Spicy Cucumber Salad

5 from 6 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links.

Spicy, Korean-inspired cucumber salad is refreshing, tangy, and zesty. Perfect for summer entertaining or anytime you need a simple salad for a meal. Made with easy ingredients and ready in 10 minutes.

White bowl full of green cucumbers and red chili onion crunch.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Why Make This Spicy Cucumber Recipe

  • Perfect for Spicy Lovers. This Korean-inspired cucumber salad is spicy and full of flavor! It’s zesty, tangy, and spicy with a hint of sweetness thanks to the combination of ingredients and my Homemade Chili Onion Crunch mixed right into it.
  • Easy to Throw Together. With an easy ingredient list and minimal effort, this spicy Asian cucumber salad is perfect to add-on to any meal at the last minute.
  • Versatile Side Dish. You can use this dish as an appetizer to my Thai Cashew Chicken or as a side dish to Jalapeño Chicken. It also works for grilling, burgers, and more. The options are endless.

Inspired by a Korean spicy cucumber salad that I love, my version is also light and refreshing and is sure to impress your friends and family. Love cucumber salad recipes? You’ve got to try my Greek cucumber salad next!

Ingredients Needed

All Ingredients needed to make spicy korean cucumber salad on a counter in small bowls and plates.
  • Cucumbers. I like to use small mini cucumbers, called Persian cucumbers when I can find them for their thin skin, smaller size, and extra crisp texture. When they aren’t available English cucumbers work great which also have a crunchy texture, fewer seeds, and a thin skin you can eat. Avoid regular cucumbers which are more watery, have more seeds, and thicker skin for the best results.
  • Sesame Oil. This gives such a delicious nutty flavor to the salad. You can find it in the international aisle or with the other oils at most grocery stores.
  • Sugar. This ties all the flavors together perfectly adding a bit of sweetness to balance out the spicy and saltiness.
  • Soy Sauce. I like to use dark soy sauce for the ultimate authentic flavor.
  • Chili Onion Crunch. This adds some of the spice and crunch! I have an easy recipe for homemade chili onion crunch. You can also use store-bought chili onion crunch which is usually found in the international aisle at the grocery store.
  • Fresh Ginger. This adds a beautiful peppery taste that blends well with the other flavors.
  • Rice Vinegar. A mild vinegar that’s made from rice and is frequently used in Asian cooking. You can use red wine vinegar instead if needed.
  • Red Pepper Flakes. This brings the heat and makes the cucumber salad spicy. You can use dried bell pepper in place if you are sensitive to spice.

All other ingredients needed and measurements to make Asian marinated cucumbers are in the recipe card.

How to Make Spicy Cucumber Salad

Sliced cucumbers on a cutting board and the sauce mixed up in a bowl.
  • Step One. Thinly slice the cucumbers, add to a large bowl, and sprinkle with the salt. Set aside for 15 minutes. The salt will pull out extra moisture from the cucumbers.
  • Step Two. Make the Homemade Chili Onion Crunch you’re using. Remember you can opt to use store-bought if you prefer to save some time. Once it’s ready, make the dressing for the cucumber spicy salad.
White bowl with spicy Asian cucumber salad and sesame seeds.
  • Step Three. Discard the moisture in the bowl from the cucumbers or use a paper towel to soak up the liquid.
  • Step Four. Add the sauce mix to the bowl with cucumbers. Mix well. Top your Korean cucumber salad with Chili Onion Crunch and sesame seeds.

Recipe Pairings

The simplicity of this salad makes it a suitable side dish for a wide range of main dishes. In the summer, it’s one of my go-to salads for cookouts with friends or family picnics. It’s also perfect to carry along to a potluck.

This salad is excellent in a bowl with my Korean Ground Turkey, Teriyaki Chicken Bowls, or Teriyaki Salmon Rice Bowls.

It also makes a simple side dish for burgers or any grilled meat. Try it with my Spicy Chicken Burgers or Air Fryer Turkey Burgers.

