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How to make fermented Cucumber Kimchi Pickles in 3-5 days with 20 minutes of hands-on time! Easy to make and full of healthy, gut-supporting probiotics.
It is through the accrual of small moments, if we have the willingness to pay attention, that we find our day-to-day life is our most important teacher. Adyashanti
Here’s a recipe for all the fermenters out there- Cucumber Kimchi Pickles! They are basically half-sour, slightly- fermented cucumbers -like pickles- but with the addition of Korean flavors like chilies, chilies, garlic, and either fish sauce or miso paste (for a vegan version).
Keep in mind, if you are looking for “Cucumber Kimchi“, this may not be the recipe for you. This is liquidy and briny, more like pickles, less like Kimchi. 🙂
What I love about this recipe is how easy it is to make, before letting mother nature do its job. In the end, you’ll have flavorful Korean- inspired pickles that are full of healthy, living probiotics that you can add to meals you are already serving!
Cucumber Kimchi Pickles! | 45-second Video
There is growing research on the connection between gut health and our immune support system. For more Immunity Supporting recipes be sure to go here!
We served these Cucumber Kimchi Pickles as a tasty side with this Miso Salmon, and black rice a simple healthy dinner.
In this recipe, I use Korean Chili Flakes called “Gochugaru” or the Korean Chili Paste “Gochujang“. The recipe is flexible-feel free to use fresh chilies in the paste, crushed dried Arbol chilies or even just garlic chili paste.
You can find Gochugaru at most Asian Markets or order online. You can also add other veggies to the mix like matchstick daikon radish or carrots. Fish sauce adds depth but you can leave this out or use soy sauce, or vegan fish sauce.
Sometimes, I’ll use miso paste to add depth, especially if going vegan. If looking for a gluten-free version, liquid aminos work well too.
So, in a nutshell, you’ll make a flavorful paste with garlic, ginger, shallot, and chilies of your choice.
Add miso, fish sauce or soy sauce for depth. Add a little sweetener (sugar, honey, maple) for flavor and balance (but not needed for fermentation).
Mix the paste with the salted cucumbers.
Pack into jars with a little headroom.
Cover with brine and water.
Let this sit in a cool spot for 3-5 days, until you start to see bubbles when you tap the side of the jar.
Then store in the fridge. Keep in mind, these are really briny- more like pickles and less like “Kimchi.”
This will continue to ferment slowly in the fridge, getting even more flavorful.
Serve Cucumber Kimchi as a tasty side with:
- Seoul Bowls
- Teriyaki Chicken
- Furikake Salmon Bowls
- Black Pepper Tofu
- Kimchi Fried Rice
- Szechuan Chicken and Brussel Sprouts
- Miso Tofu Bowl
OK, give these Cucumber Kimchi Pickles a try and let us know what you think in the comments below!
Have a great weekend,
Cucumber Kimchi Pickles
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 days
- Total Time: 72 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 5 cups 1x
- Category: appetizer, condiment
- Method: fermenting, preserving
- Cuisine: Korean
- Diet: Vegan
How to make fermented Cucumber Kimchi Pickles in 3-5 days with 20 minutes of hands-on time! Easy to make and full of healthy, immune-supporting probiotics. Note: If you are looking for “Cucumber Kimchi“, this may not be the recipe for you. This is liquidy and briny, more like pickles, less like Kimchi. 🙂
- 2 pounds cucumbers, sliced 1/2-inch thick (Turkish or English) see notes
- 3 tablespoons fine sea salt
- 9 cups water to cover (or see notes for ratio, if you need more)
- 1–4 tablespoons dried chiles (Korean Chili Flakes called “Gochugaru” or Korean Chili Paste “Gochujang“ or dried Arbol chilies, fresh chilies, or even Garlic Chili Paste)
- 6–10 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon miso, fish sauce, or soy sauce
- 1 shallot or 1/4 red onion
- 1–2 teaspoon sugar or honey
optional additions: sliced carrots, radishes, sliced onion, sliced scallions, sesame seeds
PROCESS CUCS: Slice 2 pounds cucumbers (Pickling cucumbers, Turkish or English) into 1/2 inch thick rounds and place in a large bowl. Toss with the sea salt. Cover with the water, and place a bowl over top (or weight) and let sit 4-6 hours, submerged on the counter.
Make the Kimchi Paste: Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until uniformly chopped (but not too smooth).
TOSS: Drain the cucumbers, SAVING the brine. Toss the cucumbers with the Kimchi Paste. Add scallions or any other optional additions.
