German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) - Oma's Recipe (2024)

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This tangy and sweet German Cucumber Salad is a delicious side salad that takes only minutes to make.

It's a perfect side dish for many German recipes, such as Schnitzel and Krautfleckerl, and American favorites, such as Taco Casserole and our Lazy Lasagna.

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) - Oma's Recipe (1)

This is the number one salad I grew up with in Germany. It's always been one of my favorite things to eat.

My Oma made this Cucumber Salad whenever I was at her house. I talk a lot about German food, and there are lots of recipes I love to share. But this one is special.

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) - Oma's Recipe (2)

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It brings back all those feel-good childhood memories and how lucky I was to learn so much from Oma. And looking back, it's the recipe that started my love for food and cooking.

What Is Gurkensalat?

Cucumber Salad in German is called Gurkensalat. It's one of the most popular side dishes in Germany. Generally speaking, we have two different kinds of cucumber salad.

The one in this recipe is made with a simple dill dressing, and our creamy Cucumber Salad is made with sour cream.

This is the other German Cucumber Salad - the creamy one!

This is how you pronounce Gurkensalat in German:

Why This German Cucumber Salad Works

TASTE - It is a very refreshing side dish. Once the cucumbers had a chance to absorb the flavors of the dressing, they became soft, almost chewy, and ultra-refreshing.

EASY - Who doesn't love easy and delicious recipes that require only a handful of ingredients? Our traditional German Cucumber Salad fits the bill.

PARTY FAVORITE - Light and refreshing, this German Cucumber Salad is the perfect dish to bring to your next party, potluck, or family gathering. It's easy to double, triple, or even quadruple the recipe.

DIFFERENT - This salad slightly differs from some salads you might be used to. First, you'll notice that there's a lot of dressing. A lot. And that's ok. Unlike other cucumber salads, we don't remove the inside or try to remove the excess water.

At first, the dressing is quite intense, but the excess liquid of the cucumbers creates a deliciously balanced tangy, sweet, and refreshing summer salad. Cucumbers are not very flavorful, but they take on the flavoring of the dressing.


Please use the recipe card below for a detailed, printable ingredient list.

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) - Oma's Recipe (4)

CUCUMBER - You will want to get English cucumbers (sometimes called hothouse cucumbers). Despite their "English" name, they are the seedless cucumbers we use in Germany.

LEMON - Fresh lemon juice is a must (for me). Some recipes use white wine vinegar, but I like fresh lemon best. If you are interested in alternatives, read the next sections below when I go into more detail about substitutions.

Use 1-2 lemons. You'll want to have about a third to a half cup of fresh lemon juice.

OIL - Use your favorite oil. We used to use vegetable oil or sunflower oil at the time, but these days, I mostly use olive oil when making this salad. If you want a more traditional salad, use the other oils I mentioned.

SUGAR - Use regular granulated sugar.

SALT - Adding salt lifts and brightens all of the flavors.

DILL - Fresh, chopped dill is ideal for this easy dill dressing.

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) - Oma's Recipe (5)


VINEGAR. - In Germany, most of the time, we use fresh lemon. But sometimes, we used a German vinegar, Kühne Zitronen Essig. It is a lemon-infused vinegar. Although you'll find it in every German grocery store, I haven't been able to source it in the US.

Some people seem to use Apple Cider Vinegar, and as far as I can remember, this wasn't even a thing growing up. But if that's your personal preference, there is nothing wrong with it.

Because we used fresh lemons, you'll have to make some adjustments. I'd probably start with a ¼ cup of vinegar. If that's not tangy enough, increase it to ⅓ cup.

And if you'll find it too tangy, add more sugar. This is a fool-proof, very forgiving recipe.

You'll have to experiment to find that perfect balance for yourself. Just remember the dressing will taste more intense than what you might be used to from other salads.

FUN FACT: Cucumbers are made up of over 95% of water!

ONION. - I've seen German Cucumber Salad recipes in the US using raw onions, sweet onions, red onions, and sometimes even green onions. And there is nothing wrong with it. If you like onions, add them. But if you want to create an authentic German cucumber salad, skip the onion.

I will say that this applies to the kind of clear-dressing German cucumber salad I am writing about today.

That's how it works with traditional recipes. Regional differences are very common.

How To Make This German Cucumber Salad Recipe

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) - Oma's Recipe (6)
  1. CUCUMBER AND DILL - Peel and slice the cucumbers into thin slices. Mince the fresh dill. Combine sliced cucumbers and the fresh dill in a large group and toss until well combined.
  2. DRESSING - In a small bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, salt, sugar, and juice and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. REST - Allow the salad to rest for 15-30 minutes in the fridge.

Recipe Success Tips

MANDOLINE SLICER - You can use a sharp kitchen knife to slice the peeled cucumber. Or, if you are like me, use a mandoline slicer. I have this adjustable mandoline; it's perfect, and I use it all the time. I use the number 2 setting for cucumbers.

More Easy German Salad Recipes

Tomato Salad

Warm German Potato Salad

Cold German Potato Salad


STORE - Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. You might find that the salad tastes best on the second day.

TIP - When it's time to enjoy the leftover salad, remove it from the fridge about 15-30 minutes before serving. You can also add a dash of salt to liven the flavors.

