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12 Perfect Gochujang Substitutes To Know About

Korean based dishes for Gochujang substitutes are becoming very popular for both food enthusiasts and those who love to cook. Whilst it is great to get to work on creating a complex, yet simple looking Asian dish, the hardest part can actually be sourcing the ingredients.

Gochujang is one of those ingredients. Whilst you can buy it from somewhere like Amazon, some people may even find it in their local grocery store or Asian store.

However, unless you have time to wait for it to arrive, or perhaps maybe your local store doesn’t have it, then you will need to find a substitute.

7 Best Gochujang Substitutes That Work

Fortunately, you have come to the right place. Gochujang has a distinctive flavor due to the fermentation which creates a spicy yet sour flavor with a sweet undertone.

The chili paste can work in numerous dishes, with many adding it to something like bibimbap, a popular Korean dish.

In this article we shall be looking at how to substitute Gochujang if you can’t get a hold of the real thing. So, let’s get to it!

Quick Table For Gochujang Substitutes

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100 Grams)
Thai Chili Paste56
Chili And Miso199
Spices And Dates282
Tomato Paste82
Flakes Of Red Pepper40
Sambal Oelek 21
Harissa Paste261
Miso Paste199
Cayenne Paste318

Gochujang Substitutes Includes:

1. Thai Chili Paste

If you are lacking time, then Thai chili sauce or paste bought from your local grocery or Asian store can do the trick. Whilst it doesn’t taste very similar to Gochujang, the paste itself looks and feels like the real thing. 

Whilst the flavor profile isn’t similar due to garlic being an overwhelming taste, it does have that same spiciness that you associate with Gochujang.

How To Substitute

This alternative is bought from your local Asian or grocery store. Use it with caution however, because the ingredients of this paste can overwhelm many delicate flavors of a dish.  The latter needs extra care when added to a dish because it has strong flavors that can overtake other flavors.

2. Chili And Miso

For a substitute that tastes the most similar to that of Gochujang, then chili and miso is a great alternative. It has a very similar flavor of the spiciness along with a sweet undertone.

This is because both Gochujang and miso go through a fermentation process as they include soy. This means that once you add both miso and chili powder, it has a similar look and taste. 

How To Substitute

To create this Gochujang substitution, you will need to add chili powder to miso in equal parts. Whilst you can use any form of chili powder, the most authentic flavor will come from Korean chili powder. This is the kind of substitute that you can mix into dishes or use as a dipping sauce.

3. Spices And Dates

If you, a family member, or guest suffers from allergies such as from soy or gluten, then using dates and spices is a great alternative. It can also make a really good vegan substitute too!

Despite being the most ingredient heavy of the lot, it is still pretty simple to create and considered healthy. This is because no sugar is added, because the sweetness comes from both the tomato puree and the dates.

How To Substitute

To create this substitution, you will need to blend up to 6 dates alongside 4 tablespoons of water, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, half a teaspoon of garlic powder, and 3 tablespoons of cayenne pepper. It is a great substitute for those who would like Gochujang in their food, but can’t eat it due to allergies.

4. Tomato Paste

7 Best Gochujang Substitutes That Work (1)

If you are really struggling for time and need to make a quick chili sauce that is similar to Gochujang, then tomato puree could work, though it is considered a last resort due to it having little similarity to Gochujang apart from how it looks.

Yes, tomato puree are both red and can be used as a dip or mixed into a dish, but tomato puree will taste incredibly like tomatoes – obviously.

Gochujang does not taste like tomatoes, however, once mixed with other ingredients, the tomato will bring the sweetness through. 

How To Substitute

To create a tomato based Gochujang, you will want to add some form of chili to it, whether that is cayenne pepper or some other spice that you have available. To follow, add a pinch of salt too. You can always add ingredients, but you cannot take it away.

RELATED: 8 Options To Substitute Tamarind Paste

5. Flakes Of Red Pepper

If you are looking for a simple alternative, then some red pepper flakes can do the job nicely. The red pepper flakes will add both the spiciness and the sweetness to a dish, though it won’t be as smooth as something like a paste.

