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thai cucumber salad with cucumbers, shallots, red pepper, and cilantro in a wooden bowl

Thai Cucumber Salad

This easy Thai Cucumber Salad recipe is light and refreshing! It is the perfect relish to go alongside Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce. Quickly pickled cucumbers, shallots, peppers, and cilantro come together to make the perfect summer side dish for anything coming off the grill, whether it be Thai food or your regular grill menu!
Course Salad
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 169kcal
Author Karen


For the vinegar syrup

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the salad

  • 1 English cucumber sliced
  • 1 to 2 shallots sliced thin
  • 1 to 2 chili peppers* sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro chopped (or to taste)


  • Make the vinegar syrup so it has time to cool. In a small pot, add 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup white vinegar, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons water, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it is bubbling and the sugar is totally dissolved, continue boiling for 1 minute. It will thicken some but not much. It will become a little more syrupy as it cools. Set aside to come to room temperature (or if you are in a hurry, stick it in the fridge.)
  • When your syrup is about room temperature and right before you are ready to serve, slice your vegetables. Cut your cucumber on a sharp bias, then cut each coin in half. Add to a medium serving bowl.
  • Slice your shallots into thin strips. Add to the bowl.
  • Slice your chili pepper. Slice your pepper in half lengthwise and use a knife to remove all the seeds and membrane (unless you want it really spicy! Then leave it in!) Slice into thin strips. Add to the bowl.
  • Chop 3 tablespoons cilantro, or more to taste. I love cilantro so I always add a ton! Add to the bowl.
  • Pour some or all of the room temperature syrup over the vegetables. The syrup should just barely cover the vegetables. Try a bite and see if you want to add a pinch more salt.
  • This salad is not meant to sit a long time in the syrup. You should only chop up the amount of veggies that you want to eat immediately. The veggies release water as they sit, making them soft, as well as watering down the syrup and making it slightly bitter over time. Pour syrup over the veggies, using as much or as little as you like, and save the rest of the syrup in the fridge for the next time you want to make this. It will keep in the fridge for weeks. Then anytime you get a hankering for this you can chop up some veggies and pour it on top.
  • Serve with Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce!


*Bird's Eye Pepper is the traditional pepper used in this dish in Thailand. Check an Asian food mart if you can't find it at the grocery store. It's very spicy! You can substitute jalapenos, red Fresno peppers, or serrano peppers.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 588mg | Potassium: 272mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg