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Here's a Thai cucumber salad that's crunchy, refreshing, and flavorful. Sliced cucumber, red onion, crunchy peanuts, and fresh herbs are tossed in a simple vinaigrette for a light-tasting side that's as versatile as it is delicious. Plus, it's ready in minutes!
This Thai cucumber salad sure checks a lot of boxes. It's bright, flavorful, and doesn't require a lot of effort or ingredients to make. Plus it's crunchy, tangy, a bit spicy, and it's healthy to boot!
It pairs naturally with Thai food, but the flavor isn't overwhelming so it can easily be served with a variety of main dishes.
Since juicy, crisp cucumbers are exactly what we want to eat on hot days, this is the perfect side dish for summer. It's an easy salad for barbecue season, and it doesn't require refrigeration so it's great for picnics and potlucks, too.
We think it's best enjoyed right away, but it can also be made ahead and stored in the fridge overnight. Some have said they like it even better when the cucumbers have had a chance to soak up the delicious dressing!
How to make Thai cucumber salad
This quick and easy cucumber Thai salad is a refreshing side you can serve with all kinds of mains. After mixing it all together, there will be a little dressing in the bottom of the bowl. This is nice spooned over the salad once it's on your plate.
Here's how we make it in just three easy steps:
- Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or shake them in a jar.
- Place the sliced cucumbers, red onion, peanuts, and cilantro in a bowl.
- Toss with the dressing and serve right away. Spoon a bit more dressing over the salad after serving if you'd like. Enjoy!
Thai cucumber salad ingredients
This Thai cucumber salad recipe comes together with just a few fresh ingredients and some kitchen staples.
Here's everything you need to make the dressing:
- Rice vinegar – rice vinegar is common in Asian cooking and has a mild, sweet flavor. If needed, you could use apple cider vinegar.
- Granulated sugar – a bit of granulated sugar adds sweetness and balances out the acidity from the vinegar. Coconut sugar would keep this refined sugar-free.
- Sesame oil – sesame oil comes from sesame seeds and has a wonderful nutty taste. You can use toasted or regular.
- Fish sauce – fish sauce acts as a seasoning adding saltiness and complexity to the dressing.
- Chili flakes – dried red pepper flakes add a bit of heat to the dressing. Feel free to add as many as you like (or omit them completely) depending on how spicy you'd like it.
Here's what you need for the salad:
- Cucumbers – we use mini cucumbers for this recipe because we like their crispiness, but English or Persian cucumbers work well, too. If all you have on hand are field cucumbers, peel them and remove the seeds.
- Red onion – thinly sliced red onion has a mild, sweet flavor that softens even more with the dressing.
- Peanuts – shelled, roasted, unsalted peanuts add protein and a wonderful nutty crunch.
- Cilantro – cilantro adds a pop of fresh citrusy flavor. Feel free to use other fresh herbs like mint or Thai basil.
Thai cucumber salad add-ins
There are lots of ways you can make this salad your own with simple add-ins. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice for a pop of citrus flavor.
- If you like spicy food, add some sliced Thai chiles.
- Make it creamy by mixing in cubes of ripe avocado.
- Toss in a clove or two of minced garlic for a pungent kick of flavor.
What to serve with Thai cucumber salad
This cucumber Thai salad is really versatile so you can serve it with pretty much anything your heart desires. Yes, it's that good!
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
Yes! We typically serve this salad right away but when it's allowed to sit in the dressing, the cucumber marinates and the flavors really come together. The cucumbers will release some of their juices so the texture will change slightly but it will still taste delicious.
How do I store it?
Store this salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Is this salad spicy?
There are chili flakes in the recipe, but we don't find it very spicy. If you'd like more of a kick, add extra chili flakes or some Sriracha to the dressing. Or you can omit the chili flakes if you're sensitive to heat.
Thai Cucumber Salad Dressing
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon EACH: toasted sesame oil and fish sauce
- ½ teasoon chili flakes
Thai Cucumber Salad
- 8 mini cucumbers
- ¼ cup sliced red onion
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts (chopped)
- ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)
- Make the dressing by adding the rice vinegar, sugar, toasted sesame oil, fish sauce, and chili flakes to a jar with a lid. Shake it well to mix.¼ cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon EACH: toasted sesame oil and fish sauce, ½ teasoon chili flakes
- Add the cucumbers, red onion, peanuts, and cilantro to a salad bowl.8 mini cucumbers, ¼ cup sliced red onion, ¼ cup roasted peanuts, ¼ cup cilantro
- Pour the dressing over the top and toss well to coat. Serve right away.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.