This recipe for cucumber vinegar salad is quite simple, resulting in a perfect side dish that is ideal for hot summer days. The classic cucumber salad has a special place in the hearts of Czechs thanks to its refreshing taste and versatile use as a side for many favorite family recipes.
➜ About this cucumber salad
It's a vegetable salad with grated cucumber in a distinctive water-based dressing. The tangy vinegar dressing involves a sweet and sour combination of sugar, salt, and vinegar and is very easy to make. To be clear, it does not contain sour cream, onions, fresh dill, or any other herbs!
Apart from the Czech Republic, this salad is also popular with our southern neighbors in Slovakia, known as "uhorkový šalát."
- English cucumber; or any seedless cucumber. When buying cucumbers, look for firm ones without blemishes or soft spots.
- Granulated sugar
- Water; cold
- Black pepper; ideally freshly ground
- Vinegar; the exact amount depends on the intensity of the vinegar taste. Either use distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar with 5% acidity.
✅ You’ll find the exact amount of ingredients below in the recipe card, which you can also print out.
➜ Instructions with Photos
Preparing this salad is nothing complicated. Simply add more sugar, vinegar, or salt to achieve the dressing's final satisfying taste.
STEP 1: Peel outer skins of the cucumber and cut off its ends.
STEP 2: Shred it roughly. I used my hand grate box with large holes. The other, less common option for this kind of salad is to grate thin cucumber slices.
STEP 3: Make watery salad dressing: Place water, sugar, vinegar, salt, and ground pepper in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Adjust the taste of the dressing to your liking.
MY TIP: If you like, add a tablespoon of sunflower or olive oil to the salad dressing.
STEP 4: Place grated cucumber into a bowl and pour the dressing mixture over it.
Czech cucumber salad is a perfect and quick summer side dish. Serve it cold in a small to medium bowl and put a small spoon to it.
If you have leftover cucumber salad, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge, where it will be kept for 3-4 days.
MY TIP: This salad is perfect for garden parties, summer get-togethers, or family gatherings!
➜ Which Cucumber to Choose
The best cucumbers for this salad are English cucumbers with dark green and firm skins and no soft spots. In Czech, we call that kind "hadovka," you could freely translate it to something like "a snake cucumber" because of its long thin shape.
This is a piece of advice my mom gave me: If you buy cucumbers in a store, prefer longer and thinner pieces over the shorter and plumper ones. Press the ends of cucumbers; they should be firm enough, not soft.
➜ Useful Tips
- Fresh cucumbers picked from the garden can be grated with the skin on, without peeling them in advance.
- The final flavor of the salad dressing is wholly personal. Some people prefer a sharper taste, while others like a milder one. Play around with gradually adding vinegar, sugar, and possibly salt to make the salad taste how you want it to!
- A grated cucumber lets out a lot of water. It doesn't matter for this kind of watery dressing, so the cucumber does not have to be sweated out to get rid of excess liquid.
More Czech salads:
Czech Cucumber Salad – Okurkový salát
- 1 English cucumber
- 1 and ¾ cups water (420 ml) cold
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ Tablespoon salt
- ¼ cup vinegar 5% acidity, I used apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper ground
- Peel the cucumber and cut off its ends.
- Grate it roughly, I used my hand grate box with large holes. The other but less common option for this kind of salad is to slice the cucumber into thin circles.
- Make watery salad dressing: Place water, sugar, vinegar, salt, and ground pepper in a mixing bowl. Stir well until combined. Adjust the taste of the dressing to your liking.
- Transfer grated cucumber into a bowl and pour over with the dressing.
- Makes two portions.
- Serve this Czech cucumber salad cold in a little bowl and put a small spoon to it.
- It’s an ideal accompaniment to the main course dishes like řízek (Schnitzel), smažený sýr or sekaná.
- Cucumbers freshly picked from the garden can be grated with the skin on without peeling them in advance.
- The commonly used vinegar in Czech kitchens has a pretty pungent aroma. The amount of vinegar depends on its strength–I used apple cider vinegar with 5% acidity in this recipe. The more pungent vinegar tastes, the less you pour in the dressing. Moreover, it's also a matter of personal preference in taste. Some people prefer a sharper flavor, others a milder one.
- A grated cucumber lets out a lot of water. It doesn't matter for this kind of watery dressing, so the cucumber does not have to be sweated out to get rid of any excess liquid.
DISCLAIMER: Because I come from Central Europe, my recipes are based on metric units such as grams or milliliters. Check out how I convert metric units to the U.S. system:Conversion chart