Korean cucumber salad (also called Oi Muchim) is a crisp and refreshing salad seasoned with a sour, spicy, and savory Asian sauce. This simple 15-minute dish is a great way to spice up raw cucumber.
This simple Korean cucumber salad recipe is trending for a good reason; it’s crunchy, light, refreshing, and packed with classic Asian flavors. Sliced cucumber is tossed in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a few spices to make this simple side dish.
Korean Cucumber Salad
We Love This Recipe Because It…
- Is an elevated way to serve a common vegetable.
- Doesn’t require any cooking! Simply toss all the ingredients together in a bowl.
- Is sour, spicy, savory, cool, and refreshing.
- Pairs well with both American and Korean dishes.
- English Cucumber—Sliced or spiralized. This type of cucumber tends to be longer and less bitter than standard American cucumbers.
- White Onion—Thinly sliced. Adds a bit of bite to this salad.
- Soy Sauce—Adds a ton of salty, umami flavor.
- Sesame Seed Oil—Toasted. Will give this dish a subtle nutty flavor.
- Rice Vinegar—Adds some much-needed sourness to the earthy cucumber.
- Garlic Powder—Or freshly minced garlic.
- Red Pepper Flakes—To add just a touch of spice to this salad.
- Green Onion—For garnishing.
How to Make Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
- In a large bowl, toss the cucumber and white onion in the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Make sure the veggies are thoroughly coated in the other ingredients.
- Plate the salad before garnishing with a sprinkling of sliced green onions.
- Serve and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
The word for cucumber in Korean is “Oi”. Koreans enjoy snacking on this vegetable raw, fermenting it, or using it in dishes like Oi Muchim—also known as cucumber salad. “Muchim” means to mix with seasonings; it’s a fitting name for such a simple and delicious salad!
Unlike English or American cucumbers, Korean cucumbers are extremely long and very dark in color. They also are known for the small spikes that pepper the surface of the vegetable. Korean cucumbers are far less bitter than American and even English cucumbers. They’re mild, slightly sweet, and very crunchy. Korean cucumbers can be hard to find in the US, so I recommend making this salad with an English cucumber.
Conventional American cucumbers have a thick, very bitter skin and are commonly peeled before they’re added to a salad. English and Korean cucumbers on the other hand have thin, almost flavorless peels. I like to keep the peel on my English cucumber when making Oi Muchim!
This crisp and refreshing Korean cucumber salad pairs well with hearty warm-weather dishes. Think barbecue favorites! I like serving this Korean cucumber salad alongside burgers, teriyaki grilled chicken, or pulled pork. You can of course always take a more traditional route and serve this cucumber salad with Korean favorites like bulgogi, short ribs, and kimchi!
How to Store Easy Korean Cucumber Salad
This quick Korean cucumber salad is a great dish to make ahead of time! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days. Any longer and the cucumbers will lose their signature crunch. I also recommend tossing the salad one more time before serving since the liquids tend to settle at the bottom of the container. I find that this simple salad is best served cold—straight from the fridge.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Add some extra textural interest by tossing some white sesame seeds with your other salad ingredients.
- When you omit the vegetables, this recipe makes a delightful Asian-inspired dressing! Simply place the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, and spices in a mason jark and shake to combine. Use this sauce on any noodle dish or salad!
- You can give this salad a more authentic flavor by swapping out the red pepper flakes for some Korean red pepper or sriracha sauce.
- Traditionally, the cucumbers in this salad are spiralized; however, if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can just thinly slice the cucumber.
- Make this Asian salad gluten free by swapping out the soy sauce for tamari or coconut aminos.
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Korean Cucumber Salad
- 1 large English cucumber sliced
- ½ white onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup green onion diced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Toss your sliced cucumber and sliced onion together in a large mixing bowl. Add all of the other ingredients except the green onion to the mixing bowl and toss again to combine, ensuring that the veggies are evenly coated in the liquid and spices.
- Top the salad with the diced green onion. Serve and enjoy!
- You can store this salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days. Make sure to give the salad a quick toss before serving any leftovers because the liquid will settle at the bottom of your container.
- Other things you can add to this salad include minced onion, sesame seeds, and a drizzle of sriracha sauce.
- It is not necessary to peel your cucumber, but you are more than welcome to if you would like.
- If you want to add a little bit of sweetness to your salad, you can use a yellow onion instead of a white one.
Enjoy this easy Korean cucumber salad alongside your favorite barbecue dishes, Korean entrées, or even as a cool snack on a hot day. Adventurous eaters will enjoy the tangy, salty, and umami flavors contained in each bite of this one-bowl Korean cucumber salad!