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Chilled Cucumber Soup

A bowl of chilled cucumber soup with a spoon resting inside.
Inspired by Indian raita (except you eat it with a spoon), it is refreshing and so pretty, making it the perfect starter for lunch or dinner on a sweltering day. Stay in the shade, listen to the cicadas, and make this chilled soup. Cooling off doesn’t get any simpler than this!
Perla Servan-Schreiber

Prep 35 mins
Chill 30 mins
Total 1 hr 10 mins
6 servings
37 kcal


  • 2 large (2 1/2 pounds) cucumbers*
  • 2 level teaspoons Guérande sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups (9 to 13 ounces) plain whole milk or Greek yogurt
  • Whole milk
  • 4 medium (1 pound) Roma tomatoes (optional) peeled
  • 6 scallions (optional)
  • 10 walnut halves (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint


  • Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Wash and peel the cucumbers, leaving a few strips of skin. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and slice 1/8 inch thick (3 mm).
  • Place the slices in the strainer to collect the juice. Sprinkle the cucumbers with the salt, place a weight on top to press it down, and let sit for 15 minutes so the excess liquid drains out.

    TESTER TIP: You can use a resealable plastic bag filled with water as a weight or place a small plate on the cucumbers and top with a heavy can.

  • In a serving bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth. Stir in the cucumber juice. Rinse and drain the cucumber slices, mix them into the yogurt. Add more whisked yogurt or whole milk to achieve your desired consistency. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, if using tomatoes, cut them in half, remove the seeds, and dice finely. Rinse the scallions, if using, and slice thinly. Roughly chop the walnuts, if using.
  • When ready to serve, stir the cilantro and mint into the chilled soup. Serve immediately with the optional tomatoes, scallions, and walnuts in separate bowls to allow everyone to garnish their soup to taste.


*What kind of cucumbers should I use in this soup?

English cucumbers, also known as hothouse cucumbers, are perfect here. They're the longer cucumbers that are seedless, slightly sweeter, and have much thinner skin than other varieties. If you end up using slicing pickles (the kind with dark and waxy thick skin), start by peeling them, then remove the seeds and chop from there.