Kyuri Su Shoyuzuke (Soy Sauce & Vinegar Pickled Cucumbers)

Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Appetizers, Bento, Blog, Family Favorites, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Salad, Vegetables & Vegetarian | 9 comments


Su shoyuzuke Japanese style tsukemono, or pickles, marinated in a vinegar (su) and soy sauce (shoyuzuke) mixture is one of Bebe’s favorites. She wouldn’t complain if all she found on our dinner table were a huge bowl of these pickled cucumbers for a one-dish (unbalanced) meal.

Whenever we visit my parents, my Mom is certain to make a batch of these delicious kyuri (cucumber) tsukemono a day ahead of our arrival, or on the morning we head over. Bebe loves, loves, loves these kyuri!

My Mom always sends us home with some of her tsukemono, but because Bebe loves these so much, I’ve taken to making a large batch at least once a month. The only caveat of serving these at our dinner table is that I need to keep an eye on Bebe so that she eats other foods and doesn’t make a meal of these kyuri.

Yes, we ration these to her.

There are many different techniques for making Japanese tsukemono (which I will delve into one of these fine days) and one of the my favorites is shoyuzuke, where the vegetable is preserved by being cooked in soy sauce.

This recipe differs in that the cucumbers are not cooked in the soy sauce mixture, but rather, the sauce is cooked first, and then the raw cucumber is steeped in the shoyuzuke. Because it is not preserved in the traditional sense of pickling, these cucumbers will spoil similarly to other non-preserved foods.

For best flavor, I recommend the cucumbers steep in the shoyuzuke mixture at least overnight in the fridge. As each day passes, the flavor of these pickles will improve.

The original recipe for this shoyuzuke kyuri came from my Auntie Sumiko. We’re so grateful you made these for us at our potluck many years ago!

This recipe can also be found on my latest article on the Japanese Food Channel of

5.0 from 1 reviews
Kyuri Su Shoyuzuke (Soy Sauce & Vinegar Pickled Cucumbers)
Recipe type: Appetizer, Side Dish, Salad
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 2 large English cucumbers or 4 Japanese cucumbers
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sushi vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  1. In a small pot, heat water, soy sauce, sushi vinegar and sugar over medium heat. Allow sugar to melt and flavors to meld. About 5 minutes.
  2. Remove pot from heat and allow marinade to cool.
  3. Rough chop cucumbers into medium pieces.
  4. Place cucumbers in a storage container and pour marinade over the cucumbers. Store in refrigerator overnight, tossing cucumbers periodically to coat them evenly.


  1. avatar

    These look great for bentos! Thanks for sharing! How long would you say is the ideal “steep” time? I’m all about playing the long game…

    • avatar

      They’re perfect for bento! I’d say a 2-day steep best suits my family’s tastebuds, but everyone is different. :)

  2. avatar

    Yum! Made these because it was easy and family loved them so I made them again. Had to substitute sushi vinegar with white vinegar, added minced garlic and a dash of cayenne. Easy way to get everyone to eat veggies. Thanks again for another EASY family favorite.

  3. avatar

    Can you add head or mustard cabbage to this as well? If so do they need to be par boiled or salted first?

    • avatar

      Hi Cherise, I’ve never tried it with cabbage, however, my mom often makes tsukemono (pickles) using cabbage and if you do try this recipe with head/mustard cabbage, I recommend salting it first, not boiling it, and allowing it to breakdown a bit and absorb the salt. My mom always uses a Japanese tsukemono press (made of plastic) for this step. An example of one on Amazon is shown here: My only caveat of salting/pickling the cabbage is that you’ll need to be careful about how long the cabbage soaks in the soy/vinegar marinade so that the cabbage does not become overly salty and unpalatable. Another suggestion might be to lessen the amount of soy sauce in the soy/vinegar marinade. I hope this helps, and my apologies for the slow reply. I seemed to have overlooked this comment. Please let me know how it turns out if you give this a try. Cheers!

  4. avatar

    I use cider vinegat and raw sugar or any type of brown sugsr. Can use this recipr with mustard cabbage. My mom makes awesome mustard cabbage koko with a very similar recipe

  5. avatar

    I regret not learning how to make sour cabbage koto from my mother. I’ve tried to make it by salting, pouring boiling hot water and weighing but it doesn’t come out sour. Someone told me his mother used rice water. Do I boil it or do I just pour it on the salted cabbage and weigh it down?

    • avatar

      Hi, I’m so sorry, but aside from adding the rice vinegar to make these pickles, I’m really not familiar with making sour cabbage pickles. My mom’s cabbage pickles, or tsukemono, was always salty, not sour. I hope you’ll find the answer you’re looking for. – Cheers, Judy