Try This Timeless Creamy Cucumber Salad

When the sun is high and the cucumbers snap, someone somewhere is making buttermilk-cucumber salad. Throughout the South, you’ll find it studded with sharp onion and punchy from a pour of vinegar. Sometimes there are grapes, tomatoes, and parsley, too. This refreshing rendition still has the zip and crunch of that timeless summertime salad, but incorporates elements from raita and tzatziki, other classic, cooling cucumber-and-dairy dishes.

This salad features yogurt and buttermilk, to double down on the creaminess and tang. In place of raw onion, there are rings of shallot, which have been softened and mellowed from being salted in advance (no fire-breathing here). Right before serving, the salad gets a sprinkle of fresh herbs; with a salad like this, the hope is that you’re using whatever looks best at your market or in your garden, so the choice of herb is chef’s (or gardener’s) choice. Just go for something soft-stemmed, like dill or tarragon, as opposed to something woody, like thyme or rosemary. If you squint, you’ll notice this salad has a lot of the tempting elements of ranch dressing. With the addition of garlic powder, fresh garlic, chives, and a little red wine vinegar, you’ll have cucumber and ranch salad.

Buttermilk Cucumber Salad


  • 2 cups

    thinly sliced cucumbers (from 1 large English cucumber or 3 mini, peeled fully or in stripes if desired)

  • 3 tablespoons

    thinly sliced shallot rings (from 1 shallot)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    full-fat Greek yogurt

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1/4 cup

    torn or chopped fresh tender herbs, such as dill, tarragon, basil, parsley or dill


  1. Transfer the cucumbers and shallots to a colander, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine. Set aside to drain for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

  2. Stir together the yogurt and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Taste and season with with salt and pepper, then stir in the cucumbers, shallots, and herbs.

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