Gochujang Ingredient Guide

Gochujang chili paste is one of my favourite cooking ingredients. In this guide, I cover all the basics: what it is, taste profile, how to make it, substitutes and what recipes to use this spicy Korean condiment.


What is Gochujang and how to use it

Jump to: ℹ️ What is it? | 👅 Taste Profile | 🛒Where To Buy It | 📝 Nutrition Notes | 🌶 Substitutes | 🍗 How To Use | 👩‍🍳 Gochujang Sauce Recipe


What is Gochujang?

Gochujang is a fermented chili paste from Korea. It’s made from red chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It’s known for its rich texture and spicy, slightly sweet flavour profile. It’s a culinary staple condiment in Korean cuisine, adding depth and complexity to bibimbap rice, tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and bulgogi. It’s also used as a marinade, dipping sauce, or as a base for soups and stews. And of course, we can’t forget about kimchi!

Like many pastes with culinary uses such as tomato paste or miso paste, Gochujang packs concentrated flavour into a small dose. Like its counterparts, bold flavour is promised. It can be used in similar ways as the base of a dish. It particularly stands out when combined with other ingredients, and it’s not typically used as a finishing sauce or a dip.

Korean rice cakes and noodles made with Gochujang

What Does Gochujang Taste Like?

Gochujang is a complex ingredient with an equally complex flavour profile. It’s sweet, savoury, and spicy notes. Its base of fermented soybeans and glutinous rice provides a deep, earthy undertone with that umami richness you’re accustomed to finding in most Asian cuisines. Gochujang is distinct and unique, but its taste is comparable to how Sriracha mixed with miso paste might taste.

Where To Buy Gochujang

Gochujang has grown immensely in popularity during recent years, but it’s been known and loved in Korea since the turn of the 18th century. However, it would be many years before commercial production began around 1970. Even then, you could argue that gochujang is just now having its moment in the mainstream.

Only in the past few years has gochujang shown up on nearly every grocery store shelf next to stir-fry sauce, Sriracha, and sesame oil. Look for it in a tub like you would miso paste. I’ve also seen it in tubes before. There are many more varieties, sizes, and brands at Asian grocery stores. It also tends to be much less expensive at specialty markets.

Gochujang Korean Chili Paste Ingredient Guide

Gochujang Nutrition

Gochujang is generally a healthy, low-calorie condiment. It may contain more or less added sugar depending on the brand. Some brands may also use barley even though the traditional recipe uses rice, which means that product may have gluten.

Gochujang nutritional information:

Per 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of gochujang:

  • Calories: 40
  • Total Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Sodium: 820 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
    • Dietary Fiber: 1 gram
    • Sugars: 5 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram

These values can vary slightly depending on the brand and specific ingredients used in the gochujang.

Gochujang Substitutes

Gochujang can be fairly easily substituted for similar results, especially if you’re using it primarily for the spice and colour. It’s not a simple ingredient though; there’s no denying that the real deal has something special about it.

These are handy combinations when you don’t have gochujang handy.

  • Chili garlic paste. This Chinese condiment has a very similar texture to gochujang, and I sometimes use it 1:1 as a substitute in recipes. Mix with some miso or hoisin to add the fermented flavour and thicken the mixture.
  • Miso paste and sriracha. Miso brings in that fermented element that you’ll find in gochujang sauce. To finish it off, add a pinch of sugar.
  • Hoisin sauce and sriracha. Sriracha stands in for the colour and spice yet again. Hoisin brings in that pleasant “funky” flavour.
  • Harissa paste. Harissa is an odd choice because it’s not used in Asian cuisine, but any chili paste could substitute gochujang with the addition of something fermented and/or sweet.

How To Use Gochujang

This versatile gochujang sauce recipe can be used as a marinade for meats, a dipping sauce for dumplings or vegetables, or as a flavourful topping for noodles, rice bowls, and more. In many cases, this thick paste is mixed with other ingredients to create a slightly thinner sauce. Below is a recipe for a delicious sauce you can use on fried or baked chicken wings or tofu.

Gochujang sauce for fried chicken and more

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Gochujang sauce for fried chicken and more

Gochujang Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 6 servings
Course: Condiment or Sauce
Cuisine: Korean
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Calories: 50kcal
Here is a quick homemade recipe for multi-purpose Gochujang Sauce. This is what I love using on fried chicken or baked chicken wings and for stir-frying crispy tofu. Brush it over barbecued chicken, shrimp or beef kabobs.

