Spicy-Sweet Pickled Cucumbers

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These pickled cucumbers are inspired by the spicy-sweet pickles served at Saffron, a popular Thai takeaway in San Diego. Use thin-skinned Japanese, Persian, English or pickling cucumbers, and slice them as thinly as possible. If you have a mandolin or Japanese slicer, this a good time to use it; otherwise, just use a razor-sharp chef’s knife. Serve these pickled cucumbers as a refreshing summer side dish, or use them as a condiment in sandwiches and tacos. They’d be delicious on a sandwich or tortilla with Grass-Fed Beef Bulgogi and Fiery-Sweet Peach Salsa.

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Spicy-Sweet Pickled Cucumbers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 pint

If you happen to have a mandoline or Japanese slicer, use that to slice your cucumbers. Otherwise, use your sharpest knife and slice them as thinly as you can.


  1. 1 cup rice vinegar
  2. 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1-2 medium limes)
  4. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  5. 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  6. 1/2 pound Japanese, Persian, English or pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced (1/8-inch thick or thinner)
  7. 1/4 cup thinly vertically sliced onion


Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Combine cucumbers and onion in a medium bowl. Add vinegar mixture and stir to combine. Let stand at room temperature for at least 45 minutes before serving, or transfer cucumber mixture to a clean jar and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.