These 5-Ingredient Spicy Tuna Cucumbers Are Genius

These 5-Ingredient Spicy Tuna Cucumbers Are Genius

Lunch can be a fraught time, whether you’re working from home or going into the office. Eating out gets expensive. Leftovers are life savers, but they get old (literally) after a while. Making something from scratch isn’t usually realistic unless it’s of the turkey sandwich variety.

But desperation breeds creativity, and one day as I found myself very hangry with only 20 minutes between meetings I took inspiration from the sushi shop classic: the spicy tuna roll. I quickly halved an English cucumber and scooped out the innards, then filled the void with a simple combination of canned tuna, mayo, and sambal oelek before generously sprinkling furikake on top.

While this variation is much less refined than the spicy tuna roll, the flavor combination is instantly recognizable and it’s hard to beat this super easy recipe for time and effort.

The Best Kind of Tuna to Use

While any canned tuna will work in this recipe, I recommend using a decent quality can. Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, each one matters. I made this recipe with yellowfin tuna packed in olive oil, but albacore tuna packed in water is another great option. If you use fish packed in oil, it will need slightly less mayo to make it creamy.

What Kind of Cucumber to Use

I’ve tested this with all kinds of cucumbers, from plastic-wrapped English cucumbers to Persian cucumbers to plain old cucumbers fresh out of the garden. Pretty much any cucumber will work as long as it’s tender with thin skin. However, you’ll get the best results using English or Persian cucumbers.

Tips for Making Spicy Tuna Cucumbers

  • Drain the tuna well—To avoid a watery or oily filling, make sure to drain the tuna well. If the tuna is water-packed and you have cats, you know what to do with that tuna water.
  • Kewpie makes a difference—Kewpie mayo is Japanese mayonnaise that is just a bit richer than American-style mayonnaise thanks to extra egg yolks and a little dose of MSG. I highly recommend Kewpie mayo for this recipe, but other types of mayonnaise will work just fine.
  • Sriracha substitutes—Since we are in a (seemingly) never-ending sriracha shortage, you might have to get creative with the “spicy” part of this recipe. The good news is that there are many different brands of sriracha available, especially at Asian supermarkets (Shark brand is my favorite). You can also substitute your favorite mild to medium hot sauce.


  • 1 (5-ounce) can tuna (packed in oil or water), well-drained

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie

  • 1 tablespoon sriracha, sambal oelek, or chili garlic sauce

  • 1/2 English cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers

  • Furikake, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The Spruce Eats / Megan Scott

  2. Mix 1 (5-ounce) can tuna (packed in oil or water), well-drained with 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie and 1 tablespoon sriracha, sambal oelek, or chili garlic sauce until well combined. I like to use a fork to break up the pieces of tuna and mix everything well.

    A bowl with canned tuna, mayonnaise, and sambal oelek inside

    The Spruce Eats / Megan Scott

  3. Halve 1/2 English cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers lengthwise, then use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds.

    Overhead shot of two halved cucumbers with the seeds scooped out

    The Spruce Eats / Megan Scott

  4. Spoon the tuna mixture into the cucumber, piling it high.

    Halved cucumbers sitting on a small sheet pan with now-pink tuna filling stuffed inside

    The Spruce Eats / Megan Scott

  5. Top with furikake, to taste.

    Overhead shot of halved cucumbers on a small sheet pan filled with tuna mixture and topped with furikake

    The Spruce Eats / Megan Scott

Feeling Adventurous? Try This:

  • Add avo—Very thinly sliced avocado can be laid on top of the tuna. Or dice the avocado and gently mix it into the tuna after combining it with the mayo.
  • Top with green onion—After sprinkling on the furikake, top with thinly sliced green onion.
  • Make hand rolls—Dice the cucumber and add it to the tuna mixture. Then make hand rolls with the tuna mixture using nori sheets.
  • Or try a spicy tuna rice bowl—Serve the tuna mixture and sliced cucumber (and avocado, if you have it) atop cooked white rice and garnish with furikake.
  • Turn it into a party app—Instead of halving the cucumbers lengthwise, cut them into 1 1/2-inch segments and use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop out the insides without going all the way through. Then fill them with the spicy tuna mixture and garnish as directed.


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