PACK: Pack the cucumbers in 2 large clean jars or a crock with at least an inch of headroom. Pour the saved brine over top, submerging the cucumbers. Weigh down the cucumbers, using a fermentation weight, or a small ziplock bag filled with a little water, or even a cabbage leaf.
FERMENT: Place a lid, loosely over top, and put jars on top of a sheet pan, or in a big bowl to catch any escaping juices. Place in a coolish place (65-70F) for 3-5 days, or until you see some bubbling when you tap the side of the jar.
REFRIGERATE: I prefer a light, short fermentation, for a more crisp and crunchy pickle so at this point I’ll place them in the fridge. Fermentation will continue in the fridge but at a much slower rate. Feel free to continue fermenting, to any point, up to 2 weeks before refrigerating, which will render them tangier and softer.
MAINTAIN: Cucumbers will keep for months in the fridge as long as they are covered in brine. If you like a “fizzy” brine, tighten the lid, burping the jar every week or so. If you don’t want to think about it, give the lid one loose twist, so it’s on there, but gases can escape.
SERVE: Place in a serving bowl (drain a little) and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.
Salt to water Brine: 1- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt per cup of filtered water.
CHILIES: Try dried Korean Chili Flakes called “Gochugaru” or Korean Chili Paste “Gochujang“. The recipe is flexible-feel free to use fresh chilies in the paste, crushed dried Arbol chilies or even just garlic chili paste. Feel free to add whole dry Arbol chilies to the jars for presentation.
- Serving Size: ¼ cup
- Calories: 18
- Sugar: 1.8 g
- Sodium: 773 mg
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 4.2 g
- Fiber: 0.5 g
- Protein: 0.7 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: cucumber kimchi, fermented cucumbers, kimchi cucumber pickles, cucumber kimchi pickles
Didn’t work at all for me. After 4 days on the counter, cool room, the cucumbers were mushy. I threw away 3 jars of it. Very disappointing.
Sorry it didn’t work for you. Did you see any sign of fermentation?
My garden has been overflowing with cucumbers. I made these, and quickly ate them all. Making another batch tonight. Thanks for this and all your other inspired recipes.
Awesome! Glad you liked this. 🙌
This did not turn out well for me. There is far too much liquid in the recipe.
Hi Eva- yes, I see the confusion- these are intended to be kimchi flavored “pickles” not “cucumber kimchi” which I bet is what you thought you were making. Sorry about that.
Hi Sylvia, You are correct. I thought I was making cucumber kimchi. I am changing my rating because the flavor turned out to be excellent. Any suggestions what to do with the brine after the cucumbers are gone?
Awww, thanks! I often will drink brine or add it to soups for a kick of flavor.
Very good pickles! Will make again. Thanks!
Awesome! Glad you liked this! 🙌
Hi Sylvia, thank you for this great recipe. Made them Monday morning using the miso option and adding hakurei turnip, carrot, shallot, green onion. Simply delish, tangy yet subtle, spicy but not too hot and the umami from the miso makes them perfect. They were perfect by Friday for lunch. Love these and thanks again for another great recipe !!
Glad it worked for you Lori!
Recipe sounds delicious… I’m making it now with regular garden cucumbers… I’ll post again in a week or so when they’re done fermenting… Similar to a brussel sprout kimchi recipe I make so think it will be a winner. Thanks for the inspiration and help using up ALL these cucumbers!
OOOOOOH WOW, love the brussels sprouts kimchi idea! Will have to try that. Do you leave whole or shred?
Just finished fermenting the cukes for 6 days and tasted… they are DELICIOUS! Thank you for the recipe. I used reg cukes from the garden (didn’t have the others) and added some other garden ingredients –watermelon radish and scallions. The amount of salt in the brine was just right…some recipes add too much salt but yours was about a 2% solution which was perfect. Wonderful! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Here is the link for the Brussel Sprouts Kimchi recipe… I halved or quartered the large sprouts. https://www.makesauerkraut.com/weck-small-batch-preserving-book-review/#wprm-recipe-container-11388 Let me know if u have any problems w/opening the link and I’ll email the recipe to you. Happy cooking. 🙂
Oh my, my! I saw your recipe yesterday. I dreamed of making it. Then I came home to find the neighbor had gifted us with a bagel of cukes. I am in the process of making this recipe as I write. Tasting the paste, I was like, WOW! It is so, so tasty. I can not wait to taste the final product. Thanks for blessing us with the inspiration and the creation. Grace and peace.
Yay! Thanks 🙌
Can I use just plain cucumbers from the garden
Give it a try!