This refreshing Polish cucumber salad, Mizeria, is a delicious and easy summer salad with a creamy sour cream and dill dressing. It takes minutes to prepare, and is the perfect pairing to fish and grilled meats.
What is Mizeria
Mizeria is a cucumber salad which originated in Poland in which grated or chopped cucumbers are mixed with sour cream or kefir flavoured with fresh dill. There are a few explanations for the origins of this Polish salad: from it originally being a food for the poor, coming from the Polish word, mizerny, translating to ‘misery;’ to an Italian Queen marrying a Polish king and being forced to leave Italy for Poland. Homesick and greatly missing fresh fruit and vegetables in the meat-heavy Polish diet, eating this salad made her even more homesick. Some believe the salad was given this name as a joke, and it stuck.
Why we love this recipe
- Great recipe for using up a glut of cucumbers.
- My family are huge fans of simple cucumber salads! They are budget friendly, and you can make them creamy like this salad, or have a vinegar dressing like this German cucumber salad.
- Refreshing summer salad. The lemon juice balances out the rich sour cream and dill adds a lovely light flavour.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Cucumber – English seedless cucumber/ telegraph cucumber.
- Sour cream – full fat sour cream works best in this recipe. You can use full fat Greek yogurt or natural yogurt instead, but use less lemon juice.
- Lemon – fresh lemon juice. You can use white wine vinegar if you don’t have lemon juice. Start with 1 teaspoon vinegar and taste, adding a little more if needed.
- Dill – fresh dill adds a lovely ainiseedy flavour to this salad. Dill is a popular herb in Polish cooking and is found as an ingredient in many Polish dishes.
- Spring onion / green onion – a little onion flavour without the harshness of brown onion.
- Salt – sea salt or kosher salt.
How to make cucumber salad from scratch
(These step by step images are for guidance only. For full detailed recipe, please see recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- Peel and thinly slice the cucumber and place in a colander.
- Sprinkle with salt and leave.
- Drain the cucumber and pat dry with kitchen paper towel.
- Place in a bowl with the sour cream, lemon juice, fresh dill and spring onions and stir to combine.
English cucumbers (hothouse cucumbers), Lebanese or Persian Cucumbers are all great cucumbers for salads, as they have thin skins and not many seeds.
It depends on which variety of cucumber you are using for your salad. Market cucumbers have thick skins and need peeling, whereas English cucumbers and Lebanese or Persian cucumbers have thinner skins and do not need peeling.
My recipe tips
- Mizeria is best served chilled, and straight from the fridge.
- Thinly slice the cucumbers – with a sharp knife, mandolin or a slicing blade on your food processor.
- Salting the cucumbers removes excess water from them, making the salad creamy rather than watery.
- For a dairy free or vegan mizeria: use dairy free sour cream.
This creamy cucumber salad is such a versatile side, try it:
- with grilled salmon, fish, steak, lamb or chicken.
- as a side to oven baked chicken
- as a side at a bbq.
- cold poached salmon or trout.
- over boiled potatoes, or mashed potatoes, with a rasher or two of bacon.
Fridge: This easy creamy dill cucumber salad will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Why not try these other simple sides
You may also like these other family friendly summer salads:
Polish cucumber salad (Mizeria)
- 1 English cucumber
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 spring onion (green onion) finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill finely chopped
- 110 g sour cream
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Peel and slice the cucumbers thinly. Place in a colander with 1 teaspoon salt and leave for 15 minutes. (It is best to place the colander in or over your sink.)
- Pat the cucumber slices dry with kitchen paper towel.
- Mix the sour cream with fresh dill, spring onion and lemon juice then add the salted cucumber and mix well. Taste and add more lemon juice if you want.
- Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Will keep in the fridge up to 2 days.