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 loved everything about this… except I was over powered by the fish sauce. I will definitely try again and perhaps use 1/2 TBSP. I could add more if needed. I will honestly toss the rest because of the fish sauce. Anyone else deal with this???

    • — Reba Luttrell on March 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe sounds great and I am going to try it, but just wondering why the cucumber is seeded. English cucumbers have very small seeds, so I never core them. Any reason I shouldn’t ignore this step? Thanks!

    • — Cassandra on March 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Cassandra, Cucumber salads tend to get watery, so even though the seeds are tiny, I still prefer to seed hothouse cucumbers.

      • — Jenn on March 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • I think “once Upon a Chef” is one of the best food apps going, but this recipe just didn’t do it for us. Nonetheless, we still think you are number one.

    • — Kris on March 23, 2023
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  • OHHHH this is my very favorite recipe! Thanks for the reminder to make it again!
    The dressing is drinkable!

    • — Lydia on March 23, 2023
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  • Delicious, super quick and easy. I didn’t add any salt nor the salted peanuts as we are trying to cut back on salt. Plan to take to a potluck dinner and will use salt and peanuts. Also made the dressing ahead of time to let the flavors blend. Also may not seed the jalapeños as would like a little more spice. A keeper for sure!

    • — Patrice Tanner on March 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wonderful salad. I added a few more ingredients to it. 1 avocado, grape tomatoes quartered, and marinated the onions and red bell pepper together.

    • — l cook on March 5, 2023
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  • I made this and it is really the best I’ve ever tasted!

    • — Jill on November 16, 2022
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  • Fresh, delicious salad and so quick to prepare! Perfect side to quickly put together but looks and tastes professional. Thanks Jenn for another fantastic recipe 🙂

    • — Mel on October 14, 2022
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  • I made this salad last night. I do not love cucumbers but I LOVED this salad. It was nice to have a fresh option with our burgers & potato salad. I will definitely make again!

    • — Darlene on September 5, 2022
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  • Superb dish, which I made to accompany a Thai-inspired salmon broccoli. Simple yet complex flavours combined with the crunchy texture of the cukes and peanuts. This is now on my regular to-cook list

    • — Mike Hallam on August 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • As this was my first time making this, I wanted to follow the recipe exactly. Next time I will keep half the jalapeno seeds or add some other spicy sauce like sriracha. I wanted it more spicy but everything melded together well and delicious! Thank you for another super recipe.

    • — Lulu on August 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • I liked it a lot but unfortunately, my husband wasn’t a big fan. Sometimes I try new things with him & it works, & sometimes they don’t. :0( So going forward it will be something I only make for myself. His comment is he said he’s not a big fan of cucumbers. Say what? Since when? Asked him about the sauce & he said it was just alright. Now I didn’t have any fresh jalapeños to add so I used red pepper flakes as a substitute. Don’t think the jalapeños would have made a big difference to him though.

    • — Judy on August 4, 2022
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  • I plan on trying this tonight to serve with fish. Out of curiosity why do you have to soak the onion?

    • — Judy on August 2, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, soaking the onion helps to mellow them out and remove the sharp taste they have.

      • — Jenn on August 3, 2022
      • Reply
  • I doubled this recipe and served it as part of an Asian meal for our family lake trip. Served 26 people for the meal. This was a big hit with many compliments. Maybe 2 servings remaining. I chopped all of the veggies except the cucumbers one day ahead and made the dressing ahead so all that was needed to finish was to seed and slice the cucumbers and then assemble the salad. This was my favorite of the four dishes I prepared, very fresh and bright. Loved the tip of soaking the onions in water as they weren’t so strong. Delish! Saving this recipe for sure.

    • — Marty on July 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this salad to accompany the Flat Iron Steak with Thai Asian Sauce and the Thai Chopped Salad with Peanut dressing. It was my favorite of the 3 recipes I served for dinner and by far the easiest to make. I smelled the dressing and wasn’t impressed but when you put it with the salad ingredients, it just has the perfect crunch, texture and taste! I used Persian cucumbers (about 8) as they looked so good!

    • — Margaret on July 24, 2022
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  • Received my Red Boat Fish Sauce. Made recipe yesterday. It was delicious. Only thing I added was Trader Joe’s Cracked Chili Onion sauce. It gave a little extra heat. Used about a half TB. And a touch more salt.

    Before I stored leftovers in fridge, I drained most the dressing into a jar so it wouldn’t be too wet.
    Great recipe. My husband loved it and he isn’t a fan of cucumber salad!!
    Thank you for the recipe.

    • — Sunny Drohan on July 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • Where do I find how much of each ingredient to put in the dressing?

    • — John on July 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi John, It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions underneath. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, to the right of the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on July 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Delicious and fresh-tasting! So quick to make, too!

    • — Yolanda on July 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh my goodness this is divine!! My neighbor had just given me baby cucumbers and jalapeños so it was perfect timing to find this recipe. My husband loved it also and said it is a recipe to repeat this summer!

    • — Beth on July 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Really looking forward to making this! Is it possible to omit the sugar?

    • — Marian on July 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Marian, the sugar helps to balance out the tanginess of the lime juice and the saltiness of the fish sauce so I wouldn’t recommend omitting it. You could try reducing it by half and then add more to taste if necessary. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I’m cooking for someone that doesn’t like peanuts and I’m looking for a salad to go along with the Miso Black Cod from your cookbook. Could I make this and switch out the peanuts for something else or just omit them? Thanks!

