This refreshing creamy cucumber salad recipe has been making an appearance on our dinner table for as long as I can remember. Hungarian cucumber salad with sour cream is a versatile side that pairs well with just about any main dish!
Creamy Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream
Let me introduce you to what may be my all-time favorite simple side dish — Hungarian cucumber salad! This light and creamy cucumber salad with sour cream has been making an appearance for family gatherings, holidays, potlucks/cookouts, and summer parties (and on our dinner table for absolutely no special reason at all) for as long as I can remember…
What makes this easy cucumber salad recipe so special? It’s hard to put a finger on just ONE thing…
✔ A tangy sour cream dressing perfectly complements the cool and crisp cucumbers and onions.
✔ Then the creamy sour cream cucumbers combo gets deliciously frothy and foamy when whisked together.
✔ Top it off with a generous sprinkle of authentic Hungarian sweet paprika, and it’s a total. flavor. explosion.
✔ Oh, and did I mention it’s actually a low carb cucumber salad?!
I still adore this creamy cucumber and onions combo as much today as I did when I was little. And much to my husband’s horror, I also still sip the last of the rich and flavorful sour cream dressing straight out of my bowl…
At least in the privacy of our home, LOL!
Hungarian Cucumber Salad Recipe Ingredients
Traditionally, cucumber salad was served as a summer side dish. Fresh cucumbers were only available between May and August. But these days, grocery stores carry cucumbers year round. So now we can enjoy it any time of the year — which makes me very happy!
This creamy cucumber and onion salad uses just 5 simple ingredients. Starting with fresh, crisp cucumbers, of course!
Look for firm cucumbers with a rich medium to dark green color. Avoid any with wrinkles, blemishes, soft spots, or yellow spots.
For an authentic Hungarian cucumber salad, choose regular slicing cucumbers. But I prefer to use English cucumbers in this recipe. They’re a bit more expensive than regular cucumbers but are nearly seedless.
yellow onion — you could also use white onion, but I would not recommend red onion in this recipe. Depending on your tolerance for raw onions, you can use more or less than the recipe calls for. I’m not a huge fan, so I use only half of a small onion and slice it *very* thinly.
sour cream — in most cases, I’m not picky about the sour cream I use in a recipe. However, when I’m making this cucumber onion sour cream salad, I always use Daisy sour cream. I love the extra creamy and smooth consistency it gives the sour cream dressing!
apple cider vinegar — you can use white vinegar in a pinch, but I recommend ACV. Its less sour flavor perfectly complements the cucumbers and sour cream. Or you can also use white wine vinegar.
Hungarian sweet paprika — good quality sweet paprika is essential for authentic flavor. I like this single-ingredient authentic Szeged Hungarian Sweet Paprika variety. Find it in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store or order some online!
Heirloom Hungarian Cucumber Salad
It’s typical to find many ingredient variations among various heirloom recipes. This Hungarian cucumber salad is authentic to how my family has always prepared it.
But it’s possible your family’s cucumber onion salad recipe is quite different. And if so, I’d love for you to share it in the comments. I’m always open to trying new versions!
- garlic or shallots — minced garlic cloves or shallots are often added with or in place of the onion.
- sugar — from time to time I’ve come across recipes that addcap a bit of sugar adding to the cucumber salad dressing.
- olive oil — some recipes use olive oil in the cucumber salad dressing.
- Hungarian wax peppers — I’ve actually only come across this addition once, but adding chopped wax peppers sounds like a delicious way to add a spicy kick!
- dill — many recipes include fresh dill or dried dill weed in cucumber salad.
Adding dill seems more common in Polish cucumber salad recipes. At least based on my experiences with my mother-in-law’s sour cream cucumber salad…
I’ve actually noticed there’s a LOT of overlap between Polish and Hungarian cuisines. Like Haluski vs. Haluska, as I mentioned in my cabbage and noodles recipe.
