Recipes > Cucumber Sunomono Salad

Cucumber Sunomono Salad


Thinly sliced cucumbers are tossed with rice wine vinegar, mirin and chili flakes. This Asian-inspired dish is delicious as a light salad or garnish.
  • Serves: 4 to 8
  • Active Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Views: 83,468
  • Success Rating: 95% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Salad

Making the Salad
  • 6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 4 cups Japanese cucumbers - can substitute with 2 English cucumbers


To make the salad, mix together the rice wine vinegar, mirin, sugar, salt and chili flakes.

Note: For this recipe you can use regular English, Japanese or Persian cucumbers. We do not recommend using regular field cucumbers, because they often have bigger seeds and a higher water content.

Thinly slice the cucumbers and add the cucumbers to the dressing. Toss, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or even overnight. This will give the cucumbers time to absorb the flavors.

Strain the cucumbers and serve as light salad or garnish.

If desired, toasted sesame seeds and a touch of toasted sesame oil can be added as well.

Chef's Notes

Using a mandolin to slice the cucumbers is not essential but it does make for a nice uniformly thin slice.

This is actually better the next day, so feel free to make this the day before. Also, if you want it more spicy, heat the dressing up, this will bring out the heat from the chiles. Just allow the dressing to cool completely before adding the cucumbers.


  • Jordi C
    Jordi C
    Did it now in just 10 min ! I recommend to try it with sesam seeds. Delicious ! barcelona_spain
  • Daniel C
    Daniel C
    Great salad. I second the sesame seeds. This is similar to a classic Midwestern salad (rural Illinois) made with red wine vinegar. In that salad, I love to add onions to the mix. I assume they would be a good choice here too. seoul
  • Ana C
    Ana C
    I came across news of Pepsi's latest flavor: Ice Cucumber! I would definitely give it a try. Cola is refreshing. Cucumbers are refreshing. Combined it has potential. Released yesterday (and only in Japan for a limited time) it's been doing brisk business so other people must have followed the same logic that I have. Link to their press release AND WITH PHOTO (post Google translation):
  • Dee F
    Dee F
    This took me about 2 seconds to put together and my family loved it. Thanks!
  • Ken J
    Ken J
    This was quite a recipe! Thank you Rouxbe so much for providing it. I made it twice for separate groups of diners last week, and they all liked it. 1) I deviated a bit from the recipe: I substituted distilled white vinegar in place of rice wine vinegar because I had run out of the latter and no time to go get more. I also added 1 Tbl of sesame oil which provided a really nice nuttiness, and added sliced radishes for color. (Although the radishes lost their red after soaking in the liquid overnight.) 2) This recipe taught me a cooking fundamental: Always, always use the safety shield when slicing on a mandolin! See my middle finger? See that flesh wound on the tip of it? While I like to put something of myself in my dishes, I try not to practice that literally. I'm pretty sure my body's now rebuilt that, ohhh, tablespoon or three of blood I lost. Despite my attack of dumb, or perhaps because of it, this is a recipe I won't forget! I plan on making this many more times. I'll probably add thin-sliced red onion next time. ...and I wonn't blow off the mandolin safety guard.
  • Ali N
    Ali N
    Can be cucumbers be substituted by courgettes ? Thank you
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    You know I am not quite sure about courgettes. Perhaps they would work. They would sure be pretty. Next time I make this I will give it a try. If you try it please let me know if it worked for you.
  • Ali N
    Ali N
    Tried this salad with courgettes. I do not know how the original salad with cucumbers tastes, so can not tell the difference, but I liked main with courgettes. I kept it for 5 hours in the fridge and courgettes were crunchy and a little bit spicy. Thanks for the great site !
  • Ken J
    Ken J
    I found the salad to be a wonderful topping for grilled fish and chicken.
  • Bill W
    Bill W
    I made this but added a little ginger, sliced onion, grated carrot and just before serving added 1 cup of cooked shrimp
  • Linda C
    Linda C
    this was great. My brother does not like cukes...he loved a matter of fact, I had none left. I served it with thai basil chicken. It was perfect.
  • Dara M
    Dara M
    Along with the platefuls of sushi that I order at Japanese restaurants, I always make sure to have an order of sunomono salad, which always tastes so fresh. Now I can make it for myself.
  • Elaine D
    Elaine D
    I loved this. It is so healthy, and I loved the spice of it. I had it with teriyaki pork kabobs.
  • Mike P
    Mike P
    I marinated for only thirty minutes due to limited time but it was still spectacular and turned an OK lunch into a great lunch - inspired me to match other dishes to this dish.
  • Liz D
    Liz D
    I love how quick and easy this is to put together. I served this with Asian pork chops and the salad was the perfect flavor combination to the sweet and salty pork. I'd like to try this with the addition of some thinly sliced red onion and maybe a bird's eye chile instead of the chili flakes. Liz
  • Michael G
    Michael G
    I'd like to second Daniel C's comment that this is similar to a pretty traditional American dish as well. My parents always referred to it as "cucumber salad" and it consists of thinly sliced cucumbers (peeled) dressed with white vinegar, some sugar, salt and pepper. We often eat it at barbecues. This salad would generally be less sweet than the sunomono salad. I often make this salad with regular cucumbers because it is convenient, but they do contain large amounts of water. Two strategies that have helped me in the past are 1) slicing then seasoning the slices with salt and leaving them to drain in the collander. The salt helps pull some of the water out of them prior to putting the dressing over them. 2) slicing the cucumber once lengthwise and removing the pits with a spoon. This removes a lot of the watery innards and the large pits; but unfortunately also eliminates the beautiful presentation. But when im making them quick for myself, it works in a pinch.
  • Michael G
    Michael G
    OH! And we always add fresh DILL, finely chopped! It is essential!
  • Mary jo D
    Mary jo D
    Does the recipe call for half an English cucumber or one to two English cucumbers if substituting for Japanese?
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Use between 1/2 and 1 English cuke.
  • Bob Z
    Bob Z
    Found this to be a bit too acidic. Also used English cukes and they never got the wilted look of the ones in the photo even next day. Most of the other recipes for this involve wilting the cukes with salt first which gave me a better result closer to the ones I have had in restaurants.
  • Jacob E
    Jacob E
    I've made American cucumber/onion salad with white vinegar, etc, as well as Korean and Japanese cucumber salads. My question is, how is 1 full English cucumber even close to resembling 4 cups of cucumbers? It's barely 2 cups at most? I'd say you need at least 2 English cukes, not 1/2 or 1. Anyone else run into this issue? I think the recipe needs to be changed/updated. I'm not trying to be disrespectful, sorry if I come across the wrong way.
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Jacob, the recipe has been edited. Thanks for your feedback!
  • Vineeta  G
    Vineeta G
    This recpie looks delish .Just wanted to know the role of mirin?What NON ALCOHOLIC ingredient can we sub it with? Thank yiu for taking the time to answer this query.
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Vineeta, mirin is a fundamental seasoning in the Japanese kitchen and provides mostly sweetness, with some flavor complexity from alcohol. In place of mirin, consider a pinch or two of sweetener.
  • Holly U
    Holly U
    Thanks for answering this alcohol Q above Eric W :) Also, could this recipe be added to the No Oil section of 'options'. There are currently only 20 recipes listed on that list & this one would be a terrific addition. Thanks in advance, Holly :)

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