This easy, shortcut recipe for Homemade Gochujang bypasses the full traditional Korean process of fermenting in an earthenware pot and yields a spicy chili paste that is similar in flavour.
What is gochujang?
Gochujang is a fermented Korean red chili pepper paste.
The paste usually consists of red chili peppers, fermented soybeans, glutinous rice flour, malted barley and salt.
Traditionally, gochujang is made in an earthenware pot and goes through a long fermentation process in Korea.
It has a spicy, sweet and salty umami flavor and is used extensively in Korean cooking.
In fact, it is the base for dishes such as Budae Jiggae (Korean Army Stew) and other condiments (eg. ssamjang).
The main ingredient in gochujang is gochugaru, which is red Korean chili powder.
What is gochugaru?
Gochugaru is Korean red chili powder made traditionally with sun-dried red chili peppers.
It has a bright, vivid red colour and can come in coarse flakes or a fine powder.
For this recipe, use fine chili powder for a smoother texture.
Gochugaru is one of the main ingredients in kimchi.
Is gochujang the same as sriracha?
No, sriracha chili sauce is not fermented and contains chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt.
Is gochujang spicy?
Depending on the type of Korean chili powder you use, it can range from mildly spicy to a fiery kick.
I find it considerably less spicy than sriracha, but not as spicy as ghost pepper or habanero.
Why this recipe works
This easy recipe for gochujang does not contain corn syrup, which is a common ingredient in commercial store-bought gochujang.
If you don't have access to gochujang paste, no worries -- this recipe uses Korean red chili pepper powder instead.
Traditional gochujang takes a long time to make to create its complex flavors -- this one comes together in 10 minutes!
This version uses similar ingredients to attain a comparable sweet, spicy and savory chili paste.
Ingredients you'll need
- gochugaru (Korean chili pepper powder): it comes in coarse or fine powder; for this recipe use fine chili powder
- hot water: for thinning out the paste
- doenjang (fermented Korean soybean paste): is a salty soybean paste; different than Japanese miso, however you can use it as a substitute or you can use soybean powder
- rice syrup: you can also use honey, maple syrup or brown sugar
- mirin: you can use sake; if you like a little more tang, use rice vinegar
- garlic paste (or 1 clove finely minced garlic)
- sea salt or soy sauce: (to your taste, doenjang may be very salty)
- barley malt powder: if you can't find it, you can omit it
- glutinous rice flour (also known as sweet rice powder/chapssal)
You can find these ingredients at your local Korean grocery store or Asian supermarket.
How to make it
In a small sauce pot, combine together the gochugaru (chili powder), hot water, doenjang (soybean paste), rice syrup, mirin, garlic paste, salt, barley malt powder and rice flour.
While stirring, bring the mixture up to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened.
Remove from heat and transfer to a clean, sterile jar.
Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
How to use gochujang
Use gochujang as you would a chili paste (eg. dipping sauce, marinades), or especially in Korean dishes such as:
Try the sauce with:
How to store homemade gochujang
Store the Homemade Gochujang in a clean, sterilized jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Tips for extending shelf-life:
- Keep your refrigerator at a proper temperature of 40 degrees F/4 degrees C.
- Use clean utensils to scoop out the gochujang.
- Don't double-dip.
As this sauce has not been processed in a canning water bath, do not store at room temperature.
Expert tips & FAQs
This Homemade Gochujang can be a little more grainy in texture compared to store-bought.
For a smoother texture, you can blend the sauce in a high-speed blender, thinning with a little additional water if required.
What does gochujang taste like?
It tastes spicy, salty and sweet with a smoky, umami flavour.
How to make it taste less spicy?
Pair it with rice, bread, or dairy to help neutralize the spice.
Other Korean-inspired recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these recipes:
Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Shortcut Homemade Gochujang (Korean Chili Pepper Paste)
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- ¼ C gochugaru (Korean chili pepper powder) fine powder
- ¼ C hot water
- 2 tablespoon doenjang (fermented Korean soybean paste) you can use soybean powder or Japanese miso
- 4 tablespoon rice syrup or honey, maple syrup or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mirin or sake
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste or 1 clove finely minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt or soy sauce to your taste; the doenjang may vary in saltiness
- 1 tablespoon barley malt powder
- 2 teaspoon glutinous rice flour
- In a small sauce pot, combine together the gochugaru (chili powder), hot water, doenjang (soybean paste), rice syrup, mirin, garlic paste, salt, barley malt powder and rice flour.
- While stirring, bring the mixture up to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a clean, sterile jar.
- Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.