Cucumber Kimchi Recipe

Make a quick ferment of cucumber kimchi. It takes about a day for the cucumbers to transform into a crunchy, funky treat.

| August 2019


This is an easy kimchi recipe to make. Cucumbers ferment the quickest, about 1 day out of the fridge. Use this recipe and method to make any kimchi you like—Napa cabbage is the most common. Remember to ferment other items like cabbage for longer. You can play around with fermentation time and temp until you get the perfect sour funky balance you like.

Makes 3 quarts (2.8 L).


  • 1/2 gallon plus 1/3 cup (1.9 L plus 80 mL) water
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp (196 g) salt, divided
  • 20 Persian or Japanese cucumbers
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2" (13-mm) dice
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced into 1/2" (13-mm) lengths
  • 1 bunch garlic chives (buchu), cut into 1/2" (13-mm) pieces
  • 1/2 cup (95 g) Korean ground chili
  • 1 tsp sugar, plus 1 tsp as optional



  1. Mix 1/2 gallon (1.9 L) of water with 3/4 cup (180 g) of salt, stirring until the salt dissolves, to make a brine.
  2. Soak the cucumbers in salt water for 30 minutes, no longer.
  3. Remove the cucumbers from the brine and rinse. Cut about 1/4 of an inch (6-mm) from each end of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers in half in the middle, not lengthwise. Hold the cucumber facing the circular middle. Cut them in half lengthwise, leaving about 1/2 inch (1/3 cm) at the end uncut. Cut them in half lengthwise again, perpendicular to your first cut, leaving the end uncut. You should have 4 semi-equal parts of cucumber, cut but still attached. Repeat with the remaining cucumbers.
  4. Combine the onion, green onions, buchu, ground chili, 1 tablespoon (16 g) of salt, and 1 teaspoon optional sugar in a large bowl. I recommend wearing gloves for this. 
  5. Set 3 (1-quart [946-mL]) jars on your work surface. Using your fingers, separate the cucumber quarters and stuff the mix into the cucumbers. Divide them evenly among the jars, pressing the cucumbers down firmly into the jars.
  6. Stir 1 teaspoon of sugar into 1/3 cup (80 mL) of water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the sugar water over the cucumbers.
  7. Let it sit 1 day before serving. Cucumber Kimchi ferments very quickly. Refrigerate it after opening.

More from 101 Asian Dishes:

Cover courtesy of Page Street Publishing

Reprinted with permission from 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die by Jet Tila, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Ken Goodman.



Learn at Home!

Register now to get access to ALL current video workshops and prerecorded webinars plus anything new that we add through the end of 2020.


Become a Fermentation Member Today!


Discover how EASY and HEALTHY crafting your own money-saving fermented masterpieces can be. 

Transform mealtimes like never before and stay healthy at the same time with a one-year membership to Fermentation for only $29.95. Learn to regularly include fermented food and drinks in your diet naturally, combat bad bacteria and strengthen your immune system.

Fermentation will open up your world to the foods you can eat to improve your health. You'll learn how to make them, how they originated and what tools and ingredients you'll need to create your own delicious fermented foods and drinks. Become a member today and save as much as 25% off the newsstand price!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter