Easy Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Easy Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad

You are going to love this recipe for Easy Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad. This refreshing dish combines crisp cucumbers with the tangy punch of rice vinegar, the nutty aroma of sesame oil, the savory depth of soy sauce, the savory bite of fresh garlic, spicy red pepper flakes, and a hint of sweetness from honey. 

Perfect as a side dish or a light snack, this salad is the perfect blend of spice and sweetness, designed to tantalize your taste buds and add a touch of Asian flair to your table.

Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad in a bowl with chop sticks

This simple recipe, made with simple ingredients, is a really great side dish that can served along side just about anything. This delicious spicy Asian cucumber salad recipe is full of flavors; sweet, tangy, and spicy all in one bite. It's a great side dish for seafood and pork. 

This is another adapted recipe I found on Allrecipes during the "Faceless Frenzy." If you aren't sure what that is, you can read all about it here. I think of all the recipes I made this past weekend, this has to be one of my top favorites. 

What kind of cucumber should I use in this recipe?

I love cucumbers! Did you know, that like a tomato, botanically speaking, a cucumber is actually a fruit? It's full of antioxidants and is a source of B and C vitamins. It is also one of the most cultivated plants in the world. It's relatively inexpensive and it is available year round.

Cucumbers come in different varieties. For this recipe you will need a couple of seedless cucumbers. Seedless cucumbers are long and slender and sold in plastic wrap. They are also called English cucumbers or Persian cucumbers. Not only do they have fewer seeds, but they are smaller and much more easily digested than the seeds of regular cucumbers. They also have thin skins that aren't waxed so there is no need to peel. 

It's no secret that I love a good cucumber salad. Check out my other cucumber salads too: Easy Pickled Cucumber SaladLemony Cucumber Salad, and Dilled Cucumber and Radish Salad.

Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad in a bowl with chop sticks new angle

Why this recipe works

This is a simple recipe made with simple ingredients and that means you probably have everything you need to make this recipe in your pantry already. And if not, there's no need to visit the Asian markets to grab these ingredients. You'll find everything you need in your local grocery store:

  • Kosher salt
  • Rice Vinegar (unseasoned - that means no sugar or salt has been added to the vinegar)
  • Sesame Oil (either regular or toasted work well in this recipe)
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce (you will want low sodium so your salad doesn't end up too salty)
  • Honey 
  • Fresh garlic cloves
  • ​Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Green Onions 
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds (for garnish, but untoasted works well too!)
  • and of course, fresh cucumbers! 

Slicing the cucumbers thin allows the spicy dressing to soak in quickly. So you don't have to wait until the next day to eat this easy spicy Asian cucumber salad. In fact, it's best eaten the day you make it because when stored, it will continue to absorb the dressing and become soggy. 

Salting the cucumbers ahead of time will draw out some of their excess moisture, so you will still bite into slightly crisp cucumbers when this dish is served. But they will also be slightly wilted because they absorbed the dressing in place of their natural water. But that's what makes gives them the best flavor! 

How to make this spicy cucumber salad recipe

Begin by choosing your fresh cucumber at the store. Seedless cucumbers should be hard and firm, not flimsy. The skin shouldn't have any depressions or soft spots on it. Here, I love the cucumbers our grocery stores source from Canada. But where seedless cucumbers come from will depend on what part of the country you live in. For example, I cannot find seedless cucumbers grown in Canada when I'm in Florida.

To slice them thin, I like to use a mandolin. But you can use a food processor or a good old fashioned knife and cutting board to slice the cucumbers into thinly too. The thinner they are cut, the quicker they will absorb the spicy dressing.

Asian-spicy-cucumber-salad-process photo of cucumber slices on cutting board

Once the cucumbers are sliced thinly, place them in a large bowl and massage the salt into them. Let them sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to draw out excess moisture. Drain well by pressing them into a colander over the sink. Then place them back into the large bowl. 

While you are waiting for the salt to do it's magic on the cucumbers, you can mix up the spicy dressing. To a small bowl, add the rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, low sodium soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, and spicy red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine. Set aside. 

Thinly slice the green onions using the white and the green portions. 

When cucumbers are ready, pour the dressing on, add the sliced green onions, and the sesame seeds and gently toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to blend flavors. 

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. But, as I mentioned earlier, for best results this cucumber salad is best eaten the day you make it. 

Variations and Substitutions

  • Substitute apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or red wine vinegar for the rice wine vinegar
  • ​Substitute maple syrup for honey
  • Substitute olive oil or rice bran oil for sesame oil
  • Adjust the spice level by adding more or less crushed red pepper flakes
  • Add grated fresh ginger for more flavor
  • Add sliced red onion for more crunch

I love this cucumber recipe. It's the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and salty. The best part is, you don't have to wait hours for it to be ready to enjoy all the delicious flavors it presents with. It's a great refreshing side dish that requires minimal effort with so much flavor. So grab a pair of chopsticks (or a fork!) and dive into this easy spicy Asian cucumber salad recipe! 

Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad, Asian cucumber salad, cucumber garlic salad, Chinese spicy cucumber salad
side dish, salad
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Renee Paj
Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad

Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad

Prep time: 10 MinInactive time: 30 MinTotal time: 40 Min
This marinated Asian-style spicy cucumber salad is the perfect side dish for any of your Asian-inspired meals or great as a tasty snack. Flavored with rice vinegar, garlic, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.


  • 2 large seedless cucumbers, sliced very thinly ( I used my mandolin)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (Unseasoned)
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame seed (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp or more crushed red pepper flakes


  1. In large bowl, combine the cucumber slices and the salt. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to draw out the moisture in the cucumbers. Drain.
  2. In another bowl, combine rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Pour onto the cucumbers. Add sliced green onion and sesame seeds, if using. Gently toss everything together.
  3. Cover, and let stand in refrigerator for 30 minutes to combine flavors. .


Make sure you use low sodium soy sauce, otherwise this salad will be too salty.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

3.64 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.5 g

Cholesterol (grams)

0 mg

Carbs (grams)

13.18 g

Fiber (grams)

1.5 g

Sugar (grams)

10.75 g

Net carbs

11.67 g

Protein (grams)

1.79 g

Sodium (milligrams)

441.62 mg

Nutritional Information provided is an estimate.

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This recipe first appeared on this blog November 2013 and has been updated to include a printable recipe card and new images on June 2024.


  1. I'm a huge cucumber fan. This salad sounds yummy. Love what sesame oil does to dishes!

    1. Me too. Love the bit of sesame in this recipe!

  2. Renee, not sure what unseasoned rice vinegar is - I guess I've just bought regular rice vinegar? I am totally making this - what a great snack too!

    1. Hi Biz! In the vinegar aisle you will see there are a few different kinds of rice vinegar. The Unseasoned kind has no salt or sugar added...the seasoned kind does. That would be the difference. I know you'd make your spicy! I had them as a snack myself when I made them!

  3. This sounds divine! I love anything with sesame oil and rice vinegar. I need to try these soon.

  4. My daughter loves cucumbers so I will have to try this cucumber salad for her! I have never used rice vinegar before.

    1. Rice vinegar is great on cukes! Hope she likes it!

  5. This looks wonderful! I love cucumber salad, and the recipe looks a lot like the sauce I make for stir fry. I bet it tastes wonderful in a cucumber salad.

    1. I love cucumber salad too! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I love cucumber salad and this one looks delicious and a little different from all the others.


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