Traditional Polish cucumber salad Mizeria is light and refreshing, making it a perfect salad for summer days. The combination of crunchy cucumbers, creamy sour cream dressing, and fresh dill creates a perfect contrast of textures and flavors.
What is Mizeria salad?
Mizeria is the name of a traditional Polish cucumber salad. This salad is also popular in other European countries but under a different name.
This salad is often associated with Polish cuisine because Poland has an abundance of cucumbers during the summer season. Besides pickling, cucumbers are great for making so many different salads.
The name “mizeria” is a made-up name that comes from the Polish word “mizerny”.
We have the same word in the Ukrainian language with the same meaning. “Mizerny” means haggard, poor. (Not miserable, even if it sounds like it in English)
It is more likely called due to the humble and simple ingredients used to make this salad, that poor people could afford.
The history of the salad is quite vague, but its origins can be traced back to the 16th century. It is more likely created by the poor or middle class.
Mizeria has remained a popular dish in Poland throughout all these years and is often served alongside main meat dishes, such as kielbasa, pork stew, and more.
You can find the ingredients’ quantities at the end of this post in the recipe card.
Cucumbers – I like to use Persian cucumbers as they are thin, crispy and do not require peeling. If you are using English cucumbers, I recommend peeling them.
Sour cream – I used full-fat sour cream. You can also use plain Greek yogurt or even vegan sour cream instead.
Dill – you will need fresh dill as it is one of the main ingredients.
Green onions – you can skip it or use red onions instead.
Lemon juice – just a little bit of lemon juice or white vinegar for a tangy element.
Sugar – it is optional, but helps to balance the sour taste of sour cream.
Salt – you will need some for draining the cucumbers and some for the dressing.
Black pepper – it is optional. You can offer some for serving.
How to make it
Rinse the cucumbers well. Cut off the ends and slice cucumbers thinly with a sharp knife. If you are using cucumbers with thicker skin, peel them.
Add the cucumber slices to the bowl or colander and sprinkle with the salt. Leave them for about 15 minutes. There will be some liquid at the bottom.
Drain it and pat dry the slices with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Transfer the cucumbers to a salad bowl.
Rinse the dill and green onions. Chop them finely.
In a small bowl, add sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and chopped greens. Stir well to combine. The creamy dressing is ready.
Pour the dressing over the cucumber slices. Mix well. Give it a taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. You can serve it right away or chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- To keep the cucumbers crispy, make sure to sprinkle them with salt and drain the excess liquid.
- Cut the cucumbers as thin as possible.
- Use a full-fat sour cream.
- If using cucumbers with waxy, thick skin, I recommend peeling them.
How to store leftover salad
Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. You can refresh the salad by adding more freshly chopped dill.
How to serve this salad
During the cucumber season, this creamy cucumber salad is on our dinner table at least 3 times a week. It goes well with any main course, whether it’s a steak, chicken, or even a pizza.
Frequently asked questions
You can use any cucumber to make this Polish cucumber salad. But I find smaller types, such as Persian, and pickling cucumbers are the best, as they are more crispy and flavorful.
If you are using slicing or English type of cucumbers with a waxy coating, it’s best to peel them. However, garden cucumbers or Persian cucumbers with thin skin and no wax can be used without peeling.
You can use white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or fresh lemon juice.
More cucumber salads
Polish Cucumber Salad (Mizeria)
- 1 large bowl
- 1 small bowl
- 1 measuring cup
- measuring spoons
- 4 medium or small cucumbers, rinsed
- 2 green onions
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- ½ cup sour cream, full-fat
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon (optional) sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- (optional) black pepper, to taste
- Slice the cucumbers thinly. Peel if the skin looks waxy. Place them in a colander or a large bowl. Sprinkle with about ¼ teaspoon of salt and let them sit for about 10-15 minutes to draw out the excess moisture. Pat them dry with a clean towel.
- In small bowl, add ½ cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon sugar, chopped dill and green onions. Stir to combine.
- In a salad bowl, add sliced cucumbers and the dressing. Toss the salad until well coated.Enjoy right away to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.