Easy Gochujang Sauce (Korean Chili Paste)

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Vintage spoon in a bowl of homemade Korean-Inspired Gochujang sauce

In all of the travels we’ve done, South Korea remains one of our favorite countries and Seoul one of our favorite cities.

The people, the culture, the landscape, and the FOOD. Oh my word, the food. It’s all amazing.

We’ve shared an inspired version of easy kimchi on the blog before, but recently, we were craving that quintessential red pepper paste known as gochujang.

What is Gochujang?

It’s spicy, savory, and slightly sweet with so much complexity. Traditionally, the sauce is made and fermented to develop the flavors, but there are also ways to make it more simply (and quickly) – which you know we’re all about.

This is my inspired version (not authentic, mind you!) of this curiously complex sauce we’ve grown to love and crave. Let’s get started!

Wood cutting board with chili flakes, miso, coconut aminos, garlic, and maple syrup

First of all, this recipe is EASY. I mean easy. Anyone can make it. It requires 5 ingredients, 5 minutes, and 1 blender or food processor.

What’s in Gochujang?

It starts with miso as a base, which provides a quicker route to that fermented flavor. Plus, we like using chickpea miso to avoid the possibility of GMO soy. But if you can only find soy miso, that works, too! The flavors are quite similar.

Next comes Korean chili powder or flakes, which we’ve discovered are quite different than other chili flakes. They’re not as spicy as cayenne and more complex than red pepper flake. If at all possible, order some online (link in recipe) or visit an Asian store in your area to see if you can hunt them down.

For more flavor, we added some fresh garlic, maple syrup for natural sweetness, and coconut aminos in place of soy sauce for saltiness and depth of flavor. Swoon.

Small blender filled with Korean chili flakes and garlic

How to Use Gochujang?

So many options! First of all, it acts as a chili paste in marinades and sauces. Anywhere a recipe calls for chili garlic sauce, you could experiment substituting gochujang for more complex flavor.

One of the most famous uses of gochujang is in the delicious Korean rice and veggie bowl known as Bibimbap.

Open blender of freshly blended homemade Gochujang sauce

We hope you LOVE this sauce! It’s:

Spicy
Savory
Bold
Easy to make
Versatile
& Insanely delicious

The cool thing about gochujang is it’s not spice-your-face-off spicy. It’s more of a subtle spice because it’s balanced with other flavors. Plus, you can control the spice level when you make your own! So even if you’re typically averse to spicy food, give this one a try! You might be pleasantly surprised.

Use this sauce in our Gochujang Spiced Cauliflower Wings to see what we’re raving about! Or give it a try in our Marinated Peanut Tempeh or add it to the dipping sauce in these Collard Green Spring Rolls!

More Korean-Inspired Recipes

If you like this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Grabbing a spoonful of homemade Gochujang sauce

Easy Gochujang Sauce (Korean Chili Paste)

Easy-to-make Korean-inspired Gochujang sauce that’s vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, and soy-free! Just 5 minutes, 5 ingredients, and 1 blender required.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Using a spoon to smooth the top of a bowl of Korean-Inspired homemade Gochujang sauce
4.64 from 22 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 8
Course Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Korean-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 2 Weeks

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chickpea miso paste (we like the brand Miso Master Organic // or use soy miso – just make sure it’s vegan friendly and gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • 1/3 cup Korean chili flakes* (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (plus more to taste (or sub tamari, but reduce amount as it’s saltier)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2-4 Tbsp water (to thin)

Instructions

  • To a small blender or food processor, add chickpea miso, maple syrup, chili flakes, coconut aminos, and garlic. Blend together until smooth, adding water a little at a time to thin into a paste (see photo for texture).
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Add more pepper flake for spice, coconut aminos for depth of flavor, maple syrup for sweetness, garlic for “zing,” or salt for saltiness.
  • Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or in the freezer up to 1 month. Perfect for use on dishes like tempeh, cauliflower wings, sauces, marinades, etc.

Video

Notes

*If you can’t find Korean Red Chili Powder, feel free to replace it with something similar such as cayenne or red pepper flake. The flavor and spice level will vary, so adjust accordingly, especially with cayenne, which is much spicier (start small and add to taste).
*Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 8 Servings Calories: 68 Carbohydrates: 15 g Protein: 1.7 g Fat: 0.6 g Saturated Fat: 0.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 410 mg Potassium: 144 mg Fiber: 2.6 g Sugar: 9.9 g Vitamin A: 2200 IU Vitamin C: 0.8 mg Calcium: 20 mg Iron: 0.9 mg

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My Rating:




  1. nadia says

    This is such a delicious sauce with the perfect balance of spicy, salty, and sweet. This is a staple in our house. It is worth it to take a trip to your local Asian market to get the Korean pepper flakes. Perfect in just a bowl, your bibimbap recipe, and your spicy cauliflower wings!