Due to it having that crunchiness, look for a dish that would benefit from such a thing, otherwise, whilst you might be able to replicate a similar flavor, the texture will feel out of place.

For example, you might not want to add it to a bibimbap, but you could substitute Gochujang for crunchy flakes of red pepper in a crispy chicken recipe. 

How To Substitute

To create this easy condiment, in a small bowl add a few splashes of soy sauce followed by a teaspoon worth of red pepper flakes. Add a tiny quarter of a teaspoon worth of sugar, and then mix together.  Because this alternative includes adding sugar, be mindful of how much you add. Whilst Gochujang has a sweet undertone, it is very minimal, so think about this before you add too much sugar.

6. Sambal Oelek

If you have a good Asian store nearby, you might have already come across sambal oelek. It looks similar to Gochujang, and is a popular ingredient used in South East Asian cooking.

The reason it is great as a substitute for Gochujang is because it not only looks like the real thing, but it is made with chili paste. 

How To Substitute

Whilst you can go and buy this paste, you can also make your own version too. All you will need is some chili peppers made into a paste, along with a splash of water, vinegar, and a pinch of salt.  Sambal oelek works alongside a number of dishes, but particularly Korean dishes that are soup or meat based, and once again, that delicious bibimbap!

7. Harissa Paste

Lastly, we have harissa paste. Whilst it is very much commonly used in Moroccan dishes, it can be served as an alternative to Gochujang. Why? Because it is spicy and has a red color, not to mention all that flavor. 

What harissa paste also has is a smoky flavor. This means that when choosing this type of paste, make sure you choose one with a milder smoky undertone. Some can be rather strong, and this will take away the kind of taste that you are aiming for.

How To Substitute

Harissa paste can be bought from your local grocery store. It can be used as a substitute for Gochujang due to the heat that comes from it. Add it to meat based dishes for the ultimate experience with this paste.  Just like Gochujang, this will look great served in a small side bowl for dipping purposes. But it can also be placed onto the food for an extra kick straightaway.

8. Miso Paste

This delicious Japanese paste is made from fermented soybeans, water, and salt. It is commonly used in soups, sauces, and stews, and is an important ingredient in many Japanese dishes.

The paste is aged in a large pot with a wooden lid and the lid is covered with a cloth.  

It is used in cooking, especially in Japanese cuisine. It is made from fermented soybeans and grains of various types. 

It has a smooth, thick texture and a sweet, nutty taste. It is available in different varieties, including light, dark, and red.

 It has a sweet and salty flavor, and a dark brown color. It is commonly used as a seasoning in Japanese cuisine.

How To Substitute

There are many delicious sauces that can be made with miso paste, including a gochujang sauce. To make this sauce, miso paste is mixed with a bit of water and rice vinegar, then heated and stirred until the mixture thickens. It can be added to rice dishes, soups, and stir-fries, as well as a host of other dishes.

9. Sriracha

Sriracha is a hot sauce that originated in the town of Si Racha, in the central region of Thailand. 

It is now produced and marketed by the Huy Fong Foods company. It has a distinctive flavor that is made from a mixture of red jalapeño peppers, salt, garlic, sugar, and vinegar. 

The name comes from the Si Racha district in which the sauce was first produced. 

The beloved red sauce is a key ingredient in Asian cuisine and is a common condiment in Asian-style dishes.

How To Substitute

Gochujang, or Korean red pepper paste, is a popular condiment in Korean cuisine. It is traditionally made with fermented soybeans, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar, and glutinous rice. However, many Koreans substitute it with sriracha sauce because of its similar flavor profile. There are many different brands of gochujang available in Korean markets, but I would suggest checking out a jar of sriracha sauce to find the best substitute for this popular Korean condiment.

10. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper, a fruit of the Capsicum plant, that is commonly used as a spice and medicine.

 It has a pungent, often described as “hot” flavor and is typically red or orange in color. 

Cayenne pepper can be found in dishes from all over the world, with some variations in heat and flavor

Cayenne pepper is a spicy powder used as a seasoning and preservative. It has a unique flavor that adds a lot of flavor to dishes. It is also good for relieving cold symptoms. 

