Food & Drink

Creamy Cucumber-Dill Salad

When temperatures rise, cool off with this simple side dish

Photo: Margaret Houston | Food Styling: Phillip Rhodes

Margaret Houston | Food Styling: Phillip Rhodes

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. Like the Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a tiny town on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When the restaurant switches over from breakfast to lunch service (don’t worry, you can order a stack of flapjacks at either meal), servers set tiny crocks of quick-pickled creamy cucumbers on every table as a complimentary snack or side to accompany burgers and patty melts. While this isn’t the Pancake Pantry’s exact recipe, it’s close. Similarly sweet, slightly creamier, and with an extra herbal punch from fresh dill, it makes for a fine, refreshing accompaniment to any summer meal.


    • 2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced

    • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced into quarter moons

    • 1 tbsp. kosher salt

    • 2 tbsp. sugar

    • 2 tbsp. distilled white vinegar

    • ¾ cup sour cream or whole-milk plain Greek yogurt

    • ¼ cup loosely packed snipped fresh dill

    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine the cucumber, onion, salt, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a medium bowl and toss well. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 hours.


  2. Rinse well in a colander, then drain well. Line the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and return the cucumbers and onion to it. Fold the towel over and lightly press excess moisture from the cucumbers and onion. Remove the towel, leaving the vegetables in the bowl.

  3. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and the vinegar; whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the sour cream and dill.


  4. Pour over the cucumbers and onion and toss well to combine. Chill for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve; drain off any liquid in the bottom of the bowl before serving cold.

Recipe from The Southerner’s Cookbook