Japanese Pickled Cucumber: A Refreshing and Flavorful Side Dish

Sunomono, a traditional Japanese pickled cucumber dish, is a crisp and refreshing side featuring thin cucumber slices marinated in a tangy-sweet dressing. This simple and speedy recipe is great as a side or a light snack. Follow these steps to prepare it:


  • Kosher salt for sprinkling
  • 1 large English cucumber or seedless cucumber, very thinly sliced (use 2 small cucumbers if needed)
  • 1/2 cup of seasoned rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion, sliced


  1. Prepare the Cucumbers:
    • Thinly slice the cucumber using a mandoline or a sharp knife.
    • Place the cucumber slices in a colander and sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt. Toss to coat evenly.
    • Let the cucumbers sit for about 10-15 minutes to draw out excess moisture.
    • Rinse the cucumber slices under cold water to remove the salt, then pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. Make the Pickling Marinade:
    • In a medium bowl, combine the seasoned rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Mix until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
    • Add the sesame oil and soy sauce to the mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Marinate the Cucumbers:
    • Add the sliced cucumbers to the bowl with the marinade. Mix the cucumbers thoroughly in the dressing to ensure an even coating.
    • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. To achieve the best flavor, let it marinate for 1-2 hours.
  4. Serve:
    • Before serving, stir the cucumbers to ensure they are evenly coated with the marinade.
    • Sprinkle the sesame seeds and sliced green onion over the top.
    • Serve chilled as a side dish or a refreshing snack.


Japanese Pickled Cucumber (Sunomono) is a simple yet delicious side dish that perfectly balances tangy, sweet, and savory flavors. The thinly sliced cucumbers absorb the marinade beautifully, making them a refreshing addition to any meal. Enjoy this quick and easy recipe as a light accompaniment to your favorite Japanese dishes or as a refreshing snack.