German Cucumber Salad

I first encountered cucumber salad at this little German restaurant in Huntsville, AL called Ole Heidelburg Cafe. I had the option of a house salad or cucumber salad and everyone I was with said to go with the cucumber salad, so I did. It was absolutely delicious. Here’s my version of German cucumber salad.

You may notice that my recipe calls for either sour cream or yogurt. I use yogurt because I tend to have it around the house more often and because it adds some extra protein. However, traditional cucumber salad is made with sour cream. I’ve also included raw onions in my cucumber salad (which is what makes it “German”), but if you don’t like raw onions, just leave them out.

German Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

German Cucumber Salad


  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 medium to large tomato
  • 2 slices onion (slice like you would for onion rings)
  • 2-4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp dill
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Peel and slice your cucumber, slice your tomato, and slice your onion. I like to slice, then quarter the onion because its easier to eat.
  2. In a bowl, combine dill and salt.
  3. Add sour cream or yogurt and lemon juice to taste. Mix well.
  4. Add onion, cucumber, and tomato to the mixture and stir until the veggies are coated with the dressing.

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71 Replies to “German Cucumber Salad”

      • This came across my facebook in time to pass along to a friend for a day at school!

    • Definitely going to make it this way for a change. Love the Germans cucumber salad. Our recipe only has the cucumber. Can’t wait to try it with the tomatoes added. Thank you.

  1. Happy to find your blog this morning on Chef in Trainings party. About 2 years ago we had an opportunity to move to Geneva but it didn’t work out. I love that I can read about it on your blog. I just love a German Cucumber Salad. It’s perfect for the summer.

    • Thanks Christie. That’s too bad that you guys weren’t able to make the move. We are loving Geneva and having a great experience living abroad. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Just so happened to stumble upon this recipe today from pintrest. Imagine my surprise in learning that the inspiration for your recipe is for one of my favorite dishes at my go-to german restaurant in my town!:) That sure doesn’t happen often! I love this salad this way too, in fact, I made a version of it earlier this week for a work picnic, but instead of leaving the onions in pieces, I actually grated them into the yougurt sauce with a zester. Made every bite deliciously tangy! Hope,you are enjoying all your adventures in Geneva!

    • That is crazy that about my inspiration being your favorite German restaurant in town! I love the idea of grating the onion into the yogurt. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I just saw this recipe on Facebook today, 2/20/2014. This looks really delicious. However, I don’t care for the taste of dill. Is there something else that I could use in place of this?

  4. Seems this might be good with cooked potatoes in it. But I am so bad with flavor choices, I just have to follow a recipe.

    • Hi Joy, I think the flavor of the potatoes would be a good combination, but I’m not sure how the texture would work. Since this recipe doesn’t use any cooked ingredients, the soft texture of cooked potatoes might be odd next to the firm cucumber and onion. But, the dill sauce does go really well with baked and boiled potatoes! You can check out my Smoked Salmon with Potatoes and Dill Sauce recipe to get an idea.

  5. I had to save this! It looks so yummy and easy! Those are my two favorite words.

    If only I could figure out how to share it with other! I do not see a share link.

  6. Oh, yum! I have everything but the tomatoes. I’ll have to wait until the weekend to try this, after we pick up some fresh ones from the farmer’s market. Can’t wait to try this, it looks so good and I love dill!

  7. I would use the English cucumbers (they are the longer ones and sometimes called ‘burpless)

  8. I have lived close to Huntsville for the last 32 years and my family has loved Ol Heidelberg since it first opened. It has been in several different locations and even had a second one in Madison for a while as well. The one thing we always get is the cucumber salad. We love it. I will certainly have to try your recipe as well. I have travelled to Geneva a couple of times and really enjoyed it. Switzerland is so beautiful.

  9. Hi!! I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest. It looks like a great recipe and fits in beautifully with the Weight Watchers plan I’m following 🙂 I don’t have cucumber but I DO have zuchinni squash, yellow squash and bell peppers. I’m thinking I’m going to try those veggies. What do you think? Could I just use this recipe as a general veggie dip?

  10. I make this a lot with half light sour cream and half Greek yogurt. I do cut my onions into chunks, not leave as rings….but that’s the way my family likes it!!

  11. Caroline, hi I am from Arab, Alabama and I have eaten at Ole Heidelburg many, many times, but I have never had this salad. I am looking forward to using fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from my garden to make this salad tomorrow. I am so glad I found your blog.

  12. Could chunks of Avocado be used in this cucumber/tomato/dill salad? I am going to try it!! I may used pre-made/boughten gluten free balsamic vinegarette dressing from Panera Bread or a gluten free Vidalia Onion Vinegarette! Yum.

  13. In Germany we slice the cucumber very thin. Nearly every household has a vegetable slicer. Usually 1/25 inch. 🙂
    Onions are optional and tomatos likely uncommon.

    Greetings from a friendly German chef :-))

  14. I love Ol Heidelberg! My kids ate there for the first time two weeks ago. It was.their first experience with german food. They loved the cucumber salad and we love to dip our german bread in the dill sauce. Also, they are now fans of veal cordon bleu and wiener schnitzel!!! I am making the cucumber salad for a family Easter gathering? I cant wait! Thanks for the recipe!

  15. I am wondering if the salt draws out moisture and makes the salad wet. What would happen if you salted the vegetables and let them drain prior to adding the dressing? Thank you for the great idea.

    • Been making this for 50yrs. My recipe calls for salting the cucumbers first, let them rest in the refrigerator for 2hrs then pour the water off. Add the other veggies and sauce. This is a favorite in my family. My grandmother passed this recipe down to me.

  16. When I order the cucumber salad at Old Heidelberg, it didn’t have tomatoes or onions that I recall. Used to get it at Cafe Berlin and also Hildegards. My friend from Germany only uses cucumber with the dill sauce as well.

    • I am so happy to finally have this recipe! I have looked for it for so long! Love it at Old Heidelberg and can’t believe you were here in Huntsville, Alabama. Thank you for this recipe.

  17. I have made this several times but in place of lemon juice I use vinger. There are several, kinds to use to make it even yummier! Thanks for sharing going to try lemon juice now.

  18. Thanks for sharing this recipe with the world, Just can’t wait to try it out. I loves a cucumber Salad in the summer time with fresh grown tomato,and cucumber out of someone garden. Thanks again, I know that I will love it.!!!

  19. This looks like it would be good with cooked shrimp or some cold crab mixed in! Initially I thought the pink was shrimp on pinterest! None the less I will make this. 🙂

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  23. bought all of the ingredients for this and am now pondering if I should make it this afternoon for dinner tonight to let it marinate or if it is meant to be put together and served immediately. Hmmmm.

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  25. Hi there! Your recipe looks great! I’m going to an Oktoberfest this weekend (actually – 2 of them) and I’m wondering if I can double or even triple the recipe? Just wanted to ask because sometimes when you double or triple, it doesn’t taste quite the same. Thanks! 🙂

  26. Caroline, I’m from Zinzinnati (Cincinnati), Ohio. Please note the German spelling. I’ve been making a version of this all my life. I guess my Mom got it from her Mother-in law. I like my Cucumbers on the thin side and don’t always add the tomatoes.
    It is a very good winter salad when Lettuce isn’t at its best.

  27. I was taught to soak the cucumbers slices in salt water for several hours. It takes out any bitterness

  28. I grew up with something very similar..however my mom insisted that the slices of cucumber needed to be soaked in salt water first..for at least 15 minutes..and then squeezed dry by hand before adding dressing. She said it took out the bitterness.

  29. I just found this today! And happen to have a cucumber in need of a purpose. Thank you for this. It will complement dinner nicely and become part of our lives. I have tried and true vinegar based cucumber salads and have long wanted a creamier one!

  30. Fact……cucumbers are very high in natural collagen…… good for you hair skin & nails…….hummm,maybe this is why all the Swiss women are so beautiful 🙂 Thank you for the recipe. Add chopped avocado perhaps ?

  31. This looks very tasty. I would only say that the ubiquitous cucumber salad in German restaurants never has the cucumbers cut this thin. They are paper-thin, from a mandoline, so that every bit of cucumber has some sauce on it.

  32. I’m from Huntsville Al and often eat at Ole Heidelburg. I love their food and especially their slaws and salads. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see your recipe for cucumber salad. I’ll be using your recipe to make German Cucumber Salad tonight. Thanks for taking the time to post the recipe.

  33. If making a larger amount or if not eaten soon after prep, I slice, salt and drain the cucumber in a colander so the dressing doesn’t get too watery. Delicious!

  34. I’ve lived in Germany for over 15 years and have yet to come across cucumbers served this way but then again I have yet to see German Chocolate Cake or German Potato Salad. My German wife has had the later in the states and thinks it is ‘ungeniessbar’ (inedible). On the hand she likes the cucumber salad!

  35. Definitely going to make it this way for a change. Love the Germans cucumber salad. Our recipe only has the cucumber. Can’t wait to try it with the tomatoes added. Thank you.

  36. hello to you,
    I love this salad too, but it did not originate in Germany. This salad is popular and eaten in all countries of Eastern Europe: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, and, apparently, in Germany too.

  37. I don’t like sour cream and using yogurt seems weird for some reason. I always eat my yogurt with berries of some sort, so that could be why. Anyways, I’m rambling, lol. What can I substitute for that? Thanks.

  38. Fresh dill is the best. It tastes littlebit lemony compared to dried dill. Just cut the dill from tipps to the ´medium stalks. Please cut, don’t chopp.