Chinese Pickled Cucumber (A Quick Pickle Recipe)

Chinese pickled cucumbers add a refreshing taste to any meal, are great as a snack all on their own, and can be ready overnight! {Vegan, Gluten-Free adaptable}

I must admit that I adore pickles. Pickling vegetables of any kind is a great way to preserve your produce, so you can quickly add some veggies to your meal throughout the week. Plus, when you make your own pickles, you not only save money but also avoid preservatives. 

Chinese pickled cucumber

You might be used to the dill, sour, or half-sour American pickles. I really enjoy all of them, though there’s something to be said about Chinese pickled cucumbers.

All you need is some clean mason jars (or simply a tupperware container) and you can have my Chinese pickled cucumber recipe ready to enjoy the next day!

Pickled cucumber served in a plate

Types of cucumbers for pickling

The best cucumbers for pickling are Persian, Kirby (also labeled as pickling cucumbers), and English cucumbers. These cucumbers have a less watery texture and a thinner skin than the regular dark colored garden cucumbers that are more common in US grocery stores. 

Types of cucumber for pickling

If you use Persian cucumbers, you can simply quarter them lengthwise to create the spear shape.

For Kirby and English cucumbers, I would cut the cucumbers into three pieces lengthwise, then further cut each piece into three spears. I also discard the core part, which contains mostly seeds and has a soggy texture. 

I prefer Persian cucumbers, because they are the perfect size for most mason jars. If you’re using other types of cucumber, make sure the pieces you cut are short enough to fit in a jar. 

Homemade pickled cucumber close up

Cooking process

Making Chinese pickled cucumbers is super easy. 

  1. Cut the cucumbers and make sure they fit into the jars (or containers) you’ll use.
  2. Sprinkle salt onto the cucumbers, let them sit for an hour, and then drain them. This process will create a crunchier texture.
  3. Lightly toast the dried peppers and Sichuan peppercorns to release the aroma.
  4. Boil them with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Stuff the cucumbers in clean mason jars and pour the hot brine over them. Let them marinate overnight.
How to make Chinese pickled cucumber step-by-step

These pickled cucumbers will be ready overnight. You can also let them pickle for longer, but you should at least wait 24 hours to enjoy them to get all the flavors in there. 

As for the storage time, the pickled cucumbers should last a few weeks in your fridge, as long as you use clean mason jars. You can even sanitize your jars by boiling them in water to eliminate any microbes, although I rarely do so and my pickles never go bad before I finish them all.

A little garlic, white vinegar, salt, soy sauce, and sugar really create the kind of pickled treat you’ll want to keep eating and eating. With summer on the way, Chinese pickled cucumbers are an easy way to sneak more veggies into your meals. They crunch great with lunch alongside my banh mi sandwich or with any dinner you choose.

How to serve Chinese pickled cucumbers

My favorite ways to serve these pickled cucumbers are:

I also enjoy having them for a snack whenever I need to satisfy my craving for savory and crunchy. It’s a much better alternative than turning to a bag of chips!

Homemade pickled cucumber

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Chinese pickled cucumbers add a refreshing taste to any meal, are great as a snack all on their own, and can be ready overnight! {Vegan, Gluten-Free adaptable}

Chinese Pickled Cucumber (A Quick Pickle Recipe)

Chinese pickled cucumbers add a refreshing taste to any meal, are great as a snack all on their own, and can be ready overnight! {Vegan, Gluten-Free adaptable}
To make this dish gluten free, use tamari to replace soy sauce.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: home style
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Pickling time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 9kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs (450 g to 680 g) persian cucumbers , cut into spears (or kirby, or English cucumber) (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher (or sea salt)
  • 2 cloves garlic , lightly crushed

