Cucumber Salsa


Who says salsa has to include tomatoes?

Southern Living Cucumber Salsa in a bowl to serve with tortilla chips on the side

Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely   

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins

Tomatoes get all of the love and attention when it comes to traditional salsa varieties, but we think cucumber salsa deserves some attention, too. Other fruits, veggies, and even legumes make fantastic bases to the sweet, savory, and spicy dip that can be enjoyed year-round—this cucumber salsa is proof of that.

What You'll Love About Cucumber Salsa

One of our favorite salsas casts cucumber in the leading role to create a refreshingly bright and citrusy recipe that is heavy on flavor and light on effort. You'll have a bowl of the healthy snack ready in literally 10 minutes or less, which means it's also the perfect last-minute appetizer for backyard barbecues, happy hours, picnics, and even formal dinner parties.

Summer is when cucumber really shines, but feel free to make this whenever you have a hankering for the refreshing gourd. And try experimenting with different ingredients to vary the flavor profile ever-so-slightly. You may just find a version that rivals this one, earning a well-deserved and permanent spot in your cooking repertoire.

Ingredients for Cucumber Salsa

This green salsa is formed on a foundation of finely chopped English cucumber. The cucumber is accented by tart Granny Smith apple, fresh cilantro, and lime juice. Red onion adds a nice pop of sharpness and purple color, and jalapeño brings a hint of heat. A touch of sugar and salt helps to round out and accentuate these flavors so that nothing is too overpowering.

Southern Living Cucumber Salsa ingredients

Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely   

How To Make Cucumber Salsa

Most of the work in the 10-minute prep time, which involves chopping up all of your produce. From there, simply combine all the ingredients in your favorite serving bowl, and set it out to be enjoyed. It really is that easy.

Southern Living Cucumber Salsa ingredients ready to stir together in a mixing bowl

Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely   

How To Serve Cucumber Salsa

Serve this cucumber salsa with tortilla chips or plantain chips. You can also use it to top proteins like fish for an acidic departure from heavier sauces. It also makes a fantastic taco topper by incorporating sweet, salt, and an added crunch.

How To Store Cucumber Salsa

Cucumber salsa can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about two days. The flavors will meld together and make the dish taste even better after just a few hours.

Avoid freezing any leftovers (which you likely won't have), as cucumbers, apples, and onions will quickly turn into gritty, mealy mush upon thawing.

Cucumber Salsa Variations

Making salsa is a great way to experiment with bold (and seasonal!) flavors in your kitchen and figure out what ingredients complement each other.

If you're ditching tomatoes altogether, consider peaches, black beans, corn, pineapple, peppers, beets, and even plums as alternatives. These hearty foods, both in taste and texture, can stand up to big flavors like tang and spice that can notoriously take over a dish.

Editorial contributions by Joey Skladany.


  • 1 large (12 ounces) English cucumber, finely chopped (about 2½ cups)

  • 1 small (5 ounces) Granny Smith apple, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion (from 1 small [5 ounce] onion)

  • 1 small (1 ounce) jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (about ¼ cup)

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl, and serve.

    Southern Living Cucumber Salsa in the mixing bowl after it has been mixed together

    Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely   

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does cucumber salsa last in the fridge?

    Cucumber salsa will stay fresh in the fridge for about 4 days, but we recommend eating it within 2 days of making it. The ingredients will get soft and soggy after a few days.

  • What pepper do you use for cucumber salsa?

    This cucumber salsa recipe uses jalapeño. If you like a hotter pepper, try fruit habanero or a serrano. For a milder heat, reach for a poblano pepper or Anaheim pepper.

Additional reporting by
Joey Skladany
Courtesy of Joey Skladany

Joey is a writer, editor, TV/radio personality, lifestyle expert, former entertainment publicist, and author of Basic Bitchen. His work has appeared in People, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Allrecipes, Food52, Apartment Therapy, and more. 

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