Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

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Peanuts add welcome crunch to this tangy and refreshing Thai cucumber salad.

Thai cucumber salad with peanuts in a bowl.

This fresh and crunchy Thai cucumber salad adapted from Food & Wine is one of my favorite salad recipes. The juice from the cucumbers seeps into the tangy and sweet dressing, giving it a refreshing cucumber flavor, while the peanuts add protein and crunch. The salad is satisfying on its own for lunch, and it also pairs nicely with my grilled Thai curry chicken or honey lime sriracha chicken.

What you’ll need to make Thai cucumber salad with Peanuts

Salad ingredients including red onion, fish sauce, and lime.

  • The recipe calls for English/hothouse cucumbers, long, slender cukes with tender skin and tiny seeds. They’re a little pricier than garden variety cukes, but you can usually find them on sale in three-packs. Happily, they don’t need to be peeled, as they aren’t treated with a wax coating like regular cucumbers.
  • Fish sauce is a salty, savory condiment often used in East Asian cuisine. It has a pungent smell, but when used in moderation, it adds rich umami flavor to sauces, marinades, and salad dressings. You can find it in the Asian food section of most supermarkets.
  • Use good quality Virginia peanuts if you can find them. Grown primarily in Virginia (but also in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas), Virginia peanuts are large in size, flavorful, and extra crunchy. They are often referred to as “ballpark peanuts” because they are the kind sold at baseball games.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by placing the red onions in a bowl of cold water. Let them soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients — this will mellow them out and rid them of that sharp, raw onion taste.

Sliced red onions in a bowl of water.

Next, seed the cucumbers by cutting the cucumbers it in half lengthwise and scooping out the seeds and the pulpy matter with a teaspoon.

Seeded cucumbers on a marble countertop.

Make the dressing by combining the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, sugar and garlic in a medium bowl.

thai cucumber salad dressing

Drain the onions, then add the sliced cucumbers, minced jalapeño, cilantro and peanuts to the bowl with the dressing.

Thai cucumber salad ingredients added to dressing

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

mixed thai cucumber salad

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Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

Peanuts add welcome crunch to this tangy and refreshing Thai cucumber salad.

Servings: 4
Total Time: 20 Minutes


For the Salad

  • ½ medium red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 large English cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise ¼-inch thick
  • ⅓ cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup salted peanuts
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (or use 1-2 Thai chiles for more heat)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice, from 2-3 limes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Place the onions in a small bowl of cold water. Let sit for ten minutes, then drain well and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, sugar, and garlic.
  3. Add the drained red onions, cucumbers, cilantro, peanuts and jalapeño pepper to the dressing. Taste and add the salt if necessary. Serve the salad within 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 238
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 21g
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Sodium: 660mg
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • I wanted to love this, but the fish taste was SO strong! I cook with fish sauce a lot and have never had a problem with it being overpowering in a dish so I’m not sure why exactly the taste was so strong when I made this. I would make again because the rest of the ingredients are delicious, but without the fish sauce.

  • This has been my go-to salad that I serve with many Indian curries/dals like chickpeas masala, black lentil dal, or even cauliflower-potato stir fry. I omit the fish sauce and don’t change anything else in the recipe. It’s a hit every time. So easy to whip up that even my teenage daughter loves to make it.

  • Great summer salad! Very easy and tasty. Goes well with Grilled Thai Curry Chicken Skewers with Coconut Peanut sauce or Vietnamese Style Meatballs with Chili Sauce. I highly recommend both of these dishes as well.

  • I only used 1 Tbs. of fish sauce, but it was perfect! I loved this recipe. Thank you!

    • To me cilantro tastes like soap. Do you think dill could be substituted?

      • — Allise on July 17, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Allise, I would use basil instead of cilantro or just omit the herbs. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on July 17, 2022
        • Reply
      • Same!!! I was thinking Italian parsley as a sub for cilantro but will try this with basil!

        • — Shelley on July 17, 2022
        • Reply
  • This salad is absolutely delicious. The combination of onions, peanuts and cilantro with the cucumbers makes for a great crunchy, chewy, refreshing salad. The sauce is perfect. Altogether, it is addictive. Thank you for creating this and sharing it with us.

