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The 10 Best Substitutes For Gochugaru

Gochugaru is a spicy red pepper powder that’s essential to Korean cuisine.

It’s used in dishes like kimchi and bibimbap, as well as soups and stews.

Gochugaru has a unique flavor – sweet, smoky, and slightly spicy – that makes it an indispensable ingredient for many recipes.

But what happens when you don’t have any gochugaru on hand?

Fortunately, there are several alternatives to gochugaru which can be used in its place.

From chili flakes to cayenne pepper, here are 10 of the best substitutes for gochugaru so you can still enjoy your favorite Korean dishes without missing out on flavor or heat!

What is Gochugaru?


Gochugaru, also known as Korean red chili pepper powder or flakes, is a traditional ingredient used in many classic Korean dishes.

It has a unique flavor that’s both sweet and spicy at the same time.

Gochugaru is made from dried red chili peppers (usually either Korean cheongyang or jingang) that are ground into coarse flakes or powder with varying levels of spiciness depending on the type of chili pepper used.

The most commonly found variety is medium hot, but it can range from mild to very hot.

The vibrant color and smoky sweetness of gochugaru not only adds a kick of heat to dishes like kimchi, tteokbokki, and ramen but also makes them visually appealing.

Gochugaru is also widely used as an ingredient in marinades for grilled meats such as bulgogi and galbi-jjim because it helps enhance their flavor profile while adding an attractive reddish hue to them.

Overall, gochugaru can be considered essential when making authentic Korean recipes since its distinct taste brings out the best flavors in these foods while providing some nice eye candy too.

The 10 Best Substitutes For Gochugaru

Gochugaru can be difficult to find outside of Asia.

If you’re looking for a substitute for gochugaru, here are ten great options that will give your dish the same flavor and spice:

1. Gochujang


Gochujang is a savory and spicy Korean condiment made from chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.

It has a deep red color and a thick texture that can be used as an ingredient or topping for many dishes.

The flavor of gochujang is complex with notes of sweetness, heat, umami, and smokiness.

Gochujang can be used as a substitute for gochugaru in recipes calling for the latter.

However, it should be noted that gochujang has more sweetness than its counterpart due to the addition of sugar or honey during fermentation.

Therefore you may need to adjust other ingredients accordingly when using it as a replacement.

For instance you may want to add more salt or vinegar depending on the dish you are making.

2. Chipotle Powder

Chipotle Powder

Chipotle powder is a great substitute for gochugaru, the Korean red pepper flakes used in many traditional dishes.

Chipotle powder is made from ground and dried chipotle peppers, which are smoked jalapeños.

It has a smoky flavor with an underlying heat that can range from mild to medium-hot depending on the variety of pepper used.

The powder can be added to soups, stews, marinades or rubs for meat and vegetables to give them a spicy kick.

It’s also perfect for making sauces like salsa or guacamole.

Chipotle powder can be used in place of gochugaru in any recipe calling for it – just remember to adjust the amount you use according to your desired level of spiciness!

3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that packs a punch of heat and flavor.

It has a bright red color and thin, curved shape.

The spice is made from dried and ground cayenne peppers, which are known for their intense spiciness.

Cayenne pepper can be used to add heat to dishes like tacos, curries, soups, stews, marinades, and sauces.

When substituting it for gochugaru in recipes, use the same amount as the recipe calls for but reduce the amount if you’re sensitive to spicy foods.

Cayenne pepper adds an extra layer of flavor to any dish while still providing plenty of heat.

4. Chile Pasilla

Chile Pasilla

Chile Pasilla is a dried chile pepper that has a deep, earthy flavor and mild to medium heat.

It’s commonly used in Mexican cuisine and is an essential ingredient in mole sauces.

The chile pasilla has a dark brown color and wrinkled skin with a smoky aroma.

When substituting for gochugaru, you may need to adjust the amount of heat depending on your preferences since the two peppers have different levels of spiciness.

Chile pasilla can be used to add depth of flavor to stews, soups, marinades, salsas, and more.

It pairs well with other spices like cumin or oregano for added complexity.

5. Paprika


Paprika is a mild, sweet red pepper powder that is used to add flavor and color to dishes.

It comes in many varieties, ranging from sweet and mild to spicy and smoky.

Paprika can be used as an alternative for gochugaru when making Korean-style dishes such as kimchi or bibimbap.

The paprika will provide the same vibrant red hue without the heat of gochugaru.

It’s also great for adding depth of flavor to soups, stews, marinades, sauces, and more.

