Ingredient Intelligence

Persian vs English Cucumbers: What’s the Difference?

updated Apr 8, 2024
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of cucumbers for a long time. What came to mind for me when I pictured one was the American cucumber, always cut too thickly and plopped on an underwhelming garden salad offering crunch, but no real flavor. American cucumbers have thick dark green skin that can have a slightly bitter flavor and are quite seedy. Recipes often call to scoop the seeds out in addition to removing the bitter peel before using them.  No thank you. 

Then I discovered the “standard” cucumber’s tiny little cousin: the Persian cucumber. It opened up endless possibilities of different ways cucumbers can add crunch and freshness to everything from salads to rice bowls. So, what’s the difference, you ask? Let’s break it down.

Quick Overview

So, What Are Persian Cucumbers?

Persian cucumbers are small (five to six inch long), thin-skinned cucumbers with very few small seeds.

All About Persian Cucumbers

Persian cucumbers are thin-skinned and only grow to be about five to six inches long and remain quite narrow. These baby cukes are nearly seedless and extra crisp rather than watery, and have a mild, sweet flavor similar to English cucumbers. You’ll often find them in packages of a half-dozen or so.

Credit: Left: Joe Lingeman; Right: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Persian Cucumbers vs English Cucumbers

  • Both varieties have thin green skins and do not need to be peeled.
  • They also both have very few, small seeds, meaning they don’t need to be seeded as part of prep either.
  • They have a similar mild flavor and dense texture and can be used interchangeably.
  • Persian cucumbers are also called “mini cucumbers,” while English cucumbers can also be referred to as “hothouse” or “seedless” cucumbers.
  • Persian cucumbers are small, about five to six inches long. English cucumbers, on the other hand, grow to about 1 foot.
  • You’ll typically find Persian cucumbers bundled together in packs of six or eight, while English cucumbers are sold individually, usually wrapped in plastic to protect their delicate skin.

What to Do with Persian Cucumbers

These little cukes make a great addition to a bowl of grains or a pitcher of gin and tonic, but they can also stand alone in a smashed cucumber salad, a classic tea sandwich, or even blistered on the stovetop.

How to Store Persian Cucumbers

There are a lot of ways to store cucumbers, but if you want to keep them fresh for weeks, wrap each one individually in paper towels and seal them in a zipper-lock bag in the fridge.

Where to Buy Persian Cucumbers

Persian cucumbers are available in the produce section of grocery stores.

A version of this story was first published on July 18, 2018 by Sheela Prakash.