What Can I use Instead of Gochujang Sauce?

Gochujang is a wonderful thing – it works to spice a meal up, bring some sharp bitterness to a dish, and tie different ingredients together in a great world of different tasty flavors.

There are a number of situations, though, in which you might not be able to get your hands on the relative niche ingredient that is Korean fermented chili paste. In those cases, you don’t need to work – there are always alternative ingredients that you can use! In this article, we’re going to run through a few different options, and talk about how they can be used to boost the magic that happens in your kitchen.

Best Gochujang Substitutes 

Chung Jung One O'Food Medium Gochujang 1.1lb, Korean Red Chili Pepper Paste, Spicy, Sweet and Savory Sauce, Traditional Fermented Condiment, 100% Brown Rice, No Corn Syrup
  • ✅ Health Benefits: Made with all-natural ingredients, our gochujang paste is not only delicious but also packed with health benefits. The brown rice in our paste can help lower cholesterol levels, manage diabetes, and provide essential antioxidants.
  • ✅ Versatile: Our gochujang paste is perfect for adding depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes, from traditional Korean cuisine like bibimbap and tteokbokki to marinades, sauces, and dips.
  • ✅ Premium Taste: Enjoy flavors as authentic as the cities they come from—O’Food’s Gochujang originates from Sunchang, a city widely renowned for its quality peppers, ideal climate, and traditional fermentation practices.
  • ✅ Convenient Sizes: Our gochujang paste comes in three different sizes - 500g, 1kg, and 3kg - so you can choose the perfect size to fit your needs and budget.
  • ✅ Safe & Quality Product. Made in Korea. GF, HACCP, FSSC22000 certified. Meeting all global quality standards.

Miso Paste

Miso Paste Malted rice, Handmade in Kyoto Japan 300g(10.58OZ),NON-GMO,NON-MSG【YAMASAN】
  • ✅ Handmade miso paste made by a craftsman who has been aged for over a year and is manufactured in Kyoto, Japan. You can't make miso paste by yourself. The health and relationships of the craftsmen involved also affect the taste, so we try to make delicious miso paste with a gentle heart while thinking about everyone's happiness.
  • ✅ Additive free - Gluten Free - No GMO - No MSG - Product of Japan, it is miso paste that you can feel the deliciousness of nature because it is aged for a long time using only the basic ingredients.
  • ✅ We adopted a tube-type container so that miso paste can be used easily and conveniently when cooking. Easy to use with one hand. You can also store miso paste in a small refrigerator.
  • ✅ INGREDIENTS: Rice・Soy bean・Salt・alcohol to preserve freshness. Making miso paste is very simple. But as the ingredients are rice, soybean, and salt only, the difference in taste is obvious. It is said that 80% of the taste depends on the quality of rice malt. Rice koji is made by the traditional "ita malted rice" method over 40 hours.
  • ✅ Contents: 300g (10.58OZ), About 15g of miso paste soup for one person is used, so you can enjoy 20 cups of miso paste packets. You can also use miso paste for various dishes such as dressing and stir-fry and arrange it.

While miso paste might sound like a slightly odd choice, given that miso isn’t as hot as gochujang, they do have similar base flavors. The reason for this is that they both make use of fermented soy, meaning that miso paste can be a wonderful substitute for gochujang in a number of recipes.

To bring some heat to miso paste, you may need to add a little chili. This can come in a number of forms, of course, but we would suggest adding chili flakes or chili powder first and foremost. If you’ve got some gochugaru to hand, then use that! Gochugaru is a Korean chili powder, which can work wonderfully well to make a tasty meal in no time at all.

If you don’t have that option, regular chili powder will work, as well as cayenne powder. Start with the same volume of miso paste as gochujang paste, and then add small increments of chili powder until the flavor is ideal for you.