  • This is a super simple yet lovely salad. I believe I will make this many, many times. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    • — Linda Garcia Plett
    • Reply
  • I adore this recipe. While it’s best fresh, I make a huge batch and eat it over the next few days. Seeing all those onions may look scary to anyone who doesn’t love them, but the cold water method really does take down the bite. I make this about once a month.

  • I’ve made this salad twice and both times have been a hit. I omitted the jalapeno pepper and did not cut out the seeds from the cucumbers (since they were so small anyhow), and the recipe was still a success. I plan on making it many times more in the upcoming summer months.

  • I made this and my family liked it. It felt fresh and clean and will make a great summer addition to our meals. Thanks.

    • — Christina Stone
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this salad WEEKLY since finding it last summer. It’s, without a doubt, the best tasting cucumber salad I’ve ever made. I add extra fish sauce–I love the flavor. I also use a Thai red or green chile, chopped fine and added to the dressing. One of my MANY favorite recipes’s of Jenn’s.

  • I made this with the Thai lettuce cups and it was amazing! Very refreshing, I only had honey roasted peanuts, but it was still delicious. Thank you for such a yummy side!

  • An absolute hit whenever it lands on a table. A little more interesting than the average cuc salad and super simple to make. I had never soaked my red onions before and was thankful to learn this technique which gets used in other recipes now as well! I like to use a red chili instead of a jalapeño as my family loves the extra heat and the color contrast is just beautiful. Big thanks for this one, Jennifer!

  • This dish is delicious. Simple to make. I make it all the time in the summer when cucumbers are in. Also, make it when ordering take out as a nice side dish.

  • A quick and easy dish to make! I served it to my family and another time to our picky neighbors who devoured it! I haven’t changed any of the ingredients but one must add the peanuts. I forgot one time and it just didn’t have the delightfulness.

  • My family loves this recipe. We eat a lot of cucumbers and red onions marinated in salt and red wine vinegar. That’s good, but it was getting old. This makes a lovely variation that even my picky eater 14-year-old loved. I don’t like really sweet things so I only added a pinch or two of sugar and it was still great. It accompanied a simple dinner of rice and roasted chicken. The next day I took leftover rice and chicken and some of this salad for lunch. I heated the rice and chicken and then topped it with some of this salad. It was delicious and I love getting 2 meals out of one prep!

  • I was craving this salad which is truly delicious, but had to make it without cilantro and with white onion instead of red. Still tasted great and “hit the spot” however did miss the flavor of the cilantro so would not recommend leaving it out. The white onion was fine but not as pretty as the red. I used one red chile and half a jalapeno which worked well. We had the salad with bunwiches of grilled flank steak marinated in a concoction of soy sauce, garlic, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cumin, coriander, canola oil, dijon mustard, juice of half a lime, brown sugar – thrown together by my husband 😀 The salad is delightful Jenn, thanks!

  • Something different with the abundance of summer cucumbers. Very good.

    • — Ulrike Johnston
    • Reply
  • I LOVE this recipe. The salad was so simple to make and it was delicious. It was so refreshing and tastes better than what you order in most Thai restaurants. 🙂 This recipe also works with stir-fried beef if you want extra protein. 🙂

    • — Jessica Tolentino
    • Reply
  • This is excellent. I’ve never seen my husband eat so much salad! Thank you 🙂

  • Does the fish sauce have a fishy taste?

    • Hi Katie, yes, it does have a fishy taste, but once it’s combined with the other ingredients for the dressing, you really won’t taste the fishiness at all.

      • The recipe works well if you cut down on the amount of nuc-mam…just not as good. Might also suggest adding bean sprouts for appearance and nutrition…

  • I just did it right now…: n was so good !! With grilled churrasco(skirt) gone!!

  • This was so yummy; love the crunch of the peanuts and the flavour of the dressing is divine! Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do with the pulp/seeds?? Or if a person was serving it immediately is it nec to scoop out? Thanks!

