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Asian Cucumber Salad

This fun and refreshing Asian cucumber salad is the perfect side dish. It’s fresh, tangy, and healthy, and it's super easy to make. Plus, it’s gluten-free!

A serving bowl of cucumber salad with a serving spoon in it.

This Asian cucumber salad has been a viral recipe on the internet lately. So naturally I decided it was time to come up with my own recipe to try it out. And it is every bit as good as advertised! It’s quickly become one of my favorite side dishes, as it goes well with almost any Asian meal.

The salad is so refreshing, with fresh cucumber, scallions, cilantro, and ginger. Chili garlic sauce adds a little kick of spice, while mirin, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil bring the dish together with acidity, umami, and salt. It’s such a well-balanced salad, and the flavors absolutely explode in your mouth. Plus, it’s healthy, gluten-free, and barely takes any effort to make. You’ve got to give it a try.

Overhead view of the ingredients needed for Asian cucumber salad: six small cucumbers, six scallions, a bunch of cilantro, and bowls of grated ginger, sesame seeds, chili garlic sauce, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, and fish sauce.

What You’ll Need

Here are all the ingredients that you need to make this tangy and fresh Asian cucumber salad. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the exact amounts of each ingredient. 

  • Small cucumbers – You want to use thin-skinned cucumbers for this recipe.
  • Kosher salt
  • Mirin
  • Gluten-free soy sauce – Tamari is fine to use in place of soy sauce.
  • Sesame oil – Be sure to use toasted sesame oil.
  • Fish sauce – If you want to make this recipe vegan, use vegan fish sauce.
  • Fresh ginger
  • Chili garlic sauce
  • Sesame seeds
  • Scallions – You’ll use both the green and white parts of the scallions.
  • Cilantro

What is Mirin?

Mirin is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It’s a rice wine that is fairly similar to sake, though it has a lower alcohol content, and a higher sugar content. It has a flavor similar to rice wine vinegar, though it’s much sweeter and less sour. 

Close up of a spoonful of cucumber salad, with a bowl full of cucumber salad behind it.

How to Make Asian Cucumber Salad

Here’s how to make this Asian side dish. It’s incredibly easy!

  • Salt the cucumbers. Place the sliced cucumbers in a colander, and sprinkle salt on top of them. Let them sit for 15 minutes.
Sliced cucumbers covered in kosher salt, in a sieve over a mixing bowl
  • Rinse the cucumbers. Using cold water, wash the salt off of the cucumbers. Then thoroughly dry them with a dish towel or paper towel.
A side by side of cucumber slices getting washed in a colander, and cucumber slices getting dried in a kitchen towel
  • Make the sauce. Add the mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger, chili garlic sauce, and sesame seeds to a large bowl, and whisk to combine.
A side by side of a mixing bowl with soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, sesame seeds, chili garlic sauce, and grated ginger, and a mixing bowl with those ingredients whisked together, with a whisk in it
  • Make the salad. Add the cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro to the bowl with the sauce. Toss until the salad is thoroughly dressed.
A side by side with a bowl of sliced cucumbers, cilantro, and scallions, and a bowl with those ingredients mixed together with sauce, with a mixing spoon
  • Chill. Place the salad in the fridge for at least an hour. 

Tips for Success

Here are some tricks for making the best Asian cucumber salad.

  • Make even cuts. The cucumbers are the star of this dish, so it’s really important to cut the slices consistently. You want all of the pieces of cucumber to be roughly the same size, which will help the consistency and flavor of the dish. Take your time cutting the cucumbers so that the slices are even, or use a mandolin. 
  • Go heavy on the salt. The reason for salting the cucumbers at the start of the recipe is that it pulls the liquid out of the vegetable. Removing the natural liquid from the cucumbers accomplishes two things. First, it makes it so that the veggies can absorb more of the tasty sauce, so the salad will be more flavorful. And second, it makes the cucumbers crisper, so the texture of the salad will be much better. For best results, use lots of salt. Don't worry about the dish being too salty, as you're going to wash it all off.
  • Chill longer. This recipe calls for you to chill the salad for at least an hour before serving it. But the longer you chill it, the more flavorful it will become. If you have the time, chill the salad for a few hours, or even overnight. It will just get better and better. 
A glass bowl full of cucumber salad, with a serving spoon in it

Serving Suggestions

This cucumber salad really goes well with almost any Asian entree. Here are a few of my favorite dishes to serve it next to. 

How to Store Asian Cucumber Salad

You can store this recipe in the fridge for up to 4 days. Make sure to store it in an airtight container. The cucumbers will get a little flimsy after a few days, but you can add extra crunch by adding more sesame seeds when you serve it.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, as the texture of the cucumbers will get a little funny after freezing and thawing. If you want to try though, it will last for up to 4 months if stored in an airtight container. 

Close up of cucumber salad coated in sesame seeds in a mixing bowl

More Salads to Make

Here are a few other salads that I love to make.

Asian Cucumber Salad

This Asian cucumber salad is fresh, tangy, spicy, and refreshing. It's the perfect side salad, as it's healthy and easy to make.
author: Alyssa
yield: 4 servings
A serving bowl of cucumber salad with a serving spoon in it.
Prep: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes



  • Place the cucumbers in a colander. Sprinkle generously with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse and dry cucumbers with a dishcloth.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger, chili garlic sauce, and sesame seeds.
  • Add the cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Chill for at least an hour or up to 2 days.


Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 431mg | Potassium: 703mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 516IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 2mg
cuisine: Asian
course: Salad

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