Creamy German Cucumber Salad – Gurkensalat

My Creamy Cucumber Salad (also known as German Cucumber Salad or Gurkensalat) is full of crisp, crunchy cucumbers, tangy vinegar, spicy garlic, and smooth sour cream. It’s a perfectly light and refreshing side dish for any meal.

We serve Gurkensalat with all of our favorite German meals, like Chicken Schnitzel, Bratwurst, Pork Roast, and Chicken Paprikash. Give it a try and I know you’ll love it just as much as we do!

Gurkensalat (cucumber salad) in a large serving bowl with two spoons.
Table of Contents
  1. Oma’s Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe
  2. How Do You Drain Water From Cucumbers?
  3. How To Make Creamy Cucumber Salad
  4. Variations
  5. Storing Leftovers
  6. Expert Tips
  7. More Recipes with Cucumbers
  8. Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe

Oma’s Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe

My Oma’s creamy and refreshing German Cucumber Salad is a simple recipe that I grew up eating, and now my kids enjoy as well.

As with lots of family recipes, this creamy cucumber salad recipe has been tweaked here and there for over 50 years. It sticks fairly close to the traditional Gurkensalat you’d find in southern Germany where we are from but has been simplified over the years. It’s still made with simple, fresh ingredients that are common in many households.

Some recipes add onions or herbs, which you can certainly do. We like to keep the ingredients for our cucumber salad simple with just cucumbers, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and sour cream.

Thinly sliced cucumbers in dressing being served with salad tongs into a small white bowl.

How Do You Drain Water From Cucumbers?

Cucumbers naturally contain a lot of water, which can make salads watery. To combat this, you’ll need to drain and dry the sliced cucumbers.

Place the thinly sliced cucumbers in a colander and place the colander over a mixing bowl. Salt the cucumbers and stir to make sure the salt is well distributed. Let them drain for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, then press gently with a paper towel to extract as much liquid as possible into the bowl.

Line a flat surface (cutting board, baking sheet) with paper towels and lay out the cucumbers. Pat them dry with paper towels, then mix with the dressing.

How To Make Creamy Cucumber Salad

Get a detailed list of ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Combine the sour cream, vinegar, garlic, and sugar in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to mix up the salad.
  2. Slice the cucumbers nice and thin. I recommend using a mandolin if you’ve got one. Traditionally the cucumbers are sliced paper thin, but I like them to have a little bit of crunch so I make them just slightly thicker than that.
  3. Follow directions to drain the cucumbers, then transfer to the mixing bowl with the dressing, mixing gently to evenly distribute. Sprinkle the paprika and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Ingredients for German cucumber salad.
Cucumber resting on a madolin with sliced cucumbers below in a bowl.
Cucumbers in a white bowl mixed with sour cream dressing.

Variations

  • Onions – I think the original salad had thinly sliced red onions in it, and you can add some if you like. We prefer the garlic to be the main flavor.
  • Fresh herbs – Things like fresh dill or chives can elevate your salad even more.
  • Garlic – Feel free to increase the amount of garlic. I included 1 clove in the recipe, but truth be told, the heart decides how much garlic belongs in this recipe.
  • Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is preferred but you could substitute white vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • Greek Yogurt – Feel free to swap in plain greek yogurt for the sour cream.

Storing Leftovers

Leftover salad will keep in the fridge for up to 1-2 days. Keep in mind that the dressing will thin out as it sits, as the cucumbers will continue to release their juices. Cover tightly before refrigerating.

Creamy cucumber salad in small bowls and a large bowl.
  • Do you have to peel the cucumbers? It’s a personal preference. English cucumbers don’t need to peeled but the regular cucumbers should be.
  • Make the salad ahead of time so the flavors have time to blend together. Let it sit overnight if you can. It will taste great if eaten immediately, but after sitting for a few hours the flavors have time to blend and mature and you’ll get a nice kick of heat from the garlic and tang from the vinegar.
A bowl of cucumber salad (Gurkensalat).

More Recipes with Cucumbers

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Creamy Cucumber Salad

My Oma’s Creamy Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) is full of crisp, crunchy cucumbers, tangy vinegar and spicy garlic, all coated in smooth sour cream. It’s a perfectly refreshing side dish for spring and summer.
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine German
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 85kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 English cucumbers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground paprika optional

Instructions
 

  • Combine the sour cream, vinegar, garlic and sugar in a medium sized bowl and cover tightly. Refrigerate while you drain the cucumbers or for up to 24 hours.
  • Peel (optional) and slice cucumbers very thin (a mandolin is great for this).
  • Place the thinly sliced cucumbers in a colander and place the colander over a mixing bowl. Salt the cucumbers and stir to make sure the salt is well distributed. Let them drain for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, then press gently with a paper towel to extract as much liquid as possible into the bowl.
  • Remove the dressing from the refrigerator and add the cucumbers, stirring gently to evenly coat. The dressing may get a little thinner as it sits because the cucumbers will continue to release their juices even after they were drained.
  • Sprinkle some paprika on top for color, if desired. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Notes

Leftover salad will keep in the fridge for up to 1-2 days. Keep in mind that the dressing will thin out as it sits, as the cucumbers will continue to release their juices. Cover tightly before refrigerating.

Nutrition

Calories: 85kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 207mgPotassium: 317mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 323IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 1mg
Keyword creamy cucumber salad, gurkensalat

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. I cannot hv the salt so is it possible to make this creamy cucumber salad without the salt step? 🤔
    Thank you

    1. Hi Sharon, The salt is what pulls the moisture from the cucumbers. Without it, the cucumbers give off a ton of liquid. You could maybe try a salt substitute but I’m not sure how well that would work. That said, you could certainly make the recipe without salt. Maybe just let the cucumber sit out for a while to dry out.

  2. both my grandparents are 1st generation Hungarians. So I am 1/2 Hungarian born around the very early 1960. I remember so many things we ate. There was a summer seasoned bacon slab heated on a open fire till it sweated then it was pressed onto a very think piece of shepherds bread with sweet onions on it and some seasoning. Salt for sure. Then eat with beer for adults. Took a very long time to eat one.
    Like your recipes, see things I have not had since childhood. The walnut cookies were made with prunes and walnuts. Cucumber salad was just thin onions and cucumbers and salt keep cold then squeezed out the liquid. Then add water sone sugar and apple cider vinegar to taste. Paprika for color. Pot cooked stuffed cabbage. Real chicken soup. homemade noodles. I could go on.

  3. It tasty and suitable with weather where i am living. And simple to make it. Thank for your sharing!

  4. use a mandolin or even a vegetable peeler and make healthy noodles out of it! Stay tuned for a recipe!