Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad Recipe

cucumber salad in bowl
cucumber salad in bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Cucumbers always add a fresh crunch to whatever recipe they are featured in. Whether they're diced in a salad, sliced for dipping, or cut julienne for sushi, cucumbers are crisp and refreshing. If you've been scrolling on social media recently, a new trend with cucumbers cut accordion style may have caught your eye. It's an easy, fun way to transform the typical cucumber into a slinky-like vegetable.

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe for spicy Korean cucumber salad and says, "I always have cucumbers in the house because they are perfect for snacking on and great in salads. This accordion-style slicing technique is very easy — you just need two chopsticks and a sharp knife."

Korean cuisine is known for balancing flavors to include sweet, spicy, salty, and umami and this salad incorporates all of these tastes while offering a spicy kick from the gochugaru. Read on to learn how to create the novel accordion cucumber salad!

Read more: The 30 Absolute Best Ingredients To Elevate Salads

Gather The Ingredients For Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad

salad ingredients
salad ingredients - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

To make this salad, start by picking up some Persian cucumbers. "I like using Persian cucumbers for this salad because they are less watery and the smaller size makes them easier to cut," Hahn shares. You'll also need a variety of condiments for the dressing — rice vinegar, salt, fresh garlic, soy sauce, gochugaru, sesame oil, sugar, and sesame seeds. "If you are going for less spice, you can omit the gochugaru which is where all of the heat comes in," Hahn remarks.

Cut The Cucumbers

slicing cucumber between chopsticks
slicing cucumber between chopsticks - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Lay 2 chopsticks out horizontally in front of you and place a cucumber in between. The chopsticks should be directly touching the cucumber sides. Then, using a sharp knife, begin slicing. Your knife should stop when it hits the chopsticks. You are going for slices that are somewhere between ⅛ and ¼-inch thick. Once you are done with the straight cuts, flip the cucumber over and cut diagonal slices using the same method. When you are done, you should be able to pull the cucumber from both ends and have one long spiral piece. Repeat with the other cucumbers.

Drain The Cucumbers

adding  vinegar to cucumbers
adding vinegar to cucumbers - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Once the cucumbers are cut, place them into a medium bowl and add some vinegar and salt. Stir lightly and let this sit for 30 minutes. "You should see quite a bit of water collected in the bowl. Go ahead and drain the water and return the cucumbers to the bowl," Hahn explains.

Make The Dressing

dressing in glass bowl
dressing in glass bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

To make the spicy dressing, pull out a small bowl and add the garlic, soy sauce, gochugaru, remaining vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Using a whisk, stir to combine. "You can easily make the dressing ahead if you want and just keep it in a sealed container in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the salad," Hahn shares.

Add The Dressing To The Cucumbers And Serve

bowl of cucumber salad
bowl of cucumber salad - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Now you can add the dressing to the cucumbers and toss. Top with more sesame seeds and serve. The spicy dressing will get into the nooks and crannies of the cucumber spirals and every bite will have a mix of the sweet, spicy, salty, and umami flavors. "The salad is best eaten the same day as making it but will be good for leftovers for up to 2 days if kept in a sealed container in the fridge," Hahn says. Serve the spicy salad with Korean beef japchae or add it to your spread for Korean BBQ. No matter where and when you serve it, you're sure to get some oohs and ahhs!

Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad Recipe

plate of salad
plate of salad - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Prep Time: 40mCook Time:Yield: 4 ServingsIngredients

  • 8 Persian cucumbers

  • 3 tablespoon rice vinegar, divided

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoon gochugaru

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds + more for topping


  1. Place each cucumber between two chopsticks running horizontally. Slice into ⅛ to ¼-inch pieces not cutting all the way through. Flip the cucumber over and cut a second time on the diagonal using the same method. Repeat for the remaining cucumbers.

  2. Place the cut cucumbers in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt. Let this sit for 30 minutes, then drain in a colander to remove the excess water.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, soy sauce, gochugaru, remaining vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Mix to combine.

  4. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers and stir. The salad is ready to serve.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.