Peeling falls under the basics of cooking — if you don’t know how to do it properly yet, then this guide will help you master the art of peeling cucumbers with zero food waste!
How to peel cucumber? To peel a cucumber, use a Swiss or swivel peeler to remove the outside skin of the cucumber. Then simply place it on a cutting board and cut it sideways using a sharp knife. You can also cut the cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds before cutting it into equal slices.
Read below to learn more about the right way to cut a cucumber, the appropriate tools, and some great techniques to quickly peel and cut cucumbers!
The Right Tools For The Job
Every job requires the right skill set and tools — let’s talk about the tools first. There are primarily two tools that you will need to peel and cut cucumbers:
- The humble vegetable peeler
- A sharp knife
Cucumbers may look difficult to peel because of their cylindrical shape, but they are actually the easiest to process since they have a mix of firm and tender textures that opens up a range of tools that you can use on them.
Cucumber peelers come in many varieties, but two types stand out in everyday cooking: the swivel peeler and the Swiss peeler.
Let’s go over the characteristics of each tool!
A swivel peeler is an excellent tool that provides maximum grip and control while peeling virtually any type of vegetable.
It is designed with a long blade that is fixed on a pivot or swivel, which is where it gets its name! The blade on this peeler can move sideways at a certain angle that allows it to contour according to the shape of the vegetable.
This feature comes in handy when peeling round and cylindrical shapes like potatoes, turnips, and (of course) cucumbers.
Check out this amazing swivel peeler that can be used for most vegetables!
Here is how you can use a swivel peeler to peel a cucumber:
- Clean the cucumber with water and then pat it dry with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel.
- Hold the swivel peeler by gripping the handle with your middle, ring, and pinky finger. Rest your index finger behind the blade and your thumb on the side.
- Another way to hold this peeler would be to grip it from the sides just below the blade head like you would grip a knife. Some peelers also come with a grip handle for better control.
- Place the blade of the peeler near the tip of the cucumber and peel down to the other end. Repeat the process by rotating the cucumber until you have peeled the entire vegetable.
- Alternatively, you can also peel from the middle and then turn over the cucumber to finish peeling the other side.
The Swiss peeler uses the same mechanics as the swivel peeler, but is available with either a fixed or a pivotable blade.
This type of peeler has a “Y” shape and can resemble a regular shaving blade.
The blade on a Swiss peeler is ideal for processing large or elongated vegetables, like cucumbers.
With this type of peeler, you can easily swipe down and peel off any rounded vegetable without applying a lot of effort!
We recommend going with this Swiss peeler for the best results.
Here is how you can use a Swiss Peeler:
- Wash and clean the cucumber, then pat it dry.
- For the best results, try cutting the tip of the cucumber to create a flat edge. This will make it easier to equally peel the cucumber from top to bottom!
- Grip the Swiss peeler like you would hold a regular shaving blade.
- Hold the cucumber at an angle (45 degrees) and start peeling from top to bottom by bringing down the peeler towards you. Then simply rotate the cucumber and repeat until you have peeled all of it.
Don’t have a dedicated vegetable peeler? Then you can also use a knife to peel cucumbers.
This method isn’t recommended because it is bound to create food waste, unlike vegetable peelers, which are specifically designed to cut thin layers of the peel to minimize waste.
But if you go about it slowly, you can use a knife to peel the vegetable quite easily!
For this method, you will require a sharp paring knife.
Paring knives are also called “peeling knives.” These knives are designed to be small, versatile, and efficient — they provide better control over precise cutting tasks and you can also use them to thinly peel vegetables.
Here is how you can peel a cucumber using a paring knife:
- Cut off the tip of the cucumber and hold it at an angle.
- Hold the knife by gripping the handle with your index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers, then set the blade of the knife just below the flat edge of the cucumber.
- Place your thumb on the cucumber, parallel to the blade. The thumb will create a stable base for the knife and will also give you a better grip over the vegetable and the cutting motion.
- Once you have the right position, simply bring the knife down from one end to the other, then rotate the vegetable to repeat the process until you have peeled all of it.
If you aren’t comfortable with this peeling method then you can also peel the cucumber sideways:
- Hold the paring knife vertically, then insert it into the side of the cucumber at an angle.
- Cut around the cucumber while slowly rotating the vegetable.
- Once the top section is peeled, move the knife down and proceed to peel the rest of the vegetable in the same way.
How To Cut Cucumbers
After peeling the cucumber, it’s ready to cut! The great thing about cucumbers is that you can cut them with any moderately sharp knife.
You can use a chef’s knife or a regular short knife, depending on what you are comfortable with or have readily available.
Remember, peeled cucumbers have tender flesh, so they only require a slightly sharp knife to cut through it — in theory, you can use any type of blade available as long as it isn’t dull!
We recommend going with this chef’s knife because it will allow greater stability and a cleaner cut — it may even help you cut more equal slices.
Here is how you cut cucumber:
- Set the cucumber down on a cutting board and use the “claw method” to hold down the vegetable.
- To form a “claw,” just tuck in your fingers so that your fingernails rest on top of the cucumber, exposing only your finger knuckles.
- This method is recommended for beginners because of its ability to minimize accidents.
- Start at either end of the cucumber. Chop off the tip and then begin cutting the cucumber slowly, creating equal-sized slices.
- Move your clawed hand down the vegetable until you reach the other end of the tip. Then simply collect all the slices and enjoy!
Tips For Peeling Cucumbers
- Never use a dull blade when peeling or cutting cucumbers, especially when using a paring knife — the blade might slip off the vegetable.
- To remove the seeds, cut the cucumber in half and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from both halves. You can then individually peel both sides using any peeler or paring knife.
- Try to divide large cucumbers in half before peeling them for better grip and efficiency. Cut down in the middle to create two smaller halves and then peel both sides as you normally would.
- Hold the cucumber away from your body when peeling with a knife or a sharp blade, especially when you are bringing the knife down towards your body. You can also try peeling away (bottom to top) for safety.
- If you are using the same peeler for multiple vegetables, make sure to clean the blade after each use so that the blade can evenly and equally peel the vegetable without collecting debris between the blades.
Here’s a fun video from Sikana English on YouTube that shows some more exciting ways to cut cucumbers once you’re ready to up your game:
Peeling cucumbers is very easy if you know the right tools and techniques! Now that you know how to peel them, here are some related questions we thought you might have.
Can you peel cucumbers with a mandolin?
While it isn’t advised, you can try peeling a cucumber using a mandolin slicer.
Don’t press down too hard on the blade or you might start peeling thick slices — instead, just gently glide the side of the vegetable until you take off thin peels.
Should you milk cucumbers before or after peeling them?
The best way to lessen the bitterness of cucumbers is to milk them before they are peeled:
- Cut off the tip of the cucumber. Do not throw it away — it’s an integral part of this process!
- Use the sliced tip to rub against the edge of the cucumber. Do this for a few minutes or until a bubbly or thick foam forms.
- Rinse the cucumber, pat it dry, and then continue peeling it as usual.
Here’s a quick video from Eat and Let Eat on YouTube that shows how this process works: