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Pressgurka (Swedish Cucumber Salad)

PressgurkaMake pressgurka, a quick pickled side that is a perfect combination of sweet and sour- a hallmark of Scandinavian cuisine. While this dish is simple and easy to make, set aside time to prepare it, as the cucumbers require time to become crisp and develop flavor. Swedish cucumber salad is light and delicious, and it pairs perfectly with more savory meals like Swedish meatballs and pot roast. 

Pressgurka arranged in a swirl on a plate.

WHAT IS PRESSGURKA?

Tart and slightly sweet, crisp cucumbers make a perfect side dish. ‘Pressgurka’ means pressed cucumbers. As the name suggests, that is exactly how to prepare the cucumbers for this refreshing salad.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

Ingredients needed to make pressgurka.
  • Cucumber: Ridged cucumbers work best as they tend to be less watery, but feel free to use what you have on hand.
  •  Pickling Mixture: For this quick pickled side, I use a classic combination of salt, white vinegar, and sugar. If you find the taste of white vinegar too strong, replace it with red wine vinegar.
  •  Caraway Seeds: Caraway seeds provide a peppery-citrus finish. Other recipes replace the caraway seeds with white peppercorn or red onions for a similar flavor profile.
  •  Dill: I prefer to garnish the salad with dill because I find the combination of dill and caraway seeds mind-blowing. Don’t believe me? Try our Instant Pot Austrian Goulash. Other recipes favor parsley over the dill.

HOW TO MAKE PRESSGURKA 

Thinly slice the cucumbers using a mandolin or sharp knife.

Slicing the cucumbers with a mandoline.

Arrange the slices on a plate and sprinkle them with salt.

Salted cucumbers on a plate.

Place something weighted over the top to press the water out of them. Set the cucumber aside for 1 hour.

A plate and heavy ceramic dish on top of the cucumbers to press them.

Meanwhile, boil water in a saucepan and stir in the vinegar and salt until the sugar dissolves.

Vinegar and sugar warming in a sauce pan.

Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool. Add the dill and caraway seeds, and combine.

Caraway seeds and dill added to the vinegar mixture in a sauce pan.

Pat dry the cucumbers and transfer them to a bowl. Pour the mixture over the top. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Vinegar mixture poured over the cucumbers in a glass bowl.

Drain the cucumbers and arrange them in a serving dish to serve.

Pressgurka arranged in a swirl on a plate.

PREPARATION TIPS

  • Set something heavy over the cucumbers to press out the moisture- as is tradition. Squeezing the cucumbers removes the excess water and makes the cucumber slices crispier.
  • For best results, store the salad in the fridge for several hours before serving for the cucumbers to develop flavor.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love this recipe, try one of our other salad favorites!

Pressgurka in the foreground with Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes in the background.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS 

Pressgurka is a classic side from Sweden that often accompanies roasts, grilled meat, and other savory sides. They are also included in smörgåsbords, a Scandinavian buffet or charcuterie board.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Store leftovers in an airtight container; they will keep for 2 days before it’s time to make another batch.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What kind of vinegar is best?

Pickling and preserving are common in Sweden, and ingredients like salmon, herring, beats, and cucumber are among favorites. The most common vinegar used for pickling is attika. Although, outside of Sweden, it is difficult to find; white vinegar is a suitable substitute. If you prefer something more delicate, red wine vinegar works well.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY: 

Pressgurka arranged in a swirl on a plate.

Pressgurka (Swedish Cucumber Salad)

Tressa Jamil
Pressgurka is a quick pickled side that is a perfect combination of sweet and sour; pair them with savory dishes for a complete meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Chilling Time 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Swedish
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 39 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Thinly slice the cucumbers using a mandolin or sharp knife.
  • Arrange the slices on a plate and sprinkle them with salt. Place something weighted over the top to press the water out of them. Set the cucumber aside for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, boil water in a saucepan and stir in the vinegar and salt until the sugar dissolves.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool. Add the dill and caraway seeds, and combine.
  • Pat dry the cucumbers and transfer them to a bowl. Pour the mixture over the top. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.
  • Drain the cucumbers and arrange them in a serving dish to serve.

Notes

Preparation Tips: 
  • Set something heavy over the cucumbers to press out the moisture- as is tradition. Squeezing the cucumbers removes the excess water and makes the cucumber slices crispier.
  • For best results, store the salad in the fridge for several hours before serving for the cucumbers to develop flavor.
 
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 39kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSodium: 613mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3g
Keyword pressgurka
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