This Polish cucumber salad (called mizeria) is a light, refreshing and creamy sour cream and dill based salad. It’s a quick summer salad that’s great for picnics!
We went to Warsaw five years ago and didn’t expect to love the food as much as we did. I ate pierogi (dumplings) every day, twice a day. It was glorious.
My husband went another route and ate lots of soups, cabbage rolls and salads. This cucumber salad is one of the dishes that he loved the most.
Polish cucumber salad consists of thinly sliced cucumbers, sour cream, dill, salt, pepper and sometimes onions, radishes, lemon juice or vinegar.
It’s so refreshing and perfect for summer picnics, BBQs or really – whenever! My husband makes this year-round.
We always use English cucumbers as these are the standard cucumbers at stores here in Germany. I’ve read that you can use any type of cucumber for this salad but since I have zero experience with other types, it feels odd to recommend them.
A lot of Polish cucumber salad recipes have you put the cucumber slices, rubbed in salt, in a colander. Then you let them sit 5 minutes.
I’ve tried it that way but the result is a really liquidy salad. I think the best way is to let the slices sit for an hour and then use a tea towel, cheesecloth or something similar to wring out as much liquid as possible.
If you only have 20 minutes, that’s fine, too – but still wring the cucumbers out.
When you don’t wring them out like that, not only do you have a liquidy salad but the taste is also watered down.
You might need to tweak the amount of vinegar, which is why I give a range on the amount of vinegar. It depends on how vinegary you like your salad. I recommend starting off with 1 tablespoon of vinegar, mixing the dressing together, and then adding more if needed.
I just now had the thought that people may want to use dried dill in this recipe. If we didn’t have a constant supply of frozen dill, I’d want to do the same.
While I haven’t tried it, I think it’d work. But fresh or frozen is really better in this recipe! Start off with 1 teaspoon of dried dill in place of the fresh / frozen and add more to taste.
If you don’t want to use sour cream, you can use unsweetened Greek yogurt instead.
We always have a tub of dill in the freezer, just for this salad. It works great in it!
Looking for something a little different? Try this Asian Cucumber Salad!
Polish Cucumber Salad
- 600 grams seedless English cucumbers (this was about 3 medium but they vary so widely so please weigh it)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (plus another 1/4 teaspoon, if needed)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + plus more for garnish
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) sour cream
- 1 tablespoon + 1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh or frozen dill + more for garnish, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Cut the cucumbers into super thin slices. If you have a mandolin, that's handy to make them all the same size.
- Place in a medium bowl and coat them in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
- Place the bowl in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the 1/4 teaspoon pepper, sour cream, 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vinegar, dill and sugar. Taste and add more vinegar and salt, if desired. Once well combined, add to the cucumbers and mix until very well combined. Place in the fridge while the cucumbers are still soaking.
- When the hour's up, remove the cucumber bowl from the fridge, drain the liquid, and then use a tea towel to squeeze out the remaining liquid.
- Add the sour cream mixture to the cucumbers and stir until totally combined. Top with fresh dill and a little more freshly ground black pepper.
- The salad should be cold already but if it's not, chill for at least 20 minutes. This also lets the cucumbers "marinade" in the dressing. This salad is best enjoyed the day of making.