This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Thai Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive cucumbers every time they’re in season, I had to repost it and give it the proper attention it needs. This Thai Cucumber salad is insanely simple, super fresh in flavor, and makes a fantastic side to any Asian inspired meal (like the Hoisin Stir Fry Bowls that I made this week).
So, if this Thai Cucumber recipe is new to you, I hope it becomes one of your go-to fav’s as it has for me. It will serve you well!
Do I Have to Use Rice Vinegar?
I always get questions about what type of vinegar can be used in place of the rice vinegar in this recipe and I have to strongly urge you to not substitute the rice vinegar. Rice vinegar has a uniquely mild flavor and acidity that is just perfect for this recipe. I find that white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are both a bit too strong.
Rice vinegar is fairly inexpensive, can be found in the Asian section of most major grocery stores, and will stay good in your pantry for just about forever. If you make Budget Bytes recipes on the regular, I promise it will get used again! In fact, here is a direct link to all the recipes on my website that use Rice Vinegar.
Thai Cucumber Salad
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar ($0.59)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar ($0.10)
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil ($0.06)
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes ($0.03)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 2 large cucumbers ($1.60)
- 3 green onions ($0.25)
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts ($0.19)
- In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and salt. Set the dressing aside to give it time to blend.
- Peel and slice the cucumber using your favorite method (see photos below for my technique). Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.
- Chop the peanuts into smaller pieces, if desired. Slice the green onions.
- Add the dressing, peanuts, and green onions to the sliced cucumbers. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Give the salad a brief stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.
Scroll down for the step by step photos!
Step by Step Photos for Thai Cucumber Salad
Start by making the dressing so that the flavors have a minute to blend. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil (this should be dark in color and have a strong nutty aroma), 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp salt. Set the dressing aside.
Peel and slice two large cucumbers however you like. I like to remove strips of the peel to create a cool striped effect once they’re sliced. If you don’t like cucumber seeds, you can slice the cucumber lengthwise before slicing into rounds and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds in the center.
I prefer thin slices so that there is more surface area to come into contact with the dressing. The thinner slices will become soft and wobbly after storing them in the dressing, but I kind of like that, too. If you prefer them to stay crunchy longer, you’ll want to do thicker slices. Some people also prefer to cut the rounds in half to make smaller pieces, but I like the large pretty rounds.
Roughly chop 1/4 cup peanuts and slice 3 green onions.
Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl and pour the dressing over top.
Also add the chopped peanuts and sliced green onions.
Finally, just stir it all up and you’re ready to eat! Serve it immediately or refrigerate for later.
The flavors do get really good as it sits in the fridge, although the cucumbers get softer (some people don’t like that–I kind of do!). Either way, this Thai Cucumber Salad is super refreshing and delicious. It always has been and always will be my favorite!