Recipe Tips

  • Cucumbers: Use Persian or English cucumbers for the best results. They have the best texture, few seeds, less water, and a thin skin that requires no peeling.
  • Enjoy Freshly Made: While you can still enjoy it for a few days, this salad is no doubt the best when it’s just made. As it sits the cucumbers release their water diluting the dressing and softening a bit.
  • Adjust the Spiciness: While the salad is meant to be on the spicy side you can easily adjust it to your tastes. You can always serve a bowl of chili onion crunch on the side to allow everyone to add more if they want it extra spicy.
  • Salting the Cucumbers: Don’t skip this step! This helps draw out extra water from the cucumbers to keep the dressing more flavorful.

Recipe FAQ’s

Does this work for meal prep?

Yes, this is a good meal to prep, it will last for about 2 days in the fridge. The cucumbers won’t be as crunchy as when the salad is eaten fresh but the flavor really picks up over night.

How spicy is this Korean cucumber side dish?

I would say this cucumber salad recipe is medium spice level. You can make it spicy by adding extra red pepper flakes or make it less spicy by swapping some or all of the red pepper flakes with dried bell pepper. The longer the salad sits and marinates, the spicier it gets as well.

Other Asian-Inspired Recipes To Try

Spicy Cucumber Salad in a white ceramic bowl with spicy crunch.
5 from 6 votes

Spicy Cucumber Salad

This Spicy Korean cucumber salad is refreshing, tangy and zesty. Made with easy ingredients and ready in 10 minutes.
Prep: 5 minutes
marinating: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • bowls for mixing

Ingredients 

  • 6-7 mini cucumbers, about 3-4 cups, English cucumber will also work.
  • ½ tsp course sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • tsp ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp white granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes, Dried red bell pepper flakes will also work for less spice.
  • ½ tsp white sesame seeds
  • 3-5 Tbsp chili onion crunch, Make my homemade chili onion crunch or use store bought, You can sub garlic chili sauce which is a little more tangy. 

Instructions 

  • Make my Homemade Chili Onion Crunch if using. Set aside in a sealed container.
  • Thinly slice the cucumbers, add to a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Set aside for 15 minutes. Mix the sauce together while the cucumbers salt. The salt will pull out extra moisture. 
  • Discard the moisture in the bowl from the cucumbers, you can also use a paper towel to soak up the liquid. 
  •  Add the sauce mix to the bowl with cucumbers. Mix well. Top the cucumber salad with Chili Onion Crunch and sesame seeds. 

Notes

  • Cucumbers: Use Persian or English cucumbers for the best results. They have the best texture, few seeds, less water, and a thin skin which requires no peeling.
  • Enjoy Freshly Made: While you can still enjoy it for a few days, this salad is no doubt the best when it’s just made. As it sits the cucumbers release their water diluting the dressing and softening a bit.
  • Adjust the Spiciness: While the salad is meant to be on the spicy side you can easily adjust it to your tastes. You can always serve a bowl of chili onion crunch on the side to allow everyone to add more if they want it extra spicy.
  • Salting the Cucumbers: Don’t skip this step! This helps draw out extra water from the cucumbers to keep the dressing more flavorful.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 807mg | Potassium: 649mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 398IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 5 minutes
marinating: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 77
Keyword: asian cucumber salad, korean cucumber salad, spicy cucumber salad
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

About Bailey


You may also like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Made it with the homemade chili onion crunch because we can’t get that here in the middle of nowhere. I love the crunch and will make that again also.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband saw this online and said we should try it. I was super skeptical and made a half portion. Bad idea, we want more! It’s so delicious! Would give ten stars! Crisp and refreshing!

    1. Hi Elle
      this is wonderful news I am so happy to hear you enjoyed! Thanks so much for making

  3. 5 stars
    Woohoo this was so good! Made it with your homemade chili onion crunch, best thing I’ve had all year. Thanks Bailey