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Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono)

Japanese Cucumber Salad – A light and refreshing side dish that’s easy to make! Fresh cucumbers sliced and marinated with Japanese sauces and flavors!

Japanese Cucumber Salad

Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono)

Somehow, this is my first time trying a cucumber salad.  I had heard of them before but had just never come into contact with one until I heard about sunomono or Japanese cucumber salad.  This little side dish is a refreshing way to use cucumbers during the summer or with any Japanese meal.  When I made this cucumber salad, I served it with my asian pork burger and it made such an incredible meal with flavors that paired perfectly together.

To make this recipe, you need a few ingredients you might not have sitting around but are available at most grocery store or on Amazon such as mirin and rice vinegar.  Both are very cheap and a must if you make a lot of Japanese recipe so they are worth having as they will be used.

If you love Japanese recipe, make sure to check out my Japanese recipe collection for more easy and approachable recipes!

Common questions about making Japanese cucumber salad (sunomono)

What does sunomono salad mean?

Sunomono refers to vinegar-based dishes such as a cucumber salad.  A similar dish is namasu which more specifically refers to thinly sliced vegetable dishes that are marinated in vinegar while sunomono refers to thinly sliced vegetables that are dressed (instead of marinated) in vinegar.  While being very similar and related, they are slightly different.

What is a Japanese cucumber?

A japanese cucumber (kyuri) is a seedless, very mild cucumber that is a very similar size to an English cucumber.  Japanese cucumbers can be more difficult to obtain in the states or outside of Japan but most other varities of cucumbers can be used in recipes instead such as English or mini cucumbers.

Is rice vinegar and mirin the same thing?

No, mirin is a rice wine with less alcohol than sake and more sugar while rice vinegar is a vinegar made by fermenting rice, sugar, and alcohol together and then into vinegar.

Can I substitute rice vinegar with mirin?

Yes, if you don’t have any mirin on hand, you can substitute dry sherry, sweet masala wine, dry white wine, or rice vinegar with an extra 1/2 teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon of mirin.

Asian Cucumber Salad

Other tips and tricks on this Japanese cucumber salad recipe

  • I used mini cucumbers in this recipe because I like their flavor and texture but any other variety of cucumbers will work in the recipe instead.

Can’t get enough of this Japanese cucumber salad recipe? Try these other recipes!

How to make cucumber salad

Make sure to check out the video of this Japanese cucumber salad (Sunomono) recipe!


Yield: 4 servings

Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono)

Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono)

Japanese Cucumber Salad - A light and refreshing side dish that's easy to make! Fresh cucumbers sliced and marinated with Japanese sauces and flavors!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2-3 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sliced cucumbers and salt.  Stir until well combined and then cover.  Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the rice vinegar, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce in a small mixing bowl.  Stir until combined.
  3. Using your hands or a cheesecloth, squeeze the liquid out of the cucumbers.  Once the cucumbers have been squeezed out, transfer them to a new bowl.
  4. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and stir until well combined.  Cover and let sit for 1-2 hours before serving.
  5. Serve topped with sesame seeds for garnish.

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Merrideth | Build and Bite

Thursday 16th of August 2018

This looks so good! I've been trying to figure out what to do with all these cucumbers. Thanks for the substitutions too! I've never heard of mirin. Thank you for sharing!

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