Simple Cucumber Kimchi

by Becky
Published: Updated:

What is Cucumber Kimchi?

Kimchi is a traditional side dish in Korea that uses salted and fermented vegetables. The most common type uses Napa cabbage and radishes, but there are many other types of kimchi! Aside from the popular cabbage version, another favorite of ours is cucumber kimchi.

Cucumber kimchi can be eaten fresh or it can be fermented. Personally, I like it better fermented because of all the probiotic benefits and because the majority of the time I’m preserving an abundance of cucumbers.

After many attempts, I finally landed on the magic recipe. Like my recipe for napa cabbage kimchi, it’s not completely authentic because there is no fish or shrimp added. Even still, it’s delicious!

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure can be found here.

Homegrown vs. Commercial Gochugaru

One nonnegotiable in cucumber kimchi is the gochugaru. This is Korean chili peppers dried and pulverized into a powder or flakes. They are hot and sweet. There is really no substitute that is quite like the original but I do mention a few other options HERE.

Korean Chili Peppers

You can grow your own Korean chili peppers, or purchase gochugaru. I have done both. From personal experience I have found the homegrown Korean chilis to be about 5x hotter than the commercially made gochugaru, but that may have something to do with the seed that I used. I purchased by Korean pepper seeds HERE.

Everyone has a different spice level tolerance, so I recommend adding your gochugaru to taste. I listed my favorite amount in the recipe. Please note, I developed this recipe using purchased gochugaru found HERE. Even though I have both, I figured store bought is what most people would use.

Use Fresh Organic Ingredients for Fermented Cucumber Kimchi

The best cucumber kimchi comes from very fresh ingredients so grow these in a garden or purchase them from a farmers market. The cucumbers will retain more crunch when they are very fresh. It’s also important that the vegetables are not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.

During a ferment, it’s best to have all the good bacteria that comes from produce grown with organic practices. The only exception to this being the ginger, if you can’t find organic, commercially grown will work just make sure to scrape the outside layer off.

How long does Cucumber Kimchi Last?

Cucumber kimchi can last from nine months to one year when fermented and stored properly. Proper storage starts with correct fermentation. After a three to five day ferment with the correct proportions of salt to vegetables, all ingredients should be submerged in the liquid, kept out of light, covered with a lid and kept at 35- 45ºF.

Simple Cucumber Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional side dish in Korea that uses salted and fermented vegetables. The most common type uses Napa cabbage and radishes, but there are many other types of kimchi! Aside from the popular cabbage version, another favorite of ours is cucumber kimchi.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: asian, kimchi
Servings: 16
Calories: 45kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs cucumbers chopped in half or quarters
  • 40 grams sea salt or pickling salt – anything with no additives works 3 Tablespoons
  • 200 grams carrots grated (1 1/2cups)
  • 50 grams ginger minced (1/3 cup)
  • 50 grams garlic minced (1/3 cup)
  • 100 grams red onion chopped (2/3 cup) or chopped green onions
  • 60 grams gochugaru
  • 20 grams sugar 2 Tablespoons
  • 20 grams sweet rice flour 2 Tablespoons -Optional

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients together in a bowl and mix. DO NOT ADD WATER. For FRESH cucumber kimchi:
  • Cover the bowl, wait 30 minutes then serve.

For FERMENTED cucumber kimchi:

  • Cover the bowl, and let everything sit in the bowl for 5-6 hours. During this time juices will release from the vegetables.
  • Take mixture from the bowl and place in a jar with an airlock lid or a crock. If you don’t have either of those, a regular jar and lid works fine, just open the lid every few days to release the gases that build during the fermentation process.
  • Press down vegetables until the liquid covers everything. Add a weight to keep all the vegetables submerged in the brine. Ferment at room temperature 65-75ºF for three to five days.
  • Transfer the fermented cucumber kimchi to an area 35-45ºF to stop the fermentation process. Enjoy!
  • Makes one half gallon.

Nutrition

Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 264mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3262IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

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19 comments

Laura August 20, 2022 - 6:16 pm

I’m very excited to try this although it’ll probably have to wait until next year when I have an overflow of cucumbers again. I’m currently growing the Korean peppers you recommended, so hopefully those will turn red (I planted them a little late).

Reply
theseasonalhomestead August 20, 2022 - 10:15 pm

Awesome! I hope they turn red for you in time! I dried Korean peppers in our dehydrator but also we hung entire plants in our garage at the end of the season with peppers and all. The peppers naturally dried there, even in our humid climate!

Reply
Allison Hebler April 16, 2024 - 7:20 pm

Becky I love watching you guys what a wonderful family you have.I made your kimchi ( I am the one who inquired about the water around the rim of the fermenter jar) turned out great never knew about the water around the rim worked out great . How did you and your sister learn about farming and preservation?

Thanks again Allison

Reply
Becky April 21, 2024 - 5:20 am

Hi Allison, we taught ourselves through books mostly!

Reply
The Weekly Digs #176 - The Seasonal Homestead August 21, 2022 - 5:44 am

[…] I also have been testing cucumber kimchi recipes and finally landed on a pretty good one that I shared HERE. […]

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silvia August 25, 2022 - 4:19 pm

this is fantastic! specially without the fish sauce. Thanks!!

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Nichole August 27, 2022 - 3:44 pm

I love your recipes! We are definitely going to try this one. I mean…Korean red pepper flakes?! Then, yes! Definitely going to be a win. We have tried several recipes from your blog and they are now staples in our home. Thank you so much for sharing this one 😊

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Laura August 29, 2022 - 10:19 am

How long will this last? I have fermented pickles but after a while once they are refrigerated they get mushy. (it is possible I did something wrong) Will this do the same?

Reply
theseasonalhomestead September 2, 2022 - 6:07 am

Yes, after a while they do get softer. I think that is the case with any fermented cucumbers. If you use very fresh pickling cucumbers they do stay crunchy a lot longer.

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Amanda August 31, 2022 - 6:23 pm

Hi, could I half the recipe and it still be the right salt proportions to ferment safely? Thanks

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theseasonalhomestead September 2, 2022 - 6:12 am

Yes, just half everything listed, including the salt!

Reply
Heidi September 1, 2022 - 1:27 pm

Any particular kind of cucumber work better than another?

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theseasonalhomestead September 2, 2022 - 6:10 am

Pickling cucumbers are way crunchier if your fermenting. If you are eating fresh, a slicing cucumber works great too. I used both and I like the batch I did with the pickling cucumbers better.

Reply
Kelley September 5, 2022 - 11:00 pm

My cucumbers didn’t do well this year. Do you think this would work with zucchini or would it be too mushy?

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theseasonalhomestead September 6, 2022 - 2:29 pm

That is a creative idea! I’m not sure if it would be mushy or not, I’ve never fermented zucchini before. You could do a very small test batch, like a quarter of the amount of the original recipe to find out 🙂

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Lorna January 23, 2024 - 12:48 am

Hi, what can I use instead of carrots in the cucumber kimchi, thanks

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theseasonalhomestead February 3, 2024 - 4:52 am

Daikon radishes would be a good substitute.

Reply
Gamine May 15, 2024 - 12:09 am

I feel really bad because I was trying to click on something that would allow me to read the comments. Unfortunately, I hit 2 stars and it went as a rating. I bet this happened with other people, too. I haven’t made this so my rating is completely false. I was just trying to read about the cuke kimchi. I’m sorry. I’m going to make this! It looks great!

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Becky May 15, 2024 - 8:23 pm

No worries! Thanks for letting me know. We are in the process of updating the website so hopefully it will be a better experience in a couple months and easier to rate, read comments, print the recipe, etc. 🙂

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