When using paprika instead of gochugaru, you may need to adjust the amount depending on your desired level of spiciness.

6. Ancho Chile Powder

Ancho Chile Powder

Ancho chile powder is a type of chili powder made from dried poblano peppers.

It has a mild heat level, with notes of smoky sweetness and raisin-like flavor.

The ancho chile powder can be used as a substitute for gochugaru in many recipes, such as kimchi and Korean BBQ marinades.

When substituting ancho chile powder for gochugaru, use half the amount called for in the recipe since it is not as spicy.

Ancho chile powder can also be used to add depth to soups, stews, chili con carne and tacos.

It’s great sprinkled on popcorn or added to dry rubs for meats like pork shoulder or beef brisket.

Try using it in place of paprika or cayenne pepper when you want to add some smoky heat without too much spice!

7. Chili Flakes

Red Chili Flakes

Chili flakes are an excellent substitute for gochugaru, a spicy Korean chili powder.

They provide the same heat and flavor but with a slightly different texture.

Chili flakes are made from dried chilies that have been crushed into small pieces.

The heat level of chili flakes can vary depending on the type of pepper used to make them, so it’s important to adjust the amount you use accordingly.

They can be added to marinades, sauces, stews, soups and other dishes for extra flavor and heat.

When substituting chili flakes for gochugaru in recipes, keep in mind that they may need more cooking time as they take longer to release their flavors than the finer-ground gochugaru powder does.

8. Harissa

Harissa is a North African chili paste that adds a spicy, smoky kick to dishes.

It’s made with roasted red peppers and chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, caraway seeds and other spices like cumin and coriander.

Harissa has a thick texture that can be used as an alternative to gochugaru in recipes such as stews or marinades.

The flavor of harissa is bolder than gochugaru due to the addition of roasted peppers and other spices.

When substituting harissa for gochugaru, it may be necessary to adjust the amount used depending on the desired level of heat.

Harissa is also great as a condiment on sandwiches or mixed into hummus for an added zing!

9. Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek is a popular condiment in Southeast Asian cuisine.

It’s made from ground red chilies, vinegar, and salt.

The flavor of Sambal Oelek is spicy and slightly sweet with a hint of garlic.

It has a thick consistency that makes it perfect for coating foods or adding to sauces.

Unlike gochugaru, which is usually used as an ingredient in Korean dishes such as kimchi, Sambal Oelek can be used as an all-purpose condiment for many different types of cuisine.

It can be added to soups, stir-fries, marinades, and even some desserts!

Sambal Oelek is also great for spicing up your favorite dishes without the intense heat of gochugaru – so if you’re looking for something milder yet still flavorful, this could be the perfect substitute!

10. Chili Powder

Chili Powder

Chili powder is a great substitute for gochugaru, which is a Korean chili powder.

Chili powder is made from ground-dried chilies and has an earthy, spicy flavor.

It can be used to add heat and depth of flavor to dishes like tacos, burritos, stews, soups, and sauces.

Chili powder comes in mild or hot varieties so you can adjust the level of spiciness according to your taste preferences.

It also contains other spices such as cumin, garlic powder, oregano and paprika which adds complexity to the flavor profile.

When substituting chili powder for gochugaru in recipes that call for it specifically, use half the amount called for since chili powder tends to be more potent than gochugaru.


In conclusion, gochugaru is an essential ingredient in Korean cooking that can be difficult to find outside of Asia.

Fortunately, there are several alternatives to gochugaru which can be used in its place, including gochujang, chipotle powder, cayenne pepper, chile pasilla, paprika, ancho chile powder, chili flakes, harissa, sambal oelek and chili powder.

These substitutes offer similar flavor and spice profiles that make them ideal for use in recipes that call for gochugaru.


The 10 Best Substitutes For Gochugaru

If you don't have access to gochugaru, or if you're looking for an alternative to this classic Korean chili powder, then you're in luck! In this article, I'm sharing my top 10 substitutes for gochugaru that'll help you achieve that signature flavor in your dishes. I'll explain the flavor profile of each substitute, as well as how to use it correctly and in what types of dishes. With this guide, you'll have the perfect gochugaru substitute to make your favorite dishes even better!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Substitutes
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 people
Calories 66 kcal


  • Gochujang
  • Chipotle Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chile Pasilla
  • Paprika
  • Ancho Chile Powder
  • Chili Flakes
  • Harissa
  • Sambal Oelek
  • Chili Powder


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
CEO at Happy Muncher | | Website | + posts

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.