Kalyn's Kitchen

Al’s Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad

If you like cucumbers, my friend Al’s Hungarian Cucumber Salad just might become your favorite cucumber salad ever! For people who like cucumbers and sour cream, this is a salad you’ll make over and over.

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Al's Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad found on KalynsKitchen.com

When my friend Al Church offered to make his famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad with me and share it with Kalyn’s Kitchen readers, I couldn’t wait to try the salad. Al is not only a former restaurant critic and food writer but he’s one of the most food-savvy people I know, so if this was his favorite cucumber salad, I knew it was going to be good! And I love the combination of sweet paprika and sour cream that’s used in Hungarian cooking plus I’m a huge Cucumber fan, so of course I absolutely loved this salad! 

And right now it’s prime time for cucumbers, so I’m featuring this favorite cucumber salad for Friday Favorites to entice you to try it! If you have garden cucumbers, or even if you need to make a trip to the store for the long English cucumbers we used, you must make this right away!

Al's Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad process shots collage

How to Make Al’s Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. It’s best to use cucumbers with small seeds, and two long English cucumbers were perfect for this. Peel the cucumber, cut in half crosswise, and then score the edges with a fork.
  2. Al sliced the cucumbers with my Mandoline Slicer (affiliate link) on the 3mm blade.
  3. Please be VERY CAREFUL when you’re using the mandoline (just eat the last bits of the cucumber when your hands start getting close to the blade!) You can also cut the slices with a knife, but the mandoline is quicker and makes more even slices.
  4. Put the sliced cucumber pieces into a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tsp. fine table salt. Then use your clean hands to toss the cucumbers so they’re all covered with salt. Let cucumbers sit to draw out the water for at least 15-20 minutes.
  5. While cucumbers sit, make the dressing. We used my beloved garlic chopper to finely minced two cloves of garlic.
  6. Then mix together the white wine vinegar, paprika, oil, sour cream, garlic, and black pepper to make the dressing. Al recommends authentic Szeged Paprika (affiliate link), which is my favorite too! (You can use other types of mild vinegar, even red wine vinegar that has a good flavor but don’t use a sweet vinegar like balsamic.)
  7. After cucumbers have released their liquid for about 20 minutes, drain them into a colander.
  8. Al uses a small plate to press down on the cucumbers and press out as much liquid as you can, or you can also put them in a clean kitchen towel and gently squeeze out the liquid. We blotted the cucumbers with a paper towel as well.
  9. Then toss the drained cucumbers with the dressing ingredients. (The salad is best if you can let it sit for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors blend before you serve it.)

Thanks Al, I absolutely loved the salad. (If you like this recipe you might also like Al’s Hungarian Summer Squash with Sour Cream, Paprika, and Dill!)

Al's Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad found on KalynsKitchen.com

Make it a Meal:

This salad would make a perfect side dish for Pork with Paprika, Mushrooms, and Sour Cream or Rosemary Mustard Grilled Chicken for a low-carb meal.

More Tasty Cucumber Salads:

Low-Carb Cucumber Salads ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Joanne Weir’s Cucumber and Feta Salad ~ David Lebovitz
Effie’s Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Thai Cucumber Salad ~ Cookin’ Canuck
Easy Low-Carb Cucumbers Caesar ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Al's Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad

Al's Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

This Hungarian Cucumber Salad just might become your favorite way to eat cucumbers.


  • 2 English cucumbers or 3-4 fresh garden cucumbers (cucumbers with small seeds are best for this)
  • fine table salt (for drawing the water out of the cucumbers, see notes)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (see notes)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. sweet paprika, to taste (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. Peel the cucumbers, cut in half crosswise so they are easier to hold in your hand, and score the outside of each cucumber by drawing a fork down the side, until all the outside is scored into ridges.
  2. Slice cucumber into even, thin slices. (We used my Zyliss Mandoline with the 3mm size blade, but you can also cut the cucumbers with a knife if you don’t have a mandoline.) Please be VERY CAREFUL when using the mandoline. It’s better to eat the end piece of each cucumber than to slice your fingers!
  3. Put the sliced cucumbers into a bowl and sprinkle with table salt.
  4. Use your clean hands to toss cucumbers together so they’re all covered with salt, then let cucumbers sit and release their liquid for at least 15-20 minutes.
  5. While cucumbers are sitting, make the dressing.
  6. Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic.
  7. Whisk together the minced garlic, vinegar, sweet paprika, sour cream, and oil.
  8. I would start with 1/2 tsp. of paprika and then taste to see if you want more (we did.)
  9. Season the dressing with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  10. After cucumbers have been sitting for 15-20 minutes to release the liquid, put them into a colander and let the liquid drain off. Then put a small plate over the cucumbers in the colander and gently press down to squeeze off as much liquid as you can. (You can also put cucumbers inside a clean dish towel and gently squeeze to remove the liquid.)
  11. Blot cucumbers dry with a paper towel.
  12. Put cucumbers back into the bowl (which you have dried out with a paper towel).
  13. Add the dressing mixture and gently combine.
  14. This salad is best when it sits for about 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors combine.
  15. Serve with additional sour cream and paprika to add to the salad at the table if desired.
  16. This salad will keep overnight in the fridge, and may even be better the second day.
  17. I gobbled up all my leftover salad for breakfast the next day, so I don’t know if it will last longer for one day in the fridge.


