Dairy-free Cucumber Salad

Sliced cucumber on a small square dish, topped with dried dill. The dish is on a wood table with a blue towel beside.

Who doesn’t love a crisp, sweet cucumber salad alongside a barbecue style dinner? It is the perfect side to pair along with hamburgers, hot dogs and all kinds of barbecue chicken or pork.  I think most of us have had some version of cucumber salad before and they’re all pretty similar. Some have onions, some don’t. Some have more sugar while others have more vinegar. There are slight variations but all of them are delicious in their own way. My personal preference for cucumber salad leans towards the sweet side of that spectrum and great news… it is completely dairy-free.

This dairy-free cucumber salad recipe has a secret ingredient in the dressing… lime juice. The tartness and acidity of the lime juice balances out the sugar perfectly. Surprisingly it doesn’t leave any hint of sour behind at all. It will however have people asking you “what is that I taste?” because it gives the dressing a little extra something that you can’t put your finger on.

About the Ingredients

Cucumber – The key to a great cucumber salad is getting evenly sized slices. Some people are phenomenally coordinated with a knife and can do this without any help. I unfortunately am not one of those people. To get my perfect cucumber slices I use a mandolin. It’s not fancy or expensive but it does an excellent job and cuts my work time down by about 75%. If you don’t already have one I highly recommend picking one up. Amazon has a great selection for under $25 that you can check out here.   



White wine vinegar

Lime juice – don’t skip this one. Although your salad will be fine with out, this gives it the special little something that makes this sweet cucumber salad better than others.

Sliced cucumber on a small square dish, topped with dried dill. The dish is on a wood table with a blue towel beside and a brass fork.

How to Make Sweet Cucumber Salad

Making dairy-free cucumber salad is as easy as “cooking” gets. Simply whisk the ingredients in the dressing together, pour over the sliced cucumbers, and let it marinate.

Recipe Variations & Substituions

Try adding:  

  • thin sliced red onions
  • fresh dill
  • sliced jalapeños

FAQ’s & Recipe Tips

Do you take the skin off a cucumber for a salad?

This is a matter of preference. For best results I would at least peel strips of the skin off and leave some on, creating a striped effect. This looks the most appealing and still removes some of the toughness of the skin. In this particular cucumber salad I like to peel the entire skin off.

How should I cut cucumbers for a salad?

The best way is to use a mandolin slicer. This way the cucumber slices are evenly sized and can be nice and thin.

Make Cucumber Salad Ahead

Cucumber salad needs time to marinate. While it marinates, the sugar will dissolve with help from the vinegar and lime juice. Without time to dissolve, your dressing and salad will be a little grainy.

Marinating time also softens the cucumber and allows them to absorb some of the sweetness of the vinaigrette.

Make your cucumber salad at least 4 hours before serving it but the longer it sits, the better it gets. I like to make mine a day ahead if possible.

Sliced cucumber on a small square dish, topped with dried dill. The dish is on a wood table with a blue towel beside and a brass fork.

The Recipe for Dairy-Free Cucumber Salad

I’ve attached the recipe below. My one piece of advice before you whip it up though… make sure it has time to marinate in the refrigerator before you plan to serve it. You will be disappointed if you eat it too soon (can you tell I’ve made this mistake when I was in a time crunch?) 

If you try out my sweet cucumber salad recipe please leave a note in the comments and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

sweet cucumber salad topped with dill

Sweet Cucumber Salad

A dairy-free cold cucumber salad in a sweet vinegarette.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Marinating Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Servings 4 people


  • Mandoline slicer optional


  • 3 English cucumbers
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp salt


  • Peel and slice the cucumbers.
  • In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients.
  • Pour dressing over cucumbers and toss well.
  • Leave salad to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.


This salad keeps well in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 2 days. 
Using a mandoline slicer helps keep the slices uniform in size but is not necessary.
Keyword cucumber, salad, vinegarette

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