Grilled Salmon with Creamy Cucumber-Dill Salad

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Grilled salmon with a tangy and refreshing cucumber salad over top makes a light and easy weeknight dinner.

grilled salmon

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

how to make grilled salmon with cucumber salad

Begin by making the cucumber-dill salad. 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.

how to make grilled salmon with cucumber salad

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

how to make grilled salmon with cucumber salad

Whisk to combine.

how to make grilled salmon with cucumber salad

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

how to make grilled salmon with cucumber salad

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

how to make grilled salmon with cucumber salad

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!

how to make grilled salmon with cucumber salad

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!

grilled salmon

Grilled Salmon with Creamy Cucumber-Dill Salad

Grilled salmon with a tangy and refreshing cucumber salad over top makes a light and easy weeknight dinner.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the Salmon

  • 4 (6-oz) salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin 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

Instructions

  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 medium-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 3/4 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.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Calories: 522
  • Fat: 39 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 36 g
  • Sodium: 706 mg
  • Cholesterol: 108 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • So, so good! The cucumber-dill salad is fantastic! This recipe will be on my rotation. Thank you, Jenn!

    • — Theresa on July 6, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this tonight and I had to control myself and not eat the dill sauce with a spoon, Good grief this is a new favorite!!! My husband loves things finely chopped so I chopped the onion and cucumber that way. I am seriously so excited because he doesn’t love salmon but was all about the sauce, which made the salmon wonderful. Thank you, Jenn!!!!

    • — Page Martin on May 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Made this for a catering event today that was for a culinary advisory committee. With several chefs in attendance, it was a hit and liked by all.

    • — Chad on May 2, 2019
    • Reply
  • I am so thrilled to have come across Once Upon A Chef – the second I got her book and scoured her website, this recipe was making my mouth water – I instantly went to the grocery store, bought the ingredients, gave great attention to her suggestions on how to cook the salmon on the grill (first time fish griller here!)… I made everything exactly as she suggestions and wow it was so delicious! We have made it multiple times – never fails to impress, and the plates are always spotless after (because hey, why not lick a plate clean?).

    • — Kelly M Heck on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
  • I loved the cucumber salad. Added cherry tomatoes. Perfect w salad. Would make this again and again.
    I also love your cookbook. I have tried many of the recipes esp cinnamon swirl bread

    • — Jess S on November 7, 2018
    • Reply
    • ☺️

      • — Jenn on November 7, 2018
      • Reply
  • Made this wonderful salmon recipe for dinner and my husband said this way absolutely the best salmon I’ve ever made. The cucumber dill sauce was a surprisingly nice flavor that complimented the salmon beautifully. A nice summer dinner and great way to use cucumbers from the garden or farmers market. The only change I made to the recipe was to brine the salmon in a salt water solution for about 15 minutes and instead of grilling the salmon simply cooked it on top of the stove.

    • — Theresa K. on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made this salmon for a small dinner party and it was a huge hit, especially the cucumber salad. I don’t have a very good grill so I prepared the salmon on the stove top in a saute pan and it turned out perfectly cooked. The only change I made to the salad was with the red onion. Including the red onions with the cucumber in the collander did not reduce the strong taste of the onion which I find unpleasant, so I soaked the sliced onion in ice water for 10-15 minutes. This eliminated the strong bite of the onion and left them a little sweeter and just as crisp.

    • — Tom Genovese on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • How far in advance can the dill sauce be made before serving?

    Thanks Jen!

    • — Tammy on September 29, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Tammy, You can make the sauce (w/o the cukes) up to two days in advance; once you add the cucumbers, it will keep well for up to about 6 hours.

      • — Jenn on September 29, 2018
      • Reply
  • The salad was really good, had it with cold lobster. Great!

    • — Marq on August 30, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jen. Just wondering if this can be made with yogurt instead of sour cream and mayonnaise???

    • — Lora Tchekoratova on August 30, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Lora, you can definitely use yogurt in place of the sour cream. I’d recommend sticking with the mayo if possible as it rounds out the tartness of the sour cream (or yogurt) nicely.

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2018
      • Reply
  • I did this recipe usng a grill pan. It was delicious. I’m cooking this for 5 people next but my grill pan isn’t big enough so I’m planning on using a griddle pan or regular pans that I use with other salmon recipes. As a side I’m planning on your Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes because they are always a hit with my guests.

