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Oi Muchim Recipe (Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad)

by Emily
Oi Muchim In a Bowl

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If you wrote down all your favorite summer season produce in a list, would cucumbers make the cut? To me, the cucumber is probably one of the most versatile types of produce we consume. We use it as a fresh ingredient in salads, as a garnish (for example, on top of different cultural noodle dishes such as Korean bibimmyeon), in cold summer soups, and pickled for consumption over long periods. 

During the summer months, in our household, we love making oi muchim, a type of spicy Korean cucumber salad. While this seasoned cucumber dish has a spicy kick, it is also refreshing during the extreme summer heat. Below, we will teach you about oi muchim and answer any questions you may have about this dish. If you make our recipe, make sure to take a photo and tag us on Instagram

An overhead shot of oi muchim
This Banchan Recipe Is Spicy, Sweet, and Tangy.

What Is Oi Muchim (Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad)?

Oi Muchim (오이무침) is a Korean banchan (side dish) made by seasoning cucumbers in a soy-based spicy sauce. This type of side dish is extremely popular during the summer months when cucumbers are in season! After all, it only takes a few hands-on minutes to mix all together, making it a quick and easy addition to the table. 

In Korea, ‘oi’ (오이) means cucumber, while ‘muchim’ (무침) refers to something seasoned. Once put together, ‘oi muchim’ (오이무침) means ‘seasoned cucumbers.’

An overhead shot of cucumbers with the other Korean cucumber salad ingredients in the background.
First, Prep the Cucumbers by Letting Them Sit in Salt.

To make this recipe, you combine quick-pickled cucumbers in salt with ingredients such as soy sauce, gochugaru (red pepper flakes), garlic, onions, vinegar, and sugar to make a spicy, tangy, and sweet pickled dish to enjoy with your meal. If your pantry regularly contains typical Korean ingredients such as gochugaru and soy sauce, you will have everything you need to make this humble dish on hand! 

Cucumber Fact: Do you know the term ‘cool as a cucumber?’ It may have derived from the fact that during extremely hot weather, the inside of a cucumber stays cooler than the air. Also, it may have derived from the fact that cucumbers can lower blood pressure and temperature when consumed. 

An overhead shot of cucumbers, garlic, onions, and green onions in a glass bowl.
After Rinsing the Salt Off the Cucumbers, You Mix In the Other Ingredients.

Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad Frequently Asked Questions:

Below, we listed some questions you may have about this Korean oi muchim recipe. If we do not answer your question below, feel free to leave a comment or email us at [email protected]

What Should I Eat With Oi Muchim?

In South Korea, oi muchim is a side dish. I typically serve this dish with rice, other types of banchan such as kimchi, and a type of main protein such as samgyeopsal. 

Is this Recipe Free of Major Allergens? (Gluten, Soy, Dairy, Etc.)

For the most part, this recipe is free of major allergens. It does not contain dairy, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish, or shellfish. That being said, for those who need to avoid gluten and soy, it does contain soy sauce. Thankfully, you can easily find alternatives for your traditional soy sauce in most well-stocked grocery stores.

To make this recipe gluten-free, look for gluten-free tamari or soy sauce brands. For recommendations, check out my list of our favorite gluten-free soy sauce brands

To make this recipe soy-free, I recommend looking for coconut aminos. Though it tastes very similar to soy sauce, it also tastes a bit sweeter. So, when making the recipe, reduce the sugar slightly to taste! 

A side shot of Korean cucumber salad in a bowl.
The Resulting Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad Is Deliciously Crunchy

Can I Make This in Advance?

Yes! You can easily make this a few hours or days in advance. 

I like to make most of our banchan at the beginning of the week. That way, we do not have to cook as much throughout the week in our household. This Korean oi muchim recipe can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator! 

Important Note: As the cucumbers sit, they will continue to release liquid causing them to become softer. This process is perfectly normal. If you want to eat this dish while the cucumbers are still crunchy, mix everything right before serving. Otherwise, you can make it a few days in advance.

What Should I Do With the Leftovers?

Like I stated above, you can make this recipe and enjoy it throughout the week. As such, when you have leftovers from a meal, place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. 

A photo of chopsticks holding some oi muchim. A bowl of the Korean cucumber salad in the background.
We Hope You Enjoy This Oi Muchim Recipe!

We Hope You Enjoyed Learning About This Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad Recipe!

In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning about this spicy Korean cucumber salad recipe. If so, let us know in the comment section below. We would also love to hear about your favorite summer banchan recipes!

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey Korean recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage. 

Carving A Journey Korean Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at [email protected].

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Oi Muchim Recipe (Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad)

Recipe by Emily
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: Recipes, Side Dish, BanchanCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 Large Cucumber (3 Small Cucumbers), Thinly Sliced

  • 1/2 TSP Kosher Salt

  • 1/2 Small-to-Medium Onion, Thinly Sliced**

  • 1 Green Onion, Sliced

  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced

  • 1 TBSP Soy Sauce

  • 1 1/2 TBSP Gochugaru

  • 1 TBSP Sugar or Honey

  • 1/2 TBSP Sesame Oil

  • 1/2 TBSP Rice Vinegar or White Vinegar

  • 1 TSP Sesame Seeds


  • To start, thinly slice the cucumber in 1/8-to-1/4 inch slices. Then, combine the cucumber slices with the salt and set them aside for 15 minutes.
  • While the cucumber sits in the salt, combine the soy sauce, gochugaru, sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds in a bowl.
  • After 15 minutes, rinse off the cucumbers in cold water. Squeeze any excess water out of them. If you need to, you can pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • In a bowl, combine the quick-pickled cucumbers, onions, garlic, green onions, and sauce. Mix the ingredients by hand or with a spoon. Serve!


  • **To remove some of the pungent flavors of the onions, you can soak them for 10-to-15 minutes in cold water. Then, pat them dry before adding to the salad.

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