Smashed Cucumber Salad


This smashed cucumber salad is one of my all-time favorite cold summer side dishes. By crushing our cucumber before we cut it, we produce flavors that un-smashed cukes can't. When you crush the cells in a vegetable, as opposed to cutting cleanly through them, certain compounds get mixed together, which can result in a significantly different flavor. In cucumbers, this is a good thing — onions, not so much. The only decision you're going to have to make is how long to let the cucumbers marinate — half an hour or so or not at all.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Additional Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
close up view of Smashed Cucumber Salad garnished with sesame seeds in a glass bowl, on a red surface next to red chopsticks

Chef John


  • 2 English cucumbers

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely crushed

  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • red pepper flakes to taste

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds


  1. Wrap each cucumber in plastic wrap to minimize splattering. Place on a work surface and pound with a flat object (like a meat pounder) until cucumbers crack and are slightly flattened. Remove from plastic. Cut cucumbers in half; halve each side lengthwise. Slice into 1- to 1 1/2 -inch wide slices. Transfer to a strainer set over a bowl.

  2. Sprinkle cucumber with salt and sugar; mix until well combined. Refrigerate the bowl and strainer for 30 to 60 minutes so cucumber pieces can drain into the bowl.

  3. Place garlic, seasoned rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl; whisk together thoroughly.

  4. Transfer drained cucumbers into the bowl with dressing. Toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle.

  5. Place cucumbers in a serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

    close up view of a Smashed Cucumber Salad in a bowl and chopsticks in the background
    Chef John

Chef's Note:

In place of seasoned rice vinegar, you can use plain rice vinegar and add an extra pinch of salt and sugar to the dressing.

Editor's Note:

Please note differences in ingredient amounts when following the magazine version of this recipe.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

29 Calories
1g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 29
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Sodium 530mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 21mg 0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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