Spicy Japanese Daikon Pickles (Tsukemono)

Japanese daikon pickles in a bowl

 The Spruce

  • Total: 18 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 3 mins
  • Marinate: 24 hrs
  • Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
67 Calories
0g Fat
16g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 67
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 704mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 5mg 0%
*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.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

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

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

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

    Make the pickling marinade
     The Spruce 
  6. Allow the sugar and vinegar mixture to cool.

    Sugar and vinegar solution in a bowl
     The Spruce
  7. Add the salt, dried dashi powder, and sake to the pickling marinade. Mix well to combine. Allow the marinade to cool completely.

    Adding kombu dashi powder to a pickling solution in a bowl
     The Spruce
  8. Add dried red chili peppers to the marinade to taste. Omit if you prefer not to have any spice.

    Adding dried chili peppers to pickling solution in a bowl
     The Spruce
  9. Add sliced daikon to a shallow resealable plastic container. Pour pickling marinade over the daikon pieces and seal the container closed. The pickles can be marinated for a day at room temperature. Then store in the fridge.

    Adding pickling solution to sliced daikon in a container
     The Spruce
  10. The daikon pickles will keep in a refrigerator for one week.


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