    • Sure, that would be fine. Cashews or almonds would work nicely here too.

  • I made this tonight and paired with grilled shrimp and brown rice. Delicious and tastes like summer! Added shredded carrot and thinly sliced red pepper to amp up the veggies. I could seriously drink the dressing (might have slurped down what was left at the bottom of the bowl, shhhhh).

  • This salad is beyond tasty. So delicious. I sometimes bring it to work for lunch with a chicken breast chopped up on top. I often add a splash of rice wine vinegar to the dressing and use only half the oil. Your recipes never fail me! Love them….

  • We have made this a number of times in the last few years. Good summer salad. Makes good leftovers, stays crunchy for second meal for two.

    • — Harriet Turner
    • Reply
  • Easy to make and enjoyed by everyone. I added more lime juice as I felt it needed it. I think it would taste amazing with some beef added it – easy thai beef salad.

  • This is the best thing in the whole wide world! I have made it for three different occasions in the last two weeks and everyone insisted on the recipe. Made it again tonight for a dinner party.

  • How far in advance can I make the dressing? I will, of course, add the dressing just before serving.

    • Hi Linda, You could make it 4 days ahead give or take. Hope that helps!

    • One more question. I don’t have salted peanuts in the house, so my choice is unsalted peanuts or dry roasted peanuts. Your thoughts?

      • I’d go with the dry roasted. Enjoy!

  • Easy to make and super tasty! Also really refreshing for a summer dinner!!

  • Can’t remember how many times we’ve made this salad but a lot. Love it and share the recipe with friends a lot. So good even with regular cukes, so plentiful all summer.

    • — Harriet Turner
    • Reply
  • I love this salad! I’ve been making it for years. Its my go-to with anything thai or vietnamese and so nice to have this fresh option. I sometimes swap the jalapeno and garlic for a little chile-garlic sauce, but this recipe is perfect as written. I also love that the leftovers are good for a few days when we have some. Thank you!

  • The salad was nice. The peanuts were the highlight. More spice would have been nice.

  • WOW! This is my new favourite. The first time I made it, I did not have all the ingredients. Did not have any cilantro. I also only had white Onion and used some salted mixed nuts. It was still awesome. Made again with all the ingredients and it was even better. I also don’t remove the cucumber seeds and use a lot of very hot chilli.

    • — Christo Viljoen
    • Reply
  • This is so fresh and delicious! I paired this with the chicken tikka masala and it was a hit with our family. Highly recommend for a great side dish!

  • Colorful, fresh anytime salad. New favorite.

  • Delicious! I didn’t have the jalapeño so I added red chili flakes.

  • Delicious! The whole family loves this. I make the recipe exactly as is, and it is delicious. Super fresh tasting and is a great healthy side dish to many meals.

  • Amazing!!! Will make again and again. Had it with the Asian BBQ Chicken and some simple egg fried rice and sesame green beans.

  • This is my go-to recipe for a Thai/SE Asian-ish salad. Easy and delicious. The crunch of the peanuts makes it extra good.

  • Delicious! Made these with Persian cucumbers and left in some of the jalapeño seeds for heat. The family ate it all up! Served with salmon and rice. Thank you for a quick, easy and refreshing recipe (:

  • Delicious! I made this with the Broiled Salmon with Thai Sweet Chili Glaze (also delicious!). I don’t love raw onions but they were great in this salad. I soaked them as directed and it made such a difference. I added red peppers, radishes and shredded carrots since I had them on hand. Crisp, colorful salad enjoyed by all.

  • Delicious! Where we live we have Armenian cucumbers and I made this recipe with them. I also tossed in a bit of watercress.

  • Just made the recipe as we have a bumper crop of cucumbers in our home garden this year. So easy to make and both my wife and I loved it! I only just discovered the once upon a chef site and look forward to making many more recipes!

  • I enjoyed this salad, (followed the recipe exactly), but I wish it had been spicier.

  • The cucumbers in my garden this year have gone crazy and I can’t keep up with them! So I looked up some salad recipes and made yours yesterday. Ok, the trick with the red onion to soak in water for 10 minutes – brilliant!! I swear learning this changed my life! Thank you!
    Also the salad is delicious. I cut back on the fish sauce a bit and on the jalapeños so that my kids would eat it and Im sure i used more cilantro than necessary but you can never have too much! The kids loved it!

  • Delightful summer salad. Great combination of flavors and so simple to make!

  • Re: this salad dressing and others, if the instructions direct you “to whisk” , is there a difference if you combine the dressing ingredients and pulse in a blender instead? Thanks for the help! I have always wondered about this question 🙂

    • Hi Liz, Using a blender instead of a whisk will result in a thicker texture. 🙂

  • This recipe is my new favourite summer salad!! Kid friendly too! Can be made ahead of time, leftovers tasted just as good if not better. Almost like a fridge pickle salad the next day. SO YUM!!

  • Hi – quick question. I have cilantro paste and no cilantro, the perils of grocery delivery. Do you think I can just stir some cilantro paste into the dressing to get a cilantro flavor to the salad? Thanks!

    • Sure, I think that sounds like a good way to improvise. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  • I recently discovered this recipe and have been making it weekly, if not more often! This is a mouthful of tangy, sweet, salty deliciousness. I’ve sometimes added carrot slices (sliced super thin on my mandolin), peppers which all work great. Highly recommend this!

  • We’ve made this recipe a number of times, so good. We use regular cukes, no English around here but garden fresh ones don’t get waxed anyway.
    Another geeat excuse to use fish sauce.

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