Crunchy Asian Cucumber Salad with peanuts and a bright sesame dressing is just the recipe to keep you cool in the hot summer months. It’s ultra refreshing, easy to make, and is an ideal summer side dish!
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Why You’ll Love This Simple Cucumber Salad Recipe
- It’s Extremely Easy to Make. The ingredients and preparation steps in this recipe couldn’t be simpler, but they work together to create a spectacular salad (this Creamy Cucumber Salad is the same way). Once you’ve prepped your cucumber slices, the rest of the salad comes together in a matter of minutes.
- It Pairs Well With SO Many Dishes. Not only is this salad fantastic on its own, but it’s also a rockstar side dish. We especially adore pairing this salad with my stir fry recipes, but it would be just as scrumptious alongside a Grilled Chicken Sandwich or BBQ favorites like Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.
- It’s the Perfect Dish for a Party. Branch out from the Healthy Coleslaw! If cucumber salads have not traditionally been top of mind for your summer potluck needs, it’s time to change your thinking, pronto. They’re the perfect refreshing accompaniment (this Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad is a guaranteed winner too).
- Use Up Those Cucs. Have an abundance of fresh cucumbers on hand? When you’ve had enough Refrigerator Pickles, it’s time for cucumber salad.
5 Star Review
“Delicious!!! A hit !! Will Definitely be making this again!! Thank you for this fresh recipe!”— Martha —
How to Make Asian Cucumber Salad
- Cucumber. This cool, refreshing ingredient is just what your potluck needs on a hot summer day. (I especially love cucumbers in Salmon Salad!) They’re hydrating thanks to their high water content and are a good source of fiber too.
- Honey Roasted Peanuts. The secret ingredient! They up the crunch factor (always a positive with a cucumber salad) and work well with the simple dressing.
- Sesame Oil. This ingredient gives anything to which you add it complexity and nuttiness. Just 1 little teaspoon ups the satisfaction factor of the dressing. You’ll find this flavor addition in Chinese Chicken Salad as well!
- Rice Vinegar. This tangy component balances the honey-roasted peanuts. It gives the dressing a sweet and sour factor, making it the best Asian cucumber salad dressing ever.
- Soy Sauce. No salt is needed. Soy sauce has the necessary umami factor to perfectly season this easy cucumber salad and wake up all the other flavors.
- Garlic. To give our dressing some zip.
- Sugar. Just one teaspoon balances the saltiness of the soy sauce and the sourness of the rice vinegar. Honey works as well.
- Chili Flakes. You won’t find a complex blend of spices here. A dash of chili flakes is all you need if you’re looking to add a little kick to this simple cucumber salad recipe.
- Slice the Cucumbers. Add the peanuts.
- Whisk the Dressing Together. It’s absolutely delicious!
- Stir Everything Together. Add a sprinkle of chili flakes (optional) and ENJOY!
Here are some of my favorite ways to put a spin on this simple Asian cucumber salad recipe:
- Thai-Inspired Asian Cucumber Salad. Add a dash of fish sauce, fresh ginger, cilantro, and a tablespoon or two of fresh lime juice.
- Extra Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad. For a spicy cucumber salad, toss in some extra red pepper flakes and a few teaspoons of Sriracha or chili oil to taste.
- Asian Cucumber Salad with Seafood. Add some protein to turn this salad into a complete meal. Asian cucumber salad with crab, tuna, or cooked shrimp (try my Grilled Shrimp) are a few of my favs.
- Korean-Inspired Asian Cucumber Salad. For a Korean twist, add a few teaspoons of gochujang chili paste to taste and garnish with gochugaru chili flakes, green onion, and toasted sesame seeds.
- Asian Cucumber Salad with Red Onion. A reader-favorite way to kick this salad up a notch is to follow the instructions above but add thinly sliced red onion to the salad. Yum!
- To Store. This salad tastes best the day it is made but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Taste and season the leftovers with a little extra soy sauce as needed.
- To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing cucumbers. Their high moisture will cause them to become mushy.
Meal Prep Tip
Mix up the dressing up to 3 days in advance. Store in the refrigerator.
What to Serve With Asian Cucumber Salad
Wondering what goes with Asian cucumber salad? Here are a few of my favorite pairings:
- Salmon. Asian cucumber salad with salmon would be a hit! Toss with greens and this Teriyaki Salmon, Soy Ginger Salmon, or Honey Glazed Salmon for a tasty lunch salad.
- Sandwiches. Pair this salad with Teriyaki Burgers with Grilled Pineapple or Asian Chicken Wraps.
- Chicken. There are a plethora of Asian-style chicken dishes that would be delicious with this salad (like Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and Orange Chicken).
- Egg Rolls. Both Air Fryer Egg Rolls and Egg Roll In A Bowl would be scrumptious paired with this salad.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Sharp Knife. The most essential of kitchen tools. A mandoline is another great option for making uniform cucumber slices.
- Non-Slip Cutting Board. Cut cucumbers (and everything else!) more safely.
- Liquid Measuring Cups. Dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and perfect for measuring and mixing dressing at the same time.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Dry Your Cucumbers. After washing your cucumbers, make sure you dry them thoroughly. Excess water can make your salad soggy and your dressing watery.
- The Sesame Oil Matters. While 1 teaspoon of sesame oil may seem insignificant and skippable, I promise it matters! The nuttiness and complexity that it adds are part of what makes the dressing so tasty.
- Use Honey-Roasted Peanuts. Like the bullet above, this is another ingredient you mustn’t skip. Beyond crunch, their touch of sweetness wakes up the cucumbers and pairs fantastically with the zippy sesame dressing. It truly makes this the best Asian cucumber salad recipe!
Asian Cucumber Salad
- Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the cucumbers into 1/4-inch pieces, transfer to a bowl.
- Add the peanuts.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar.
- Add the dressing to the cucumber slices and peanuts and toss to combine. Add a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes to taste and serve.
- TO STORE. This salad tastes best the day it is made but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Taste and season the leftovers with a little extra soy sauce as needed.
- TO FREEZE. I do not recommend freezing cucumbers. Their high moisture content will cause them to become mushy when thawed.
- *INGREDIENT NOTE: You also can swap 2 medium/large English cucumbers. Before slicing, cut the English cucumbers in half lengthwise, then with a small spoon, scrape out the seeds.
- Recipe reprinted with permission from The Secret Ingredient Cookbook by Kelly Senyei. The original recipe calls for 2 Persian cucumbers, but I am a fan of the higher veggie ratio, so I added extra. Feel free to adjust to your taste.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Japanese cucumbers, Persian cucumbers, and Asian cucumbers are sometimes sold under the name “mini cucumbers.” All of these will work in this recipe. Look for narrow cucumbers with a thin skin.
English cucumbers are your best bet if you can’t find mini cucumbers. They also have thin skins (so you still won’t need a vegetable peeler), but they contain seeds, and I find them to be more watery. Therefore, you will want to halve them lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and dry them with paper towels first.
Sunomono, which translates to “vinegared thing” in Japanese, is a traditional cucumber salad from Japan. This recipe is loosely inspired by the classic recipe, which also contains cucumbers marinated in rice vinegar with sugar. See Just One Cookbook for a recipe.