I Made the Viral TikTok Cucumber Salad, aka Chinese Cucumber Salad

You've probably seen the viral TikTok cucumber salad and wondered if it really works and how it tastes. I'm here to tell you, those spiraled cucumbers are way easier than they look!

If you’ve seen the TikTok cucumber salad, then you’ve probably wondered how time-consuming this beautiful salad really is. Luckily, it’s a lot easier than it looks, and it’s super fun to serve at parties to impress guests. You’ll even impress yourself after making this restaurant-worthy dish. While TikTok might have made #cucumbersalad go viral, this beautiful salad has been a part of Chinese cuisine much longer than the app has been around.

What Is Chinese Cucumber Salad?

Chinese cucumber salad features spiral-cut cucumbers in a soy sauce dressing flavored with garlic, chiles and other Asian ingredients. According to Chinese recipe developer Wei Guo, this spiralized slicing technique is called the coir raincoat method, which originated in Shandong cuisine and mimics the look of a type of Chinese raincoat.

While the salad has become a viral recipe on TikTok, it seems that no two are alike, with many creators featuring their own versions and ingredient combinations.

How to Make TikTok Cucumber Salad


Tiktok Cucumber Salad 0002Debra Cummings for Taste of Home

  • 1 pound (about 3) Persian cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chili crisp


Step 1: Slice the cucumbers into spirals

Tiktok Cucumber Salad 0001Debra Cummings for Taste of Home

Place the cucumber between two chopsticks—use takeout chopsticks, not your good ones, because they will get a few nicks in them. Make thin slices at an angle down the length of the cucumber. Flip the cucumber over, keeping it between the chopsticks, and make straight cuts from one end to the other, just as you would if you were slicing the cucumber into rounds.

Editor’s Tip: The chopsticks are key because they keep the knife from going all the way through the cucumber, resulting in the spiral shape you’re trying to achieve.

Step 2: Salt the cucumbers, then rinse

Place the spiralized cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt, tossing to coat. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, or until the cucumbers have released some water and become flexible. Rinse thoroughly, drain, and set aside in a serving bowl.

Step 3: Make the cucumber salad dressing

Tiktok Cucumber Salad 0003Debra Cummings for Taste of Home

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, minced garlic and chili crisp. Make sure the sugar is dissolved.

Step 4: Assemble the salad and serve

Pour the soy sauce dressing over the cucumbers. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the flavors, then serve!

Here’s What I Thought

I loved the flavor of this cucumber salad and was surprised by the simplicity of the slicing technique—it really works! It’s refreshing, salty, spicy and loaded with umami. You could easily adapt this recipe to your own taste by adjusting the level of spice or amount of garlic, and with additions like sesame seeds or scallions.

Tips for Making Chinese Cucumber Salad

  • The more thinly the cucumbers are sliced, the more dramatic the spiral effect will be.
  • Don’t skip salting the cucumbers! This is the key to softening them up so they form the spirals without breaking.
  • If you don’t have chili crisp, you can use red pepper flakes, fresh chiles or chili paste instead.

Debra Cummings
A veteran of the food and travel industries, Debra has worked behind the seafood counter, waited tables in all sorts of restaurants, and spent time as a travel agent. She now writes about food and travel, and creates recipes inspired by tasty destinations. She wants to know everything you ate on your last vacation.