This Japanese Cucumber Salad recipe is made using an Asian technique – spiral cut the cucumbers so they turn into long curls and the Japanese roasted sesame dressing creeps into all those slices and crevices.

It’s a fun way to prepare cucumbers that creates unique textures and flavors, plus it’s quick, easy, and super refreshing. A fantastic Japanese-inspired cucumber side dish that pairs with literally everything!

A close shot of the Japanese cucumbers with spiralized cut and dressing on a black white plate.
Super juicy, crunchy, and refreshing!

Japanese Cucumber Salad

Not the traditional vinegar based sunomono cucumber salad (酢の物), this is my take on cucumber salad with Japanese roasted sesame dressing, made with a special type of knife cut, called spiral-cut (蛇腹刀法), that creates super crunchy and refreshing cucumber texture in the mouthfeel.

Why I love this dish so much

  • Easy to make and super refreshing for hot summer
  • Spiral-cut cucumbers create unique textures and flavors
  • Creamy roasted sesame dressing pairs beautifully with the curly cucumbers.

Ingredients to make the dish

  • Japanese or Persian Cucumbers
  • Roasted sesame dressing: toasted white sesame seeds, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, tahini, and mayo.
  • Coarse sea salt
Photo shows ingredients needed to make this dish

Best cucumbers to use

Use Japanese or Persian mini cucumbers. They have a crunchier texture and thin skin that you don’t need to peel. The seeds are also minimal so you don’t need to remove the seeds either.

If you can’t find persian cucumbers, use English cucumbers.

How to make Japanese cucumber salad recipe

  1. Spiral cut the cucumbers. See more information below.
  2. Salt the cucumber for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the cucumbers 3-4 times and pat dry.
  4. Combine with the roasted sesame dressing. Serve right away.

How to spiral cut the cucumbers (蓑衣黃瓜)

This special knife cut is popular in China. In Japan, it’’s referred to as 蛇腹刀法, meaning a snake-shaped spiral-cut with multi-dimensional textures and the cucumber tastes extra juicy.

  1. Trim the tip ends of the cucumber.
  2. Place one cucumber between two chopsticks that you don’t mind scuffed up. This prevents you from cutting through (i.e. break) the cucumbers.
  3. Make thin straight cuts on the top, about 2 mm slices.
  4. Flip the cucumber over (with the unsliced surface facing you), make thin slices on diagonal at 45 degrees.
  5. You can leave the cucumber in whole or cut it into halves.

Why spiral-cut the cucumbers?

This Asian technique turns the cucumbers into long spirals and it’s a fun way to prepare cucumbers that creates unique textures and flavors. The cucumbers taste extra juicy and refreshing!

Recipe Variations

You can easily create variety by switching up the salad dressing. For example: Paleo Asian “peanut” sauce, Thai “peanut” sauce, or Whole30 ranch yogurt dressing.

Just remember that the cucumbers are already salted so you might not need as much salt in the dressing.

Pairing suggestions

This Japanese cucumber salad is super satisfying and low carb. I love to serve this at weeknights with Air fried oyster mushrooms, shirataki cold noodle bowls, or Omurice with shirataki rice or at weekend barbecues with Tsukune (Japanese grilled chicken meatballs), Chicken yakitori, and Beef kabobs with broccoli. So So good!

More Refreshing Side Dishes

Want even more summer refreshing ideas? Check out my Asian Cucumber Salad (Din Tai Fung-Inspired!), Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad (garlicky delicious!), Thai Peanut Sauce Cucumber Noodles, Japanese potato salad, and browse more Healthy Asian side dishes.

Tips For The Best Japanese Cucumber Salad

  • Pick the right kind of cucumbers – persian mini cucumbers or Japanese cucumbers
  • Spiral cut the cucumbers – use a pair of chopsticks. Thin straight cut on one side and diagonal cut on the flip side.
  • Salt the cucumbers – 15 minutes only for this recipe.
  • Rinse and Pat Dry – rinse under cold tap water 3 times. Pat dry before adding the dressing.
A close shot of the Japanese cucumbers with spiralized cut and dressing on a black white plate.
5 from 9 votes

Japanese Cucumber Salad (Spiral-Cut with Sesame Dressing)

Prep Time: 15 mins
Salt time:: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 6 mini cucumbers
Author: ChihYu
This Japanese Cucumber Salad is made using an Asian technique – spiral cut the cucumbers so they turn into long curls and the dressing creeps into all those slices and crevices. It’s a fun way to prepare cucumbers that creates unique textures and flavors, plus it’s quick, easy, and super refreshing.
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Ingredients 

  • 12 oz Japanese or Persian cucumbers, 6 mini cucumbers
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • Sprinkle toasted black and white sesame seeds,, optional

Japanese roasted sesame dressing (½ cup):

Instructions 

To spiral cut the cucumbers:

  • Rinse and pat dry the cucumbers. Trim the tip ends.
  • Place one cucumber between two chopsticks that you don’t mind scuffed up. This prevents you from cutting through (i.e. break) the cucumbers.
  • Make thin straight cuts on the top, about 2mm slices.
    Photo shows straight cutting a cucumber with two chopsticks on the side and holding knife at a straight angle
  • Flip the cucumber over (with the unsliced surface facing you), make thin slices on diagonal at 45 degrees.
    Photo shows two chopsticks on each side of a cucumber with one hand holding the knife at a 45 degree angle cut to slice the cucumber
  • Optional step. Cut the cucumber into halves. This will be easier to eat. Or you can leave them in whole for a more dramatic presentation.

To season and serve:

  • In a large bowl, add the cucumbers and sprinkle with salt. Use your hands to gently rub/distribute the salt to each piece. Take care not to break the cucumber. Set a timer and refrigerate for 15 minutes only.
  • In the meantime, make the salad dressing by following the instructions here.
  • Rinse the cucumbers under cold tap water for 3-4 times and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Combine the cucumbers with the dressing right before serving. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if using. Serve cold.

Notes

  • If you can’t find persian cucumbers, use English cucumbers.
  • Only salt the cucumbers for 15 minutes and no longer. They will break down and become too soft.
  • Only combine with the dressing right before serving. The cucumbers will continue leaking out liquid.
  • You can easily create variety by switching up the salad dressing. I recommend selecting one with a creamy texture: Paleo Asian “peanut” sauce, Paleo Thai “peanut” sauce, or Whole30 ranch yogurt dressing
  • When selecting a different dressing, just remember that the cucumbers are already salted so you might not need as much salt in the dressing.
  • The dressing will yield about 1/2 cup. The nutritional label is estimated with 1/4 cup of dressing quantity. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cucumber, Calories: 36kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 495mg, Potassium: 92mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 63IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Japan
Keyword: Cucumber salad Japanese, Cucumber salad Japanese recipe, Cucumber side dish, Japanese cucumber, Japanese cucumber recipe, Japanese cucumber salad, Japanese cucumber salad recipe, Recipe Japanese cucumber salad
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A side close shot shows the cucumbers with sesame dressing and sesame seeds on a plate