    • — Tom on August 26, 2018
    • Reply
  • I have never had a cucumber salad that I thought was worth eating until this one. Thank you, Jenn!

    • — Beth Cook on August 25, 2018
    • Reply
  • Tried this salmon last night- it was fabulous. After draining the cucumbers I squeezed them in a cotton towel- the flavor was intense and the sauce consistency was perfect. I’ll make this one over and over for company.

    • — Celia on August 25, 2018
    • Reply
  • Wonderful! Even my fussy kids loved this salmon recipe. Also, thank you Jennifer for adding the nutritional value

    • — Alexandra Mattson Carton on August 24, 2018
    • Reply
  • Can I use a grill skillet for the grilled salmon recipe

    • — denise porter on August 24, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure, Denise – that’ll work.

      • — Jenn on August 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Jenn, how would you change the salad for a regular instead of English cucumber?

    • — Beth Cook on August 23, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Beth, you really don’t need to make any changes. The regular cucumber may have more seeds so just make sure you scrape those out. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 24, 2018
      • Reply
  • This recipe is fabulous! Thank you Jenn..we have tried multiple recipes of yours…love them all!

    • — Rick & Jan on August 23, 2018
    • Reply
  • Could you give the nutritional information?

    • — Lakshmi on August 23, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Lakshmi, I just added it to the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 23, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I want to make this but onions especially red have such a BITE😬. Is there any way to cut the bite from the onions so that I could enjoy the bite from the salad.

    • — Toni on August 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Toni, I too am a raw onion-phobe. Salting them (with the cucumber) removes their bite quite a bit. To mellow them out even more, soak them in cold water for 10 minutes first.

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2018
      • Reply
      • Hi Jen, I tried this delicious meal this evening and I must say you/I outdid ourselves 🤣 just joking you deserve ALL the credit for this one I just followed your instructions. Thank you for the tip on the onions it worked out well. That cucumber salad is to die for especially on a warm summers night (with a glass of wine of course). And the salmon paired with it is something out of this world. I’m always looking for quick light meals for my family. You did it again Jen keep up the great work. P.S. are you putting out another cookbook I have your latest I would love more from you to add to my collection.

        • — Toni on August 15, 2018
        • Reply
        • So glad you enjoyed it, Toni. Not sure yet about another cookbook – taking a little time off before making that decision. 🙂

          • — Jenn on August 16, 2018
          • Reply
  • Sat out on the balcony and enjoyed this recipe. Perfect on a hot summer night with roasted asparagus, sliced heirloom tomatos sprinkled with oregano, salt and pepper and a glass of white wine. Made exactly as written, fast and good. Grilled the salmon on my pannini press.

    • — Carol on August 14, 2018
    • Reply
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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?

    • Hi Carol, This is intended for the grill. Do you have one?

      • 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.

        • Hi Carol, All hope is not lost; you could broil them :).

          • I had an aha moment during the night…what about my terrific Panini press?

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

            • — Jenn
  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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!

  • 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.

  • any ideas for green beans with grilled salmon ? no cucumbers here

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • 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 🙂

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • This was so easy to make and delicious! My husband isn’t a huge fan of salmon but loved this recipe.

  • This was AMAZING!!!! I tried it a second time with low fat mayo and sour cream and it was still DELICIOUS!!!
    Thanks 🙂

  • Love this

  • This is a very delicious and summery dish! I even ate the salad for leftovers as its own dish.

  • OMG! This salmon turned out perfect and the cucumber dill salad was the perfect finish!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Absolutely delicious! Was easy to make and quite impressive to my family. I loved the cucumber salad. Definitely will make this again.

  • 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!!!

  • That looks very good please tell me is that wild salmon?

    • Hi Kevin, I believe the salmon is that photo is farm raised.

  • 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!

  • The dill salad is really creamy and adds such a nice boost of flavor to the salmon, will surely make this again!

  • I have to admit eating a spoonful or two… or three.. of the cucumber dill salad alone. Great recipe and perfect for spring!

  • Grilled salmon is one my favorite dishes and this sauce was a wonderful addition!

  • I love this salad! It has become my favorite way to eat cucumbers year round!

  • this looks amazing! its on my must try list

  • 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.

    • 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 🙂

  • Payton Bonneau

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

  • 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

  • Jen, best salmon recipe ever!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • This is my kind of dinner..simple AND delicious!

  • This looks delicious! I’d have to try this.

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