    • Hi! I like to make cucumber ice cubes with the leftover pulp/seeds! They get used in ice water or gin based cocktails…so very yum and guests are usually quite impressed! I place the pulp/seeds in a liter jar, add water to fill to the top, close the jar and let it sit for 24 hrs. That infusion then gets strained, poured into ice cube trays and frozen. Too easy!

      • Great idea, Jeannine- thanks for sharing!

  • I’m in the middle of making the salad and discovered I don’t have vegetable oil. I do have olive oil and avocado oil. Would either of those work in the dressing? Many thanks in advance.

    • Hi Jennifer, I think avocado oil would be your best bet here. Hope you enjoy!

  • This recipe is fantastic and great to serve with meat /chicken to cut the fat and “lighten things up.” Very easy to make. I particularly like it as a summer dish.

  • This was different for me. I love lime and letting the onions and cucumber soak it up and blend together. I’ve made this a few times and enjoy it every time. Sometimes I will make the sauce even if I only have cucumbers and jalapeno 🙂

  • Jenn,
    I really enjoyed this salad a great deal. The crunch of the peanuts and the cilantro complement the cucumbers and dressing. I have noticed that you use fish sauce in a number of recipes and I thought I might have a problem finding it, but, alas, my grocery store had it right next to the soy sauce. I also loved your tip about the red onions. Soaking them took out the “bite” that they can have and I would recommend readers doing that. All in all, a delightful recipe. I have tried a number of your recipes and find them to be “spot on”…keep up the good work!

  • Tasty but quite ephemeral. Won’t make it again. Thanks anyway.

    • Everything is ephemeral….

  • Hi-Taking this to BBQ- better to bring dressing seperately and dress before serving? Afraid to let it sit for several hours in dressing …

    • Yes Jill, this definitely tastes best if you dress it shortly before serving it.

      • Brought it to the beach w/dressing separately –big hit! Thank you!

  • This was fantastic! I used dry jalapeño and about a half a tablespoon of Splenda and it was perfect. Thanks for this recipe!

  • I came across this dish and decided to make it tonight with the ingredients I had on hand. I used green onions instead of the red onion, and instead of any chilis, a couple of shakes of some hot sauce. I also garnished with a tiny bit of chopped mint at the very end.

    Served this as an appetizer only dinner, with vegetable spring rolls, and fried pork dumplings.

    I have some leftover, which I will have with chicken tomorrow. 🙂

  • Lots of people are asking for a Fish Sauce substitute and you rightly steer them to their Supermarket (almost every one has it now) or an Asian Grocery… Ours just moved to another city!
    It is my impression that in some recipes you can substitute Worcestershire sauce which is made from Anchovies – much as Fish Sauce is sometimes made from Anchovies also… Can Worcestershire be substituted? Thank you for this great recipe, I have 6 Persian cukes in the frig just waiting for this recipe! It will be great with BBQ’d meats.

    • Hi G.D., I don’t think there’s any perfect substitute for fish sauce, but you can definitely try it with Worcestershire or soy sauce (or a combination of the 2) as it adds similar salty and umami elements; it just won’t have the Thai flavor. If you try it this way, I’d love to know how it turns out!

  • what is Fish Sauce &I where do you get it?

    • — Rochelle Leichter
    • Reply
    • Hi Rochelle, Fish sauce is a liquid extracted from the fermentation of fish and sea salt. It’s often used as a condiment in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. It’s typically found in the international/Asian section of large supermarkets. If you can’t find it there, smaller Asian markets will carry it.

  • I made this for Mother’s Day 2016. It was a big hit! Fresh, not sickeningly sweet, great for vegetarians & non alike, pretty presentation. I would say 20 minute prep-time was overly optimistic; more like 30. It was my first time to use fish sauce, hydroponic cukes, & soaking red onions. A total keeper of a recipe! Many thanks!

    • With fish sauce, not such a great option for vegetarians.

  • absolutely terrific salad.

  • I happily stumbled across this recipe today while searching for a cooling cucumber recipe to offset our “appetizers for dinner” – potstickers, lettuce wraps and chicken satay skewers. Your Thai Cucumber Salad was the slam run hit of the evening. I made the mistake of only using one English cucumber for five people…..

