Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar

Anne Lawton
by Anne Lawton
4 servings
20 min

Cucumbers and onions in vinegar is a refreshing cucumber salad that is quick and easy to make. It’s perfect to bring to your next pot-luck or serve at home as a simple side dish.

Some of the simplest recipes are the best and cucumbers in vinegar is no exception. Crispy cucumber slices and onions are tossed in tangy yet slightly sweet vinegar. It’s a classic summer side dish that can be made in minutes.

This recipe was originally posted in 2017, it’s been updated for content and photos.

Even though this salad reminds me of summer, it tastes great with Swedish Meatballs any time of the year.

Why this Recipe Works

  • It’s a simple recipe filled with a fresh flavor and only seven healthy ingredients.
  • It’s healthy! Cucumbers are low in calories, full of nutrients and water.
  • It’s the perfect recipe to make ahead of time and will keep in your refrigerator for up to a week.
Here is What You Will Need

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This is an overview of the ingredients and instructions that you will need to make this recipe. Scroll down a bit further for ingredient substitutions, and complete cooking instructions without photos which are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.



  • Paring Knife
  • Salad Bowl

Here is How To Make Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar

Step 1. Place the cucumber slices into a bowl with the onions.

Step 2. Stir in the salt and sugar, and allow the cucumbers to sit at room temperature for one hour.

Step 3. At this point, the cucumbers will have released water into the bowl, if not let them sit for 30 minutes longer.

Step 4. Add the chopped dill and vinegar. Adjust the flavor with more water for a less vinegar taste.

Step 5. Toss all of the ingredients together.

Estimated Time To Make This Recipe: 35 to 45 minutes (includes time for cucumbers to sit in the brine)

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

Cucumbers. You can use whatever type of cucumber you prefer. In the summer I use cucumbers from my garden. In the winter, I like the small Kirby or Persian cucumbers, for their delicate flavor and thin skins.

Onions. As with the cucumbers you can use any type of onion that you have. The red onions make a pretty presentation, white or vidalia onions are a good choice too for their sweet flavor.

Coconut Sugar. I prefer to use natural sweeteners, and you can easily substitute refined or sucanat sugar for coconut sugar.

Sea Salt can be replaced with table salt or kosher salt.

Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is my vinegar of choice in this recipe, but you can also use white wine, red wine or champagne vinegar.

Serving Suggestions

Cucumbers and onions in vinegar taste great as a side dish with a burger, grilled chicken, beef, pork, seafood or Swedish meatballs

Storing Leftovers

Store leftover cucumber salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Recipe Variations

Change up the Cucumbers and replace them with thinly sliced zucchini or a combination of both.

Change up the Herbs and use any combination of chopped fresh mint, basil or oregano.

Cucumber Salad Questions Answered

Here are the most commonly asked questions about cucumbers and onions in vinegar. If your question isn’t answered below, leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Why are the cucumbers soaked in salt and sugar?

The cucumbers are soaked in salt and sugar brine to draw the water out of the cucumber slices. The water also dilutes the vinegar taste, and more water can be added if the vinegar is too strong.

Do I have to peel the cucumbers before making this salad?

It’s okay to not peel the cucumbers when the skin is thin as is the skin is on baby, Persian or English cucumbers. If the skin is thick and tastes bitter it’s best to peel the cucumbers.

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Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 20 min
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  • 3  medium cucumbers
  • 1 medium onion
  • ¾ tablespoon sea salt
  • ¾  tablespoon coconut sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • pepper to taste

With a sharp knife or mandolin, slice the cucumbers and onions very thin
Place the onions and cucumbers into a bowl; sprinkle with sea salt and sugar and mix well.
Set the mixture aside for at least one hour to allow the cucumbers to release water
Add the vinegar and dill; stir – adjust the salad with salt, pepper and sugar and water to taste
  • Ingredient notes:
  • Cucumbers - any type of cucumber can be used in this recipe. If they are thin skinned cucumbers they do not need to be peeled.
  • Onions - Red, white, yellow or vidalia onions are the best onions for this salad.
  • Sea Salt - can be replaced with an equal amount of kosher salt or table salt.
  • Coconut Sugar- can be replaced with an equal amount of sucanant sugar or refined sugar.
  • Vinegar - Apple cider, white, red or champagne vinegar are good choices.
Anne Lawton
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  • Helena Brus Helena Brus on Jun 24, 2021

    How do you measure 3/4 of a tablespoon, which contains 3 teaspoons?

    • Anne Lawton Anne Lawton on Jun 25, 2021

      Thank you for your comment, that should be 1 tablespoon, I apologize. I will fix that in the recipe.

  • Woh26341030 Woh26341030 on Jun 25, 2021

    I remember my mother making this salad over 60years ago.

    I still love it and make it with very fond memories ❤️