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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.

EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2010; updated October 2022


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

10 mins
40 mins

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


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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

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


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

1/4 cup
8 calories; protein 0.3g; carbohydrates 1.9g; dietary fiber 0.3g; sugars 0.9g; fat 0.1g; vitamin a iu 96IU; vitamin c 1.2mg; folate 3.1mcg; calcium 7.3mg; iron 0.2mg; magnesium 5.3mg; potassium 61.1mg; sodium 64mg; added sugar 1g.

1 vegetable