29 of the Most Refreshing Cucumber Recipes

Raw, pickled, or cooked, cucumber is the perfect summer vegetable

While cucumbers are widely available year-round, summer's our favorite time to use them. Most often enjoyed raw or pickled, their light, sweet flavor is also lovely in sautés or puréed with yogurt for cold soups. But we also love using cucumbers in cocktails. In the New Airline, cucumber and sweet elderflower liqueur echo the floral notes of gin. To add another unexpected savory note, try our toasted sesame highball made with vodka, cucumber, and a dash of toasted sesame oil. From thirst-quenching agua fresca to creamy cucumber dips to an earthy eggplant-and-cucumber-salad sandwich, here are some of our favorite cucumber recipes.

Salted Cucumber Salad
Salted Cucumber Salad
As is true in much of northern Europe, pickles are very traditional in Danish cooking. "In many classic dishes, cucumbers are thinly sliced and pickled in a sweet-sour brine, then served as a side to fried meats like chicken," says Copenhagen chef Niclas Grønhøj Møller. Instead of using a brine to season his cucumbers, he salts them heavily and squeezes them with lemon, giving them a pickly saltiness and slight acidity. Get the recipe for Salted Cucumber Salad »Chris Tonnesen
Cucumber Salsa
Cucumber Salsa
John Karangis, Executive chef at Union Square Events, shared this recipe for a refreshing cucumber salsa. Use a mix of cucumbers for texture and flavor contrast, especially lemon cucumbers and watermelon gherkins if you can find them. Add the herbs no more than 2 hours before serving, and use whichever variety you like, though the lemon balm is especially nice. Get the recipe for Cucumber Salsa »Kristy Mucci
Spicy Cucumber Salad
Spicy Cucumber Salad
This salad makes for perfect drinking food, best with sips of lightweight Asian lager or a gin and tonic. Lightly smashing cucumbers with a rolling pin helps them soak up a tangy, spicy marinade of vinegar, chile flakes, and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns. Get the recipe for Spicy Cucumber Salad »Matt Taylor-Gross
Carrots 43 Martini
Carrots 43 Martini
Lively and floral, this cocktail uses all fresh ingredients so it feels like you're getting your vitamins in while enjoying a nice drink. Get the recipe for Carrots 43 Martini »Farideh Sadeghin
Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Fennel Dressing
Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Fennel Dressing
Tomatoes and cucumbers are a classic combination. Here, Eli Sussman of the Sussman Brothers modernizes the summer staple with heirloom varieties of the titular ingredients and brings them together with a caramelized fennel–lemon dressing. Get the recipe for Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Fennel Dressing »Matt Taylor-Gross
Cucumber and Corn Salad with Pomegranate and Poppy Seeds
Cucumber and Corn Salad with Pomegranate and Poppy Seeds
Pomegranate seeds add a pop of tart juice to each bite of this buttery sautéed corn salad with crunchy cucumbers and a toasty sesame oil vinaigrette. Get the recipe for Cucumber and Corn Salad with Pomegranate and Poppy Seeds »Farideh Sadeghin
Cucumber Yogurt
Yogurt Sauce, Farideh's Father
Similar to raita, this Iranian sauce differs with the addition of minced fresh yellow onion. Make it a day ahead to allow the flavors to really marry before serving. Get the recipe for Cucumber Yogurt »Farideh Sadeghin
Vegetables Pickled in Kelp Vinegar
Vegetables Pickled in Kelp Vinegar
Dashi, an enhanced kelp stock with rich umami flavor, is a staple component of Japanese cooking; it has the remarkable effect of accentuating the flavors of anything cooked in it. Here, it adds depth to a pickle brine from award-winning cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo. We use radishes, but any sturdy vegetables, such as peppers, cauliflower, or onions, will do. Get the recipe for Vegetables Pickled in Kelp Vinegar »Andre Baranowski
Kimbap
Beef Kimbap
Korean kimbap is similar to Japanese sushi, but typically uses cooked or pickled ingredients. In this version, bulgogi (marinated beef) is paired with vegetables and egg. Get the recipe for Kimbap »Farideh Sadeghin
Brown Rice Salad with Avocado
Brown Rice Salad with Avocado
The staff at Huka Lodge in New Zealand used to serve this simple dish for lunch when I worked there as a chef in 2011; I fell in love with it immediately and it's been a regular part of my dinner repertoire since. The combination of crunchy peanuts, creamy avocados, and the sweet bite of ginger make for a dish that's full of complex flavors, yet easy to execute. Serve it on its own or with tofu for a vegetarian meal, or add grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp. —Farideh Sadeghin, test kitchen director Get the recipe for Brown Rice Salad with Avocado »Farideh Sadeghin