Use about 2 teaspoons of salt to draw water out of the cucumbers. Most of that salt gets rinsed off by the water. Any mild vinegar can be used, but don’t use a sweet vinegar for this. Al recommends Szeged Paprika (affiliate link), which is also my preferred brand!

This recipe is adapted from the traditional recipe in The Art of Hungarian Cooking, which Al says most closely resembles the salad from his grandmother’s Hungarian restaurant.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 105mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
I would eat Al’s Hungarian Cucumber Salad for any phase of the original South Beach Diet and it’s also good for other low-carb diet plans. The South Beach Diet recommends light sour cream, but other low-carb eating plans would prefer full-fat sour cream, and personally I’d definitely use full fat Daisy Sour Cream in a salad like this.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one.Use the Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Al's Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad

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    39 Comments on “Al’s Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad”

  1. I'm a fan of smoked paprika too, but Al likes the sweet paprika for this recipe.

  2. Thanks for this recipe! I made this today for lunch with smoked Spanish paprika (as it is the only kind of paprika I currently have at home – it is an amazing paprika by the way) and the kids absolutely loved it!

  3. It is fun to see how many people like the idea of this traditional salad, isn't it?

  4. It is funny to see how other people from other countries wonder on our cucumber salad, which can be found almost in every restaurant and is an everyday salad in Hungary. 🙂

  5. I'm excited that so many people are liking this salad. And how fun to hear from someone in Hungary!

  6. My absolute favorite salad, I'm Hungarian, I live next to Szeged, in Hodmezovasarhely

  7. I don't know much about Hungarian food, so I'm so excited to see this recipe on your blog Kalyn. Thanks Al for sharing it and hope to find more recipes from you in the near future.

  8. This sounds amazing Kalyn! I have some cucumbers in the fridge that need using up and this is perfect!!

  9. This sounds like a great cucumber salad. A great side dish for any meal.

  10. Judy, that sounds good! It's always fun to share family recipes like that.

    Carissa, there's a whole category of recipe favorites on the blog, and I share a favorite Phase One recipe every Friday, but I'd have a hard time narrowing it down much more than that! Too many favorites. I do have a page of links to blogging tips that might be useful to you.

    Thanks Gabby; I think I can convince Al to share a few more recipes.

    Joanne, it is going to be a definite repeater for me!

  11. I don't think I've ever heard of a cucumber salad prepared like this! Sounds really refreshing.

  12. I'm Hungarian so I had to go over to amazon and order his cookbook! Thanks Kalyn, I LOVE your blog!

  13. I just came over from blogher and I have to tell you I'm excited to read about a successful food blogger from SLC! I live in SLC too and just started my own menu planning blog. I can't wait to try a bunch of your recipes. Do you have any that are family dinner favorites? Any tips for a beginner like me?

  14. My German Grandmother made a variation of this, which I make all summer long and has been a family tradition since I was a child. It doesn't call for paprika. She used sugar instead. Of course, I substitute splenda. It gives that sweet and sour taste that is part of German cooking. She also added a sliced sweet onion. Whenever I make it, people always ask for the recipe.

  15. Lydia, it was so good; I think you would love it.

  16. When I bought a mandoline years ago, this was just the type of dish I hoped to make with it. I love cucumbers, and love the sound of the sour cream and paprika dressing. Thanks, Al, for sharing this authentic recipe!

  17. Mimi, hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    Thanks Eileen. Would love to hear more about your mom's version.

    Neil, I will ask him about it next time I see him!

  18. Having a Polish wife means we eat a variation of this, Al's looks absolutely delicious so I'll surprise my wife with his version. If Al does happen to take requests, would love his recipe for lecsó, a kind of rich capsicum stew.

  19. This salad sounds great–simple, refreshing, and tangy! It reminds me of a quick cucumber salad my mom used to make–I'll have to ask her about it and see how closely the recipes match. 🙂

  20. I think you must be a mind reader, Kalyn. I have several cucumbers and I'm looking for a new take on cucumber salad. Thanks! You've done it again.

    Now I'll have to check your site for stuffed tomato recipes.