This deliciously spicy Korean-Style Cucumber Salad is made with fresh cucumbers, green onion, a tasty soy-sauce based dressing, and garnished with sesame seeds.
» You might also like this Mediterranean Cucumber Salad.
This salad, called Oi Muchim (오이무침) is a staple Korean side dish that is often served alongside the main dish. It’s incredibly easy to make, especially if you have a mandolin to slice the cucumbers for you.
Even without, it’s very easy to slice the cucumbers, mix up the dressing, and toss everything together. With a short marinating period, the cucumbers soak up so much flavor.
Pair this Korean-style cucumber salad with your favorite main dish, from Instant Pot baby back ribs to honey sesame baked chicken wings or mediterranean chicken skewers. It’s a healthy, quick salad that packs a ton of flavor. And it’s still good the next day, if you happen to have left overs.
Ingredients You Need
- Cucumber – Use any type of cucumber you like most. The skin shouldn’t be removed. I like English cucumbers because they have smaller seeds.
- Green onion – Green onions are less potent than regular onions, so I like to use them in this salad. You can use whatever onions you most prefer.
- Soy sauce – I use a mix of light and dark soy sauce, low sodium to cut down on salt intake.
- Rice vinegar – I use Kikkoman seasoned rice vinegar.
- Sesame oil – Use a high quality sesame oil for great flavor and aroma.
- Gochugaru – This is a Korean red chili pepper seasoning. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with regular red chili flakes.
- Toasted sesame seeds – this is an optional garnish.
- Garlic – If you really like garlic you can add as much minced garlic as you like. I prefer a milder salad, so I don’t add any garlic.
How to Make Korean-Style Cucumber Salad
Start by slicing the cucumbers thinly. If you have a mandolin, you can make quick work of this. If not, just use a sharp knife and try to get the slices as uniformly sized as possible.
Place the cucumbers and green onions in a dish with high sides, so it can easily hold all of the dressing.
In a small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Give it a good stir until most of the sugar is dissolved.
Pour the dressing over the salad. Stir it around a bit to make sure all of the cucumbers were coated in the dressing.
Cover and chill the salad in the refrigerator for 10 minutes so that it can soak in the flavors of the dressing. You can then garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and a little more of the Gochugaru red pepper flakes, if you want to add a little more heat.
Serving & Storage Options
If making the salad ahead of time, it’s best to mix the dressing in a separate container and pour it over just about 10-15 minutes before serving it, so it stays nice and crisp.
The cucumbers will begin to wilt within a few hours of adding the dressing, but that doesn’t mean that leftovers won’t be good the next day. I often end up making more than I need and saving it for the next day and it’s just as good. In fact, it’s even better because it’s soaked up more of the flavors.
Tips & Swaps
- Use a mandolin to easily slice the cucumbers. If you don’t have one, it’s easy enough to slice them thinly with a sharp knife. I use my fingernail as a guide so the slices all end up the same.
- You can use regular red pepper flakes in place of the Gochugaru if you aren’t able to find it. Paprika or chili powder can also work in a pinch.
- You can use any type of vinegar you like or have on hand. Seasoned rice vinegar is the best because it has no color and the sugar in it mellows out the sharpness. You can use any vinegar you like: cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or even red wine vinegar. Only the color and the sharpness of flavor will change.
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Korean-Style Cucumber Salad
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 green onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Gochugaru
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Slice the cucumbers.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and Gochugaru.
- Add the cucumbers and green onion to the bowl. Mix with the sauce. Allow to marinate for about 10 minutes. Top with sesame seeds and more Guchugaru, if desired.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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Laura is dedicated to a low-carb lifestyle after losing 52 pounds on the keto diet. As many of us do, she struggles with her weight and has found that one of the only diet lifestyles that allows her to maintain a healthy weight is a low-carb diet. She shares her favorite low-carb recipes here that are both easy to make and full of flavor, so you don’t even miss the carbs.