japanese smashed cucumbers on a plate with a pinch bowl of sesame seeds

Tataki Kyuri (Japanese Smashed Cucumbers) | たたききゅうり

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Learn how to make this tasty Japanese side dish with fresh, crisp cucumbers. Deliciously crunchy, fun to make, and quick to prepare!

plate of Japanese smashed cucumbers

What is Tataki Kyuri?

Tataki kyuri is a Japanese side dish of smashed cucumbers often seasoned with soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and/or vinegar. In Japanese, tataki (叩き) means to smash and kyuri (きゅうり) means cucumber. Eaten cold like a salad, it’s especially refreshing in the hot summer months.

Why Smash Cucumbers?

Smashing the cucumbers splits the skin and allows the dressing to seep into the flesh better. It also creates different textures — some of the flesh gets separated from the skin, making it tender and easier to soak up the sauce, while the chunks with skin are crisp and refreshing to bite into. And of course, it’s just more fun to prepare cucumbers this way!

tataki kyuri ingredients


Tataki kyuri is super simple to make! All you need are 7 basic ingredients:

  • Cucumbers ⟶ Use Japanese cucumbers if available. Otherwise opt for another thin cucumber like Persian cucumbers. Avoid the fatter American cucumbers since they contain a lot more seeds and water and aren’t very flavorful.
  • Garlic & Ginger ⟶ Feel free to adjust the amount of these as it really depends on your preference. I love the ginger flavor so I tend to add a lot.
  • Soy Sauce & Toasted Sesame Oil ⟶ Use tamari if gluten-free.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds & Red Pepper Flakes ⟶ To garnish at the end and add a little extra oomph.
chopsticks picking up a piece of smashed cucumber

Tips for Making Smashed Cucumbers

Lightly smash the cucumbers. ⟶ If you hit the cucumbers too hard, they will go flying everywhere and you will break more of it than you want. You just want to create cracks and cut into some of the flesh, but you don’t have to completely break the cucumber.

Place cucumbers in a bag (optional) ⟶ If you’re afraid of the cucumbers flying around your kitchen when you hit them, place them in a ziplock bag first. However, I just place them on my cutting board and hit lightly.

Salt the cucumbers first ⟶ Salting the cucumbers helps draw out moisture, making them extra crunchy and preventing the sauce from getting too diluted. Sometimes I skip this step if I’m in a rush, but it will help the cucumbers stay crunchy for longer and also adds a little flavor.

Let the cucumbers marinate in the sauce for 1-2 hours before serving. ⟶ You can eat the cucumbers right away, but I find that if you let them marinate for a little bit the cucumbers soak up more of the sauce. However, if you leave them for too long, the cucumbers will release more water which dilutes the flavor, and the cucumbers can get soggy.

Serve cold! ⟶ If you’re going to serve right away, make sure you use cold cucumbers from the fridge. Room temperature cucumbers will not have the same refreshing, crisp taste. You can also let the cucumbers sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.

close up of tataki kyuri on a plate

More Easy Japanese Sides!

close up overhead shot of tataki kyuri, sesame seeds in a bowl in the corner of the frame

If you try out these Japanese smashed cucumbers, don’t forget to leave a comment/rating down below and tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking. I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

Updated June 24, 2024 to include a step for salting the cucumbers first.

plate of Japanese smashed cucumbers

Tataki Kyuri (Japanese Smashed Cucumbers) | たたききゅうり

Learn how to make this easy Japanese side dish with fresh, crisp cucumbers. Deliciously crunchy and fun to make!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4


  • 2 Japanese cucumbers, refrigerated
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2-3 tsp soy sauce or tamari, adjust to taste
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil*
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional


  • Smash cucumbers: Place cucumbers on a cutting board and use a large pestle or rolling pin to gently smash the cucumbers. Rotate the cucumbers as you hit them. If you're afraid of cucumber pieces flying everywhere, you can place the cucumbers in a ziplock bag first.
  • Break into pieces: When there are cracks all over the cucumbers, chop into pieces or use your hands to separate into pieces.
  • Salt cucumbers: Place cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Toss well to cover the cucumbers and set aside for 10 minutes to draw out the moisture. Drain and rinse cucumbers, getting rid of any excess water. You can also gently dry the cucumbers with a towel.
  • Toss: Add cucumbers to a bowl with the remaining ingredients and combine.
  • For better flavor, marinate for 1-2 hours in the fridge.

*Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, but the price remains the same to you. Thank you for supporting Ellie Likes Cooking!

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