Spicy Japanese Daikon Pickles (Tsukemono)

Spicy Japanese Daikon Pickles (Tsukemono)

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 3 mins
Marinate: 24 hrs
Total: 24 hrs 18 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
73 Calories
0g Fat
17g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 73
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 649mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 6mg 28%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 109mg 2%
*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.)

Pickles or tsukemono (as they are known in Japanese) are essential to most meals in Japanese cuisine. They refer to all types of pickles regardless of their flavor or ingredients. Commonly, tsukemono is served with rice dishes or in a bento (lunch box), but they are often an acceptable side dish for any meal: breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

There are many varieties of pickled daikon available for sale at the supermarket, but these pickles can very easily be made at home. The average home cook can easily whip this up in 20 minutes, and you’ll be amazed at how such a small side dish of sweet, spicy, and tangy pickles instantly ups the “wow” factor to your home-cooked Japanese meal.

This recipe is easy if you’ve got an adequately-stocked Japanese pantry at home. After a trip to the farmer’s market for a fresh daikon root, you’ll be on your way to a fabulous dish of pickles.

The daikon pickles will keep in a refrigerator for one week.


  • 1 daikon radish

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1/2 tablespoon dried kombu dashi powder

  • 2 tablespoons sake

  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili pepper, thinly sliced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Spicy Japanese Daikon Pickles (Tsukemono) ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Using a vegetable scrub, gently wash the exterior of daikon. Remove leafy green top. 

    Cleaning the daikon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Using a vegetable peeler, gently peel and discard the exterior of daikon skin that is discolored.

    Peeling the daikon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Slice daikon into approximate 2-inch long pieces and then slice into thick lengthwise pieces.

    Slicing the daikon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Make pickling marinade: Combine sugar and vinegar until sugar dissolves. Because sugar does not easily dissolve at room temperature, optionally, the 2 ingredients may be combined in a small pot and heated over stove on low to medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat immediately.

    marinade ingredients in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Allow sugar and vinegar mixture to cool.

    Sugar and vinegar solution in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Add salt, dried dashi powder, and sake to the pickling marinade. Mix well to combine. Allow marinade to cool completely.

    Adding kombu dashi powder to a pickling solution in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Add dried red chili peppers to marinade to taste. Omit if you prefer not to have any spice.

    Adding dried chili peppers to pickling solution in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Add sliced daikon to a shallow resealable plastic container. Pour pickling marinade over daikon pieces and seal the container closed. The pickles can be marinated for a day at room temperature.

    Spicy Japanese Daikon Pickles (Tsukemono) in a container, daikon with marinade

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • The longer the daikon radish is marinated, the more flavorful it is.