Israeli Cous Cous with Ras el Hanout, Fennel and Carrot
Israeli Cous Cous with Ras el Hanout, Fennel and Carrot
Ras el hanout, the North African spice blend, along with fresh orange zest and juice, mint, and cilantro, give Israeli cous cous a fresh feel and flavor in this simple weeknight meal. Get the recipe for Israeli Cous Cous with Ras el Hanout, Fennel and Carrot »Farideh Sadeghin
Evening Shade
Evening Shade
Heaven Hill Distillery's brand abassador, Lynn House, enjoyed nothing more as a child than picking peaches and other fresh produce on her grandparents' farm in Tennessee. She continues the tradition as an adult, incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into her cocktails whenever she can—hence her nickname, "The Garden Girl." This summery drink combines peach purée, cucumber, and whiskey. Get the recipe for Evening Shade »Matt Taylor-Gross
Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet
Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet
This boozy gin cocktail uses up an abundance of mint, cucumber, and blackberries—it's summer in a highball. Get the recipe for Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet »Matt Taylor-Gross
Kheera ka Raita (Cucumber-Tomato Yogurt)
Kheera ka Raita (Cucumber-Tomato Yogurt)
This basic raita is a cooling counterpoint to fiery foods, thanks to its foundation of full-fat yogurt, cucumber, and mint. Get the recipe for Kheera ka Raita (Cucumber-Tomato Yogurt) »Ingalls Photography
New Jersey Fattoush
New Jersey Fattoush
Helen Rosner's mother-in-law is Palestinian, but over forty years of living in the U.S., her fattoush has evolved into something decidedly (and deliciously) Americanized: crushed pita chips, a dressing of lime juice and dried mint, and crisp, sweet iceberg lettuce. Get the recipe for New Jersey Fattoush »Helen Rosner
Cucumber Pepper Slaw
Cucumber Pepper Slaw
Sliced cucumber is tenderized with kosher salt in this zesty slaw. Get the recipe for Cucumber Pepper Slaw »James Oseland
Cucumber Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki)
Cucumber Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki)
Grated cucumber marries with chopped herbs and aromatics in this iconic Greek yogurt condiment. Get the recipe for Cucumber Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki) »André Baranowski
Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Sweet, crunchy bread and butter pickles are the perfect reprieve from fried foods. Get the recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles »Penny De Los Santos
Cucumbers and Cream Cheese
Cucumbers and Cream Cheese
There's no reason this tried-and-true combination needs to be limited to tea time. Make three or four of these paper-thin preparations of white bread topped with tangy, softened cream cheese and crisp cucumber slices, and call it a lunch. Get the recipe for Cucumbers and Cream Cheese »Helen Rosner
Israeli Chopped Salad
Israeli Chopped Salad
Sumac and cinnamon heightens the flavors of this Israeli staple. Get the recipe for Israeli Chopped Salad »Todd Coleman
Javanese Cucumber and Carrot Pickle (Acar Timun)
Javanese Cucumber and Carrot Pickle (Acar Timun)
This relish is an easy-to-make version of Indonesian pickle. Get the recipe for Javanese Cucumber and Carrot Pickle (Acar Timun) »Todd Coleman
Thai Cucumber Relish (Ajad)
Thai Cucumber Relish (Ajad)
This quick, spicy-sweet relish makes a perfect picnic side. Get the recipe for Thai Cucumber Relish (Ajad) »Todd Coleman
Cucumber Salad
Cucumber Salad
This crunchy salad is a cool complement to smoked meat. Get the recipe for Cucumber Salad »Todd Coleman
Cold Cucumber Yogurt Soup
Cold Cucumber Yogurt Soup
The classic combination of raw cucumber, yogurt, lemon, and mint is perfect for the hottest summer days. Get the recipe for Cold Cucumber Yogurt Soup »Anna Stockwell
Blue Cheese Wedge Salad
Blue Cheese Wedge Salad
This classic iceberg wedge salad is adorned with both blue cheese and Italian dressings. Get the recipe for Blue Cheese Wedge Salad »James Oseland
Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)
Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)
Crusted dried shrimp add an umami boost to this papaya salad. Get the recipe for Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) »Ingalls Photography
The New Airline
The New Airline
Cool, mild cucumber and sweet elderflower liqueur echo gin's floral notes in this cocktail. Get the recipe for The New Airline »Maxime Iattoni
Ho'opono Potion
Ho'opono Potion
Happy hour tastes like paradise with a bracing cocktail of cucumber, tequila, and fresh lime juice. Get the recipe for Ho'opono Potion »Michael Kraus
Toasted Sesame Highball
Toasted Sesame Highball
Toasted sesame oil gives nutty depth to a light, savory-sweet drink. Get the recipe for Toasted Sesame Highball »Laura Sant