Thai Cucumber Salad

This easy and refreshing salad boasts a punch of flavor from the ginger, vinegar, and chile.

Thai Cucumber Salad

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Amelia Rampe

Total Time:
15 mins

This refreshing and flavorful cucumber salad has been enjoyed in Thailand for centuries. Cucumber salad has long been a part of Thai cuisine; its origins can be traced back centuries to the melding of culinary traditions and ingredients from Chinese traders in the region. The use of cucumbers in salads is believed to be a Chinese influence; they have become a staple of Thai cuisine ever since.

How to Make Thai Cucumber Salad

Traditionally, Thai cucumber salad is made with thinly sliced cucumbers dressed with shallots, garlic, chili peppers, vinegar and sugar. The combination of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors is a signature of this salad.

After trimming the ends of the cucumber, quarter it lengthwise. Slice the quarters very thinly crosswise with a sharp knife or mandoline. Simmer the dressing ingredients until the sugar dissolves, then let them cool before using. Combine the cucumber slices, ginger, salt, and chile with the dressing and stir well. If possible, serve the dish as soon as possible or keep it chilled until it is ready to be served. 

This salad would be a refreshing complement to any grilled meats or noodle and rice dishes, or can even be used as a topping on a sandwich or burger. If stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, most Cucumber Salads will keep for one or two days.


  • 1 cucumber

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar

  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 fresh green Thai chile, deseeded and finely chopped


  1. Cut ends off cucumber, then slice cucumber lengthwise into quarters. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, cut quarters crosswise into very thin slices.

  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high, bring water, sugar and vinegar to a boil, simmering until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

  3. Place reserved sliced cucumber, ginger, salt and chile in a medium bowl. Pour cooled syrup on top and stir to combine. Serve immediately or within a few hours of making.

Make Ahead

The salad can be prepared a few hours before serving. When storing it, be sure all the cucumber slices are covered with the dressing, so they do not dry out.

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