Grilled Salmon with Creamy Cucumber-Dill Salad

5 stars based on 7 votes


Summer cooking is all about keeping it simple. No fussy sauces or heating up the kitchen, just good food made from fresh ingredients. This salmon, simply grilled with a tangy and refreshing cucumber salad over top, is just that.

Grilled salmon with cucumber salad 5

Begin by making the cucumber-dill salad. I like to use an English hothouse cucumber (available in most supermarkets) but if you can’t find one, any cucumber will do. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then scrape out the seeds and watery center using a teaspoon.


Cut the cucumber into thin slices and place in a colander with the red onions. Toss with the salt and let drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step or your salad will be very watery.


Tap it on the base of the sink to release any excess water and then pat dry with paper towels.

Grilled salmon with cucumber salad 4

In the meantime, make the dressing by combining the sour cream, mayo, white wine vinegar, garlic, dill, sugar and black pepper.

Grilled salmon with cucumber salad 6

Combine the dressing with the drained cucumbers and red onions and chill until ready to eat.

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Preheat your grill to high heat. Rub the salmon fillets with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and pepper.


Be sure the grates on the grill are clean and well-oiled. Grill the fish 4-5 minutes on the first side and 2-3 minutes on the next. The trick is to let the fish sear on the first side until nice and brown, which enables it to release easily. Resist the urge to peek or flip before it’s ready!

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Let the salmon fillets cool slightly then serve with the cold cucumber-dill salad piled over top or alongside.  A warm baguette is the perfect accompaniment. Note: The Cucumber-Dill Salad is also wonderful on its own so you may want to double the recipe so you’ll have enough for leftovers. Enjoy!


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Grilled Salmon with Creamy Cucumber-Dill Salad

Servings: 4


For the Salmon

  • 4 (6-oz) salmon fillets, skin on
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Cucumber-Dill Salad

  • 1 English cucumber (also called hothouse cucumber)
  • 1/3 cup finely sliced red onion, from one small red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Cut the cucumber in half and then slice each half down the middle lengthwise. Use the tip of a teaspoon to scoop out the center seeds. Cut each half into thin slices and place in a colander along with the red onion slices. Toss with salt and let sit in the sink for at least 30 minutes, until the water drains out.
  2. In the meantime, make the dressing: combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, dill, garlic, sugar and black pepper in a medium bowl and mix well.
  3. When the cucumbers and onions are ready, release any excess water by tapping the colander on the base of the sink, then use a large wad of paper towels to pat the vegetables dry. Add to the dressing and toss well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  4. Preheat the grill to high heat. Clean the grill rack, then brush lightly with oil. Close the lid and let return to temperature. Rub the salmon with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper. Place the fillets skin side down and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 4-5 minutes (resist the urge to peek or flip early; when fillets are nicely seared on the first side, they should release easily). Flip the fillets over and continue grilling until done, 2-3 minutes. Let cool slightly, remove the skin if desired, and serve with the cold cucumber-dill salad piled over top or alongside.
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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi, Jenn 🙂 Could I cook the salmon on a Griddle Pan instead? Would the timing need to be altered if I did so?

    - Meredith on June 7, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Meredith, sure a griddle pan will work here; I’d cook the salmon over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side for each inch of thickness (so if the salmon is about 1-inch thick, you’d cook it for a total of 10 minutes). Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on June 8, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have been looking for a good cucumber-dill salad recipe to go with my leftover grilled salmon for quite a while. Everyone at my house loved this recipe including me! Thank you for sharing this!

    - Caulerpa on October 19, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    This is a refreshing and flavorful topping-we love it with fish or chicken.

    - Katie on September 14, 2017 Reply
  • Jenn, want to make this, but do not have a grill pan…what else do you suggest?

    - Carol on May 2, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Carol, This is intended for the grill. Do you have one?

      - Jenn on May 2, 2017 Reply
      • I am at that stage in life where I have graduated to an apartment, Unfortunately, my grill, fireplace, extra refrigerator and big freezer are only memories of the past.

        - Carol Winkelman on May 3, 2017 Reply
        • Hi Carol, All hope is not lost; you could broil them :).

          - Jenn on May 3, 2017 Reply
          • I had an aha moment during the night…what about my terrific Panini press?

            - Carol Winkelman on May 4, 2017
          • I assume that’s similar to something like a George Foreman grill? If so, I think it could work.

            - Jenn on May 5, 2017
  • 5 stars

    Adding this to our meal rotation, such a simple and healthy recipe to make. Perfect now we’re coming into summer down here in Australia!

    - Ash on October 20, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this tonight and it was delicious!! I love the pairing of cucumber and dill with the salmon….yum! I want to make it for a dinner with relatives soon, but there are folks who can’t eat dairy in my family. What do you suggest for a sub for the sour cream (I actually used Greek yogurt instead)? All mayo or ???? Thanks, Jenn.

    - Arianna on September 10, 2016 Reply
    • Glad you liked it Arianna! I think using all mayo for this may make it a little too rich, but you could try it. There is a recipe here for non-dairy sour cream that would work. (Keep in mind that although it doesn’t take much active time, it needs 24 hours to culture.) Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on September 11, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Your recipes have quickly become some of my favorite. This one is no different! The salmon is simple enough and is a classic flavor but the cucumber dill sauce is outstanding. It’s fresh, crisp, and delicious. Perfect match-up.

    - Mistina on July 31, 2016 Reply
  • any ideas for green beans with grilled salmon ? no cucumbers here

    - tracy pierce on May 31, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Living in Seattle for much of my life, I have tried and true recipes to cook salmon, so I decided to just try the cucumber salad for an extra touch to my salmon. Score again Jenn!! My husband just loves cucumbers and dill. We loved the salad on top of our salmon tonight. Definitely will be on our salmon dinner rotation.

