Spicy Kimchi Cucumbers

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Cucumbers are the light, crispy, and refreshing produce items you want to enjoy during summer. There’s nothing wrong with eating cucumbers on their own, but why not turn up the flavor and spice level? In Korea, cucumber kimchi is a popular summer side dish that comes together very quickly. Typically, kimchi requires a lot of fermentation time, but this recipe only requires 2 days to infuse the cucumbers with the spicy kimchi flavor.

The best cucumbers to use are crispy varieties like Persian, pickling, Japanese, or Kirby cucumbers. These varieties are crunchy, slender, and tend to hold up during the marinating process. Thicker cucumbers have a softer flesh, so they get mushy during marinating. In the case of pickling cucumbers, they have a slightly sour flavor that complements the cayenne, garlic, and scallions that create the kimchi. Additionally, absorb the juice after slicing them lengthwise.

When it comes to slicing cucumbers, it’s important to cut them in half lengthwise. Cut those halves in half and then make horizontal cuts to ensure that the pieces are about one-inch in length. The cuts are very important because cutting the cucumbers too thin will compromise their structure and lead to a mushy side dish. See the recipe picture for reference.

Spicy Kimchi Cucumbers
  • Prep Time:30m
  • Total Time:30m


  • 1 lb pickling cucumbers, sliced lengthwise and quartered
  • 1/3 c sea salt
  • 4 c filtered water
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c yellow onion, diced
  • 5 scallions, cut into thin rounds
  • 1/3 c cayenne pepper


  1. Place cucumbers in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk they salt and water until the salt is dissolved. Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and let them marinate for 20-30 minutes.
  3. While the cucumbers are marinating, combine the garlic, onion, scallions, and cayenne in a small bowl. Mix well to combine.
  4. Strain the cucumbers, keep them in the same bowl, and then add the spice mixture to the cucumbers. Toss well to ensure that all of the cucumbers are coated.
  5. Transfer the cucumbers to a half-gallon jar and seal the jar tightly. Store the jar in a dark cabinet for two days. Open and enjoy.
  6. Store leftovers in the fridge and enjoy within 10 days.
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