What goes well with cucumber? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and more helpful tips.
Have you ever wondered why cucumber and melon work so well together?
It’s because they have similar flavor profiles making them great flavor pairings or matches.
Knowing what goes well with cucumber will help you come up with endless possibilities to keep your food waste low, boost your kitchen confidence, and eat varied meals.
What's A Cucumber?
Cucumbers are in the gourd plant family (along with melons, squash, and pumpkins) that originated in South Asia, but now grow on most continents. Although they're consumed like a vegetable, cucumbers are actually a fruit. Their high water content gives them a cooling effect.
Visually, they have dark green skin, light green/white flesh, and a cylindrical shape with tapered ends. However, their size, shape, and taste vary depending on the variety.
Although there are nearly one hundred varieties, these are the most popular:
Slicing. These thick-skinned cucumbers have bigger seeds and a bitter taste. They're coated in a food-grade wax which helps to prevent moisture loss.
English (also called hothouse and burpless) - These come wrapped in plastic to prevent moisture loss. They have almost no bitterness, thinner skin, smaller seeds, and are usually grown in greenhouses (hence the hothouse name).
Pickling - Their thin skin makes them the best for brining. Look for this variety at a farmer's market since they are rarely found at the grocery store.
Persian - This variety has been gaining popularity for its concentrated cucumber flavor with no bitterness and minimal seeds. They are less watery and more crunchy than other varieties. They typically come in a pack of 5 or 6 and are smaller in size.
Lemon - They get their name from their resemblance to a lemon with their round shape and yellowish skin even though they don't taste at all like a lemon. They're very seedy, with a mild flavor that's almost never bitter.
When To Buy
The peak season for cucumbers is spring and summer. Peep the seasonal produce guide to see what else is in season right now.
What To Look For
Choose your cucumbers carefully. They should have pure green skin and no soft spots. Avoid wrinkly or dimpled cucumbers as this is a sign that they're overripe and have a sour/funky taste and smell.
Store wax-coated cucumbers in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator where they'll last for up to 1 week. The thinner-skinned varieties (as mentioned above), can be stored for up to 5 days.
The best way to store cut cucumbers is to wrap them in a damp paper towel and place them in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator. Consume them within a few days.
What Goes With Cucumber?
Bell peppers, cabbage, carrot, celery, chile peppers, frisée, garlic, horseradish, jicama, onions (esp. green, red), romaine, scallions, shallots, sprouts, and watercress.
Avocado, lemon, lime, melon (esp. honeydew), pineapple, and tomatoes.
Allspice, caraway seeds, cayenne, celery seeds, coriander, cumin, garam masala, pepper (black, white), red pepper flakes, salt (kosher, sea salt), and sesame seeds.
Basil, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, lemon balm, mint, oregano, parsley, tarragon, and thyme.
Butter, buttermilk, cashew cream, cream cheese, feta, sour cream, and yogurt.
Fish, salmon, scallops, shrimp, and smoked salmon.
Coconut milk, dijon mustard, fish sauce, hot sauce, olive oil, peanuts, rice, soy sauce, sugar (pinch), sesame oil, tamari, vinegar: balsamic, champagne, cider, red wine, rice wine, sherry, and alcohol: gin, vodka, white wine.
Popular Cucumber Pairings
- chervil + salt + vinegar
- chile peppers + mint + yogurt
- cilantro + ginger + sugar + rice vinegar
- dill + red onion + sour cream + vinegar
- salmon + dill
- dill + yogurt
- feta cheese + garlic + mint + olive oil + oregano + red wine vinegar
- garlic + mint + yogurt
- lemon + sesame oil + vinegar
What To Make With Cucumber
Cucumber is a common ingredient in many global cuisines such as Chinese, Greek, Indian, Japanese, Mediterranean, and Vietnamese.
Or be like the British and make cucumber tea sandwiches.