Easy Cucumbers and Onions with Vinegar + Video

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Cucumbers and Onions make a delicious side dish when drenched in a tangy and sweet vinegar dressing. A Southern favorite, this easy summer salad will knock your socks off. Make it for picnics and potlucks!

titled: Cucumber Onion Salad with Vinegar


Cucumbers and Onions

Slightly sweet and ultra tangy with plenty of crunch, this fresh salad is everything you want on a hot day!

It takes a bit of planning ahead — you really want to make it the night before — but it lasts for up to two weeks in the fridge after that.

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy fresh cucumbers. I know I’ve shared several with you in the past.

Whether paired with tomatoes in lemon poppyseed dressing or tossed with juicy watermelon and feta cheese, it’s easy to make a fresh salad that is perfect for summer potlucks and more!

Recipe Video

To see us make salad with cucumbers and onions, watch the video in this post!

slicing two english cucumbers, one peeled and one unpeeled

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • English Cucumbers – These have thin skins and delicate seeds, making them perfect for salads.

    Any seedless cucumber variety will work, or use thinly sliced zucchini in the summertime!
  • Red Onion – The only onion I recommend eating raw!

    It’s a bit sweeter than yellow onions and doesn’t have the same sharp bite as white onions, though sweet Vidalia onions are a good swap.

    If you’re extra sensitive, soak the slices in water for a little bit, then rinse with clean water.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Plenty of tart flavor and acidity but mellower than white vinegar, this is my first choice for cucumber onion vinegar salad

    Rice vinegar is a bit sweeter and not quite so tart, and you can also use white balsamic vinegar if you prefer.

    As a note, using a darker variety like red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar may discolor the cucumbers.
  • Sugar – Use a couple of tablespoons to cut through the bite of the vinegar! You can certainly leave it out if you want to.

    Or, you can try an alternative sweetener like stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol if you want to watch your sugar content.
  • Fresh Dill – Subtly sweet with grassy undertones and a fresh citrus-like taste, it’s an easy way to round out the flavors in this cucumber and onion recipe.

    Fennel or tarragon leaves are most similar, or used a pinch of dried dill instead.
slicing red onion with bowl of cucumber slices in background

Tips and Tricks for Soaking Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar

  • Decide whether you want the peel on or off — or a bit of both!

I like to peel one and leave the skin on the other for different textures, but you can leave both unpeeled if you’d like.

Or, run a fork down the sides for more visual interest!

  • Salt before tossing cucumbers in vinegar dressing.

This extra step is really important to get the best consistency for cucumbers and onions salad.

Salting draws excess liquid out of the slices, keeping the final dish crispy and not soggy.

Plan ahead, because you’ll want to let them sit for about 2 hours in the fridge. No need to rinse — toss cucumbers and onion in vinegar dressing right in the same bowl!

  • Don’t cook the dressing for too long.

Warm over medium heat just until the sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. It’s fine if it comes to a light simmer, but don’t let it boil.

Then, pour over sliced cucumbers and onions right away so the sugar crystals don’t resolidify. Everything will cool down in the refrigerator overnight.

whisking vinegar dressing in pot

Prep Ahead

  • Salt and chill cucumber slices
  • Chop fresh dill
  • Slice red onion

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Mandoline – This is the easiest way to ensure that each cucumber slice will be uniform and as thin as possible. If you don’t have one, a large Sharp Knife will do the job!
  • Cutting Board – A big solid cutting board makes prepping a breeze. I use mine daily, so it’s worth the investment to get a good quality one.
  • A Small Saucepan is the perfect size for making dressings, sauces, or individual servings of oatmeal!
  • Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all. And because they’re clear, they double as serving bowls!
pouring vinegar dressing over cucumbers and onions

Serving Suggestions

This cucumber and onion recipe makes a refreshing side dish to any meal, though I’ve been known to snack on it by itself!

It’s particularly tasty with a spicy main dish such as Bang Bang Shrimp or this Spicy Buffalo Chicken Burger.

Or, serve tangy cucumbers and onions with my famous Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Wings!

Storing Leftover Cucumbers in Vinegar

You can keep cucumbers and onions in vinegar dressing in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

The longer you store this salad, the more of a pickled taste the cucumbers will have. Of course, it never lasts that long in my house!

Cucumber Onion Vinegar Salad FAQ

Do you need to peel English cucumbers?

The skin of English cucumbers is thin enough that there’s no need to peel them. Plus, the peel is loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients and is a wonderful source of dietary fiber!

However, you can certainly peel them for this cucumber onion vinegar salad if you would prefer.

Can I make this cucumber and onion ahead of time?

Sure! For maximum crunch, store the veggies and dressing separately in the refrigerator.

You’ll still want to salt the cucumber and keep the onions in their own container as well.

The vinegar dressing will keep for 4-5 days in a sealed jar. Just give it a good shake before tossing with the sliced veggies.

What else can I add to cucumbers in vinegar?

Make this salad your own by adjusting the seasonings or adding extra ingredients!

Add some minced garlic or red pepper flakes to the dressing or switch up the flavor by replacing the dill with mint or basil.

Red or yellow bell peppers add a sweet layer and another splash of color while keeping things savory. Or, really sweeten the bowl with diced apples!

Crispy bacon pieces make just about everything better, as does crumbled feta or goat cheese. And who can say no to crunchy croutons?

forkful of cucumber onion vinegar salad

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fork next to clear bowl of cucumbers and onions in vinegar dressing

cucumber onion salad with vinegar

Easy Cucumbers and Onions with Vinegar + Video

Donna Elick
Cucumbers and Onions with a tangy sweet vinegar dressing is a refreshing side dish. Make this simple salad recipe for picnics and potlucks!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Method Mixed
Servings 6


  • 2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced


  • Place cucumbers in serving dish. Sprinkle with salt. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Pour off the liquid (do not rinse).
  • Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, sugar and dill in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat just until sugar is dissolved. Add onion to cucumbers. Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers and onion. Toss to combine.
  • Refrigerate over night.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Donna’s Notes

I like to peel one cucumber for different textures.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 38cal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 585mg | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): cucumber onion salad with vinegar

Originally published June 2016, updated and republished March 2024

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  1. Don't know if these salad recipes are new or an older posting, but I don't like how you changed the way to save these for later use. I don't like to save the whole page, only the recipe. Waste too much space on the hard drive. Give us a choice. D

  2. Dee, if I may reply to your post…..just highlight the actual recipe or what parts of the post you want to save ….then click on copy and go to Microsoft Word or what ever program you have and click paste.

    This should help you.

  3. I used the dill and it was good. The next salad I used I eliminated the dill and used whole cloves. Four to be exact. I liked both.

    1. I make a similar version of this recipe (just slightly less vinegar) and I did not have any dill last time I made it so I substituted fresh spearmint. Very refreshing and my husband raved about it!!

  4. Could this be made in mason jars and stored in the fridge or are they meant to be eaten as soon as they’re done marinating overnight?

    1. I usually keep in a covered glass bowl for 4 or 5 days and they keep fine. My only caution – red onion will "fade" into the liquid, turning it pink. Red onion looks pretty in this recipe, but unless I think the cucumbers will be eaten entirely in one meal, I usually use yellow or white onions. The pink liquid is not real appetizing.

  5. I love cucumber salad. It's a delicious recipe that's been around a long time and never gets old. Yummy!

  6. Hello! I've been following your blog for a long time now and finally got the courage
    to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx!
    Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

  7. I'm a bit confused here. First you talk about using a mandoline slicer to make paper thin slices but then the photo shows the cucumbers slices way thicker than that. How thick is best?

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