Spiced Date Paste

Date Lady Organic Date Paste (2.2 lbs) | 1 Ingredient: 100% Organic Dates | Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free & Kosher | No Added Sugar | Substitute for Sugar in Baking, Add to Smoothies, Great Pantry Staple
  • One ingredient: pitted and puréed organic dates.
  • Nutrient packed: contains Magnesium, Potassium, Fiber, Antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals.
  • Recipe ready: our dates are pitted and puréed, a versatile ingredient to add to any recipe with ease.
  • Good for you: our Zahidi date paste is an excellent organic, kosher, healthy and vegan sweetener.
  • Replace sugar: swap processed sugars in your recipe for this delicious, natural alternative.

This is another one that might sound a little odd, but the rounded, earthy flavor of dates makes for a wonderful gochujang substitute when you add some ingredients that will serve to heat up the paste a little.

The only disadvantage of spiced date paste is that you’d typically have to make it yourself. If you can find date paste, then it will work, but it’s a fairly rare ingredient. Pit and boil some dates for around ten minutes to ensure that they’re soft, and then blend the dates with a few teaspoons of your favorite chili powder. Add a little water and a little vinegar (around twice as much water as vinegar) to get the right consistency and acidity – then, you should have a paste that works as a wonderful gochujang substitute in your kitchen.


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Sriracha is a wonderful thing – it’s a hot pepper sauce that has spread around the world in no time at all, thanks to its blessedly tasty flavor. The heat of sriracha comes from jalapeños, however – gochujang’s heat comes from Korean peppers, which will taste a little different. The overall flavors are quite similar if you’re only using a small amount, but you may need to make a change if you’re going to be using a lot.

Add around half as much sriracha as you need for the recipe to your pot or mixing bowl. Begin cooking, tasting regularly, and adding more as you need it. Sriracha, while thick for a sauce, is quite thin compared to thick gochujang paste. This consistency difference is the reason we’d recommend adding a little less to start with.

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is the perfect texture for a gochujang substitute – so thick that you could stand a spoon up in it. Typically, tomato paste is either canned or tubed – we’d always recommend the tubes since they can be sealed up a little better than the cans can.

Since the flavor of tomato paste is utterly different from the flavor of gochujang, you’ll need to do a little work in spicing it up. To do that, we’d recommend using an equivalent weight and volume of tomato paste to gochujang, and then adding some flavorings. Use cayenne pepper or chili powder, as well as a dash of soy sauce, and half a teaspoon of sugar. Mix these things together well, ensuring the sugar is dissolved, and you should get a great substitute for gochujang.

Thai Chili Paste

Thai chili paste is a great ingredient that has two of our favorite main flavor notes – garlic and chili. Typically, you can pick up Thai chili paste in your grocery store, though it can be a little elusive in some situations. This paste works as a great gochujang substitute, though it does have a heavy garlic flavor that gochujang doesn’t – for that reason, it may be worth considering something else if you’re not a fan.

We would suggest using around half the amount of thai chili paste that you would with gochujang, and going from there, tasting the food as you cook. It has great heat and sweetness that make it a wonderful option to replace gochujang in a number of recipes.

We would suggest, however, that you avoid adding garlic to your food until after you’ve added this paste. It has an exceptionally strong garlic flavor to it, meaning that you run the risk of overpowering your food in no time at all by adding too much garlic. With caution, though, this ingredient is a wonder!

Sambal Oelek

Huey Fong Sambal Oelek Chili Paste 8 Oz (2 Pack)
  • Huey Fong Sambal Oelek Chili Paste 8 Oz (2 Pack)

This is a rare paste that you might not find in some supermarkets, but it’s truly magical. Try looking in the Asian or worldwide foods aisle and, if that fails, check out an Asian supermarket near you.

Sambal oelek has a potent heat and acidity to it, which makes it a great option to replace gochujang. The thing that detracts from this paste is that it isn’t fermented – so it doesn’t have the complexity that gochujang naturally possesses. For that reason, we’d suggest considering whether that’s an essential part of the dish you’re making. If not, then you’re in the clear.

Bear in mind, also, that this gochujang replacement is spicier than the Korean paste – only use a little to start with, and increase from there.

We hope that this short article has provided you with some great options that you can use to make yourself a tasty meal in no time at all – even if you’re low on ingredients, you’ll have some great ways to make food yourself.

Kunal Sharma
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