This creamy Polish cucumber salad comes straight from my sweet Polish mother-in-law’s kitchen, so thank you, Gosia, for your mizeria recipe. While most people use sour cream or yogurt for the sauce, she loves to use heavy cream—another reason why I love her! It’s the perfect salad to slice up and chill in the refrigerator before a barbecue, especially if you have cucumbers that are fresh from the garden.
Mizeria is a favorite in my household because my husband grew up eating this in his hometown, New Britain, Connecticut—a town affectionately called “Little Poland.” This Polish salad is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, or alongside a pork roast with mushroom gravy and boiled potatoes.
Mizeria Recipe FAQs
What kind of cucumbers should I use?
In the summer, I always use the small pickling cucumbers because those are the kind my family grows. They’re great because the skin is thin, they’re always crisp, and the seeds are small. You may be able to find them in the grocery store in the off-season, but if not, English cucumbers are a great alternative because of their thin skin and small seeds. If you do end up using a cucumber with large seeds, I would recommend removing the seeds.
Why doesn’t this recipe have you draw out the extra water from the cucumbers?
I’m all for making a quick, easy cucumber salad, and I typically have a hungry husband ready to eat! Because I recommend eating this salad the same day, it isn’t necessary to draw the extra water out of the cucumbers because it won’t be sitting overnight & getting soggy.
Can I use sour cream or plain greek yogurt instead of heavy cream?
Yes, many people use sour cream or Greek yogurt in their mizeria recipes, but it isn't my preference. While using Greek yogurt is a great way to reduce the calories in this recipe, the tanginess of the yogurt combined with the white vinegar may be overpowering.
What should I use as a garnish?
More fresh dill, or my all-time favorite garnish—sliced green onions!
The argument in my house is always whether or not to peel the cucumber. As a dietitian, I typically lean towards not peeling the cucumber, especially if they’re homegrown. Leaving on the peel adds extra fiber content, helping to keep you full and keep everything moving through your digestive system smoothly.
If you’re looking to reduce the calories while maintaining the integrity of this recipe, the best way to do so is by substituting half and half for the heavy cream. This substitution will reduce the fat and calories by about 50%.
Fresh Dill vs. Dried: If you don’t have fresh dill, you’re always welcome to substitute with dried dill, and the recipe will be just as good (but maybe a little less pretty). The common practice for substituting dried herbs for fresh herbs is using 1 tsp of dried herbs for every 1 TBSP of fresh herbs in the recipe. Because dried herbs are typically more potent, it’s important to reduce the amount of dried herbs to maintain a consistent flavor.
Vinegar vs. Lemon Juice: Polish people love vinegar, but if you don’t have any white vinegar on hand, don’t worry! Lemon juice is a great alternative, although it may slightly alter the color of the sauce. Feel free to experiment with flavored vinegars too, and let me know how it turns out!
Fresh Dill vs. Fresh Mint: If you’re making mojitos & have some leftover fresh mint, feel free to throw it in as a substitution for dill! Be sure to crush the mint leaves with your hands before slicing them to release the oils in the leaves.
Try out this traditional Polish cucumber salad in your kitchen & let me know what you think. From my family to yours, smacznego--enjoy!
All my love & a little butter,
Olivia Sokolowska, MBA-RD
A creamy, yet tangy cold cucumber salad that's the perfect side dish on a hot summer day.
- 3 pickling cucumbers
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 TBSP 10% white vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 TBSP heavy cream
- 2 TBSP fresh dill
1. Rinse cucumbers in cold water. Thinly slice and discard the end slices.
2. Place sliced cucumbers in a large bowl and season with salt.
3. In another small bowl, add vinegar and sugar and whisk until sugar has dissolved.
4. Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers and mix with hands. (Mixing with your hands allows you to separate the cucumbers that have stuck to each other.)
5. Add in heavy cream and mix with hands.
6. Chop dill and sprinkle in. Mix with hands.
7. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. Enjoy the same day!
*Yields 4 cups
*When cutting the cucumbers, try to slice them as thinly as possible.
*10% vinegar may be difficult to find outside of a European grocery store. Traditional 5% vinegar works fine too!
Serving Size1 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 82Total Fat 4.5gSaturated Fat 2.7gSodium 303mgCarbohydrates 10.5gFiber 1.5gSugar 5gProtein 2g
Please note that nutrition information is a computer-generated estimate and should not be interpreted as a registered dietitian's advice. Nutrition facts calculations vary based on brands, products, and serving sizes.