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Cucumber Raita With Mint



Yogurt English hothouse cucumbers mint cumin and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Emilie Fosnocht

If you’re serving an array of Indian dishes, having a side dish of raita—right alongside the chutney—is nonnegotiable. A staple of many Indian cuisines, this cooling condiment is a refreshing yogurt dip or sauce that complements everything from weeknight kebabs and parathas to celebration-worthy dishes like biryani or pulao. This raita recipe gets its creamy consistency from plain, full-fat yogurt; if you only have Greek yogurt on hand, thin it first with some milk or water (or the freshly squeezed cucumber juice). Blitzing whole cumin seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle produces the most nuanced flavors, but you can also use good-quality cumin powder.

Add diced veggies like squash, bell peppers, and green chiles to make vegetable raita, crispy fried balls of chickpea flour for boondi raita, or stir in bloomed mustard seeds and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to give your yogurt sauce extra tang. To turn cucumber raita into masala raita (a.k.a. onion raita), whisk finely chopped onions into plain yogurt and swap the mint leaves for fresh cilantro. Stir in a teaspoon each of cumin and chaat masala powder, plus a half teaspoon of red chili powder. Finally, play with the garnish to make your raita recipe suit your meal: A sprinkle of cayenne adds an extra whisper of heat, but you could swap it for more cumin, or use crushed toasted coriander and more chopped herbs.

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    2 hours 5 minutes

  • Yield

    8 servings


1 large English hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and coarsely grated
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
¼ cup (packed) chopped fresh mint, plus more
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, plus more
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Step 1

    Wrap 1 large English hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and coarsely grated, in kitchen towel and squeeze over bowl (or the sink) with all your might to extract excess liquid; discard liquid.

    Step 2

    Whisk 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt, ¼ cup (packed) chopped fresh mint, 1 tsp. ground cumin, and ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper in medium bowl to blend. Add grated cucumber and toss to coat. Season raita to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

    Step 3

    Sprinkle raita with pinch of cayenne pepper and torn mint leaves and serve.

    Do Ahead: Raita be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

    Editor’s note: This raita recipe was first printed in the August 2004 issue of ‘Bon Appétit’ as ‘Cucumber-Mint Raita,’ and appeared on that same month. Head this way for more of our best recipes with yogurt

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  • Fixed this for a dinner party where the theme was Indian food. Put together with Tandoori chicken, from this site and peach chutney, again from this site, along with indian potato salad (suprise) from this site, brought many ohs and ahs from those that have been to India. Loved the combo. A curried califlower and potato veggie rounded it out. Use Indian peppers if you can find them, or seranno peppers easily found at most grocers. Have an Indian beer to go with it...

    • nrinke

    • Kansas City

    • 8/26/2004

  • This gets served with the flat bread recipe on Epic. For easier pick up I strained the mixture briefly to make it thicker. Light, summery, very unique.

    • suharik

    • Davis, CA

    • 8/27/2004

  • I haven't made this recipe but I often make tzatziki sauce, which is very similar. To make a thicker sauce without sacrificing flavor (like the one cook that strained the whole mixture at the end), strain the yogurt before you add it to the other ingredients. I usually do this through a coffee filter that's sitting in a fine-mesh strainer over a container to catch the liquid. You can also substitute cheese cloth or a lightly moistened piece of paper towel. It only takes a couple of hours.

    • Anonymous

    • Austin, TX

    • 4/7/2005

  • I made this with "Home style Greek Yogurt," manufactured by Krinos. This yogurt is very thick, so the raita was the perfect consistency, without straining.

    • jessicawestphal

    • Chicago, IL

    • 5/11/2005

  • Easy and good. I made it with the greek yogurt...yummy!

    • Anonymous

    • Los Altos, CA

    • 7/2/2005

  • This is a great recipe. I would add a little more cumin. Very easy; healthy and refreshing too.

    • Anonymous

    • Minneapolis, MN

    • 11/5/2006

  • Very good. A clove of garlic, minced, would be good. I drained the yogurt before using it.

    • Anonymous

    • WI

    • 4/11/2007

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