26 Cool Cucumber Recipes That Are Perfect for Hot Summer Days

published Jul 11, 2023
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A bowl of cucumber onion salad on a marble surface.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik. Food styling: James Park

Is there anything more satisfying than cool, crisp cucumbers this time of year, as the temperatures really begin to rise? I think not. They’re just the refreshing relief I look for, and I will happily take the hydrating veg in just about any form — be it salad, drink, or snack.

I always have a couple on hand in the kitchen (stored properly) and make even more of a point to stock up throughout the summer months. I’ll grab an English cucumber (you know, the kind wrapped in plastic), which are great for salads, drinks, and tzatziki since they’re nearly seedless; Persian cucumbers, which are great for snacking; or basic slicing cucumbers.

And with so many different cucumber recipes out there, I’m focusing on the best of the best this summer — the crunchiest cucumber salads, cool noodle sides, and summer cocktails made even more refreshing with cukes. Get your vegetable peelers ready! Here are the cucumber recipes I’ll be turning out all summer.

1 / 26
Cucumber-Onion Salad
When you need a refreshing, easy side, look no further than this cucumber salad, which is crunchy and pairs well with any summer food.
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2 / 26
Salt and Pepper Smashed Cucumber Salad
Salt, pepper, and a homemade vinaigrette are the secrets to the easiest cucumber salad you'll make.
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3 / 26
Sour Cream and Dill Cucumber Salad
Salting the cucumbers before tossing them in the sour cream dressing is the secret to a salad that’s creamy and crispy rather than soggy.
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4 / 26
Tangy Cucumber Salad
The best part about this cucumber salad is it actually gets better the longer it rests in the fridge — so feel free to make it the night before you need it.
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5 / 26
Cucumber Caprese Salad
Caprese salad is pretty perfect as is, but adding cucumbers lends a bit of crunch to the situation that’s hard to beat.
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6 / 26
Saucy Chili-Garlic Cucumber Noodles
These Asian-inspired cucumber noodles are equally spicy and refreshing. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a julienne peeler or a basic vegetable peeler to shave the cucumbers into ribbons instead.
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7 / 26
Tangy Cucumber Avocado Salad
Crisp, refreshing cucumbers and creamy, buttery avocado are tossed with cilantro vinaigrette and quick-picked red onion in this vibrant salad.
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8 / 26
Blackberry and Cucumber Mule
Fizzy ginger beer gives this refreshing cocktail its fiery bite.
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9 / 26
Pineapple-Cucumber Salad
Don’t knock this combination until you try it. Super-sweet pineapple chunks marry incredibly well with crisp cucumbers and fresh herbs.
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10 / 26
Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers
These quick-pickled cucumbers are the perfect complement to just about any summer meal. Enjoy them as a side dish or just piled right on top of your burger.
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11 / 26
Chilled Lemon-Dill Cucumber Noodles
To turn these herby cucumber noodles into a meal, slide a grilled piece of salmon or chicken on top of a bowl.
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12 / 26
Herbed Smashed Cucumbers
Smashing cucumbers breaks them down just enough so they absorb even more of the creamy yogurt dressing, and creates more nooks and crannies for all the other toppings.
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13 / 26
Cucumber Gin & Tonic Pitcher Cocktail
Hendrick’s gin has cucumber essence right in the bottle, so if you happen to have this brand on hand, definitely use it here.
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14 / 26
Sichuan Smashed Cucumber Salad
This flavor-forward salad makes for the perfect summer side dish — especially when paired with a bowl of white rice to soak up all the sauce.
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15 / 26
Sparkling Strawberry Cucumber Sangria
Strawberries are a classic pairing with cucumbers, and for good reason: Their juicy sweetness is the perfect complement to the refreshing vegetable.
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16 / 26
Warm with cumin, and studded with crisp cucumber and fresh cilantro, this yogurt sauce is welcome on everything from meat to grilled watermelon.
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17 / 26
Blistered Cucumbers with Spicy Seeds
When cucumbers are blistered in a pan, the floral freshness combines with a deeply savory crisp crust. Here, they're topped with a crunchy, spicy sprinkle inspired by dukkah, a Middle Eastern seasoning made of crushed, toasted nuts, seeds, and/or spices.
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18 / 26
Shaved Cucumber and Fennel Salad with Olives and Feta
A Mediterranean-style salsa is layered with lemony fennel and cucumbers for a simple salad that's bright, fresh, salty, rich, briny, and crunchy.
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19 / 26
Smashed Cucumbers with Turmeric, Coconut, and Peanuts
Turmeric-spiked coconut oil travels into the nooks and crannies of smashed cucumbers, while toasted coconut flakes and peanuts add a welcome crunch to the mix.
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20 / 26
Taiwanese Cucumber Salad
Rice vinegar and mirin are flavor stand-outs in this crunchy, cold salad.
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21 / 26
Cucumber Sandwich
These delicate tea sandwiches are made with herbs, seasoned cream cheese, and thin sliced cucumbers.
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22 / 26
Mizeria Recipe (Polish Cucumber Salad)
This twist on mizeria swaps in creamy, tangy labneh for the sour cream, resulting in a flavorful, refreshing side dish.
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23 / 26
Cold Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives
Dollops of ricotta add creaminess to this picnic-friendly salad.
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24 / 26
Japanese-Inspired Cucumber Salad
This summery cucumber salad, inspired by sunomono, is crunchy, refreshing, and swimming in delicate umami notes.
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25 / 26
Buttermilk Cucumber Salad
This refreshing rendition of the classic creamy cucumber salad still has all the zip and crunch, but incorporates elements from raita and tzatziki, other cooling cucumber-and-dairy dishes.
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26 / 26
Spicy Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Basil
Tomatoes, cucumbers, and jalapeño combine in this simple yet flavor-packed salad. It's extra delicious on a hot sum­mer day when basil and cucumbers are in abundance in the garden.
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This article originally published on The Kitchn. Read it there: 26 Cool Cucumber Recipes That Are Perfect for Hot Summer Days