Japanese Sweet Cucumber Salad Recipe


I started making this Japanese sweet cucumber salad when we had bumper crops of cucumbers. My recipe is delicious and very shareable since it is free of the top 9 allergens. We grew a lot of cucumbers because my children and I had a lot of time at home when my kids were little and needed fun things to do together like dig in the dirt, plant seeds, water plants, and watch food grow. This post was updated with minor edits on July 20, 2023.

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Cultivating a Love for Vegetables

When my children were little, they did not like their vegetables or salad, let alone a cucumber salad. I didn’t know what to do to help my children eat their vegetables but we had a lot of time. We decided to try growing our own vegetables and fruit together. We could spend time outdoors, they could learn about gardening, and have some incentive to try new foods.

We had so much fun digging in the dirt and watering the plants but the best part was observing my children’s enthusiastic observations about the growth and progress of their little plants, their excitement about harvesting and tasting their foods and sharing with others.

We grew mini tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, daikon, sweet peas, green beans, as well as multiple fruit trees. One problem with a home garden is that everything is ready at the same time. Besides just eating some cucumbers, I made some into sunomono, a Japanese sweet pickle, to enjoy over a few days.

Feeling very hot and overdressed to pick fruit at my relatives' farm!
Feeling very hot and overdressed to pick fruit at my relatives’ farm!

Sunomono, An Easy Japanese Cucumber Salad

If I use regular cucumbers, I cut the cucumbers in half and scooped out the seeds. When I am not growing my own cucumbers, I like to buy Persian or Japanese cucumbers which don’t need to be scooped, which saves time and we end up eating the entire cucumber.

Slice the cucumbers and then sprinkle salt on them. Let the cucumber slices all hang out in a colander for 10 minutes, and rinse off the excess salt. Then toss the cucumber slices with the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

You can also double or triple this recipe and enjoy it over a few days.

Japanese Sunomono Cucumber Salad

Epilogue: How I Grew Coffee Flavored Cucumbers

The glorious days of home gardening ended abruptly when I had read on some gardening website that used coffee grounds would nicely amend the soil. Not being a coffee drinker, I scored some used coffee grounds for free from our local coffee shop and within a few days I had coffee flavored cucumbers! Home gardening hasn’t been the same ever since, but I’m hopeful that one day I will go back to it.

Now I just buy a few Japanese pickles from our local Japanese market or Persian cucumbers at a supermarket and make a small batch of sunomono cucumber salad whenever we want a refreshing and easy vegetable side dish.

This recipe is free of the top 9 allergens as written!

If you need any ideas on which rice vinegar I like to use check Nut Free Wok’s Cupboard for a list of ingredients I use to make allergy aware Asian fare.

Since this easy Japanese cucumber salad is sweet and tangy, I enjoy it with all of my meals. I especially like making sunomono when I make kalua pork or salmon for a nice fresh contrast in flavors. I also make another kind of sweet pickled cucumbers similar to what my aunty made and shared with us whenever we visited. You might also like my Cucumber Salad with Soy & Sesame Dressing that takes just 5 minutes to make!

Japanese Sweet Cucumber Salad Sunomono

Quick and easy Japanese inspired cucumber salad that is free of top allergens and can be easily doubled. You can prepare this dish ahead of time or prep it first so that cucumber slices can soak in seasoning while you prepare other dishes.

Course dinner, lunch, Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword cucumber salad, sunomono
Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Sharon Wong


  • 4 Japanese or Persian cucumbers 3/4 pound
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


  1. Thinly slice the cucumbers. (If using regular cucumbers, I recommend half peeling them into a striped appearance, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds, then thinly slice.)

  2. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Rinse the cucumbers and drain.
  4. Transfer to a non-metalic bowl and toss with vinegar and sugar and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

You can prepare this dish ahead of time or prep it first so that cucumber slices can soak in seasoning while you prepare other dishes.

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About Sharon Wong 273 Articles
Welcome to Nut Free Wok, a blog about Allergy Aware Asian Fare. I hope that you will find my food allergy mom experiences helpful and enjoyable to read as I write about recipes, cooking techniques, Asian ingredients, and food allergy related awareness and advocacy issues. My professional experiences include education, teaching, and a little bit of science and computers. Thank you for visiting! ~Sharon Wong, M.Ed.


    • Sandi, thank you so much for reading my recipes and taking a moment to leave a kind comment! Yes, it’s a simple recipe and so refreshing.

    • Yay, so awesome and thank you for the feedback! I’m glad your boys loved it. My son likes to eat them with rice because it ends up tasting like sushi rice.

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