Cold Cucumber Soup ♥

Cold Cucumber Soup, the summer classic ♥, light but flavorful after a recipe makeover. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Gluten Free.
Is your garden spitting out cucumbers like heavy green bullets? Is summer heat putting you in a big sweat? Put a chilled summer soup on the menu, here the summer classic, a simple mix of cucumbers, yogurt and sour cream spiked with garlic and lemon juice. It's cooling and refreshing. I've lightened the recipe without sacrificing flavor ... you might even call it a recipe makeover.

Real Food, Fast & Casual. A Summer Classic. Not Just Easy, Summer Easy. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free.

Light & Cooling

In my imagination, a chilled cucumber soup is eaten on the verandah in the American south, Spanish moss hanging from still trees nearby, a fan swirling above, a dog panting at my feet. Instead? When it's blazing hot, odds are good we're savoring every sip inside in air-conditioned comfort ... no need to wipe one's brow of sweat. Either way, don't let summer pass without a big bowl of one of the most classic summer soups, cucumber.

What Makes This Particular Recipe Special?

So many recipes, including Ina Garten's famous cucumber soup, just seem overly rich and heavy, more cream than cucumber. Not to my taste! Me, I want all the pleasure and none of the excess. Here's what I was shooting for:

Use up a whole pile of garden cucumbers while allowing for store-bought cucumbers
Lighten the soup up, reducing calories and saturated fat
Without sacrificing the soul of a classic soup

Ingredients to Make Cold Cucumber Soup

Like all my recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

Garden Cucumbers These work especially well for backyard gardeners, CSA members and farmers market shoppers. But even in grocery stores, regular "garden" cucumbers are less expensive. Price check time! Big garden cucumbers work well here but my recipe acknowledges that they some times have thick, tough skins and large, fibrous seeds. No problem! The recipe uses the skin of just one, the seeds only if they're small and tender.

Hothouse English Cucumbers These are the long, slim cucumbers so easily found in grocery stores these days, so good, these, we buy them almost year-round. And they are extra convenient in Cold Cucumber Soup, no need for peeling or scooping out the seeds.

Dairy, But Not Cream I chose a mix of 0% Greek yogurt, it's full of protein and Weight Watchers friendly. But then I added a little more protein and extra creaminess with a big scoop of low-fat cottage cheese. And then? I added richness and tang with sour cream.

Flavor! Let's be real. Cucumber flavor is delicate and with so much dairy, it's too easy for the soup to be a one-note bowl. Not here! I use garlic and two kinds of onion to start. But just as important are salt (so so important), a tiny touch of sugar, a bit of herbaceous dill, a pinch of white pepper and that splash of acid (here, lemon juice) that livens up so many dishes. The combination? To my taste ... wonderful.

Time I know, "time" doesn't belong on a recipe's ingredient list but this time, yeah, it does. That's because this soup really needs time for the flavors to meld. Allow at least 8 hours and better still, 24 hours.

A Short History of This Recipe

I first made a cold cucumber soup way back in 2005 during A Veggie Venture's first year when I experimented with a new vegetable recipe every day, some wonderful, many not. That first recipe, ugh, awful. But in 2020, a glut of cucumbers inspired me to resurrect this page by creating an entirely brand-new recipe that my husband and I just love and I'm proud to share with you. It's been a long time coming but finally, yeah, it's here.

Cold Cucumber Soup, the summer classic ♥, light but flavorful after a recipe makeover. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Gluten Free.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: at least 8 hours, 24 hours preferred
Makes 6 cups

1/4 cup (60g) roughly chopped red onion
3 (30g) green onions, white & green parts both
1 medium (4g) clove garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt

2-1/2 pounds (about 3 large) garden cucumbers or 2 pounds hothouse (English) cucumbers
1 cup (227g) 0% Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (120g) sour cream
1/2 cup (112g) 2% cottage cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried dill
pinch white pepper

In a food processor, process the onion, green onion, garlic and salt until very fine, scraping the sides if necessary.

For Garden Cucumbers. If using garden cucumbers, trim the ends of all three cucumbers.
With one of the three cucumbers, leave the skin on, cut into quarters lengthwise. If the seeds insides are small, cut into chunks and toss into the food processor; if they're large or tough, scoop out and discard. Cut the cucumber into chunks and toss in.
For the second and third cucumbers, peel and cut into quarters lengthwise. Keep the seeds if they're small and tender; scoop out and discard if they're large and tough. Cut the cucumber into chunks and toss in.

For Hothouse (English) Cucumbers. Trim the ends, cut into chunks and toss into the food processor.

Process the mixture until the cucumbers are evenly chopped, leaving some texture. Add the remaining ingredients and process until quite smooth. Taste and adjust the lemon juice, sugar, dill and pepper, knowing that the flavors will develop over 8 - 24 hours.

Transfer the mixture to a refrigerator container and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and preferably 24 hours for the flavor to develop.

To serve, serve in chilled bowls and top with a few slices of thin cucumber.

SKINS ON, SKINS OFF? The skins of garden cucumbers can be a little tough. But if one cucumber's skin is pretty tender, then I like to keep its skin on to add a touch of color. English hothouse cucumbers are nearly always super tender with tiny seeds.
SEEDS IN, SEEDS OUT? The seeds inside large garden cucumbers can be large and fibrous, they just won't process. But if they're small and soft, they have lovely flavor and also help thicken the cold soup.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic

Still Hungry?

Quick! Quick! More Recipes With These Ingredients

cucumber yogurt sour cream cottage cheese lemon

Still Hot? More Chilled Soups

~ Tomato Gazpacho ~
~ Chilled Zucchini Soup Shooters ~
~ Raw Corn Chowder ~
~ more cold soup recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Favorite Summer Soup Recipes ~
~ Cantaloupe-Tomato Gazpacho ~
~ Cold & Creamy Cantaloupe Soup ~
~ Sweet-Corn Soup with Shrimp ~
~ more cold soup recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

Seasonal Eating During the Height of Cucumber Season

No-Cook Tabbouleh (< a summer staple in my kitchen) Eggplant Sandwiches with Cilantro Hummus Summer Orzo with Radicchio Chipotle Chickpea Salad (< reader favorite!) Avocado Salad with Hearts of Palm BLTs with Avocado Homemade Creamed Corn King Hill Farms Simple & Sublime Beets (< for beet lovers) Amaranth Greens More Matters: The New Fruits & Veggies Campaign Grilled Eggplant with Balsamic Honey Syrup Romano Beans in Butter-Braised Garlic (< watch for romano beans at the farmers market) Seared Radicchio Weight Watchers Italian Zero Points Soup Tomato & Onion Salad Stacked Ratatouille (< totally versatile!) Sautéed Cucumbers How to Cut Corn Off the Cob: Keeping All Ten Fingers, Capturing Every Delicious Kernel and Every Drop of Sweet Corn "Milk" Corn & Cucumber Salad with Fresh Blueberries Succotash Salad with Green Beans, Lima Beans, Corn & Tomatoes Raw Tomatillo Salad with Blueberries (< lovin' this year's blueberries!) Pretty Ways to Serve Summer's Best Tomatoes Loaded Iceberg Steaks with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing Quick Summer Squash & Tomato Saute Mexican Scrambled Eggs (Huevos Revueltos a la Mexicana) Raw Mexican Street Corn Salad with Cauliflower Rice

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2005 & 2020 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I was looking for something new with cucumbers when I came across this post. Just wanted to say this book is on my shelf and has a couple of my favorites from over the years. Just nice to find someone else that has this vintage book.
    Shirley from PA


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna