Have you tried this recipe for simple cucumber salad with chives yet? It’s ready in 10 minutes, goes great as a side dish for barbecues and cookouts and is only 19 calories per serving. It is fat-free, paleo-friendly, vegan and gluten-free.

Cucumber salad in a white bowl on a graw wooden board with chives

I originally shared this recipe on May 20th, 2014. I have updated some of the text today. This post may contain affiliate links. 

Why We Love This Recipe

When cucumbers are in season, and you want an easy and fast side dish you can never go wrong with a simple cucumber salad. Sometimes when I am feeling a bit more fancy, I make my 15 minute Greek Cucumber Salad or my Cucumber and Napa Cabbage Slaw, but this recipe that I have today for Simple Cucumber Salad is really my go-to recipe for when I want to make a super fast and easy side dish with cucumbers.

This recipe is wonderful with Grilled Lamb Kofta, or chicken marinated in The Best Chicken Marinade. I also love it with Burgers and other barbecue fare like Italian Pasta Salad, Vegan Potato Salad and my favorite Healthy Coleslaw.

I also love the fact that it doesn’t have any oil in it, so it is really low in calories, so if the main course is a little more indulgent in the calorie department, you don’t feel like you are missing out when you have a generous portion of this cuke salad to fill out the plate.

Ingredients For This Recipe

the ingredients for this cuke salad with text overlay labeling them


You will need six cups of sliced cucumbers for this recipe. One large garden cucumber yields about 2 cups of sliced cucumbers.

If you have a thin skinned variety of cucumber, such as European or Lebanese, you do not need to peel them before slicing.

If you have regular “garden” cucumbers, you can either peel them entirely, or remove strips of the peel off with a vegetable peeler. This will result in a more pleasant and tender texture.


Many cucumber salads call for red onion, and they would certainly work here in this recipe, but I like to use chives because they have a much more subtle taste (not as sharp) and they are in season at the same time as cucumbers, and earlier in the spring.

Chop the chives fine. You will need two tablespoons. If using red onion, mince or thinly slice it. You will only want about 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion.

You can also substitute another fresh herb such as basil or dill. Use 2 tablespoons.

Rice Vinegar

This is also called rice wine vinegar. You want to look for natural or unseasoned rice vinegar. Seasoned is slightly different because it is sweetened and has sodium added to it. If you can only find seasoned, omit the sugar and only add salt to taste.

You can also substitute red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or even white vinegar. I don’t recommend cider vinegar or balsamic for this recipe as their flavors are too assertive and sweet. You can read more about which vinegars are best for different recipes in my guide to vinegar.

Sugar and Salt

I love to add a little sugar to my cucumber salad. Especially one like this that is so lean. It really brings out the natural sweetness in the fresh cukes and they taste more floral and almost melon-like in a way.

The salt also keeps this recipe savory and balances the acidity in the dressing. If using kosher salt, read this first.

How to Make This Simple Cucumber Salad Recipe

This 10 minute cucumber salad recipe is so easy to make that it hardly counts as a real recipe. But I do have a couple tips to share with you all. 

steps for this recipe, peeling the cucumbers and stirring the vinegar sugar and salt

Step 1: Peel the cucumbers if using garden cucumbers. Or for thinner skinned varieties like European or Persian cucumbers you can skip peeling them.

Slice them into rounds. If you slice them very thinly the salad will become watery quickly. So if you plan to serve this at a barbecue or cookout and it will sit for more than an hour, slice the cumbers about 1/4 to 1/3-inch thick.

Step 2: Stir or whisk the vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl to dissolve them. Stir until you cannot see or feel any grains of the sugar and salt in the bowl.

steps to make this recipe. Add the chives first and stir. Then add in the cucumbers and toss them with the dressing.

Step 3: Stir the chives into the dressing.

Step 4: Add the cucumbers and toss to coat.

cucumber salad in a white bowl from the side with backlighting

FAQs for This Recipe

Can you make cucumber salad ahead?

This recipe can be made up to three hours ahead. Because of their high water content, cucumbers let off their water when they are sliced and come in contact with salt or anything salty. If it becomes watery, use a slotted spoon to serve it. 

Can I add yogurt to this recipe?

To make a creamy version of this recipe. After dissolving the sugar and salt into the vinegar, add 3 tablespoons of full fat Greek yogurt to the dressing and whisk well. Add sour cream for a richer result. Sub chopped dill (or use 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed) for the chives and add 1/4 cup sliced red onion. closeup of the cucumber salad with yogurt and red onion

What To Serve This Cucumber Salad With

This salad is great with grilled pork chops or grilled pork tenderloin or pan fried fish.

You can also add it to barbecue menus for a fast veggie side dish along with grilled corn, grilled zucchini or grilled carrots.

I love the flavors of this Za’atar Chicken Burger when paired with cucumbers and I also love Shrimp Kebabs with pretty much every summer salad!

More Summer Salad Recipes:

I am head over heels for this Grilled Corn and Chickpea Salad recipe. I hope you’ll try it! 

If you haven’t already, this Cucumber Noodle and Napa Cabbage coleslaw recipe is super popular, and so delicious! 

If you’re feeling adventurous, try this Creamy Blue Cheese Coleslaw with Walnuts. It’ll knock your socks off! 

While my cousins are here I am planning to make Macaroni Salad. It’s a classic for a reason! Everyone loves it. 

overhead of cucumber salad

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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close-up of ceramic bowl with cucumber salad with chives

Simple Cucumber Salad


Here is a simple 10 minute recipe for cucumber salad with chives and rice vinegar dressing. It is so easy to make and only has 19 calories per serving. Not only is it fat-free and vegan but it makes a great side dish for cookouts or barbecues.


  • 3 large cucumbers (enough to make 6 cups sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, optional


  1. Peel cucumber if necessary (see note below) and cut into rounds.
  2. Stir vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in chives if using.
  3. Add cucumbers and toss to coat with the dressing. Serve immediately or chill up to 3 hours.


If you have a thin skinned variety of cucumber, such as European or Lebanese, you do not need to peel them before slicing. If you have regular “garden” cucumbers, you can either peel them, or remove strips of the peel off with a vegetable peeler. This will result in a more pleasant and tender texture.

If you prefer to use another vinegar, I would recommend red wine vinegar.

You can omit the sugar if you are sugar free.

If you would prefer to add oil to this, use 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

This recipe does not keep well because the cucumbers become soft and let off their water. I recommend serving right away or within three hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 cup each
  • Calories: 19
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Keywords: healthy cucumber salad, quick cucumber salad, how to make cucumber salad, easy cucumber salad