Healthy, spicy and refreshing, Quick Cucumber Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish of fermented vegetables that’s fast to make in minutes. Made with flavor packed seasonings, this simple salad is a great addition to just about anything.

Cucumber Kimchi in a blue and white bowl on a white background.

We have a local sushi restaurant that has a ton of great Korean dishes, as well, so it’s a fun place to experiment with other less popular items that we wouldn’t otherwise order. Things like Bibimbap and Banchan have become big favorites on our dinner table but our newest obsession is the Korean Cucumber Kimchi! And it couldn’t be easier to duplicate in your own kitchen.

We always have cucumbers in the refrigerator because they make a fantastic snack all on their own. But give them a little extra love and attention, they can turn into something spectacular like a Quick Cucumber Kimchi.

If you’ve ever had traditional kimchi, this is very similar in flavor except made with cucumbers. It’s like, refreshing and so healthy!

Korean Cucumber Kimchi

Kimchi, a term meaning fermented vegetables, is a staple in Korean cuisine. A traditional side dish of salted and fermented Napa cabbage and Korean radish is made with a variety of seasonings including gochugaru, spring onions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal.

It’s used as a seasoning, garnishment or accompaniment to many Korean recipes and we love adding it to our fried rice for a little punch.

This quick kimchi recipe is made with cucumbers giving it a more refreshing bite….sort of like a Korean pickle. 

Quick cucumber kimchi in a blue and white bowl on a white background.

How To Make It

This quick Cucumber Kimchi recipe is crazy easy to make in just a few minutes. You’ll spend more time chopping the cucumbers and removing the seeds than you will stirring it all up. And it’s ready to go in just 30 minutes.

Slice the cucumbers in half and scoop out the seeds.

sliced cucumbers on a bamboo cutting board with a knife.

Cut the cucumbers into 1/2 inch slices. Add to a bowl.

Thinly slice the onion. Add to the bowl with the cucumbers.

Toss the onion, cucumbers, garlic, grated apple and carrots.

Overhead shot of cucumbers carrots and onion in a bowl with a bowl of kimchi sauce.

Whisk together the honey, gochugaru (Korean Chili Flakes), fish sauce, soy sauce, minced ginger and sesame oil.

Kimchi sauce being poured over a bowl of cucumbers.

Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and toss to coat.

Traditional Cucumber Kimchi does use Korean salted shrimps but they’re difficult to find at most grocery stores so I substituted that ingredient with the fish sauce.

Also, if you’ve never cooked with Gochugaru before it’s a spice that’s made of chili flakes, similar to Crushed Red Pepper that’s used in Italian cuisine. You can find Gochurgaru in your spice aisle or substitute with the equivalent of crushed red pepper flakes.

What Cucumbers To Use

If you can find them, use Korean cucumbers but I don’t find them often at our grocer. Any good pickling cucumber will work for this recipe, as will Kirby, Persian and English Cucumbers.

You can peel your cucumbers, if you prefer, but I feel they hold up better in the kimchi if they’re not peeled. The peel will soften the longer the cucumbers sit in the dressing.

Cucumber kimchi being tossed with a spoon in a glass bowl.

How To Serve

Think of this is a Cucumber Kimchi Salad so it makes a great side dish but you can toss it into just about anything from your favorite slaw to your classic potato salad to spice things up.

We love to serve it with this Grilled Flank Steak or our favorite Teriyaki Salmon, too. Teriyaki Chicken is also, not to shabby, with a pile of kimchi alongside.

We also LOVE it with this Pork Katsu, it’s tangy, heat goes well with the crispy pork cutlet.

Simple and quick, this Five Spice Teriyaki Flank Steak is made with just 3 ingredients and is ready in minutes!


More Easy Cucumber Recipes

If you like this Cucumber Kimchi, you’ll also love this Watermelon, Cucumber, Feta Salad or give this Cucumber Salad a try. It’s light and refreshing. We also love this easy Tzatziki Sauce for putting on ALL THE THINGS.

Refreshing and simple, this Watermelon Blueberry Feta Salad with Cucumbers recipe is the perfect summertime side dish! Ready in minutes!! |

Get the Recipe: Quick Korean Cucumber Kimchi

Easy and fast, quick Cucumber Kimchi recipe that's ready in just 30 minutes! Super simple and bursting with fantastic flavor.
5 from 1 vote


  • 2 English Cucumbers, or other cucumber suitable for pickling rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 2 Tbsps grated red apple or asian pear
  • 2 Tbsp gochugaru, korean chili flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp honey or sugar
  • 1 tsp Korean fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger


  • mixing bowl


  • Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Discard the seeds.
  • Chop the cucumber into 1/2 inch slices and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the carrots, onion and apple to the bowl with the cucumbers. Toss to combine.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the gochugaru, garlic, honey, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger.
  • Pour the sauce over the cucumbers and toss to combine.
  • Allow the cucumbers to ferment for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Serve alongside your favorite recipes or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 30 days.


To store:
Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 30 days. 
I do not recommend freezing cucumber kimchi.
Calories: 33kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 101mg, Potassium: 172mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 2676IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 1mg