Sesame Cucumber Salad with Pickled Mustard Seeds

This easy, refreshing cucumber salad recipe is perfect for hot days! A sweet and tangy dressing coats cool cucumbers, onions, and lots of fresh herbs.

Cucumber salad

This cucumber salad recipe is the quintessential summer side dish. Like all the best summer recipes, it calls for just a few ingredients, but it still packs a big punch of flavor. Thanks to a light sesame salad dressing, it’s salty, sweet, nutty, and tangy, with plenty of fresh mint and dill to take it over the top. You only need 15 minutes to make it (including 10 minutes of hands-off chill time), so toss it together and enjoy it as a dinner side dish, or, like me, eat it straight out of the bowl! On hot days, there’s nothing more refreshing.

Cucumber salad recipe ingredients

Cucumber Salad Recipe Ingredients

This bright, fresh cucumber salad recipe only calls for 8 ingredients:

  • English cucumber, of course! This salad turns out best when you slice the cucumbers paper-thin. I recommend using a mandoline to get even slices.
  • Red onion. The thinner these guys are, the better, so if you have a mandoline, use it for the onion as well as the cucumber.
  • Rice vinegar, sesame oil, and honey combine to make a nutty, sweet, and tangy dressing for the crisp veggies.
  • Dill and mint. They add delicious freshness to the cool cucumbers and onions.
  • Pickled mustard seeds. I list these as optional, but I highly recommend using them. Their flavor is a great complement to the dill, and they add savory complexity to this simple cucumber onion salad.

Add a sprinkle of sea salt, and you’ve got everything you need!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Cucumber onion salad

How to Make Cucumber Salad

This recipe is quick and easy to toss together. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. First, add the sliced English cucumbers and onion to a large bowl along with the honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt, and fresh dill. Toss it all together and put the bowl in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
  2. After the mixture has chilled, transfer it to a serving dish, leaving behind any excess liquid.
  3. Top the cucumber salad with fresh mint leaves and pickled mustard seeds, if you’re using them.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Find the full recipe below!

Sliced cucumbers and red onion in a bowl

What to Serve with Cucumber Onion Salad

I tend to gobble up this cucumber salad as soon as I toss it together, but on days when I have some restraint, I serve it as a side dish with classic picnic fare. We love it with these recipes:

Round out the meal with fruit salad, grilled corn on the cob, or grilled veggies with dollops of tzatziki.

Thanks to the sweet and tangy sesame dressing, this cucumber salad recipe pairs well with Asian flavors too. Try it as a side dish with soba noodles, crispy tofu, or banh mi sandwiches. Add a scoop to a watermelon poké bowl, or pair it with sushi, spring rolls, or summer rolls to make a light meal.

Cucumber salad recipe

More Favorite Salad Recipes

If you love this easy cucumber salad recipe, try one of these summer salads next:

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Cucumber Salad

rate this recipe:
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves 4
This cucumber salad recipe is the perfect side dish for summer cookouts! I list the pickled mustard seeds as optional, but I highly recommend including them. They really take this salad over the top.


  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
  • cup thinly sliced red onions
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
  • Pickled mustard seeds, optional (recipe below)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional

Pickled Mustard Seeds, optional (makes extra)


  • Make the pickled mustard seeds, if using. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stir in mustard seeds, reduce the heat, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until the mustard seeds are plump. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Make the salad. In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, agave nectar, cucumber, onion, salt, sesame oil, and dill. Toss to coat and chill for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, leaving some of the excess water behind. Top with fresh mint, dollops of pickled mustard seeds, if using, and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired. Season to taste and serve.



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Wendy

    Delicious! Perfect for summer cucumbers. Flavorful and refreshing but not heavy. Thanks!

  2. Tracy

    Can this be made the night before?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Tracy, the pickled mustard seeds can be made up to a week in advance, but the salad is best made day-of since cucumbers get watery once seasoned with salt. If you wanted to slice the veggies the day before, that would be fine. It would just be a few minutes to toss together same-day.

  3. L.. M. Bell


  4. Jessica

    Hi Jeanine,

    Would you use american cucumber, after removing most of the thick skin maybe, instead of the English cucumber? I’ve only found English cucumber wrapped in plastic, which I avoid if possible.

    Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jessica, that would work! Depending on the size of your cucumbers, you may need 2.

  5. Carrie

    How long will the pickled mustard seeds stay good for? Any other suggestions of what to do with any leftover seeds?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Carrie, they’ll last about a month in the fridge. They’re great on sandwiches (especially grilled cheese), over soft boiled eggs, or served with a cheese board-type platter.

  6. Susan

    A really good cucumber salad is unforgettable. This reminds me of the cucumber salad my Hungarian grandmother used to make – it didn’t have the herbs or sesame oil, and I think she let it marinate for a lot longer. The main flavoring was sweet Hungarian paprika. Now I’m getting hungry…

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.