Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (2024)

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Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (1)by ChihYu
June 5, 2023
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5 from 2 votes

Cucumber kimchi is a crunchy Korean banchan (side dish) perfect for summer! This quick kimchi cucumber recipe is made with authentic ingredients and packs in the flavor with a perfect combination of salty, garlicky, spicy, tangy, and sweet!

Fresh cucumber kimchi doesn’t require a long fermentation, so it’s ready the next day. And it is easier to make than other variations, such as oi sobagi (stuffed cucumber kimchi). For another delightful cucumber side, try this Korean cucumber salad (oi muchim)!

Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (2)

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Why this will be your go-to recipe

Cucumber kimchee, or oi kimchi, is a summer staple in Korean cuisine because it’s so light and refreshing. Not only is it packed with flavor, but it’s super simple compared to other cucumber kimchi recipes, such as the Maangchi stuffed cucumber kimchi.

You’ll love this cucumber kimchi recipe because it’s:

  • Fast and easy: Korean cucumber kimchi doesn’t require long fermentation. Simply chop, marinate, and serve the next day!
  • Full of flavor: Authentic seasonings provide so much flavor in a perfect combo of salty, garlicky, spicy, and tangy with a hint of sweetness. They’re reminiscent of kimchi pickles.
  • Crunchy and refreshing: Because these kimchi cucumbers don’t fully ferment, they maintain a great crunchy texture and have a cooling effect that’s perfect for summer months.

Ingredients

This easy cucumber kim chi recipe is the best comes together quickly with just two components: the cucumbers and an aromatic and flavorful paste. Here’s what this authentic kimchi cucumber recipe calls for:

Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (3)
  • Main: Persian cucumbers, coarse sea salt, sweet or yellow onion, garlic chive (optional)
  • Seasoning paste: Gochugaru red chili flakes (product), fish sauce, honey, roasted white sesame seeds, garlic cloves, grated ginger.

Ingredient substitutions

  • Cucumbers: I use Persian here, but Korean, Japanese, or Kirby cucumbers will also work. I don’t recommend English cucumbers as they have too many seeds and tougher skin.
  • Honey: You can substitute with keto honey or another sweetener of your choice to fit your dietary needs or keep it vegan.
  • Fish sauce: For vegan or vegetarian cucumber kimchi, replace the fish sauce with a vegetarian fish sauce or use soy sauce or tamari.
  • Gochugaru flakes: The powder version would also work in this recipe for cucumber kimchi if you don’t have flakes on hand. Add extra for more spicy cucumber kimchi.
  • Garlic chive: This is a popular ingredient for kimchi. You can skip it or use regular chive for an approximate flavor.

How to make the dish

Now that you have your ingredients, let’s talk about how to make cucumber kimchi in just a few easy steps.

Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (4)
  1. Cut the cucumbers into sticks by cutting them crosswise in half, then slicing them into quarters lengthwise. In a large bowl, use your hands to gently coat the cucumber sticks with salt. Let rest for 30 minutes.
Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (5)
  1. In another small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients for seasoning. The consistency will be more similar to a paste.
  2. Dice the garlic chive into sections of the same length as the cucumbers, if using, and drain the excess liquid from the salted cucumbers. (No need to rinse)
Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (6)
  1. Transfer the cucumber to a large storage container with the garlic chives. Pour in the seasoning paste and gently toss to coat well.
  2. Refrigerate for a at least few hours or ideally overnight. Serve chilled.

Successful tips:

  • The seasoning paste may seem dry, and that’s okay! The cucumbers will continue releasing water as they marinate, creating a saucier consistency.
  • This dish tastes best after marinating overnight. This allows the intense flavors to mellow and meld together nicely.
  • If you prefer a more fermented flavor, you can leave the seasoned cucumber mixture out at room temperature overnight. Then, refrigerate to chill before serving.

Variations

I love this recipe for traditional cucumber kinchi because it’s authentic, flavorful, and simple. If you’re looking for added flavor and color, here are some ideas to level up this simple cucumber kimchi recipe!

  • A dash of toasted sesame oil for added depth of flavor in the seasoning paste.
  • Chopped scallions for an extra pop of flavor and color.
  • Add saeujeot (salted shrimp) for added umami flavor and saltiness. Be sure to grind them into a powder if using whole dried shrimp.
  • Other vegetables for some extra nutrients and pops of color with veggies like julienned carrots, radishes, green onions, or bell peppers!
  • Change the cut of your cucumbers to fit your artistic flare. Spiral cucumber kimchi, stuffed oisobagi, or just simple rounds.

Serving suggestions

Wondering what to eat with cucumber kimchi? You really can’t go wrong! This cucumber salad kimchi can be added to anything that needs a pop of tangy flavor and color. It’s a perfect cooling companion to hot dishes and is delightful in the summer months.

This easy cucumber kimchi is great alongside my Paleo kimchi, which is made with cabbage and carrot. You can use either version as an ingredient in this delicious gluten free kimchi pancake or my kimchi cauliflower rice recipe.