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup gochujang paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger optional
  • 1-2 tablespoons water to adjust consistency

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey (or brown sugar), sesame oil, minced garlic, and grated ginger (if using).
  • Stir well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it out by gradually adding water, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more soy sauce for saltiness, more honey or sugar for sweetness, or more gochujang for spiciness.
  • Once the sauce is well-balanced and to your liking, transfer it to a jar or airtight container for storage. Keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 338mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Keywords: Korean chili paste, Korean chili sauce
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved

Gochujang Recipes

Due to its rise in popularity, gochujang is not only used in traditional Korean recipes. It can easily stand in for the main flavour in stir-fry sauce or a simple noodle dish. It’s even a key ingredient in one of the New York Times’ most popular cookie recipes (and it’s amazing — don’t knock it ‘til you try it!).

Meat Recipes

Korean Beef Bulgogi
Bulgogi is a classic Korean dish that can be made with any meat. This variation uses thin-sliced ribeye in a simple yet effective marinade. Recipe from Damn Delicious.
Calories (per serving): 384
Protein: 22 grams
Carbs: 6 grams
Fat: 30 grams
Get the recipe here
Korean Beef Bulgogi
Gochujang Korean Pulled Pork
This isn’t your average pulled pork, but it’s everything you love about it and more with a sweet and spicy kick from a mouth-watering gochujang, honey, and soy marinade. Try it in Korean burritosRecipe from The Endless Meal.
Calories (per serving): 413
Protein: 47 grams
Carbs: 18 grams
Fat: 17 grams
Get the recipe here
Gochujang Korean Pulled Pork
Glazed Air Fryer Salmon Bowl
This gochujang glazed salmon paired with creamy avocado and protein-rich edamame is a healthy weeknight dinner you’ll want to repeat. Recipe from Peanut Butter And Fitness.
Calories (per serving): 624
Protein: 33 grams
Carbs: 51 grams
Fat: 30 grams
Get the recipe here
Glazed Air Fryer Salmon Bowl
Korean Fried Chicken
This trendy fried chicken has been popping restaurants across the globe lately. Skip the lines and make this sticky-sweet gochujang fried chicken at home. Recipe from Kitchen Sanctuary.
Calories (per serving): 814
Protein: 58 grams
Carbs: 66 grams
Fat: 36 grams
Get the recipe here
Korean Meatballs
Make these for noodle dishes, to freeze for later, or as an appetizer. You can use your mince of choice with this tasty, Korean-inspired marinade. Recipe from Jo Cooks.
Calories (per meatball): 45
Protein: 5 grams
Carbs: 4 grams
Fat: 1 grams
Get the recipe here
Korean Meatballs

Noodles & Rice Recipes

Kimchi Fried Rice With Shrimp & Veggies
This quick and easy kimchi fried rice with shrimp and vegetables is hearty and satiating. Packed with protein and fibre and with under 500 calories per serving, this Korean-style rice dish is also healthy and nutritious. Serve with a few sliced cucumbers or salad for a speedy lunch or dinner. Recipe on the blog.
Get the recipe here
Kimchi Rice With Shrimp & Veggies
Bibim Guksu (Korean Cold Noodles)
This authentic Korean noodle recipe takes just ten minutes to make. Serve with kimchi for a light and refreshing lunch. Recipe from Cookerru.
Calories (per serving): 646
Protein: 16 grams
Carbs: 106 grams
Fat: 18 grams
Get the recipe here
Bibim Guksu (Korean Cold Noodles)
Creamy Gochujang Pasta
This pasta is a departure from the usual Asian fare with a cream-based, cheesy, chili-infused sauce. Recipe from I Heart Umami.
Calories (per serving): 312
Protein: 9 grams
Carbs: 38 grams
Fat: 14 grams
Get the recipe here
Gochujang Pasta
Korean Rice Cakes (Tteokbokki)
These chewy rice cakes are a popular Korean street food, served in countless ways with different types of sauces. This easy recipe is a great intro for making tteokbokki at home. Recipe from Drive Me Hungry.
Calories (per serving): 488
Protein: 11 grams
Carbs: 102 grams
Fat: 4 grams
Get the recipe here
Korean Rice Cakes (Tteokbokki)
Korean Bibimbap
Bibimbap is well-known and loved at Korean restaurants, and is used to describe a mixed rice bowl. This version is served with bulgogi-style beef, a fried egg, and gochujang sauce, but you can make substitutions. Recipe from Korean Bapsang.
Nutritional information is estimated based on average bibimbap recipe and actual macros may vary.
Calories (per serving): 760
Protein: 37 grams
Carbs: 78 grams
Fat: 33 grams
Get the recipe here
Budage Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)
This hot pot is comfort food at its finest, served across South Korea. It’s packed to the brim with hot dogs, Spam, ramen, baked beans, kimchi, and American cheese with a spicy, gochujang broth to serve. Recipe from Takes Two Eggs.
Calories (per serving): 644
Protein: 31 grams
Carbs: 95 grams
Fat: 18 grams
Get the recipe here
Budage Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)
Spicy Korean Gochujang Noodles
Your choice of noodles + this simple gochujang sauce = an easy weeknight staple you’ll want to make every night — be sure to bookmark this recipe! Add in whatever veggies or protein you have handy. Recipe from Chili Pepper Madness.
Calories (per serving): 354
Protein: 10 grams
Carbs: 54 grams
Fat: 12 grams
Get the recipe here
Spicy Korean Gochujang Noodles