Brine

Instructions

  • Add cucumber into a big bowl. Sprinkle salt over the sliced cucumbers and gently toss them with your hands so the cucumbers are evenly coated. Rest for 30 minutes to an hour, tossing them occasionally.
  • Once the cucumbers are done resting, drain off the liquid that has collected in the bottom of the container and gently rinse the cucumbers with cold water to remove the excess salt. Place the rinsed cucumbers and garlic cloves into a heat-proof, sealable container or mason jars. Make sure to arrange the cucumbers to be packed together, without too much excess space between them.
  • Heat the sichuan peppercorns and dried chilis over medium-low heat in a small pot. Toss the spices until fragrant, around 1 minute.
  • Once the spices are fragrant add the vinegar, water, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil.
  • Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers until they are completely covered.
  • Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature and seal the container.
  • Let the cucumbers pickle overnight in the fridge and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Depending on the container you use, you might be able to fit in more cucumbers. I used 16 oz mason jars and I could fit 1 1/2 lbs (680 g) of cucumber into them. The best way is to slice the cucumbers and pack them in your jar so you’ll have the perfect quantity. Note, the cucumbers will shrink a bit after adding the salt, so you might want to prepare just a few more slices of cucumber.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 9kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.2g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 46mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1.1g | Calcium: 9mg

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

More Chinese appetizer recipes

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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Recipe Rating




23 thoughts on “Chinese Pickled Cucumber (A Quick Pickle Recipe)

  1. Fred Rickson

    The best way to measure liquid needed to fill a jar is to fill with material to be pickled…fill jar with water…pour out water into measuring cup, this is amount of brine to make. No waste.

    Reply
  2. Angela

    Hey Maggie, Thanks for the post! I found your site last week and did a quick pickle search with no results. Imagine my pleasant surprise to find this on the front page! I’m currently living in China, so any quick, easy, time and money saving recipes like this are fantastic. I’m going to try variations like carrot and daikon after I give the cucumbers a go!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Angela, happy to hear you like Chinese pickles and thanks for leaving a comment! There are many ways to create pickles in China and I cannot wait to share more 🙂 I’ve never tried using this marinade for carrot and daikon. Looking forward to hearing your cooking result!
      Happy cooking and have a great day!

      Reply
  3. Selina

    Hello! Is taking out the peppercorn or chilis change the flavoring ? I have young children at home – we love pickled cucumbers, but not the spicy. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Selina, the chilis add more of a fragrance and it doesn’t really add spiciness (as long as you use very mild chilies). The peppercorns add aroma and a hint of numbing zesty to the taste. If you prefer to skip the chilis, I would highly recommend to keep the peppercorns so it adds a nice taste. That’s being said, I think it still makes a delicious pickle if you decide to skip both.

      Reply
  4. VIVIENNE

    Thanks for this wonderful, easy recipe! In a second batch I added whole toasted cumin and it was delicious.

    Reply
  5. Niles Standish

    Like many have said, it is very easy to make. However my young children did not like it. Too much spicy and they got sick. I am not sure I will make it again.

    Reply
  6. Robin

    I have been given the long cucumbers and there are too many to eat. I usually make pickles with my short cucumbers in a hot water bath. Can I do this with your recipe? Want to store long term.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Robin, I’m sure you can. I think the shorter cucumbers produce a better texture but the long ones will work just fine.

      Reply
  7. SAJID JAN

    5 stars
    Great recipe. I tried it and tasted very delicious.
    Can I use the same recipe for Green Chillies? ( not the Capsicum)

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      I’m pretty sure you can although I’ve not tried it. I’m working on a pickled pepper recipe right now and it will be on blog shortly 🙂

      Reply
  8. Mary Beth Einerson

    5 stars
    My one cucumber plant is going crazy and this was a great find thanks to my CSA group. Love to pick the cuc’s when they are small and have great texture. The flavor of these are a nice change from my standard dill version.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Dawn, it’s possible to waterbath can for this recipe. I highly recommend to use kirby cucumber (pickling cucumber) so the texture won’t become soggy.

      Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Sherry, you can use canning method for this recipe. I highly recommend to use kirby cucumber (pickling cucumber) so the texture won’t become soggy.

      Reply