Easy Polish Cucumber with Sour Cream Salad (Mizeria)

This easy cucumber salad is one of the most popular polish salads, and for a good reason. It’s light and fresh, super versatile, needs only a few simple ingredients and requires less than 10 minutes of hands-on time.

Cucumber salad hero shot

Mizeria, the salad’s name in polish, can be roughly translated to misery, but that salad is nothing like it.

In Poland, we often serve this cucumber salad alongside boiled or mashed potatoes and rich, meat-heavy mains, but it works great in almost any setting when you need a light and fresh side dish.

One of the reasons it’s so popular, besides the short ingredients list, is because you can seamlessly integrate it into cooking almost anything.

Got a few spare minutes? Slice the cucumbers and start sweating them. Getting ready to serve? Drain the water, and mix in the other ingredients. Done.

(This polish sauerkraut salad is another quick & easy side dish option you can get ready in no time.)

If you’re making this salad for the first time, read the ingredients notes, step-by-step instructions, and tips. If you’re a veteran, feel free to skip to the recipe card.


Easy cucumber salad ingredients photo

One thing that the image above is missing is lemon juice. I was in a bit of a hurry and forgot to include it. Besides, it tastes great without it, too.

Ingredients Notes and Substitutes

  • Cucumber. I prefer English cucumbers for this recipe, but any slicing cucumbers will work.
  • Sour cream. If you want to reduce calories, use a dense greek or regular yogurt. Or skyr, an Icelandic yogurt that’s typically super low-fat or fat-free. You might need to add a bit more lemon juice to adjust the taste.
  • Lemon juice. You can substitute 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar for 1 tsp lemon juice or even skip it altogether if you don’t have a lemon handy.
  • Powdered sugar. You can use granular sugar or skip it entirely.
  • Salt. I use sea salt, so if you’re using kosher salt, you’ll probably need to add a bit more.
  • Dill. Fresh is best for flavor, but frozen works well too. I usually have a bunch of chopped dill in the freezer and use it in all sorts of dishes, including mizeria. If you don’t have any on hand, skipping it won’t break the dish.
Cucumber salad served

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Prep. Peel and thinly slice the cucumber. Feel free to skip peeling if the cucumbers are small and the skin is soft.
Cucumber salad prep
  1. Sweat. Move the slices to a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix everything well. To better cover the slices, sprinkle them with a pinch of salt, briefly toss, and repeat until you use up the salt. Then cover and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
Cucumber salad adding salt
  1. Drain the cucumber juices from the bowl. Squeeze in the cucumbers a bit using your hands or a spoon and drain all the juices.
Draining cucumbers after sweating
  1. Add the rest. Add sour cream, lemon juice, dill, powdered sugar, and pepper, and mix everything well.
Cucumber salad after adding ingredients
(As you can tell, I forgot to add dill before shooting this one.)
  1. Taste. Add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed.
Mixed cucumber salad
  1. Serve immediately.

Recipe Tips

  • Use a box grater or mandoline for uniform slices and to speed things up.
  • This recipe is really forgiving. If all you have is a cucumber, some sour cream, and salt, it should still turn out quite alright.
  • Storage. The dressing will become more watery if left overnight (or longer) in the fridge. Add an extra tablespoon of sour cream (and maybe some salt) before serving to make it more creamy.

Polish Cucumber Salad

A super popular and versatile cucumber salad you can have on the table in about 20 minutes (including 10 minutes of waiting for the cucumbers to sweat).
Print Recipe
Cucumber salad hero shot
Prep Time:10 mins
Resting Time:10 mins
Total Time:25 mins


  • 1 english cucumber or 1½ slicing cucumber, about 400 grams
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp dill, chopped fresh or frozen
  • pinch powdered sugar
  • pinch pepper


  • Prep the cucumber. Peel and thinly slice the cucumber.
  • Sweat. Place the slices in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss, then cover for at least 10 minutes.
  • Drain the juices from the bowl.
  • Add the rest. Add sour cream, lemon juice, powdered sugar, dill, and pepper, and mix everything.
  • Taste. Add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed.
  • Serve immediately.


  • Sweating the cucumbers for longer, like 30 to 40 minutes, helps release more liquid, making the salad less soggy if not served immediately.
  • Refrigerate the cucumbers if sweating for more than 10 to 15 minutes.
  • If using a large or old cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds using a knife or a fork. The seeds on these tend to hold water, making your salad watery.
  • Add more sour cream if you like. The 3 tablespoons in this recipe are enough to cover the slices but not much more.
  • Taste before serving. That half a teaspoon of salt I recommend is enough to sweat the cucumbers, but you might need to add a pinch or two more to adjust the taste before serving.
  • Consider serving in separate bowls. The cucumbers continue sweating after you prepare the salad, and things might end up a bit watery if served on a single plate with everything else.
Servings: 2

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