Spicy Cucumber Salad
This Spicy Cucumber Salad has an easy dressing with Asian flavors, and this sweet-sour-spicy salad is a refreshing and tasty side dish! I love the salad topped with toasted sesame seeds!
I love cucumbers and Asian flavors, so it’s not surprising that this Spicy Cucumber Salad would be something I’d enjoy and want to make over and over. The combination of cool cucumbers and spicy dressing ingredients gives this so much delicious flavor!
This recipe is perfect to make with the European cucumbers which are never bitter, and the recipe calls for the cucumbers to be salted and allowed to sit for 30 minutes to release water before they’re combined with the spicy dressing. I’ve made this quite a few times skipping that step, so feel free to do that if it seems too fussy for you.
But if you like spicy Asian flavors, you have to try this recipe! This is a definite repeater for me. And this was one of the first cucumber salads I posted on my blog, so I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to update the photos!
I do want to mention that through the years I’ve found myself adjusting the dressing ingredients so the salad has more sweet, sour, and spicy flavors from sweetener, rice vinegar, and chili garlic sauce and less soy-sesame flavors from the soy sauce and sesame oil.
This updated recipe has the proportions of those ingredients I now prefer. When you make it, I encourage you to get all the dressing ingredients out on the counter, make the dressing, and then taste it to see if you’d like to add a bit more of any of the flavors!
What ingredients do you need for this salad?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- cucumbers (see notes)
- salt, for salting cucumbers to remove water (optional)
- toasted sesame seeds (affiliate link)
- soy sauce or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (affiliate link)
- Unseasoned Rice Vinegar (affiliate link)
- Chili Garlic Sauce (affiliate link)
- Minced Garlic (affiliate link)
- Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (affiliate link), or other sweetener of your choice
- Asian Sesame Oil (affiliate link)
Do you really need to salt the cucumbers for Spicy Cucumber Salad?
The step of salting the cucumbers for 30 minutes, draws out some of the water that’s in the cucumber. If you’re going to eat the salad right away, I definitely think you can skip that step. If the salad is going to sit in the fridge or you have leftovers, the soy sauce in the dressing will draw out some water which will make the salad just slightly more watery. I find that the European cucumbers I recommend don’t release as much water as some kinds of cucumbers, and I’ve made the salad many times using those and skipped the salting step.
What cucumbers can you use for the Spicy Cucumber Salad?
There are many different types of cucumbers, and most of them will work for this salad. Of course any cucumber salad is always great with fresh garden cucumbers, and I’d always use those if I have them. But if you’re buying cucumbers at the store I would prefer the long European Cucumbers (that come wrapped in plastic) or small Persian Cucumbers (sometimes called mini-cucumbers) for this salad. Garden cucumbers will have a bit more water than the other two, so they will benefit most from the salting step if you choose to do it.
What ingredients give this salad Asian flavors?
This cucumber salad has Asian flavors from soy sauce, Chili Garlic Sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.
More salad ideas for people who love cucumbers:
If you’re someone who loves cucumbers like I do, check out my collection of Low-Carb Cucumber Salads to Keep You Cool! There are more than 25 different tasty cucumber salad ideas there to make all summer long.
Tips for making this Spicy Cucumber Salad:
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- Peeling cucumbers is optional (unless you’re using regular store-bought cucumbers that have a waxy skin.)
- I like the look of the stripes, so I peel cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise, then slice. If your cucumber has large seeds, I’d scrape those out with a spoon after you cut cucumbers in half.
- Toss cucumbers with 1 T salt (preferably Kosher salt) and let drain for 30 minutes. This is less necessary with European cucumbers or Persian cucumbers, but it does make the salad less watery. (I’ve made this salad quite a few times skipping this step, so take your choice on it!
- While cucumber sit to release water, whisk together dressing ingredients. Then taste to see if you’d like to adjust the flavors a bit, adding any ingredient you’d like a bit more of.
- After 30 minutes, wipe cucumbers dry, which removes most of the salt as well.
- Then toss the cucumbers with dressing, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. YUM!
Favorite Low-Carb Salads with Cucumbers:
- Al’s Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad
- Spicy Chopped Greek Salad with Peperoncini
- Cucumber Radish Salad with Feta Dressing
- Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad
- Cucumber Salad with Avocado and Feta
- 2 European cucumbers (see notes)
- 1 T salt, for salting cucumbers to remove water (optional)
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tsp. soy sauce (see notes)
- 2 T rice vinegar (see notes)
- 2 T Chili Garlic Sauce (see notes)
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 T Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (see notes)
- 1 T Asian sesame oil
- Peel strips of skin from cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise.
- Scrape out seeds with a sharp spoon (if the cucumber has large seeds), then cut cucumbers into slices.
- Put cucumbers and salt in a colander and let drain for at least 30 minutes (I've made this many times skipping this step, but it will make a salad that's less watery. Your choice on whether or not to do it.)
- While cucumbers drain, whisk together soy sauce or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, unseasoned rice vinegar, Chile Garlic Sauce, minced garlic, Golden Monkfruit Sweetener or sweetener of your choice, and sesame oil.
- Let dressing ingredients hang out at room temperature so flavors will blend. (I recommend tasting the dressing to see if you want to adjust by adding more of any of the ingredients.)
- After 30 minutes, or when desired amount of water has been released, wipe cucumbers with paper towels and place in plastic bowl. (The goal is to remove water as well as most of the salt.)
- Stir in dressing, and toss enough to coat cucumbers with dressing.
- Toast sesame seeds for about 30 seconds in dry pan over very hot heat, then sprinkle over salad. (I buy pre-toasted sesame seeds from the Asian grocer, but I still toast them for a few seconds to release the sesame flavor.)
- Serve immediately and wait for compliments!
If you don't have long European cucumbers I's use three medium cucumbers or 6-8 small Persian cucumbers would also be great.
I'd use Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (affiliate link) for this salad, but use any sweetener of your choice.
Don't use seasoned rice vinegar which contains sugar if you want a salad that's low in carbs.
Recipe adapted slightly from The Best Vegetable Recipes (affiliate link).
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 48Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1357mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Spicy Cucumber Salad is a great side dish for low-carb diet plans including Keto, and this salad is great for any phase of the original South Beach Diet.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
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Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This favorite cucumber salad was first posted in 2007! It was updated in 2021 with greatly improved photos, plus a slight change to the dressing ingredients to make a salad with more sweet, sour, and spicy flavors and less soy and sesame flavors. The recipe was last updated in 2023 with more information. Adjust the dressing to your own taste, and enjoy!