This refreshing, simple German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) is straight from my German Oma’s kitchen. It takes just 5 minutes to make and is the perfect side dish for an almost unlimited number of recipes such as Schnitzel, Frikadellen, or even Krautfleckerl.
The key to perfecting this recipe is learning how to strike the right balance between sweet and tart.
Ingredients for the German Cucumber Salad
- Cucumber (one, preferably English cucumber)
- Granulated Salt
- fresh Dill (optional)
Finding the Right Balance
German cucumber salad is one of my German grandmother’s (Oma) staple side dishes.
It’s fair to say that she’s perfected this salad. And I’ll be the first one to admit, my version is not nearly as good as hers.
The one thing about grandma is that she rarely measured things. And that’s how she taught me to cook as well. Thanks to her I’m able to trust my tastebuds when I am creating new recipes.
But in order to share this recipe I’ve measured and adjusted it. And I think that the measurements are pretty close to the original.
How To Make Cucumber Salad
- Peel the cucumbers and slice into very thin pieces. Use a mandoline, slicer, or sharp knife. The goal is to cut the fresh cucumber into very thin slices.
- Transfer sliced cucumbers into a medium-sized bowl and add salt, sugar, and lemon juice. Add fresh dill.
- Allow the salad to rest for 15-20 minutes in the fridge.
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Finding the right level of tartness to sweetness is key to making this salad a success.
At this point, I should add that sometimes my Oma didn’t use fresh lemons. She loved Kühne Zitronen Essig (lemon vinegar) as a substitute. But thus far I haven’t had any luck finding it in the US.
If you’ve sourced it in the United States, I’d love to hear from you so we can share the information in the comments.
What to serve with German Cucumber Salad?
The beauty of this simple salad is that it’s a great side dish for a lot of dishes.
And if you grew up in Germany in the 1980s, you know that this salad is perfect with a hard-boiled egg and boiled potatoes!
Different types of German Cucumber Salad
There are a few different versions of German Cucumber Salad. When you first hear the words ‘German cucumber salad’ you might think of creamy cucumber salad. And it’s true the creamy versions of cucumber salads are very popular, too.
But I love this version because we’re using the minimum of ingredients to bring all the flavors to light. The water in the cucumbers absorbs the salt and dilutes the lemon.
More Simple Salad Recipes You’ll Love
Oma’s German Cucumber Salad
- Peel the cucumber and cut into very thin slices. Put cucumber slices into a medium-large bowl.
- Juice the lemon. Add lemon juice, sugar, and salt to the cucumbers and combine well. Add chopped dill.
- Cover the bowl with a lid of plastic foil and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy.