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8 Gochujang Substitutes (+ Korean Chili Paste Replacements)

Try these gochujang substitutes when you just don’t have Korean chili paste.

For those who are not familiar with gochujang, it’s a unique paste made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. 

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Korean Gochujang Spicy Chili

While gochujang is readily available in most Asian markets, it can be difficult to find outside of Asia.

So, which other ingredients can you use as gochujang substitutes? I have eight amazing alternatives. Let’s get right into it.

What is Gochujang?

Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili pepper paste.

It’s made from chili peppers, glutinous rice, malt powder, fermented soybeans, and salt.

Gochujang has a pungent, spicy, slightly smoky, and sweet taste, and is used as a condiment or ingredient in many Korean dishes.

It’s also a popular ingredient in Korean BBQ.

Gochujang can be used to spice up stews, soups, and marinades or as a dipping sauce for meats and vegetables.

The fermentation process can take up to 6 months, allowing all the flavors to fuse seamlessly.

The finished product has a reddish-brown color and a thick, pasty consistency.

It’s important to note that gochujang may include allergens like soybean and wheat.

8 Best Gochujang Substitutes

Miso Paste Scooped by a Vintage Spoon

1. DIY Miso-Based Sauce

Miso-based sauces are a good substitute for gochujang because they have a similar flavor profile.

Both of them are fermented soybean pastes with a salty, umami flavor.

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They’re also both reddish-orange in color and have a slightly thicker consistency.

While miso-based sauces are not as spicy as gochujang, they can still add a kick of flavor to your dish.

Keep in mind that miso is saltier than gochujang, so you may need to adjust the amount of salt in the recipe accordingly.

Ssamjang Paste on a White Condiment Dish

2. Ssamjang

Ssamjang is a Korean condiment that is often used as a dip or sauce.

It’s made from gochujang (red chili pepper paste), doenjang (soybean paste), garlic, green onion, sesame oil, and sugar.

Ssamjang has a strong, pungent flavor that is similar to gochujang with slightly less heat.

This makes it a good substitute for those who cannot handle the heat of gochujang.

If you are looking for a gochujang substitute that has a similar flavor but is not as spicy, ssamjang is a good option.

Red Pepper Flake Paste on a Small White Bowl

3. Red Pepper Flakes (Red Pepper Flake Paste)

Gochujang is not easy to find outside of Korea, so if you can’t find it, don’t worry!

A red pepper flake paste makes a great substitute.

Just like gochujang, this paste is made with red chili peppers and glutinous rice.

The difference is that the pepper paste also includes garlic and sugar.

This gives the paste a slightly sweeter flavor than gochujang.

Both pastes have a similar fiery flavor that can add zest to any dish.

Sriracha Sauce on a Small Bowl

4. Sriracha 

Gochujang has a spicy, pungent flavor that can be overwhelming for some people.

Sriracha, on the other hand, is a Thai chili sauce that is much milder in taste.

It has a slightly sweet and sour flavor that goes well with many different dishes.

That’s why sriracha is a great substitute for gochujang!

Not only does it have a similar flavor profile, but it is also much easier to find in stores.

Plus, sriracha is versatile and can be used in all kinds of recipes, from stir-fries to marinades. 

Sambal Oelek on a Small Dipping Dish

5. Sambal Oelek

If you’re looking for a Korean chili paste that’s a little bit milder than gochujang, sambal oelek is a great choice.

It has a similar texture and consistency, but it’s not as fermented, so it doesn’t have that strong, pungent flavor.

Another advantage of sambal oelek is that it’s easier to find in stores. Gochujang can be a bit harder to track down.

Sambal oelek is also a great option for those who are looking for a spicy condiment that’s sugar-free and gluten-free.

Thai Chili Paste on a Wooden Bowl

6. Thai Chili Paste

Thai chili paste is often used as a gochujang substitute because it has a similar flavor profile.

It’s usually made with fresh or dried chilies, garlic, shallots, lime juice, fish sauce, and tamarind paste.

While both pastes are spicy and umami-rich, Thai chili paste is generally brighter and fresher tasting than gochujang.

Additionally, Thai chili paste is often less salty and easier to find in stores.

Harissa Paste on a Small Dish

7. Harissa Paste 

Harissa paste is a great substitute for gochujang because it’s just as spicy and flavorful.

But without the sticky sweetness that can sometimes be off-putting.

It’s also incredibly versatile, working well in both savory and sweet dishes.

So the next time you’re in the mood for some kimchi fried rice, reach for the harissa paste instead of the gochujang. Your tastebuds will thank you!

Fresh Homemade Tomato Paste

8. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a versatile and handy ingredient to keep in your pantry.

It’s used to add depth of flavor to sauces and stews.

But it can also be used as a substitution for gochujang, a Korean red pepper paste.

Tomato paste has a similar depth of flavor and can be easily found in most grocery stores.

Simply add a small amount to your dish, along with some sugar or honey to balance out the acidity.

You may also want to add a little bit of water to thin out the paste.

8 Best Gochujang Substitutes

These gochujang substitutes are the next best thing! From miso to red pepper flakes to Sriracha, you’ll love these replacements for Korean chili paste.

Ingredients

  • DIY Miso-Based Sauce

  • Ssamjang

  • Red Pepper Flakes (Red Pepper Flake Paste)

  • Sriracha

  • Sambal Oelek

  • Thai Chili Paste

  • Harissa Paste

  • Tomato Paste

Directions

  • Choose your favorite gochujang substitute.
  • Use in all your favorite cooking recipes
Gochujang Substitutes

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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