    - Rochelle Shugrue on March 5, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious moist salmon, easy to grill and a fast cooking time. The creamy cucumber dill salad was low cal because I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and mayo. The purple onion gave a tangy flavor. Also I substituted red wine vinegar for white wine vinegar which tasted delicious. This salmon dish with cucumber dill salad was a hit with my family and now a favorite salmon meal. Thank you!

    - Michele Nastarin on December 29, 2014 Reply
  • This was absolutely delicious. We all loved it and I get a little left over salad to go with lunch tomorrow! Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe 🙂

    - Denise Gonzalez on April 8, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Jenn- I was planning to make this for dinner with friends. Do you have any suggestions for a good side to accompany the dish? Thanks! My husband and I love your site!

    - Meg on March 19, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Meg, So glad to hear you and your husband are enjoying the site! I would serve this dish with either my cornbread muffins or buttermilk biscuits; and if you felt like you needed something more, perhaps some orzo sautéed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

      - Jenn on March 20, 2014 Reply
  • This was so easy to make and delicious! My husband isn’t a huge fan of salmon but loved this recipe.

    - Julie on January 10, 2014 Reply
  • This was AMAZING!!!! I tried it a second time with low fat mayo and sour cream and it was still DELICIOUS!!!
    Thanks 🙂

    - Melissa on August 27, 2013 Reply
  • Love this

    - Milton graham on June 24, 2013 Reply
  • This is a very delicious and summery dish! I even ate the salad for leftovers as its own dish.

    - MichelleH on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • OMG! This salmon turned out perfect and the cucumber dill salad was the perfect finish!

    - Kelly W. on October 22, 2012 Reply
  • To make this a little healthier, I used greek yogurt instead of the mayo and sour cream. Tastes just as good and saves on some fat and calories!

    - Lauren on August 6, 2012 Reply
  • Made it tonight to use up the bonus of cucumbers in the garden. Was wonderful! Got a thumbs up around the table and has made it into our circulation of dinners.

    - Laura on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Love this simple salmon recipe. Only a few ingredients, cook on the grill and done. My husband and I love having fish in the summer and this is a quick and easy week night dinner. I’d never had a cucumber salad until trying this recipe. I really liked the crispness of it. Perfect summer meal!

    - Dani on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! Was easy to make and quite impressive to my family. I loved the cucumber salad. Definitely will make this again.

    - meg on May 8, 2012 Reply
  • we got home late tonight ate a late lunch, no kids, didn’t think we would be cooking, I saw this recipe just happened to have all the indg. Cooked in 30 min. My husband thought it was the best salmon he had ever eaten. It was!!!! If you want to impress, cook this!!!

    - Lori on April 24, 2012 Reply
  • That looks very good please tell me is that wild salmon?

    - Kevin Haines on March 7, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Kevin, I believe the salmon is that photo is farm raised.

      - Jenn on March 7, 2012 Reply
  • I love the cucumber dill salad! You can substitute low-fat sour cream and light (good quality) mayo, or swap some with nonfat greek yogurt for a healthier option. Definitely use fresh dill, makes a huge difference!

    - Nadia on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • The dill salad is really creamy and adds such a nice boost of flavor to the salmon, will surely make this again!

    - Mary on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • I have to admit eating a spoonful or two… or three.. of the cucumber dill salad alone. Great recipe and perfect for spring!

    - Erin on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Grilled salmon is one my favorite dishes and this sauce was a wonderful addition!

    - Amanda on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I love this salad! It has become my favorite way to eat cucumbers year round!

    - Cindy L on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • this looks amazing! its on my must try list

    - Rosalinda on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I made this tonight. One suggestion is that you should note how thick a piece of salmon you used for this. The times you gave are too long for a 1/2 ” thick piece of salmon. You must have used a thicker piece. I would also use half as much vinegar and it would be perfect.

    - NANCI on February 1, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Nanci, Thanks so much for your comment. You’re right, I do usually use thicker salmon…about an inch. The general rule for fish is about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. Of course, it also depends on how hot the grill is, and whether you like your salmon medium or medium-rare. Hope you enjoyed it 🙂

      - Jenn on February 1, 2012 Reply
  • Payton Bonneau

    Thanks so much for the blog post.Really thank you! Fantastic.

    - Payton Bonneau on December 13, 2011 Reply
  • My husband and I made this last night for dinner, though I admit I am not a huge fan of salmon, so I subsituted tuna. It was so great, I cannot wait to make it again. I love your recipes. now, when we are stuck for something interesting to cook, I get on your site and find my next meal!

    thank you…..Patti

    - patti on October 18, 2011 Reply
  • Jen, best salmon recipe ever!

    - Keith on October 2, 2011 Reply
  • I made this for a family dinner recently and it was a HUGE hit. I don’t even like salmon all that much and this was delicious. The cucumber salad is so refreshing.

    - Jill on August 25, 2011 Reply
  • Hi Jennifer,

    I love this recipe, and so are my guests!!! I made this two weekends ago for my friends and their kids and they loved it! Especially the kids, and I have to tell you, the kids hated eating fish(according to the moms). I think it’s because of the creamy cool sauce gave them the go-ahead. Thanks for sharing this great hit recipe! THANKS!!!


    - Shirley on August 16, 2011 Reply
  • This is my kind of dinner..simple AND delicious!

    - leslie on August 8, 2011 Reply
  • This looks delicious! I’d have to try this.

    - estherpalermo on August 6, 2011 Reply
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