

Stir in a little salt,

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

a little more sugar,

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

and some pepper.

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

Pour this over the cucumbers…

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

…and give it a good stir. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. You want that smashed garlic to permeate the whole dish. I promise the longer it sits, the better it gets.

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

And voila! Just like that, you have cucumber salad. Absolutely delicious on its own, but particularly divine as a side dish to Goulash. Mmmm…..Goulash.

Goulash, Nookedly and this cucumber salad will change your life. Pretty sure if everyone had a taste of it, there would be world peace.

ANYWAYS. Enjoy your weekend! Here’s the printable:

Print

Grandma's Cucumber Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Ingredients:

  • 2 english cucumbers
  • 1/4 small onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Peel cucumbers and slice very thin. Place into bowl with onion, bell pepper and garlic.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, stir remaining ingredients together. Pour over veggies and stir. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours {at least!!} to overnight before serving.

Grandma's Cucumber Salad--an easy summer salad recipe that tastes better the longer it sits! Just like Grandma used to make!

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121 Comments

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  1. Thank you for sharing it sounds delicious.

    Reply
  2. if you served this with sour cream it would be MY grandmothers cuke salad.

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    • Without the peppers and with the sour cream it is my Mother-in-Loves recipe.
      It is always a hit.

      Reply
  3. Thanks a lot for the recipe! Sounds absolutely delish! Will be making it soon. One question though so how do I store it, in the fridge

    Reply
  4. Sorry my phone has a mind of its own! Anyhoo so u need to refrigerate it or u can it on the counter? Can we use other veggies like celery n beets? It looks a lot like te fermented veggies so wasnted to know. TIA

    Reply
    • store in frig – it’s best cold. I don’t know about other veggies, sorry.

      Reply
  5. Can’t wait to make it! love recipes with summer veggies

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  6. Thank you for sharing your grandmother’s dear recipe. It looks beautiful in the jar. Next time I make cucumber salad, I will put it in a jar….guess everything looks good in a jar, come to think of it. I got a huge laugh at the dammit doll reference. Thank you for that…I have one!

    Reply
    • I laughed at the dammit doll reference too. I bought one when they first came out. My cousin and I each bought one and laughed until we lost our breath because they were so funny. That was either 1962 or ’63. They went out of style for awhile but when my daughter was in late elementary or junior high, they got popular again. They called them trolls and made fun of me because I called them dammit dolls.

      My parents used to make a similar cucumber salad that I really liked. I still make it occasionally but prefer it with sour cream.

      Reply
  7. Ha ha…meant to say, your dear Grandmother’s recipe…..sorry!

    Reply
  8. This salad is dear to me as well. It proves that some of the most wonderful gifts we’ve received from our parents and grandparents are cheap, insignificant to some and full of love to us.
    Thank you. I will make it today for my too busy daughter to pick up on her way home tonight. It is a special treat to her.

    Reply
  9. I’m not a fan of bell peppers. Do they give it that distinctive flavor or is it just another taste that blends in and makes it better?

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  10. This just like or almost like mine (but I never measure anything either) – I’ve never put garlic in it but will be giving it a try!

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  11. I am also wondering if the green peppers can be omitted I can’t tolerate them very well.

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  12. My dad used to keep a big bowl of this in the fridge during the summer and snack out of it. I think he used to add some red pepper flakes for a little heat too. I never touched it as a child, but have wanted to try it as an adult. And it will be much less daunting with a recipe. Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Do you use white onion, Vidalia onion or yellow? And, ever use cider vinegar instead of white?

    Reply
    • Yellow onion. And you can use apple cider vinegar, it just won’t taste quite the same 🙂 Still good though!

      Reply
      • Lauren…..I have made many cuke recipes. I followed yours to a tee except a smashed a couple of extra cloves of garlic.
        This salad was the best ever cuke salad I’ve ever made. So crunchy, refreshing with just the right bite. I cannot thank you enough for being thoughtful enough to share your Grams recipe with us.

        Thank you, Karen Barry

        Reply
  14. I love old timey, Grandma recipes like this. It seems we can never duplicate them exactly because Grandma always added her loving touch to it. Beautiful post, Lauren.

    Reply
  15. We make a version of this recipe in my family too! Only we use just cucumbers and onions. It’s soooo cute!

    Reply
  16. My mom covered the cucumbers and sliced onions with salt first and let them sit…the cucumbers will them have to be drained. You will have abit of liquid, then add sugar, vinager, and salt & pepper. No green pepper or garlic in ours. Some add sour cream…..not us.

    Reply
  17. My mother is Hungarian and she makes cucumber salad all the time a little different, lots of garlic, and salt. sit the cucumber in water then she squeeze all the liquid out. And sprinkles paprika over the top, sometimes she adds sour cream.

    Reply
  18. This is the exact recipe I have used forever– except mine doesn’t have bell peppers in it. I will have to try that!

    Reply
  19. Ours is similar also, except we add dill weed

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  20. My grandmother measured by handfulls. A hand full of this a hand full of that. She poured liquid in until it looked right. Hard to duplicate that. I do the same when i am cooking. My bicuits neve turn out like hers.

    Reply
  21. My gramdma never wrote her recipie down either, but I think they used the same recipie sans the bell pepper, made it today and I could almost close my eyes and be back in her kitchen. Thanks for restoring the memory!

    Reply
  22. Made it, tasted it, loved it! I’m going to make this a uk classic now

    Reply
  23. My Grandma used to make something like this all the time when she was living … Except she didn’t use water …
    Her’s was: Cucumbers, Onion, Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, and Sour Cream … and Dill if you like …
    LOVED it!!!

    Reply
    • oooh I’m trying this one too! sour cream and dill…my favs!