How To Substitute

Cayenne pepper is a fiery spice that can spice up any dish. It’s used to add heat and some flavor to dishes like chili, but it can also be used as a substitute for gochujang, a Korean fermented chili paste. Cayenne pepper can be substituted for gochujang by using a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper for every tablespoon of gochujang. Cayenne pepper can be used in dishes like fried rice, tacos, and mac and cheese.

11. Gochugaru

Gochugaru is a popular Korean seasoning that includes chili pepper flakes, salt, sugar, and vinegar. It is often used in sauces, marinades, and glazes. 

Gochugaru is a Japanese condiment that consists of red pepper powder, sesame seeds, salt, and sugar. 

It is most often used to make gochujang, a type of Korean red pepper paste, which is used to add flavor to many different types of dishes.

The flavor of gochugaru is described as being hot, sweet, and sour. It is typically used in soups and stews. 

It has a smoky, pungent flavor and can be used as a condiment in many different dishes. 

How To Substitute

Gochugaru is a red pepper powder that can be used in similar ways as gochujang. Substituting gochugaru for gochujang will allow for a more authentic flavor.The gochugaru spice blend has a slightly more intense flavor and is usually used as a seasoning in Korean cuisine. In order to use gochugaru in place of gochujang, substitute gochugaru with gochujang in the recipe. If a recipe calls for gochujang, replace it with gochugaru.

12. Ssamjang

Ssamjang is a traditional Korean condiment that consists of a mixture of gochujang (a spicy, fermented red pepper paste) and doenjang (a fermented soybean paste). 

It’s used to add flavor and texture to a wide variety of dishes. It’s also used as a dipping sauce for a variety of foods including dumplings, naengmyeon, japchae, and bibimbap.

The fermented soybean paste that is served as a dip or spread for grilled meat, rice cakes, or vegetables. 

A quick and easy version is made with spicy red pepper paste, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil.

How To Substitute

The Korean-style spicy condiment, Gochujang, is used in a variety of Korean dishes such as Bibimbap, Kimchi, and Jjigae. Substituting it with the Korean-style spicy condiment, Ssamjang, can allow for a variety of different Korean dishes. This recipe for a Ssamjang sauce will provide a delicious base for rice bowls and other Korean dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Gochujang Paste Healthy? 

Gochujang is a type of Korean fermented red chili paste that is used in a variety of dishes. While it is not traditionally made with wheat flour, it is now made with rice flour, which makes it gluten-free. The paste is most commonly used as a condiment for meat dishes and is often served with rice and vegetables.

Is Gochujang The Same As Red Pepper Paste?

The traditional Korean red pepper paste is made from red peppers, fermented soybean paste, salt, and rice syrup. The fermented soybean paste is mixed with red peppers and salt to create a thick paste. The red pepper paste is then mixed with rice syrup to create a thick liquid. The liquid is left to ferment for at least a month.

How Do You Make Gochujang?

 Gochujang is a fermented, chile-flavored paste that is popular in Korean cuisine. To make gochujang, red chilies are soaked in soy sauce, rice syrup, and glutinous rice. The mixture is allowed to ferment for a few days, then blended and seasoned with salt and ground red chiles.

Why Is Gochujang Black?

Gochujang is a fermented Korean red chili paste that has been popular in Korea for centuries. Traditionally, it was produced by mixing the paste with glutinous rice powder and making it into balls. These balls were then buried in a jar of water to ferment for several months. The resulting paste is dark red and has a slightly salty, smoky flavor.

12 Best Gochujang Substitutes That Work

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In this article we take a look at 7 substitutes for Gochujang, from using miso to making your own sambal oelek


  • Thai Chili Paste

  • Chili And Miso

  • Spices And Dates

  • Tomato Paste

  • Flakes Of Red Pepper

  • Sambal Oelek

  • Harissa Paste

  • Miso Paste

  • Siracha

  • Cayenne Paste

  • Gochugaru

  • Ssamjang


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith