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How to Pickle Cucumbers: Japanese & Chinese Methods

How to Pickle Cucumbers: Japanese & Chinese Methods

Last Updated on 26th July 2022 by

Maybe I’m weird, but I like to snack on pickles from time to time. Those big jar of pickles are my favorite, but they’re also tasty when sliced and added to sandwiches, hot dogs, and tuna salad. They have a pleasant crunch and a slightly tart, sour taste that spices up all sorts of foods.

If you know a method to pickle cucumbers, you can make them at home rather than paying through the nose for a jar of pickles at the grocery. If you have never looked up how to make pickle cucumber, you may have thought like I did that the process takes a long time. It actually only takes about an hour from start to finish.

I’ll share with you my method for how to pickle cucumber slices that is fast and easy, and it makes the perfect pickles.

How to Pickle Cucumbers with Vinegar


  • ½ cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • ½ cup of room temperature water
  • 1 large cucumber (2 small cucumbers works as well with this recipe)
  • 20 pinches of ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of leafy dill weed (is dill a weed), chopped roughly to make a quarter of a cup
  • 2 cloves of peeled and mashed garlic


  1. If you are making slices, known as pickle chips, you can slice the cucumbers into thin rounds, cutting them abut 1/8 of an inch thick. If you are making spears, slice the cucumbers lengthwise in quarters or eights, depending on the size of the cucumbers you are using. Feel free to make whole dill pickles, if you like (so, no slicing needed).
  2. In a bowl, mix together the vinegar, water, sugar, black pepper, and salt. Stir everything until the salt dissolves, which should take about a minute.
    3. Put your cucumbers into a glass jar, which need to give you enough space to fit in spears vertically and snugly, if you are making them.
  3. Add garlic and dill to the cucumbers, and then place the bay leaf inside the jar.
  4. Pour in your seasoning liquid over the cucumbers to submerge them. Cover the jar and refrigerate for about an hour. Pickle rounds will be ready in an hour, but spears will take longer- about 3 hours.

The longer you leave them in for before tasting, the better. The flavor develops over time, and they can last for as long as three weeks in the fridge.

For a simpler method for how to pickle cucumber with salt, just marinate the cucumber in salt in the fridge for about an hour and enjoy.

How to Make Japanese Pickle Cucumber

There is a variation on the pickled cucumber that uses Japanese pickles, and these make for a tasty alternative. They are commonly found in Hawaii and in some Japanese groceries and restaurants.

Typically, they are sliced and served up as a side dish, but they make for a yummy snack too. Here is how to make them.


  • 1 large Japanese cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • ¼ cup of rice vinegar


  1. Slice the cucumber thinly and put it into a large bowl.
  2. Add some salt to the cucumbers and mix them together. Then, allow them to marinate in the salt for about 10 minutes and drain off the excess water.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together rice vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Pour that mixture over the salted cucumbers.
  4. Cover your cucumbers and set them to cool in the fridge for an hour or more.

How to Make Chinese Pickle Cucumber

Pickled vegetables are a common component of Asian dishes, and pickled Chinese cucumbers are a particular favorite of mine. You’ll be using a specific type of cucumber known as the English hothouse cucumber, with is very long and thin and has a wrinkly or grooved appearance. Here’s how to make them at home for yourself.


  • 3 English hothouse cucumbers (seedless are best)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese black vinegar
  • 4 cloves of smashed garlic
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Rinse the cucumbers clean and dry them off.
  2. Cut the ends of trim, and then slice the cucumbers into 4 equal parts. Then, cut those strips down further into 6 pieces each. This gives you a total of 24 strips of cucumber.
  3. Put your cucumber pieces into a bowl and add in a ½ teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt.
  4. Toss the cucumbers and cover the dish, then refrigerate for an hour.
  5. As the cucumbers are cooling and marinating, you can take a separate bowl and mix together 1 tablespoon of black vinegar, 2 ½ teaspoons of sugar, 2 bay leaves, ¼ teaspoon of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 4 cloves of garlic. Stir all of these together until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  6. After the cucumbers have marinated, get rid of the excess liquid and combine all of your different ingredients together. Cover the container and refrigerate it overnight.

How to Pickle Cucumber without Vinegar

If you want a substitute for vinegar, you can use apple cider instead. You could forgo the liquid entirely and use salt to season the cucumbers, marinating them for about an hour. Other substitutes for vinegar include white wine and rice wine. Your results will be a bit different depending on what you use, but you’ll still end up with pickled cucumbers.

How to Pickle Cucumber for Bao Buns

If you are making cucumbers to go in a bao bun, you can marinate sliced pickles in rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil, along with the salt, garlic, and sugar you usually use for making pickled cucumbers. Red pepper flakes can be added as well to make a pleasantly spicy pickled cucumber.

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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!