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Light and Easy Cucumber Salad

Cucumber and Onion Salad is a simple, classic recipe of sliced cucumbers and onions in vinegar. The cucumbers are crisp and tangy with a touch of sweetness—perfect for a snack or simple side dish.

Cucumber salad in a serving bowl.

If you want a cool, refreshing summer salad for your next picnic, you will love this recipe for old-fashioned cucumbers and onions in vinegar. It’s so simple and so easy and keeps for several days in the refrigerator.

I love a great make-ahead dish!

Did you know cucumbers are a nutritious and low-calorie vegetable choice? That’s what I love about summer–so many healthy and fresh options!

We usually have a bowl of this cucumber onion salad in the refrigerator all summer. You can easily add to it as the week goes on by dropping a few more cucumber slices in the vinegar.

Tools for the Cucumber Salad Recipe

You could use a mandoline for this recipe if you want to get super-thin cucumber slices or just slice the cucumbers with a knife. I like the cucumber slices to be about a 1/4-inch thick, so a knife works just fine.

Cucumber Salad Recipe Ingredients

Since this salad consists of cucumbers and onions in vinegar, that’s almost all you need to make it. Sprinkle in some celery seeds, a little sugar, and a little salt and pepper and that’s it!

  • Cucumbers
  • Onion
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Celery Seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Cucumbers and onions on a table with a bowl and knife.

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How to Make Cucumber Salad – Step by Step

Step 1.

Slice some cucumbers and onions into a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cucumbers and onions sliced in a bowl for cucumber salad.

Step 2.

Then combine vinegar, water, sugar, celery seeds, salt, and pepper in a saucepan and cook just until sugar dissolves but not to the point of boiling.

Vinegar in a pot with celery seeds.

Step 3.

Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and onions.

Pouring vinegar over cucumbers and onions.

Step 4.

Cool the cucumbers and onions until they are cool as a cucumber (I couldn’t resist that, sorry) and then refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Cucumber and Onion Salad is best when the cucumbers and onions get cold and a little crispy.

Old-fashioned cucumbers and onions in vinegar in a bowl.

How to Store Old-fashioned Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar

The Cucumber Salad will keep in the refrigerator for several days. I use an airtight container so my whole fridge doesn’t smell like vinegar.

Are you looking for a cucumber salad recipe with sour cream? Try this one for Creamy Cucumber Salad from my friend Stacey at

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Cucumber salad in a serving bowl.

Cucumber and Onion Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Cucumber and Onion Salad is a simple, classic Southern recipe of just sliced cucumbers and onions in vinegar with a hint of sugar.


  • 3 cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup vinegar (white or apple cider)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Place cucumbers and onions in a bowl and sprinkle a little salt over them.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and cook until just hot, not boiling.
  3. Pour over the cucumbers and onions. Cool, then cover and refrigerate.


Keeps in refrigerator for several days and is better the second or third day.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65Sodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 1g

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Update Notes: This post was originally published June 14, 2013, and on May 14, 2019, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

This post is part of my favorite Southern Foods at Home collection.

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