FUN FACT: My Hungarian grandma always referred to this dish as simply uborkasaláta. This does mean “cucumber salad” in Hungarian, so it’s not WRONG… But it’s also not technically right, either.
Because there ARE Hungarian cucumber salad recipes without sour cream. So this creamy salad is more specifically tejfölös uborkasaláta, since it’s made with tejföl (sour cream).
How To Make Cucumber Salad
Step one in this creamed cucumber recipe is to extract the excess water from the cucumbers. DON’T SKIP THIS!!
Cucumbers contain a LOT of water… Removing as much of this water as possible is essential. Otherwise, it will leach out and make the sour cream dressing watery.
Sprinkling the sliced cucumbers and onions with salt helps draw the extra water out. Then you can squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the mixture.
This step will keep your cuke salad creamy and delicious!
How To Keep Cucumber Salad From Getting Watery
1| Start by peeling the cucumbers. Then slice both the cucumbers and the onion up very thin. I use a knife to trim the top off the cucumbers and then make paper thin slices by hand. Just like my grandma did!
But my husband prefers to use this vegetable chopper/slicer when he’s helping. You can also use a mandoline or a food processor, if you prefer. Use whatever method makes things easiest for you!
2| Place cucumbers in a bowl, along with the sliced onions. Toss the cucumber/onion medley with a generous sprinkle of kosher salt.
3| Set the bowl aside to allow the mixture to marinate for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I use this downtime to prepare the simple sour cream salad dressing.
4| After about 30 minutes have passed, squeeze as much water as possible out of the cucumber onion mixture.
I find it’s easiest to dump the mixture out into a colander set in your kitchen sink. Reach in and grab large handfuls of the cucumbers and onions. Squeeze hard with both hands to wring out as much liquid as you can.
Place the squeezed cucumbers and onions back in your mixing bowl. Continue the process until you’ve removed as much excess water as possible.
How To Make The Sour Cream Salad Dressing
This tangy sour cream dressing is shockingly delicious for having so few ingredients. AND it’s ridiculously easy to make!
Start by stirring the sour cream and apple cider vinegar together. Then whisk a couple tablespoons of water into the sour cream vinegar mixture. Finally, season the dressing with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
That’s all there is to it! Then I pop it in the fridge until the cucumbers and onions are ready to go.
Use a fork to vigorously stir the sour cream dressing into the cucumber onion mixture. When it’s well-mixed, the dressing should look frothy and foamy. Transfer the creamy cucumbers to an airtight container and chill for at least two hours.
PRO TIP: this is also a super versatile dressing recipe. If you thin it down with some milk or a little water, it becomes a great all-purpose creamy salad dressing.
It’s my favorite way to dress a simple green salad in the summertime. Especially one made with fresh greens picked straight from the garden… SO GOOD!!
Fresh Cucumber Salad Recipe Pairings
This creamy cucumber recipe is a lovely side salad that’s a perfect side dish for pretty much any meaty main dish, but it pairs especially well with spicy dishes thanks to the combination of cool cucumbers and sour cream. It’s best served well-chilled, preferably with plenty of Hungarian paprika sprinkled over the top…
At least that’s MY preference — my kids prefer only a little paprika. But at least they’re a fan of cucumber salads!
This creamy cucumber recipe is a lovely side salad. It’s a perfect side dish for just about any meaty main dish. The combination of cool cucumbers and sour cream pairs especially well with spicy dishes.
It’s best served well-chilled, preferably with plenty of Hungarian paprika sprinkled over the top… At least that’s MY preference — my kids prefer only a little paprika. But at least they’re a fan of cucumber salads!
More Authentic Hungarian Recipes
If you like this Hungarian cucumber salad recipe with sour cream, you might also enjoy these other delicious Hungarian recipes:
- Hungarian Fried Cabbage and Noodles (Haluska)
- Hungarian Tomato Salad (Paradicsomsaláta)
- German Potato Salad (Krumplisaláta)
Did you make this recipe?
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