Crisp cucumbers and a simple yet spicy sauce come together to make this Spicy Cucumber Salad. Enjoy it as a boldly-flavored and refreshing snack, side dish, or appetizer!
Whip up this Spicy Cucumber Salad whenever you want to spice up your snack of sliced cucumbers or need a fun dish for get-togethers. It’s crisp, bursting with flavor, and easy to make.
All you need are a few boldly-flavored condiments and a handful of cucumbers. Mix them all together and you have an exciting, yet simple cucumber salad! It's similar to the Korean dish, Oi Kimchi, with a few minor ingredient tweaks. Plus, It’s suitable for anyone who eats a vegan, paleo, or gluten free diet, making it the ultimate salad for potlucks, family gatherings, get-togethers, and backyard parties.
Anyone who loves spicy food or exciting side dishes will surely love this cucumber salad recipe. When you really want to turn up the heat, serve it next to these Spicy Paleo Chicken Wings and Cucumber Jalapeno Margaritas!
- Easy to make with a handful of simple condiments and ingredients.
- A bold and refreshing snack, side dish, or appetizer.
- It’s dairy free, nut free, paleo, vegan, and easy to make gluten free.
- Cucumbers - Mini cucumbers or Persian cucumbers preferably. They’re small, crisp, and packed with a ton of juicy, refreshing flavors. If you can’t find them, use Japanese or English cucumbers instead.
- Salt - Sprinkling salt over the cucumbers will help them release a bunch of extra liquid, preventing your salad from becoming overly watery.
- Soy sauce - Use tamari for gluten free.
- Chili oil - Sometimes I like to swap this with Chile Crunch for more texture.
- Sugar - Honey or maple syrup works too.
- Korean chili flakes - AKA gochugaru. This popular Korean spice is similar to chili powder and has a mild to medium spice level. Feel free to use red pepper flakes if you can’t find Korean chili flakes.
Step 1: Salt the cucumbers. Stir the chopped cucumbers and salt together in a bowl. Let them sit for 10 minutes to release extra liquid.
Step 2: Add the spicy sauce and enjoy. Drain the excess water from the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine, then enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- Save time by keeping a batch of the spicy sauce in your fridge at all times. Whenever you want a healthy snack, pour the sauce over the cucumber and dig in!
- Let the salted cucumbers drain for 10 minutes. Any longer and they’ll begin to break down. Don’t skip this step or else the cucumber salad will be very watery.
- For extra texture, smack the whole cucumbers a few times with a heavy rolling pin before slicing.
- You can omit the chili flakes and/or use less chili oil if the sauce is too spicy.
What can you serve with cucumber salad?
Enjoy the salad on its own for a snack, as an appetizer before the tofu broccoli stir fry, teriyaki pork meatballs, or ramen is ready, or serve it at parties with grilled meat and charred vegetables, tofu spring rolls, and chipotle chicken wings.
Refrigerator: The assembled salad will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
More easy salad recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Spicy Cucumber Salad
- 6 mini cucumbers sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon chili oil or chili crunch
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- ¼ teaspoon Korean chili flakes or red pepper flakes
- Add cucumbers and salt to a bowl and let them sit for 10 minutes; drain any liquid.
- Add the remaining ingredients in with the cucumbers and stir to combine. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 days.
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in July 2017. It was updated with new text and photos in July 2017.
This was absolutely refreshing and delicious. I now have a new favorite way of preparing cucumbers!
Thanks so much, Craig -- I'm glad you enjoyed it!
The is called Oi Kimchi, and it's a Korean side dish. You could at least credit the food culture it comes from instead of just calling it Spicy Cucumber Salad. You at least mentioned using gochugaru, but how about giving credit to the food culture you're borrowing it from, just a thought.
Hi James -- Thanks for bringing this to my attention, as I was unaware of Oi Kimchi, and didn't create this recipe with the intention of copying. I'll add a note within the blog post about it.
Thank you, as a half-Korean, I learned how to make Oi Kimchi from my mom, and I appreciate you updating the recipe.
Have never heard of Tequila Lime Seasoning - a source please.
I've been able to find some in the spice section at both Whole Foods and Giant Eagle!
Kevin | economicalchef.com says
Love the simplicity of this side! Sometimes, simple means more flavor. And it looks perfect for summer, thanks for the recipe!