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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!

Simple asian cucumber salad with sesame oil and peanuts

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.
crunchy asian spicy cucumber salad with soy sauce and rice vinegar

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

The Ingredients

  • 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.

Ingredient Note

  • This recipe calls for mini cucumbers, which are narrow, thin-skinned, and nearly seedless.
  • Mini cucumbers are excellent for cucumber salad because they do not get as mushy as regular cucumbers. (If you are wondering why your cucumber salad is watery, the type of cucumber can be a factor.)
  • Their thin skins mean you don’t need to peel them first, and since they have so few seeds, you don’t need to scrape them out.
  • 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.

Dietary Note

To make this cucumber salad gluten free, ensure your soy sauce is gluten free or swap in tamari.

Additionally, while soy sauce is typically vegan, check your labels carefully. Some brands sometimes contain additives derived from fish or animal products which wouldn’t make this Asian cucumber salad vegan anymore.

  • 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.
asian cucumber salad ingredients including peanuts, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce

The Directions

the best asian cucumber salad with soy sauce
  1. Slice the Cucumbers. Add the peanuts.
rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a bowl for the best asian cucumber salad dressing
  1. Whisk the Dressing Together. It’s absolutely delicious!
Dressing being poured over an Asian cucumber salad
  1. Stir Everything Together. Add a sprinkle of chili flakes (optional) and ENJOY!

Recipe Variations

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!

Storage Tips

  • 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:

  • 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

4.67 from 39 votes
A quick Asian cucumber salad recipe. Made with rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil, it has the BEST Asian cucumber salad dressing!

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients
  

  • 6 Persian or Japanese cucumbers* often labeled “mini cucumbers”
  • 1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts chopped
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Crushed red pepper flakes for serving

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 4Calories: 140kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 6gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPotassium: 274mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 88IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 1mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Mini Cucumbers Called Sometimes?

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.

Can I Make English Cucumber Salad?

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.

Is This Recipe Considered a Sunomono Salad?

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.

Related Recipes

Asian-inspired salads make crowd-pleasing, fresh side dish options for cookouts and healthy dinners.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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22 Comments

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  1. The recipe calls for one teaspoon of sugar, but the article mentions using just a pinch, which I believe is closer to 1/16th teaspoon. Can you please clarify this? Thank you.

    1. Hi Marilyn! GREAT question. I was using “a pinch” as a synonym for “a little” vs. indicating a specific amount. 1 teaspoon is correct.

  2. Thanks for this great recipe. I might go easier on the hot pepper flakes next time, lol, but this is such a refreshing change and great use for cucumbers. Thank you for posting. I will be making this again soon.5 stars

  3. Have made this twice now and it was delicious. My husband really liked it and it was absolutely amazing with Teriyaki burgers. Yum5 stars

  4. Delicious!!! A hit !! Will Definitely be making this again!! Thank you for this Fresh recipe! I took the suggestion of adding extra veggies. I added broccoli, onions, shredded carrots & red & yellow peppers. I paired it with an Asian salad & it was Amazing!5 stars

  5. Excellent recipe. Yummy as a side for almost anything, mostly if it’s “picnicy”. My sole change was I added a few quarter-sliced white onions. Hey, there’s garlic here, so onions is a no-brainer.
    Lastly, so EASY to make. Luckily, I did find “mini cucs” today in the produce department. A suggestion: if you have to make this recipe with English or regular cucs, I would salt them first to extract excess water.5 stars

  6. Oh, how I love this salad. It’s SO EASY to throw together. I have made it as written and I have made it with subs due to what I had on hand. Today I made it with cane vinegar instead of rice wine and I added in some very thinly sliced red onion, a spoonful of fine Korean chili flakes (not very spicy) and also a spoonful of my homemade chili oil (recipe is thanks to Mikey Chen). It is amazing both ways and so incredibly delicious.5 stars

  7. I used the ingredients listed above, but used Gochugaru pepper flakes, and both sesame oil and olive oil. Absolutely divine.
    This is also my new go to dressing for a really refreshing cole slaw.5 stars

  8. 1 tsp of sugar for all that vinegar is way off. I ended up having to add about 1/8 cup to make it edible3 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe, Amy. The amounts have worked well for myself (and others) but I know how frustrating it can be to try a new recipe and not have it work out, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it!

  9. I wanted to make a cucumber dish like the one at Din Tai Fung (here in LA) and this recipe hit the spot! I used Persian cucumbers because I think they are the crunchiest and cut them on the thicker side to preserve crunch. I didn’t add the garlic since my friend is allergic. Instead of red pepper flakes, I put in a few shakes of Cholula. I also subbed honey for the sugar. SO stoked to have found this recipe! (I also added a few tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds).5 stars

  10. This is absolutely divine! I didn’t have honey roasted peanuts, just plain, so I added some honey to the dressing and it was perfect.

    I combined the cucumbers with peanuts and separated into glass pyrex containers for individual servings. The dressing was in its own container. No mushy cucumbers as they stayed crisp longer.5 stars