I Made Ina Garten’s Creamy Cucumber Salad—and I Get Why She’s the Queen of Cooking

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The 'Barefoot Contessa' has a creamy salad that's absolutely delectable. Here's how to make this summery, dilly Ina Garten Cucumber Salad.

cucumber salad in a glass bowl with a white towel underneath the bowl, a portrait of in a garden in the bottom right cornerNancy Mock for Taste of Home, Getty Images

If it’s an Ina Garten recipe, you can bet it’ll feature seasonal ingredients and have lots of fresh flavor—like this creamy salad. Made with crunchy cucumbers, red onions and a dilly dressing, it’s a delicious salad that’s perfect for summertime.

Though it has a few steps that require some resting time, the actual hands-on work is minimal, meaning it’s easy to make this salad in advance and have it ready for dinner or a backyard barbecue. Here’s what you need to make the Ina Garten Cucumber Salad.

Did you know these facts about the Barefoot Contessa?

The Best Ina Garten Cucumber Salad Recipe

ingredients for cucumber salad on table including three large cucumbers, two red onions, yogurt, sour cream and fresh herbsNancy Mock for Taste of Home

It’s important to read the directions for make-ahead salad recipes ahead of time so you know how far in advance you need to start. Draining the yogurt and the veggies removes excess moisture, resulting in a salad that’s really creamy with crunchy slices of cukes. These steps need to be done at least 4 hours ahead, so factor that into your planning.

Ina Garten prefers English cucumbers (the long ones wrapped in plastic) because they’re less bitter and don’t need to be peeled. Also, be sure to use regular whole-milk yogurt, not Greek.

Ingredients

  • 4 hothouse or English cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch)
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced into half-rounds
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh dill
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Tools You’ll Need

Directions

Step 1: Combine veggies and salt

chopped cucumbers and red onions in a strainerNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Stir together the sliced cucumbers, sliced onions and 1-1/2 tablespoons of salt in a large bowl. Pour them into a colander set over a large bowl and wrap the two together with plastic wrap.

Step 2: Prepare the yogurt

a pile of plain yogurt onto of a piece of paper towel in a colanderNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Line another colander with a paper towel, then spoon in the yogurt. Set the colander over a large bowl and wrap the two together with plastic wrap.

Step 3: Let the veggies and yogurt drain

Place the bowl of yogurt and the bowl of veggies in the fridge and let them drain for at least four hours or overnight.

Step 4: Prepare the veggies

sliced cucumbers and chopped red onions on a kitchen towelNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Discard the liquid that drained from the veggies. Dump the cucumbers and onions onto a large kitchen towel, then use it to gently squeeze out any remaining liquid. Transfer the veggies to a large mixing bowl.

Step 5: Add the other ingredients

Ina Garten Creamy Cucumber Salad.toh.nancy Mock 5 JveditNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Discard the liquid that drained from the yogurt. Scoop the yogurt into the bowl with the cucumbers. Add in the sour cream, vinegar, minced dill, remaining salt and black pepper. Toss everything together to thoroughly coat the cucumbers and onions with the sour cream-yogurt dressing. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Step 6: Taste for seasoning and serve

cucumber salad being mixed in a large glass bowl with a wooden spoonNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Stir the cucumbers and dressing again, then taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed. Serve the salad while it’s cold. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days—just give it a stir before serving again. This recipe make 8-10 portions.

Here’s What I Thought

cucumber salad in a glass bowl with a white towel underneath the bowlNancy Mock for Taste of Home

I really love the flavor of this salad—the salted cucumbers coated in the tangy dressing and, of course, that fragrant dill in every bite. The thick and creamy texture is what really sets this salad apart. And yet, even with all the dressing, the cucumbers and onion stay really crispy for several days. It’s a keeper.

I was honestly amazed at the results of draining the veggies and the yogurt—this step removed almost two cups of liquid from the ingredients! After draining, the thickened yogurt had a texture like that of cream cheese. Even with excess liquid removed, the recipe does make quite a bit of dressing: if you’re worried that it’ll be too much, you can mix the dressing first then add it to the veggies a little at a time until you think the salad has enough.

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Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.