  2. Sarah says

    Thank you for this recipe!! It tastes delicious and is super easy to make. This sauce and your Bibimbap recipe are a household favorite :)

  3. LISA LAMPE says

    Thank you for this great recipe!!! It was so easy and delicious😁 and very inexpensive and healthy compared to the grocery store brands. Was delicious right after making it but the next day it was outstanding👍👍👍

  4. Anne-Marie says

    This was delicious! I made it as written and served with pressure cooker Korean short ribs and store-bought Kimchi. Brown rice and Napa cabbage salad with sesame …Delicious! thank you for sharing it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Anne-Marie! Thanks so much for the lovely review!

  5. Karen says

    Horrible sauce, nothing like the traditional sauce found in Korea or any Korean store/restaurant. Thanks for “inspiring” me to never trust your recipes again.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Karen, we’re so sorry that was your experience! We wonder if something went wrong as so many others have enjoyed this recipe. Did you make any modifications? Did you use Korean chili flakes?

  6. Brenda says

    Very easy and super delicious! I used this as my base for soondubu and it was amazing!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Brenda. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t tried it, but we think it would work. Maybe just reduce the amount of sweetener?

    • Sian says

      Hello! I’ve made the sauce and it’s delicious but mine is very thin (and I’ve ran out of miso, I had just a third left in the pot!) . I plan to make the cauliflower wings for dinner but I don’t think the sauce will ‘stick’ to them. Any tips on how to rescue / adapt this for the cauliflower recipe?

  7. Sheila says

    We’ve been on a bimbimbop quest and this sauce is the missing piece! I am shocked at how good it is — and so easy! My BF can’t stop talking about dinner tonight! For sure a keeper!

    THANK YOU!!!

  8. Jen says

    The recipe says it makes 8 servings, but how big is a serving? How many tbsp (or preferred unit)?
    I want to make this to include in a larger recipe that uses Gochujang, but I’m trying to see if I should double it.

  9. Dave says

    Best gochujang recipe ever – thanks! I use Cayenne pepper and some red pepper flakes as Korean chilli in any form is not easy to come by near me. Also, I am using standary Hikari/Carwari shiro or red or whichever miso I have. And brown rice syrup when I don’t have maple, which is usually:). So glad to be able to make this paste with organic, simple ingredients, without all the garbage that a lot of the commercial ones have and tasting even better!

  10. Isabelle Gosselin says

    Really, really good! I was afraid of putting so much red pepper flakes in it, but the heat is spot on, tempered by the maple syrup and the garlic. It’s got depth and lots of flavour. The colour is not red, but I used a Shiro “white” miso that is actually brown, and it looks more liquid than yours. But who cares? Thanks Dana for this recipe. It’s a keeper.

  11. Alina Truong says

    Hi! Is there a substitute for the miso? I have a soy allergy so we can’t do the paste :( we also have other allergies – wheat, nuts, dairy, eggs, shellfish and sesame.

  12. Louie b. Free says

    ‘when in doubt, GOCHUJANG it!’
    i was SO EXCITED when i scored 3Kg of GOCHUJANG, checked it as vegan, but, was disappointed to find that it is made w/ powders, not fermented …i felt demented ..im thrilled to have YOUR recipe so i can still GOCHUJANG it and be FERmented…not DEmented!!!!

  13. Jungyeon Han says

    Wow! I didn’t know you have a recipe for gochujang. I made gochujang in traditional way which is kinda tedious job to do and usually it requires sprouted barley malt powder or syrup, sticky rice, fermented soybean with wheat powder, which is gochujang is not gluten free. So I was looking for a quick, healthy and cheat version for people who allergic to soy and gluten. I actually found a similar recipe from a korean blogger who lives in Japan and she used miso to make gochujang. And I thought it was such a brilliant idea! Since miso has also rice and already fermented and similar but mild taste of korean fermented soybean powder! I will try your recipe and see how it turns out. But just a suggestion, if you can find gochugaru for gochujang, it might be easier to mix too since it’s ground finer. Most Korean markets in North America and other coin have them:-)

  14. Reena says

    I was looking for gochujang at The local
    Asian store and could only find a paste loaded with corn syrup and msg. I decided to do some googling and came across your recipe.

    It’s excellent and much healthier than the stuff I found at the store. I’m planning to make some udon stir fry with the paste. Yum!

    Thanks!

  15. Susan says

    I ordered Korean chili flakes “gochugaru” and then wondered ok what now….I’m so glad you’ve developed this guide for me!!! I love all things Korean flavored and as a vegan I wanted to create some of my own. I processed my flakes first and then followed your recipe. Great work!
    Kamsahamnida !

  16. neetu says

    The brand you mentioned: Miso Master Organic Chick-pea Miso has rice in it, but the recipe is labeled as grain-free?

  17. Pat says

    Made this gochujang and it was outstanding! And with the addition of ginger and a touch of sesame oil, it was better than any that I’ve bought and cheaper and healthier! (I also cut back on the garlic.). This will definitely be a staple in my frig! I’ve been using your site for a few months now and I haven’t hit a bad recipe yet. Thanks for all your work!!!

  18. B says

    SO amazing! This sauce is a keeper. I can always count on you for delicious tastes that make my mouth and inner self shine! Happy Me! Thank you!

  19. Régine says

    Thanks! This looks great, and I have bought gochugaru to make it. Would regular white miso work here?

  20. saira says

    Would this ferment if I left it in the sun for a few hours a day the way it’s done with traditional gochujang?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Saira, we haven’t tried that and can’t say for sure. If you give it a try, we would love to hear how it goes!

  21. Erin says

    I just discovered this amazing sauce when I purchased a salad kit from the store. What would be best to thin the sauce for a salad dressing. Excited to try this!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t tried that, but think lime juice, maple syrup, and water might be a nice combo!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry to hear that happened! You could try doubling all of the other ingredients and then taste testing and adding more tamari, if needed. Hope that helps!

  22. Cait says

    @Tida: Gochujang is vegan. There are many gochujang-based recipes that contain additional ingredients, as @Xissy mentioned, but if you purchase gochujang from any store, it will only contain plant-based ingredients.

  23. Fara Akhay says

    Was craving a Korean buddha bowl and this was the answer to my cravings! I had a hard time finding a clean gochujang, so thank you for sharing! Aloha

  24. Lindsey says

    I just made the sauce and was wondering if I should have made any modifications since some of my ingredients were just a little different. I used Braggs liquid aminos and regular miso paste.. wondering if that made it a little too pungent in flavor it was very salty. Or is this how it’s supposed to taste? Also added some fresh ginger and lime juice to help liven up the flavors a bit which deffinatly helped! Thanks!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lindsey, Bragg’s has a similar potency to tamari and is stronger than coconut aminos, so next time we would say reduce it.

  25. Leni Fleming says

    Wow – a great find and new to me; I’d never heard of Gochujang. Fast and easy to make, with great depth of flavor and a lot of heat. I followed the recipe exactly as written (added a little water as suggested). It’s a marvel. I do love recipes that taste like I put in a lot more time on them than I actually had to :-)

  26. Kat says

    Hi Dana!

    How spicy do you think this sauce is for a spicy-foods wimp? Do you think I could sub samba oelek for the Korean chili flakes?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kat! It’s more of a subtle spice because it’s balanced with other flavors, but if you give that a try, let us know how it goes!

  27. Katharina says

    hey, you’re saying in the notes something about the “Korean Red Chili Powder” but its not in the ingredients list nor in the recipe instructions? so how much should be used? thx in advance, Katharina

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      I am not sure that would produce the same results as the taste would be different, but if you experiment with it, report back on how it goes! Good luck!

  28. saira says

    Hi, can I just ask wha the reason is for you useing soy alternatives?
    Would this work with normal miso paste and soy sauce? I’ve found it difficult to find chickpea miso and coconut aminos

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Regular soy sauce and miso paste are fine, but we recommend using less of the soy sauce as it is more potent than coconut aminos. We prefer the flavor of these soy alternatives and find that it makes the recipe more accommodating to those with sensitivities.

  29. Tracie says

    I used to love the Korean Ribs at the Sushi Bar but now that I am a plant based eater those are no more and then…. You came to the rescue again! I just made the sauce and the cauliflower wings are in the oven!! The sauce is sooo yummy. The smell of the Korean Chilis alone had my taste buds dancing. Thank you again. Can’t wait incorporate this sauce into other dishes. Eggplant paninis perhaps.

  30. Yvonne Moss says

    Just made it. It’s yummy. Going to make the cauliflower recipe you posted and maybe try it on the pizza I was going to make too!

  31. Liza says

    I would give this recipe 6 stars if I could. I used this recipe to make the cauliflower wings and holy moly were they delicious. Modifications that I made: I used soy miso, just less than 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and just over 1/8 cup of soy sauce in place of the coconut aminos. I shared this recipe with all my girlfriends because what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t??

  32. Christine Stoeber says

    Thank you for turning me on to the sauce! I liked the taste a lot, but somehow I messed up this recipe. My cauliflowers were drowning in a pool of liquid when I pulled them out, so they werent crisp like shown in your post. Not sure what i did wrong – maybe I’ll try putting the sauce on last and not putting it back in the oven next time?

    • Mims says

      IF you overcrowd your roasting tray and the florets all touching each other, the cauliflower steams more than roasts. They need to have alot space around them to allow the moisture to evaporate. That might have been your problem. (A mistake I have made, so speaking from experience!)

  33. Stay-At-Home-Chef says

    You have no idea how excited I was when I saw this recipe pop-up in my inbox! My hubby’s a HUGE fan of Korean food but I have a soy allergy and our daughter’s gluten-free so trying to find an option for us has been impossible. Until now! Seriously cannot wait to try this recipe. Thank you!

  34. mims says

    Just a practical tip. I HATE cleaning out my blender…so for many blended sauces I use a wide mouth mason jar and an immersion blender. I tare the jar on a kitchen scale and weigh/pour measured ingredients directly into the jar then blend away. Then I can easily put a lid on it and store in fridge. I do this with so many things: crepe and pancake batters, salad dressings, marinades, etc.
    Call me lazy. or innovative (I prefer that!)

    My only qualm with this is That I had korean red chili powder that my DH brought back from korea while on business but it had no english on the packaging and hope it it does not include MSG.

  35. Lindy says

    Hello! i would love to make this, but I can’t have any sweeteners besides stevia and small amounts of 100% fruit juice. What would you recommend i sub the maple syrup for? More water and a little stevia? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm we haven’t tried and can’t say for sure, but if you give it a try, let us know how it goes!

    • Doug says

      I was thinking the same thing. Many “original” recipes call for rice syrup and barely malt syrup and I think that a little molasses and some stevia might work as a good substitute and just add water as needed for the consistency you prefer. There’s also brown rice syrup that you can find in many health food stores and it’s got a lower glycemic index if you’re into that kind of thing.

  36. Cassie Thuvan Tran says

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Gochujang! It is my favorite Korean sauce by far. Goes well with everything! I just love how ridiculously easy and vibrant this recipe is!

  37. Laura says

    Thank you Dana. I love your recipes and find your website one of the easiest to use.
    You have a gentle, open style that makes Your recipes so useable. And you respect the no salt or oil crowd.
    Laura

      • brook says

        I also appreciate that you include recipes that are soy free and gluten free. Just recently started experimenting with vegan foods, but so many are centered around wheat (saitan) and soy. Thank you for researching and providing alternatives!

      • R. B. says

        I am so excited to find a healthy recipe. I searched the Net for a brand without tons of chemical additives, and the only one i found isn’t sold in Canada. Thanks, Dana! I have never tried chickpea miso, which is why I asked. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  38. Lisa says

    Hi!!
    Not sure if you are vegan or just engage in vegan recipes. Would you ever share or blog the places you have been?
    Planning on a korea trip, but both me and my partner are vegan and are wondering how hard it is to eat?

  39. Mason says

    I cannot wait to make this gochujang! Up next, recipes for ssamjang and ssam…the most amazing sauce made from gochujang and my favorite meal!

  40. Christi Flaherty says

    YAY!! I have a giant bag of the Korean Chili Flakes and didn’t know what to do with them. (Bought them to make Kim Chi which ended up literally exploding in my dining room and haven’t had the courage to try again!) All I need to do now is buy Miso.

    Thanks!
    Christi

  41. Pamela says

    Oh my gosh, thank you! Most commercial gochujang is not gluten-free. This has opened up a world of possibilities.

  42. Mansee says

    I recently bought a tub of gochujang, but was just thinking I could probably make it myself. So happy to see this pop up in my inbox!

  43. pauline says

    I haven’t fleshed this idea out (so maybe it’s not a good one!) but I’m thinking about using this as the base for Korean inspired pizza. Maybe load up with red peppers, green onions, mushrooms. Thank you for getting me thinking:-)

    • Happybear71 says

      They do this with marinated chicken from the sauce, red onion, mozzarella, provolone, carrots, red peppers, drizzle sesame oil and after baking add cilantro. Good, spicy Korean chicken pizza!

    • Dani Grindlinger says

      I think it’s an amazing idea!! I’m an Eastern European mutt living in San Francisco enjoying the foods of the world. Discovered Gochujang many years ago when it came with some bulgoki and now I put it in/on soooo many things. Try with Cauliflower crust. ?

    • Lea says

      Hello,

      Thank you for this recipe, before I buy all the ingredients, could you please clarify which type of miso should be used for best result?

      There are mugi miso, genmai miso, red miso, white miso, sweet miso, or just any miso will do?

      Cheers,
      Lea

    • Xissy says

      @Glenn Pretty sure Gochujang is vegan (though most recipes it goes into are not), but I think the idea was to create a quicker, easier recipe with similar-tasting results to the traditional method. This one doesn’t even use a stove, blender does it all. :)

    • Tida says

      @Glenn I’ve done my research and seen many gochujang pastes with anchovy paste / fish sauce/ or shrimp paste in it !! plah

      • Ella says

        That sounds yummy to me. I’ll try this one and see how it tastes though despite not having traditional ingredients. I like mine hot, so I hope this is. GF Korean means cooking everything at home.