If you're an avid fan of Korean cuisine, then you know that gochujang is a staple ingredient in many dishes. If you're unable to locate gochujang or need an alternative, this blog post has got you covered.
Fear not, because this blog post will provide you with great gochujang substitutes that will still give your dishes the spicy kick and umami flavor profile they need.
From sriracha to chili pepper paste and even tomato paste, I’ll explore different options that are readily available in most grocery stores. I’ll also delve into some lesser-known alternatives for those who want to experiment with funky flavors.
I understand how frustrating it can be when the main ingredient of your favorite dish is nowhere to be found. That's why I’ve compiled this list of gochujang sauce substitutes so that your taste buds won't miss out on the bold and spicy flavor that gochujang provides.
Take a break and discover some exciting alternatives to gochujang, no matter if you're an amateur or an experienced cook. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn about some fantastic gochujang paste substitutes!
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a Korean chili paste made from fermented soybeans, rice flour, and red pepper powder. Gochujang has been used in a variety of dishes for generations, lending an intricate flavor to soups, gravies, seasonings, and more.
Koreans developed gochujang in the 16th century as a spicy condiment to enhance their meals. The main ingredients were fermented soybeans (known as meju), glutinous rice (called jocheong), and hot peppers (gochu).
The mixture was then aged for several months before being served with food. Over time this recipe evolved into what we now know as gochujang—a thick paste that packs quite a punch.
In recent times, cooks have explored using gochujang in Western recipes such as mac and cheese or pizza sauce, displaying its ability to upgrade any culinary experience.
Gochujang, a staple of Korean cuisine, has an interesting background that can deepen your appreciation for its unique flavor when added to dishes. By exploring substitutes for gochujang, you open up a world of new possibilities when creating recipes.
Benefits of Using Gochujang Substitutes
Using substitutes for gochujang can be a great way to save money and still get the flavor you’re looking for. Cost savings is one of the main benefits of using substitutes, as many commercial brands are more expensive than other ingredients that can provide similar flavors.
By experimenting with different combinations, you can discover a flavor that works best for your palate and provide flexibility in recipes.
For example, Chung Jung One’s Gochujang provides an authentic and flavorful alternative to traditional gochujang paste. It has all the same flavor notes but without any added sugar or preservatives like some commercial brands have.
You could also try making your own version by mixing miso paste with cayenne or hot red pepper flakes—this would give you a homemade option that would cost much less than store-bought versions while still providing plenty of flavors.
Another benefit of using substitutes is the experimentation factor—it gives cooks an opportunity to explore new flavors and create dishes they may not have tried before.
Using substitutes for gochujang can provide cost savings, flexibility in recipes, and experimentation opportunities. A list of alternatives is provided below for those looking to explore different flavors or experiment with their cooking.
💡Key Takeaway: Using substitutes for gochujang can be a great way to "cut corners" and still get the same flavor profile. Experimentation is key to finding an alternative that works best, whether it's Chung Jung One's Gochuchjang or homemade miso paste mixed with cayenne or hot red pepper flakes—there are plenty of options available.
Best Substitutes for Gochujang
While it’s widely used in Korean cuisine, gochujang can be difficult to find outside of specialty stores or Asian markets. If you don’t have access to gochujang, there are several good substitutes available.
This popular Thai hot sauce is similar in texture and heat level to gochujang but lacks sweetness. To make up for this difference, add some sugar when using sriracha as a substitute for gochujang.
Sriracha is easy to find at most grocery stores and online retailers, so it's an ideal choice if you're looking for something quickly and easily accessible.
Best for marinades or sauces for grilled meats, stir-fries or noodle dishes, and dipping sauces.
2. Chili Garlic Sauce
This Chinese condiment has a thick consistency with plenty of garlic flavor and chili heat. Chili garlic sauce doesn't contain any sweetener like gochujang does, so adding some sugar or honey will help balance out the flavors when using it in recipes calling for gochujang.
Best for stir-fries, marinades, and dipping sauces.
3. Hoisin Sauce
A staple in Chinese cooking, hoisin sauce contains ingredients such as soybeans, vinegar, and sugar, which give it its signature sweet-savory taste profile similar to that of gochujang.
Hoisin also tends to be less spicy than other sauces, so if your recipe calls for more heat, consider adding more chili flakes or another type of hot pepper.
Best for stir-fries, marinades, and dipping sauces.
4. Harissa Paste
Harissa paste is made from ground chilies mixed with spices such as cumin and coriander. These components give it an earthy flavor profile along with its spiciness, making it the perfect gochujang paste substitute that is flavorful yet still slightly milder.
The addition of tomato paste helps round out harissa's savory notes while providing just enough sweetness without being too overpowering like some other types of sauces.
Best for stews, tagines, and marinades.
5. Korean Red Pepper Flakes (Gochugaru)
These dried red pepper flakes provide all the spice needed without having any added sugars like those found in traditional Gochujang.
They can easily be incorporated into marinades, dressings, soups, stews, and other dishes. They come pre-ground, making them a great last-minute gochujang substitute if need be!
Best for stews, soups, and marinades.
6. Miso Paste
While miso paste is not an exact substitute for gochujang, it can add a similar umami flavor and depth to dishes. Mix miso paste with some chili flakes, soy sauce, and sugar to create a paste that can be used instead of gochujang in recipes.
Adjust the amounts of each ingredient to your desired taste and spice level. Remember that miso paste is saltier than gochujang, so you may need to adjust the amount of salt you add to the recipe accordingly.
Best for soups, stews, and marinades.
7. Tahini Paste and Soy Sauce Mixture
When combined in equal parts, tahini paste and soy sauce make for a delicious gochujang sauce substitute. The creamy texture and slightly nutty undertones of tahini pair perfectly with the salty umami notes of soy sauce, resulting in a well-balanced and flavorful combination.
It’s perfect for replicating original flavors in recipes using the traditional gochujang!
Best for salads, marinades, and dips.
8. Chimichurri Sauce and Honey Mixture
Chimichurri is made by combining fresh herbs, such as parsley, oregano, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and lemon juice. Chimichurri’s complex flavors can be further enhanced by blending in a small amount of honey.
This final mixture closely resembles both the taste and smell of what you’d expect from the classic gochujang.
Best for grilled meats, sandwiches, and salads.
9. Tomato Paste and Hot Pepper Mixture
Tomato paste provides a deep rich base note while incorporating various hot peppers, ranging from jalapenos and habaneros to ghost peppers, depending on your desired level of spiciness.
This mixture can provide a unique culinary experience by not only replicating the original flavor but also allowing for experimentation with various culinary possibilities, taking your dish to the next level.
Best for chili, stews, and pasta sauces.
1. Is gochujang the same as chili paste?
Gochujang and chili paste are not the same, although they do share some similarities. Gochujang is a Korean fermented condiment made from chili powder, rice, soybeans, and salt, while chili paste typically refers to a generic term for any paste made from chili peppers.
Some chili pastes may contain similar ingredients to gochujang, such as soy sauce or vinegar, but they may not have the same depth of flavor and complexity that gochujang offers due to its fermentation process.
Additionally, gochujang has a distinct sweet and savory flavor profile that sets it apart from other chili pastes.
2. What is a non-spicy substitute for gochujang?
You can try using doenjang paste. Doenjang is a Korean soybean paste that has a similar fermented flavor profile as gochujang, but without the spiciness.
It's made by fermenting soybeans with salt and has a rich, savory umami flavor that can add depth to a variety of dishes.
However, since it lacks the heat of gochujang, you may need to add additional spices or seasonings to your dish to achieve the desired flavor.
3. Is there a vegan substitute for gochujang?
Yes, there are several vegan gochujang sauce substitutes that can be used in recipes.
Some options include miso paste, soy sauce and tahini paste mixture, and a tomato paste and hot pepper mixture. These alternatives can help achieve a similar depth of flavor and complexity that gochujang provides, without the use of animal products.
However, some substitutes may not replicate the exact taste and texture of gochujang, so it may require some experimentation to find the best vegan substitute for your dish.
What Substitute for Gochujang Paste Will You Use?
If you don't have access to gochujang, there are several alternatives that will work equally well in your recipes.
From miso paste to sriracha sauce and everything in between, each substitute has its own unique flavor profile that adds a delicious twist to your recipes. With some experimentation and creativity, you'll be able to create amazing meals with any gochujang substitute.
Discover the perfect substitute for gochujang paste for your recipes with our comprehensive website. Learn how to cook delicious, air fryer-friendly dishes today!
Using Sriracha as a Gochujang Substitute
For a sweet and spicy paste:
- 2 tablespoon sriracha
- 2 tablespoon honey
For a closer flavor to gochujang:
- 2 tbs tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
For a direct replacement for gochujang:
- 1 tablespoon sriracha *Start with 1 tablespoon of sriracha and adjust the amount to your liking.
For a milder flavor:
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
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