    Thank you for the recipe… I’ve shared it from your site and it will be a staple for us from here on….

  • Is there another kind of nut you would suggest. Peanuts cause my husband’s gout to flare up.

    • Hi Elizabeth, I think cashews would work well.

  • I made this for a baby shower a few months ago and it was a huge hit! Refreshing and delish – i added the peanuts right before serving to maintain the crunch!

    • great you are the best

      • — Creamy Lemon Butter Chicken
      • Reply
  • I made the Thai Cucumber salad as a side for a BBQ dinner. It was wonderful and garnered many compliments. I followed the recipe as written making the cucumber and vinaigrette ahead of time letting it marinate in the fridge. I added the peanuts at the last minute before serving. The peanuts will get soggy if there are leftovers but still tasty the next day.

  • can this be made ahead? or is it best to add dressing right before serving?

    thank you!

    • Hi Ellen, you can definitely get away with making this ahead. Enjoy!

  • Forgot to rate below☺

  • Made it last night. My hubby and I loved it.

  • Made this for dinner as a side for Bahn Mi- really delicious and simple. I used small diameter cukes (what I had) and didn’t seed them- we didn’t have a problem with sogginess, but we also ate it all with that first meal.

    • — Rebecca Conable
    • Reply
  • Only thing I would change is to up the amount of peanuts!! Perhaps one cup. love the crunch!!

    Delicious salad. I used regular cucumbers (because they were four large ones for $1) and took out the seeds and sliced up and tossed a bit of salt on top for 30 mins and moisture comes out.

  • Another Awesome recipe. I live in CA and we are having a heat wave and Spare the Air Day – which means we can’t BBQ. I didn’t want to turn on the stove/oven creating more heat inside the house. I made the Cucumber with Mint salad last night and this Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts tonight. Everybody loved tonight’s salad more. I will be making this again.

  • This was the perfect complement to the Thai Curry Chicken with Coconut-Peanut Sauce (also on this site). I wouldn’t change a thing about the recipe.

  • Is there a substitute for the fish sauce?

    • Sorry, Janet — there is no good substitute for fish sauce. You can leave it out and add more salt (fish sauce is very salty) but the salad won’t have a Thai flavor.

      • Try anchovie paste…not quite the same…but a reasonable substitute.

        • Thank you, Glen, my concern is shellfish specifically as I do not eat shellfish.

  • I was just looking at a container of Persian Cucumbers in my frig and wondering what to do with them. Voila! Made it! Absolutely love the dressing. Salty, tangy, with a hint of sweet – dressing cool cukes and crunchy peanuts! What a winning combination. I’ve never soaked red onions before. What a great tip to reduce their “bite.” The cukes come from Trader Joe’s. I usually just eat them with a bit of salt and lime. They do not require peeling or seeding. I slice on an angle which makes for an attractive presentation. Thanks for another great recipe! This site has become my go-to for no-fail recipes.

    • How many of the little Persian cucumbers did you use?

  • Hello. looks great.
    What ca I pot instead of the fish sauce?
    Thx:) Sharon

    • Hi Sharon, Unfortunately, there is no good substitute for fish sauce — it has a very distinct and salty flavor. You can leave it out and just add more salt, but the dish won’t have a real Thai flavor.

  • I have the same problem with cucumbers! I have gotten into the habit now of buying the tiniest one so I don’t waste it, but I think this is a great idea, and I love the flavor combination you are suggesting. While we were in China we found a similar dish made with peanut sauce, rice vinegar and scallions. This brings back many fond memories and the longing to try this appetizing and summery dish!

  • Fish sauce? Help me here. What exactly is it? Any substitutions? Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Martha, You should be able to find fish sauce in the Asian section of your regular supermarket. It has a very distinct flavor and is used like soy sauce in Southeast Asian cooking. I have many recipes on the site that call for it. Unfortunately, there’s no good substitute.

      • Can you sub soy sauce for fish sauce?

        • Hi Fran, You can, but they’re not really the same. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect substitute for fish sauce. You can leave it out and add more salt (fish sauce is very salty). The salad just won’t have a Thai flavor.

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