Meatless Main Courses

Gochujang Sweet Potato & Chickpea Bowl
This smoky and spicy take on the Buddha bowl is a nourishing, plant-based lunch, perfect for meal prep and so versatile. Any raw or cooked veggies could fit into this dish. Recipe from Orchids and Sweet Tea.
Calories (per serving): 382
Protein: 9 grams
Carbs: 59 grams
Fat: 13 grams
Get the recipe here
Gochujang Sweet Potato & Chickpea Bowl
Braised Korean Tofu
This recipe has all the key components of what makes tofu great. Serve with rice and veggies for a gorgeous vegan dinner. Recipe from Liv Vegan Strong.
Calories (per serving): 382
Protein: 9 grams
Carbs: 59 grams
Fat: 13 grams
Get the recipe here
Braised Korean Tofu
Gochujang Tofu Sandwich
This banh mi-style sandwich is served on ciabatta with a spicy gochujang marinade, topped with those familiar vinegary pickled veggies and a touch of sweet mango. Recipe from Vegan Richa.
Calories (per serving): 234
Protein: 14 grams
Carbs: 32 grams
Fat: 7 grams
Get the recipe here
Gochujang Tofu Sandwich
Eggs In Purgatory
This breakfast dish is easy to make and versatile with eggs poached in a tomato base. This variation features gochujang for a kick, perfect for soaking up with thick slices of toast. Recipe from Sift and Simmer.
Calories (per serving): 196
Protein: 13 grams
Carbs: 17 grams
Fat: 9 grams
Get the recipe here
Eggs In Purgatory
Kimchi Grilled Cheese
Spicy kimchi, sharp cheddar, and thick slides of butter-grilled bread? Yes, please. This grown-up grilled cheese is such a fun, cosy lunch. Recipe from Half Baked Harvest.
Calories (per serving): 787
Protein: 32 grams
Carbs: 68 grams
Fat: 45 grams
Get the recipe here

Sides & Sweets

Korean Kimchi
It's really easy to follow this Fermented Korean Kimchi Recipe, and your health will thank you. Naturally fermented, full of probiotics and vitamins. Made with spicy Gochujang Red Chili Paste. Recipe from Peters Food Adventures.
Get the recipe here
Korean Kimchi
Spicy Gochujang Mayo
This simple infusion is an excellent condiment to have handy for sandwiches, wraps, slaws, and more for that easy mid-day gochujang fix. Recipe from My Korean Kitchen.
Calories (per serving): 97
Protein: 1 gram
Carbs: 1 gram
Fat: 10 grams
Get the recipe here
Spicy Gochujang Mayo
Gochujang King Oyster Mushrooms
This marinade and thick-cut oyster mushrooms are a match made in heaven for a tempting and hearty veggie side. Recipe from The Foodie Takes Flight.
Calories (per serving): 113
Protein: 5 grams
Carbs: 20 grams
Fat: 5 grams
Get the recipe here
Gochujang King Oyster Mushrooms
NYT Gochujang Caramel Cookies
These unique cookies feature a subtle and perfectly balanced spice baked into a caramel, brown sugar swirl. It’s not what you’d expect, but it is tasty! Recipe from Beyond Kimchee.
Calories (per serving): 268
Protein: 4 grams
Carbs: 44 grams
Fat: 9 grams
Get the recipe here
Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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