salt and vinegar cucumbers
Side Dishes

Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers


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Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers start with firm, fresh slicing cucumbers. My absolute favorite is an English cucumber which is sometimes called a “burpless” cucumber. However, almost any good “cuke” will work!

Cucumbers Have Been Cultivated For Centuries

These glossy green cylinders were first cultivated over 3000 years ago in India and then spread in Europe and beyond. Not long after the Pilgrims arrived on our shores, cucumbers followed. Folks were growing them in America as early as the 1500s. They are among the most popular items at the farmers market. Surprisingly are classified as a fruit, not a vegetable. Cucumbers provide a pleasing crunchy texture any way they are prepared.

As a kid, I remember eating salty, crisp, refreshing cucumbers made this way at all the summer gatherings of the Danish side of my family. They are a cousin to pickles but are simply stored in the refrigerator where they happily keep for two or three weeks. There are several variations of this recipe but this simple, fat- free version has become the one we make.

Everyone Needs A Great Local Grower

When I want to make a batch of salt and vinegar cucumbers, Andy’s my guy. He’s raised fresh produce since he was a teenager. It all started with a school project in his home town of Funk, Nebraska. (Not kidding.) Today, Andy Erickson and his wife Megan have a full-fledged store right here in my town that’s open May to December. It’s even become a tourist destination! Love it!!

Thanks to massive greenhouses on their farm, I can buy cucumbers, peppers, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, splendid greens, cauliflower and (best of all!) fresh green beans in May!! I mean just-picked fresh! Vegetable heaven fresh. Make my granddaughters giddy good.

fresh picked cucumbers

See the picture showing cucumbers with blossoms still attached? That’s how perfect the cucumbers are right now. And that’s why I’m an addict and and two-or-three-day-a-week customer! A vegaholic! I hope you have an Andy near you!!

Back to the cucumbers! First, cut of the ends and peel them!

Then slice ’em thin.

When I make a big batch, I use my food processor. If just for Papa and me, I grab my good old piggy cutting board and my chef’s knife.

Next, add some sweet onion, sliced paper thin, almost see-through!

Add salt and pepper. Stir it up, let it sit awhile while the salt draws out the juices.

Layer the cucumber-onion-cucumber-onion in a glass bowl, salting as you go. Glass is best because of the acidic vinegar you’ll be adding. The cucumber slices will shrink but stay crisp and crunchy.

Next, add sugar, vinegar, pepper, then stir and refrigerate, that’s it!

You can easily add more sugar, salt or vinegar until it tastes just right to you once you’re ready to serve them. They keep a week or more in the fridge and you can add more sliced cucumbers to the briny liquid if you end up with a cucumber-less bowl.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers

salt and vinegar cucumbers
Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 3 Long slender cucumbers
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2 Tbsp salt, you can start with less
  • 2-3 Tbsp sugar, or to taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp white vinegar, or to taste
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper, or to taste


  1. Peel and slice cucumbers thin. Peel and slice onion paper-thin. Layer cucumber and onions in a glass bowl, salting each layer as you go.
  2. Let the cucumber-onion-salt mixture sit while the salt draws the moisture out of the cucumbers. Do not drain. Add sugar, pepper, and vinegar and stir well. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or more.
  3. If needed, add more salt, vinegar, or sugar until you are happy with the way it tastes.
  4. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Can add more cucumbers to the brine. Keeps a week or more in the fridge.

These girls? They eat them by the bowlful and call them “cukies.”

Those girls are our grandaughters Breck, Baylie, and Julia. We’re raising them to love their veggies! GB’s cukies just scream summer! And, this version has no oil and only about 25 carbs in an entire batch. The crunchy texture and pop of flavor make it a great low-calorie side dish.

How about you? What are some of your summertime favorites?

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  1. 3 stars
    I think the recipe may need an adjustment. It says 3 Tbsp of salt but maybe needs to be 3 tsp? I even had my co-worker check that I didn’t misread the recipe at 3 Tbsp. I followed the recipe to the T and as a salt lover, this is too salty. I added more cucumber and even water to blend it out. Will try again with only 3 tsp next time to see if this yields better results.

    • gbskitchen

      So sorry! You can also drain off the brine and add water but by all means, start with 3 tsp and if you need to add more, it’s easier to add than subtract!! The salt works to draw the liquid out of the cukes. And of course, it also depends on the size of the cucumber! Mine were HUGE for my large batch! Good luck and thanks for making me think!!

  2. Ronald De Champlain

    4 stars
    Followed recipe using Visalia onion and 3 tsp salt. Delicious,like my grandmother used to make.

    • gbskitchen


      so glad you like!!

      • I made this recipe twice. Once with an English cucumber and then with a garden cucumber.
        I was very disappointed as after the 2 hours in the fridge the cukes were completely soggy. No snap whatsoever to them.
        Same thing as with the garden cucumber. I cannot see these lasting a week in the fridge.

        • I was away from home for a few days without access to a computer so I emailed you directly but it didn’t go through.

          First of all, I’m genuinely sad you are disappointed in the cucumbers.

          I wish you lived next door so I could come and see and taste.

          My first thought is the amount of salt may have been too much for a single cucumber. Salt draws the liquid out of it and the moisture level varies in cukes.

          I also wonder how thin you sliced them.

          When cucumbers are made like this, they aren’t as crunchy as the fresh cucumber, but they should have some.

          Darn it, I hate this. If you dare to try it again I’d start by reducing the salt and maybe slice them a wee bit thicker. Let me know!

  3. Joyce Beacker

    Always prefer to drain mine first a little to get some salt off. But this is a perfect recipe..

  4. M Dwileski

    5 stars
    The recipe above actually calls for 2 Tbsp of salt, not 3. However, that is still too much salt. 2 Tsp at the most, maybe less.

    • gbskitchen

      Adjust the salt to taste. We use quite a bit- The salt mostly draws the water out of the cucumbers and onions forming a brine which you really don’t eat. We serve with a slotted spoon and often reuse the brine adding more cucumbers and onions.

  5. Patty Jean

    This recipe was my kitchen duty growing up. After the salt rested with the cukes in the frig I had to squeeze out most of the salt then add then add the sugar, vinegar and return to the frig to marinade. Still make it for my family!

    • gbskitchen

      It’s an old fashioned one alright! My dad from Denmark grew up on it there too and he would have been 98 years old last month! Did you ever make the version with mayonnaise and a little dill? That’s how my mother-in-law’s family used to make it.

  6. My mom would mix sour cream and vinegar to a fairly thin consistency. Add salt and pepper and thinly sliced cucumbers. Absolutely delicious! Also cucumbers and onions thinly sliced with 2 parts vinegar and one part water with plenty of salt and pepper. I enjoy adding some lemon pepper.

  7. Pingback: Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers ~ Faith And Family Fun Magazine

  8. I use rice wine vinegar and add dried dill weed in each layer with the salt and pepper. It’s a favorite in our house too!

    • gbskitchen

      I’ll do that with my next batch! Great idea, thank you! Cucumber and dill is a match made in heaven!

  9. Cucumber is a fruit so that is why they classify it as one. If it has seeds, it is a fruit; no seeds, a vegetable!! Then you said it is a cousin to the pickle, also not true! Is is a pickle after being pickled with pickling spices!!

    • gbskitchen

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! Salt and vinegar cucumbers are a cousin to pickles because of the salt and vinegar. Cucumbers themselves are not a pickle! You are right, they must be pickled to be a pickle! 😉 Cucumbers do have seeds in the center but are still classified as a fruit. I didn’t invent the classifications but I think it’s fun to learn how anything from the garden is classified! Just having some fun with words! I guess I got in a pickle without any spices! 😂🤣

  10. Second time I made these and I must say they are SOOO Good. I did not add additional salt after salting the cukes/onions. Delicious. Thank you!

    • gbskitchen

      Thank you! I just took a huge bowl to the lake on Monday where our grandaughters and their friends devoured them! We love them!The kids call them “cukies.”

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