Chinese Cucumber Salad

Chinese Cucumber Salad

The Spruce / Stefania Zecca

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
75 Calories
2g Fat
14g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 75
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1404mg 61%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 1g
Calcium 33mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Traditionally, Chinese cucumber salad is made by heating cucumbers in a spicy mixture of sesame oil, chili peppers, and Szechuan peppercorns. In this quick-and-easy recipe for cucumber salad, cucumbers are tossed in a red-wine vinegar and sesame oil dressing spiked with minced ginger and chili flakes.

If you find the sesame flavor in this recipe a little too strong, reduce it to 1 teaspoon.


  • 1 1/4 pounds/5 pickling cucumbers
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light Chinese soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chinese Cucumber Salad ingredients

    The Spruce / Stefania Zecca

  2. Wash the pickling cucumbers and pat dry. Cut the ends off and then cut them in half, then lengthwise into quarters, and then into strips about the width of French fries.

    cucumbers cut into strips on a wood cutting board

    The Spruce / Stefania Zecca

  3. Place the cucumber strips in a colander and sprinkle the salt over. Let the cucumbers sit for 30 minutes. Weighing down the cucumbers during salting helps them to release more water to keep them crisp and help prevent a watery dressing from collecting at the bottom of the bowl. Do this by filling two resealable plastic bags about three-fourths full with water and placing them on top of the cukes.

    cucumber strips on a cutting board, bag of water on top of cucumbers in a colander

    The Spruce / Stefania Zecca

  4. After 30 minutes are up, remove the cucumbers from the colander and pat them dry to remove excess water.

    cucumber strips on paper towels

    The Spruce / Stefania Zecca

  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the red wine vinegar, soy sauce, Asian sesame oil, brown sugar, fresh ginger root, and red pepper flakes.

    red wine vinegar, soy sauce, Asian sesame oil, brown sugar, fresh ginger root, and red pepper flakes

    The Spruce / Stefania Zecca

  6. Lay out the cucumber strips in a dish and pour the dressing over. Cover with plastic wrap and chill the cucumbers for 4 hours or overnight. Serve the cucumber salad cold on its own or with a spicy Asian dish to help cool the palate. Enjoy!

    Chinese Cucumber Salad in a bowl, covered with plastic

    The Spruce / Stefania Zecca

Pickling Cucumbers vs. Salad Cucumbers

Pickling cucumbers are shorter and blockier, according to the Burpee Seed people, designed specifically for the pickle jar. They have thinner skins than the longer, leaner salad type, which allows the brine to penetrate down to the flesh.

Unlike smooth salad cukes, pickling cucumbers have bumpy skin, the trademark warty look of a classic dill pickle. Pickling varieties also will have fewer seeds and are lighter green.

Pickling cucumbers are usually not eaten out of hand, while a peeled salad cucumber often can be.

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