      Reply
  24. My grandmother made dammit dolls for the church bazaar! After she died and I was going thru her patterns & recipes, I chuckled at all the little slips of paper she had typed the explanation which included, “dammit, dammit, dammit”. She was the cutest little granny and that always cracked me up. We also ate a similar version of refrigerator pickles.

    Reply
  25. Love the sounds of this, and headed to the grocery store soon, does this require pickling salt, or regular table salt?? all I have in the house right now is light sea salt, I am assuming that will not work? thanks for the great, simple, recipes….

    Reply
    • What is light sea salt? I think that or regular table salt is just fine 🙂

      Reply
      • So sorry, I meant to say fine sea salt, Mortons brand, no clue where light came from, think it might have been a senior moment, lol….ok, thanks for the fast reply…

        Reply
  26. I had all the ingredients and a bit of free time this morning so I just stirred it up and put it in the fridge. We’ll have it for dinner this evening. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Reply
  27. I sprinkle the sugar salt n pepper over the onion and cucumbers let it stand for a while. It draws the natural juices out add vinegar no water needed. I have never added garlic but love it. Trying it today! I can’t handle green pepper so I’ll omit it. Thanks Does anyone have a picture of a dammit doll?

    Reply
  28. if you just use onions and peppers it is great as a relish on burgers and sandwiches

    Reply
  29. My grandma made the best cucumber salad – it was very similar to yours but none of us has ever been able to duplicate it. She showed us and showed us and tried to write it down but something was always missing. Her salad dressing was the same. No salad has ever come close. I’m going to try this one and see if it’s close. I sure miss my Grandma. She was an amazing cook!

    Reply
  30. I made and LOVE !!! This cucumber salad…..thanks grandma!!! I used a red pepper because well, that’s what I had, I also used a bag of Persian cucumbers I got from my 99cent store., they worked great. My cucumber plants outside are starting to flower, now when I have too many home grown I know what I’m making…..

    Reply
  31. My mother in law makes this as well (hungraian style) she some times adds paprika to it and even cream and i love it

    Reply
  32. These are the best cucumbers I’ve ever tasted. I shared with my facebook page today. I can’t stop eating them. I eat them for breakfast lunch and dinner, then snack all day. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    Reply
  33. My great-grma & grma made what was called “Bellyache” similar to this. No garlic. Just super tart & crisp. If you ate a lot of it you could end up w/a bellyache.

    Reply
  34. This looks so wonderful! Just one question- what size of jar would you recommend for storage? I’d be making this without the green peppers due to a food allergy. Thanks in advance. =)

    Reply
    • Maybe one quart? Or just do a bunch of smaller jars.

      Reply
  35. This looks so yummy! Pinning to use when my cucumbers grow! Question: can you can this for later use? I’m sure it would give it more of a pickled taste, but I’m thinking that would taste good?

    Reply
  36. How long can you keep this??? I have a lot of cukes …

    Reply
  37. I just made this salad tonight. Sorry to say, but my husband and I both thought there was too much vinegar in it. I added more water and sugar; but still too sharp. Sorry.
    Ginny

    Reply
  38. Am thankful to have many of my dear Mother’s recipes to pass on. It’s like sharing my memories
    with future generations! I will try your grandma’s cuke recipe when I return home as am out of town. Thanks for sharing!
    I have to ask where one can find the measuring cup in the photo – it’s AWESOME!

    Reply
  39. Just wanted to say thanks SO MUCH for sharing this recipe — I’ve been craving a really vinegar-y cucumber salad ever since last week when I saw a girl at work chowing down on some salted cucumber spears. 🙂

    One dip of the finger confirmed it — this is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I’m sure it’ll taste even more amazing once it sits overnight!

    So…thanks a million!

    Reply
  40. Love the sound (and comments) for this recipe. How long does this keep-?? Thanx much-!!

    Reply
    • 2 weeks in the fridge! But it shouldn’t last that long because it’s so tasty 🙂

      Reply
  41. I was unsure about the amount of sugar but decided not to cut back. Added a little extra garlic. Delicious! I’d like to try adding sour cream as others have suggested. Any ideas how to do so?

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  42. Stupid question… are you supposed to drain the salad before serving or eat it as is?

    Reply
    • I just serve it with a slotted spoon!

      Reply
  43. Thank you for this recipe! It is the closest I’ve had to recreating my grandmother’s. Don’t feel bad about giving out the family secret! I gave out my grandmother’s Passover sponge cake that was NEVER to leave the family. If I Haden’s, a great recipe would have been lost forever!

    Reply
  44. so funny – I’m doing thanksgiving this year and want to do my grandma’s recipe for cucumber salad but i don’t remember it. so looked up cucumber salad and found Lauren’s Grandma’s cucumber salad. 🙂

    Enjoy –
    Also Lauren

    Reply
  45. Hi Lauren! Can you tell me what happened to the Ziplist save option on all of these blogs lately. I used to save the majority of the recipes that I like to Ziplist and now I can’t see a save button. Thanks so much!!

    Reply
    • Ziplist shut down!! Totally sucks, right? It was a good service.

      Reply
  46. What would happen if you omitted the salt or at least cut it in half, we need to be on a low sodium diet in our home.

    Reply
    • Give it a try and see how you like the taste!

      Reply
  47. I love this recipe my Mom & Grandma made this all the time in the summer time. Sometimes if the mood hit them they would add sour cream. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. Brought me back to so many good memories 🙂
    .

    Reply
  48. This sounds so yummy!! Can’t wait to make it 🙂 Any chance you know the nutritional values for this? Thank you so much for sharing your Gramma’s recipe 🙂

    Reply
  49. Very much like my mother’s recipe–except she always used cider vinegar, and probably more sugar than this recipe. Yummy! We always had a jar of it in the refrigerator all summer, with the veggies from our garden.

    Reply

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