Asian cucumber salad is a vibrant and refreshing dish that perfectly encapsulates the subtle yet invigorating flavors of Asian cuisine. This salad is not just a summer favorite; it's a versatile, nutrient-packed recipe that can be a star in your meal any time of the year.

asian cucumber salad

In this instructional post, I'll walk you through each step of creating a mouthwatering Asian cucumber salad—from selecting the freshest ingredients to serving it with flair. Whether you're a pro at stir-fries or just venturing into the world of Asian-inspired recipes, this guide is tailored to help you nail this simple yet delicious dish every time.

Ingredients You'll Need

To start, gather the following ingredients:

For the Salad

  • 2 large English cucumbers (or 4-5 Persian cucumbers)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (for salting cucumbers)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion.
  • 1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional for garnish)

For the Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup for vegan
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger.
  • 1 clove garlic, minced.
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for spicy)
  • A pinch of black pepper

The optional add-ins include:

  • Sliced green onions
  • Chopped peanuts
  • A dash of chili oil

Now, let's move on to the preparation of each component.

Preparing the Cucumbers

Cucumbers are the star of this show, and how you prepare them makes a difference.

Peeling and Slicing

Start by washing your cucumbers thoroughly. Peel them if the skin is bitter or tough, as is often the case with waxed or thicker-skinned varieties. Use a vegetable peeler, or if you prefer, create attractive patterns by partially peeling the skin. Then, slice the cucumbers thinly, about 1/8 inch thick. You can do this with a knife for a classic look, or a mandoline for consistent, delicate slices.


Salting cucumbers will draw out excess water, preventing the salad from becoming overly watery. Sprinkle the sliced cucumbers with salt and toss them lightly. Transfer them to a colander to drain for about 15 minutes. Afterward, rinse the cucumbers under cold water and pat them dry.


For a more whimsical presentation or if you're looking to switch things up, spiralizing the cucumbers adds a fun twist to this traditional dish.

Crafting the Dressing

The dressing is the essence of this salad, balancing the sweet, salty, and sour flavors harmoniously. Here’s how you make it:

In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey or maple syrup, grated ginger, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the flavors as needed. Add more honey for sweetness, soy sauce for saltiness, or rice vinegar for tang. If you want a little kick, increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a splash of sriracha. Remember, the dressing should have a pleasant balance of flavors, so be sure to taste as you go.

Bringing It All Together

It’s time to unite the cucumbers with the dressing. In a large salad bowl, combine the prepped cucumbers with the chopped cilantro and sliced red onions. Drizzle the dressing over the mixture, starting with about half of the serving and tossing the salad gently. Add more dressing if needed; you want a light, even coat on all the ingredients. The salad is ready to serve immediately, but the flavors meld and develop beautifully if left to marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving Asian cucumber salad, there are countless options to cater to your preferences:

Garnish and Texture

For an additional pop of flavor and texture, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, or crispy fried shallots on top. You can also add a handful of sliced green onions or a drizzle of chili oil for an extra layer of taste.

Pairing with Mains

This salad is a versatile companion to a variety of dishes. It pairs excellently with grilled meats, tofu, or fish. Enjoy it alongside your favorite Asian-inspired entrees, or serve it as a palate-cleansing side to richer, more heavily spiced meals.

Health Benefits of Asian Cucumber Salad

The ingredients in this salad offer numerous health benefits:


Cucumbers are a great source of hydration and are low in calories. They contain antioxidants and promote healthy digestion.


Ginger is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.


Garlic is known to boost the immune system and promote heart health.


Cilantro can aid in digestion and is loaded with antioxidants.

Sesame Seeds and Oil

Sesame adds a nutty flavor and is a good source of healthy fats, which can help protect against heart disease.


Asian cucumber salad is a celebration of fresh, crisp flavors that enhance any meal. Now that you have an in-depth guide, I encourage you to make this recipe your own. Experiment with different herbs, add-ins, or serving methods to create a signature dish that you and your loved ones will crave. Share your kitchen adventures and tag us in your creations. Happy cooking!

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