Kimchi goes particularly well with grains, like this shirataki rice, and makes a great companion to protein dishes. This Paleo bulgogi (Korean beef bowl) and Kalbi short ribs are two of my favorites!

Common FAQ

What is cucumber kimchi?

It is a lightly fermented cucumber salad marinated in flavorful seasonings, such as gochugaru, fish sauce, garlic, chives, and onion.

How do you make cucumber kimchi?

To make this dish, slice and salt your cucumbers before coating in the seasoning paste to marinate. Check out the full article for details!

Does cucumber kimchi need to be fermented?

While cabbage kimchi is fermented for days or weeks, cucumber kimchi is the exception as cucumbers break down quicker than cabbage. It is typically lightly fermented (overnight).

Is cucumber kimchi good for you?

Fermented foods like kimchi may strengthen the immune system, support gut health, aid weight loss, reduce inflammation, and slow the aging process (source).

Storage and make-ahead

How long does cucumber kimchi last? Up to one week in the fridge. Store leftover kimchi in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator. This dish is best served chilled after marinating overnight for a well-rounded balanced flavor.

Because it stores well for a full week, it’s a great option to make in larger batches so it’s ready ahead of time.

Related recipes

Summer is truly the season of cucumbers, and I’ve got no shortage of cooling and refreshing Asian recipes to try!

My Chinese-inspired Asian cucumber salad and Chinese smashed cucumber salad recipes are both easy and garlicky delicious. If you like roasted sesame flavor, this Japanese cucumber salad is for you! And this chilled Korean zucchini banchan adds flavor and freshness to any meal.

Serve them up with these Thai-inspired cucumber noodles in peanut sauce for a proper Asian feast.

Umami Tips

  • When selecting high-quality gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), the color should be in bright red color, almost a deep orange/reddish hue.
  • The seasoning mixture is more of a paste than a sauce. The cucumbers will release water as they ferment, giving the end product more moisture.
  • For the best flavor, be sure to marinate the cucumbers overnight in the fridge and serve chilled!
Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (7)

Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (8)

5 from 2 votes

Cucumber kimchi recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Resting time: 30 minutes mins

Total Time: 40 minutes mins

Servings: 6 servings

Author: ChihYu Smith

Learn how to make Korean cucumber kimchi quick and easy! This kimchi cucumber recipe is made with authentic ingredients and tastes super fresh, crunchy, and appetizing! Be sure to marinate it overnight before serving.

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Ingredients

  • 12 oz. Persian cucumbers, Korean, Kirby, or Japanese cucumbers
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1.5 oz sweet onion, or yellow onion
  • 0.7 oz garlic chive, optional

For the seasoning paste:

  • 2 tbsp gochugaru, Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp honey, or keto honey
  • 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds
  • 0.5 oz garlic cloves, 3 large cloves
  • 0.2 oz ginger, grated

Instructions

  • Cut the cucumber crosswise in half, then slice it into quarters lengthwise.

  • In a large bowl, sprinkle in salt and use your hands to gently rub it all over the cucumber. Let rest for 30 minutes.

  • In the meantime, prepare the seasoning. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients from gochugaru to ginger. The consistency will be similar to a paste.

  • Thinly sliced the onion and dice the garlic chive into sections of the same length as the cucumbers, if using.

  • After 30 minutes, you don’t need to rinse the cucumbers. However, please discard the excess liquid from the cucumber after salting.

  • Transfer the cucumber to a large storage container. Add the garlic chive, onion, and pour the seasoning over. Mixing the paste with the salted cucumbers. They will seem dry at first, but the cucumbers will continue leaking out more liquid and make the dish less salty.

  • Refrigerate it for a few hours or best overnight. This dish tastes best after refrigeration overnight as the intense flavor will mellow down and the flavor has time to develop and come through. Serve chilled.

Notes

  • For the best flavor, be sure to marinate the cucumbers overnight in the fridge and serve chilled!
  • Storage: store in an airtight container in the fridge. Best served after chilled overnight for a well-rounded balanced flavor. Up to one week in the fridge.
  • When selecting high-quality gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), the color should be in bright red color, almost a deep orange/reddish hue.
  • The seasoning mixture is more of a paste than a sauce. The cucumbers will release water as they ferment, giving the end product more moisture.
  • To keep this recipe keto, use keto honey or keto sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 42kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Sodium: 473mg, Potassium: 173mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 995IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 1mg

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: Korean

Keyword: Cucumber kimchi, cucumber kimchi recipe

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2 comments on “Cucumber Kimchi”

  1. Erika Reply

    Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (9)
    I’ve tried almost all of your cucumber salad recipes and right now this kimchi one is my favorite! It’s so hard to wait but worth it.

  2. Kiera Reply

    Quick and easy cucumber kimchi recipe (10)
    We made it the night before and followed the instructions to chill in the fridge overnight. OMG they are SO SO GOOD! When I first tasted it right after I mixed everything together, the flavor feels a bit strong and pungent so I was a bit worried but I just stored them in the fridge as the recipe says and they taste perfectly balanced after chilling overnight. I can pair them with BBQ grills or simply a bowl of rice. Highly recommend it!

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