Quick Cucumber Kimchi


This cucumber kimchi recipe gets its flavor from garlic, fish sauce and a hint of Korean chile powder. Make this side dish ahead of time to let the flavors absorb into the cucumbers.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
6 servings, 1/4 cup each

How to Make Quick Cucumber Kimchi

This cucumber kimchi is quick and easy to make. It's marinated for at least 12 to 24 hours before serving, but you can refrigerate it for up to 1 week. Here's how to make it:

Salt the Cucumbers

We start by mixing sliced cucumbers with salt in a bowl and allowing it to sit for 30 minutes. This step seasons the cucumbers while also drawing out excess moisture.

Combine the Ingredients

Meanwhile, we combine the garlic, scallions, ginger, vinegar, chile powder, sugar and fish sauce in a nonreactive bowl. A nonreactive bowl is necessary when using acidic ingredients like vinegar. You can use stainless steel, enamel-coated or glass.

Finish the Dish

The last step is to drain the cucumbers and stir them into the vinegar mixture. Draining the excess moisture from the cucumbers allows them to absorb the flavors of the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before serving. We like to refrigerate the cucumber kimchi in a glass Mason jar with a lid, but you can use any airtight nonreactive container.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


  • 2 pickling cucumbers or other small cucumbers (about 8 ounces)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped

  • 1 1/4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Korean chile powder (see Note)

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce (see Note)


  1. Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick half moons. Place in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with salt. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, combine garlic, scallions, ginger, vinegar, chile powder, sugar and fish sauce in a medium nonreactive bowl.

  3. Drain the cucumbers (discard the liquid). Stir the cucumbers into the vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before serving.

    close-up shot of bowl of cucumber kimchi


Korean chile powder (gochugaru or Korean "crushed red pepper") is made from thin red peppers that are sun-dried and crushed into a powder. Find it in Korean or Asian markets or online. Store airtight, in the refrigerator or freezer indefinitely. Fish sauce is a condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian food section of large supermarkets and in Asian markets.

To make ahead

Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

8 Calories
0g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size 1/4 cup
Calories 8
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Added Sugars 1g 2%
Protein 0g 1%
Total Fat 0g 0%
Vitamin A 96IU 2%
Vitamin C 1mg 1%
Folate 3mcg 1%
Sodium 64mg 3%
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Magnesium 5mg 1%
Potassium 61mg 1%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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