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Grandma's Pickled Cucumber and Onion Salad


Posted by Denise on May 24, 2011

pickled cucumber and onion salad in bowl

Tangy, sweet and crunchy, Grandma's Pickled Cucumber and Onion Salad is a great way to use up cucumbers fresh from the garden.


This simple recipe has been in the family for as long as I can remember. We would enjoy this light, crunchy salad frequently, with a wide variety of main dishes, when the garden was producing cucumbers at an alarming rate.

What is especially nice about this salad is how quickly it can be made and that it lasts for several days in the refrigerator, if it isn’t eaten up sooner. It’s hard to stop eating it! It is best prepared at least a couple of hours before you intend to serve it to allow time for the flavors of the pickling liquid to combine with the cucumber and onion slices. In fact, we really like it when it has marinated overnight in the refrigerator. The liquid can be re-used a couple of times by adding more cucumber and onion. If it starts to get cloudy or develops a sour odor, discard it and make a new batch. Always store the salad in the refrigerator. After a meal, I normally add more vegetables to the liquid and put it back in the fridge for the next meal.

The original recipe does not call for the crushed red pepper flakes, but we like things a little spicy and the heat goes well with the sweet, tangy vegetables. The pepper flakes can be left out if you prefer. The recipe can also be doubled or tripled if you want to make a large batch.

If you are using normal large cucumbers you may want to peel them first. Small English cucumbers like I used in the photos have a softer skin so do not need to be peeled. Adjust the flavors to your taste and enjoy!



Grandma's Pickled Cucumber 

and Onion Salad 




Ingredients for Grandma's Pickled Cucumber and Onion Salad 



Serves 6 - 8




For the brine:

¼  cup white vinegar

½  cup water

¾  cup granulated white sugar

¼  teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)



½-1  medium sized sweet onion such as Vidalia or Oso Sweet, sliced into ¼” thick slices and separated into segments

5 or 6 small cucumbers or 2-3 large cucumbers, sliced into ¼” thick slices    



1.    Mix vinegar, water and sugar together in bowl, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

vinegar and sugar with water 

2.    Add hot pepper flakes, if using, and stir to combine.

hot pepper flakes added to bowl 

3.    Add cucumber and onion slices to liquid. Stir to coat. Do not add more vegetables than what the liquid will cover or they will dry out.


cutting cucumbers 

cutting onions for pickled cucumber and onion salad



4.    Place in refrigerator and chill for a couple of hours at least. They remain good in the refrigerator for at least a week. They may shrivel somewhat if left in the brine for a long time, but they still taste great.






pickled cucumber and onion salad



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