FREEZE - Don't freeze a cucumber salad.

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More Simple Salad Recipes

TUNA SALAD - This sweet and savory salad is perfect for sandwiches and wraps.

EGG SALAD - Perfectly cooked eggs are tossed in a savory, lightly tangy, creamy dressing.

SHRIMP SALAD - This classic creamy salad can be served as a delicious salad for lunch or dinner or made into a delicious sandwich.

Please take a moment torate our German Cucumber Salad recipebelow!

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Oma's German Cucumber Salad

Oma's sweet and tart German cucumber salad with just 5 ingredients!

Servings: 6 servings

PREP TIME: 5 minutes minutes

Resting 30 minutes minutes

TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes minutes

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  • 2 large cucumbers peel, slice
  • 1-2 whole lemon juiced, about ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup dill fresh, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil alternatively use olive oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil
  • ¼ cup sugar granulated
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Peel and slice the cucumbers. Place cucumber slices into a large bowl and combine with chopped dill.

  • In a small bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, sugar, and salt and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the dressing over cucumbers and combine well.

  • Cover the bowl with a lid of plastic foil and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

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Calories: 64kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 197mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 218IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Author: Maike Corbett

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German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) - Oma's Recipe (2024)


What is German salad made of? ›

German Potato Salad Ingredients

Bacon: Bacon (and its grease) adds tons of meaty flavor to the hearty German potato salad. Onion: An onion, cooked in bacon grease, lends even more complexity and flavor. Vinegar: White vinegar adds tanginess that cuts through the richness from the potatoes and bacon.

How do you keep cucumber salad from getting soggy? ›

The solution: The standard recommendation for ridding watery vegetable such as cucumbers of unwanted moisture is to salt them. The salt draws out the liquid from the vegetable because of the natural tendency of salt water solutions to equalize when mixed together.

What is the history of Gurkensalat? ›

Emergence of Gurkensalat: The specific dish known as Gurkensalat, or cucumber salad, likely developed in Germany and other parts of Central Europe. Cucumber salads gained popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries as a refreshing Side Dish, particularly during the warm summer months.

What is a traditional potato German salad? ›

For German potato salad, sliced potatoes are tossed with bacon, sautéed onions, fresh herbs, and a mustardy white wine dressing. It's a nice change-up from the classic mayonnaise-based version, and you can serve it warm or chilled.

What do Germans eat for vegetables? ›

As far as vegetables go, green beans, broccoli, peas and cabbage are staples at the German dinner table. Vegetables are often boiled, stir fried or come from the oven, to keep them slightly chewy.

Why is my cucumber salad bitter? ›

A cucumber's bitterness is caused by cucurbitacin, a bitter chemical that protects the plant from predators. Usually, cucurbitacin stays in the stem and leaves, but it can work its way into the fruit. A cucumber's bitterness is caused by cucurbitacin, a bitter chemical that protects the plant from predators.

Why is my cucumber salad so runny? ›

When it comes to making the best cucumber salads, I find that unless you take the time to properly salt and drain the cukes, the end product is watery, limp, and less than tasty. This easy extra step makes extra crunchy slices, takes almost no effort at all, but gives a big payout in the crunch department.

How to make cucumbers extra crispy? ›

Just place the slices or chunks in a colander over a bowl or sink. Sprinkle them with a couple of pinches of salt, toss to coat, and let them rest for about 30 minutes. Pat them dry with a paper towel and proceed with the recipe.

What is a cucumber in vinegar called? ›

A pickled cucumber – commonly known as a pickle in the United States and Canada and traditionally a gherkin (/ɡərkɪn/) in Britain, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand – is a usually small or miniature cucumber that has been pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment.

Why is it called Russian salad? ›

Russian salad was originally called Oliver salad based on the Moscow-based Belgian chef who invented it. During the 20th century, the dish spread throughout Europe and adopted the name Russian salad.

What kind of cucumber is best for salads? ›

Long English Cucumber

Long English Cucumbers have a good crunch with thin, delicate skin that's easy to digest. The best part: you don't even need to peel them—just slice 'em up and eat them as the perfect quick snack. This type of Cucumber is great in salads as well as a ton of other things, too!

What is the difference between American and German potato salad? ›

There are two main differences between American and German Potato salads. American potato salad is usually tossed in a mayonnaise-based dressing and served cold. German potato salad is tossed in a vinegar-based dressing and is traditionally served warm (but you can totally serve it cold too! It's still delicious!).

What is German field salad? ›

Field salad (Valerianella locusta), known as feldsalat in German, is used like lettuce in salad. It is also famously known as Rapunzel Lettuce, after the vitamin-rich food that cost a peasant family their only daughter in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

What are the key ingredients in German food? ›

Whilst there are regional variations in food culture, most German recipes focus heavily on bread, potatoes, and meat, especially pork, as well as plenty of greens such as types of cabbage and kale. Cake, coffee, and beer are all highly popular elements of German cuisine too - which will be good news to most!

What lettuce is popular in Germany? ›

One of the most popular salads in Germany is the iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce tastes very fresh for a long time long due to its tight and well-hydrated leaves.

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