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Asian Cucumber Salad

Cool and crisp cucumber half-moon slices soak up a simple, sweet-sour Japanese dressing in this vibrant, refreshing, quick cucumber salad recipe.


asian cucumber salad in a large bowl with a spoon

Cucumber: Always a Garnish, Never a Superstar.

Not that cucumber is upset, or anything. Crisp, crunchy, near-thirst-quenching cucumber is just one of those wallflower vegetables—an afterthought, a sandwich topper, rubbery salad bar filler. Well, no more! Fresh from the garden (or the grocery store!) in the middle of July, a cucumber plucked at peak ripeness is a vegetable that deserves your undivided attention. Our Asian-inspired spicy cucumber salad celebrates this oft-overlooked summer vegetable in all of its delicately sweet, crisp and refreshing glory.

asian cucumber salad in a large glass bowl

How To Cut Cucumber for Salad

Crisp, cool cucumber is a solo act here, so select the very best ones you can find—look for taut skin and a really firm feel. And you’ve got cucumbers fresh from your garden, even better! Here’s how to prep them for this easy cucumber salad:

  • Peel. Just a few swipes and your cucumbers are suddenly so much more presentable. If you have older kids, this is a good job for them!
  • Scoop! With a small spoon (or you could even us a measuring spoon) scrape out the cucumber seeds.
  • Chop! Slice the cucumber into perfectly bite-sized half-moons.
ingredients for asian cucumber salad

Asian Cucumber Salad Dressing

No whisks are dirtied in the making of this dressing. We love that this Japanese-inspired cucumber salad“dressing” is mixed by tossing it with the cucumbers, so there are no extra bowls or jars to clean. This pale dressing sings with vivid, straightforward flavors to compliment, rather than overwhelm the freshness of the cucumber. You’ll need:

  • Rice vinegar. We love rice vinegar for cucumber salad, it is a staple in our homes! Mild and delicately sweet, it’s a must-have if you want to make Asian food at home, and it’s inexpensive, too. If you don’t have it in your pantry, it’s time you did!
  • Sugar. Sounds a bit weird maybe, but the simple sweetness of granulated white sugar is magical with the delicate flavor of cucumber and mellows out the bolder flavors of this otherwise-savory cucumber salad dressing.
  • Red pepper flakes. Everything’s better with bite, but if you fear heat, it’s OK to skip these.
  • Sesame oil. Toasted (the dark stuff) or untoasted will both work—if you want a bolder, nutty flavor, go for toasted. If you’re looking for a milder oil, untoasted it is!
sugar, sliced cucumber, green onions, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and rice vinegar in a glass bowl
asian cucumber salad in a large glass bowl

How To Make Cucumber Salad

This easy cucumber salad recipe is one of those dishes that we almost feel silly sharing a recipe for—it’s just so simple. However, the secret to making the very best cucumber salad is letting the salad rest for a while before serving. So here’s the best way to make it:

  • Hunt down a neighbor with an overgrown cucumber patch. Ask nicely to raid it in exchange for a bowl (or two) of this delicious cucumber salad.
  • Prep the cucumber. Better yet, have your kids do it! All that peeling and scooping is a sure-fire cure for summertime boredom.
  • Toss it with the cucumber salad dressing and green onions.
  • Chill. Give this salad at least ten minutes on the countertop, or an hour in the fridge, before serving so that the cucumber salad can marinate in all of those lovely Asian flavors.
  • Sprinkle it with the crushed peanuts right before serving so they stay nice and crunchy (they’ll get soft and weird if they sit in the dressing too long).
asian cucumber salad topped with crushed peanuts in a large bowl with a spoon


Easy Cucumber Salads Play Well With....

Almost anything! A salad that doesn’t wilt is a summer salad to love—and to make over and over again. Crunchy and refreshing, people just don’t seem to get tired of this salad, us included! Serve it with:

If This Isn’t the Best Cucumber Salad You’ve Ever Made....

...we’ll be really surprised! We’ve fallen hard for this cucumber salad recipe and we hope you do too! Snap a photo of your finished salad and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

asian cucumber salad in a large bowl with a spoon with a side of red pepper flakes in a small bowl
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Asian Cucumber Salad

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 231


  • ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, halved, and sliced (about 1¾ pounds)
  • ¼ cup crushed roasted peanuts


  1. In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and green onions.

  2. Add the cucumbers to the bowl and toss with the dressing. Allow the salad to rest for 10 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories231
  • Protein4 g
  • Carbohydrates31 g
  • Total Fat12 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium801 mg
  • Total Sugars412 g

Asian Cucumber Salad

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • L

    Will unseasoned rice vinegar work well in this recipe?

    We recommend seasoned.

  • Lorraine

    This was great! Super easy and went well with your Beef Bulgogi recipe. Thank you!

    Thanks Lorraine, glad you loved them both!

  • Caryn

    This was so easy and soooo goooood! Just stocked up on peanuts and rice vinegar. I usually have plain rice vinegar but got a bottle of seasoned to try next. (Great with plain so will compare...) I served as a side to a Chinese Vermicelli dish from Pasta and Co. Book. Great together!

    Thanks Caryn, we are so glad you loved it!

  • Chuck

    This recipe has about a 5 to 1, deliciousness to effort ratio! It was so good! Paired it with an Asian style lemon chicken recipe that was fairly heavy and saucy. The cucumber salad provided the perfect amount of freshness and acidity to go with the entrée. Will absolutely make again!

    Thank you so much Chuck! We are so happy you loved it so much and love to hear that you'll be making it again!

  • Jenn

    This was so easy and so delicious. Who knew it didn't take much to make a cucumber taste WAY better.

    Thanks Jenn! We are so glad you liked it!