Cooking TipsSubstitutions20 Substitutes for Gochugaru That Will Give Your Korean Dishes a Kick

20 Substitutes for Gochugaru That Will Give Your Korean Dishes a Kick

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David Larsen
I’m a husband, dad, food blogger, photographer, writer, social media boss, entrepreneur.

Looking for a substitute for gochugaru? You’re in luck! In this blog post, we will discuss five different substitutes that can give your Korean dishes a delicious kick. Each of these substitutes has its own unique flavor and texture, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Let’s get started!

What is Gochugaru?

Gochugaru (고추가루), also known as Korean red chili pepper flakes, is a popular ingredient in many Korean dishes. It’s made from dried and ground red chili peppers that give it its signature smoky-sweet flavor and deep red color.

Gochugaru is used for spicier dishes, and it can be used to make kimchi, soups, stews, and bibimbap. Gochugaru is an essential ingredient in Korean cooking because of its distinct flavor profile and ability to add heat without overwhelming other flavors.

It’s also a great way to spice up any dish without adding too much heat or overpowering the other flavors. Gochugaru is a versatile ingredient that can be used to add a kick of flavor to any dish.

What does Gochugaru look like?

Gochugaru is a bright red chilli powder made from sun-dried Korean chillies. It usually comes in coarse flakes, ranging from sandy to almost powdery in texture. It has a distinctively sweet and smoky flavor, with notes of citrus and spice.

The color ranges from light orange to deep red depending on the variety and ripeness of the chillies used. Gochugaru also has a mild but noticeably pungent heat that can range from subtle to intense depending on how much is used in a dish.

What does Gochugaru taste like?

Gochugaru has a unique flavor that is both sweet and spicy at the same time. It is made up of red chili peppers, which give it its signature bright red color and heat.

Generally, gochugaru has a smoky flavor that can range from mild to medium-hot depending on the type of pepper used in the blend.

Its flavor is best described as having a slight fruitiness with hints of garlic and ginger. The sweetness comes from the sugar that is sometimes added to the chili peppers during the drying process.

Gochugaru can be used in various dishes such as kimchi, stews, soups, salads, marinades, and sauces for added heat and flavor. Gochugaru is a staple in Korean cuisine and can be found in many grocery stores or specialty Asian markets.

Is gochugaru same as gochujang?

No, they are not the same. Gochugaru is a type of Korean chili pepper flakes, while gochujang is a condiment made from red chili pepper, glutinous rice and fermented soybean paste.

In general, gochujang has a much stronger flavor than gochugaru as it contains additional ingredients such as garlic, sugar, and salt.

Gochugaru is used to add a spicy kick primarily to soups, stews, marinades, and stir-fries whereas gochujang adds a more savory flavor as it contains fermented soybean paste.

Therefore, the two are not interchangeable in recipes and should be used accordingly for their respective purposes.

20 Best Substitutes for Gochugaru.

Gochugaru is a type of Korean chili pepper that provides heat and flavor to many traditional dishes. If you are unable to find this ingredient, there are several possible substitutes that can be used in its place.

1. Aleppo pepper powder.

Aleppo pepper is a spicy and slightly salty variety of chili pepper. It has a moderate heat level, but can be quite variable in its spiciness depending on the specific crop. The flavor profile is earthy with notes of sweet tomato and raisin.

Aleppo peppers are most often used to add spice to Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and falafel. They can also be used to make a spicy chili paste or as a substitute for gochugaru in kimchi-making.

2. Anaheim Pepper.

anaheim pepper

This mild pepper is a great substitute for Gochugaru in dishes such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas and other Mexican recipes.

It has a very mild flavor with notes of sweet bell peppers and a hint of heat. This makes it ideal for those who don’t want too much spice and just a touch of heat.

3. Ancho Chiles.

These are mild, smoky chiles from Mexico that can be used as a substitute for Gochugaru. They have a unique combination of sweetness and heat which makes them perfect for adding flavor to dishes such as soups, stews, and sauces. They can also be ground into a powder and used to create richly flavored chili pastes.

4. Cayenne Pepper.

Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that can be found in many grocery stores. It has a very similar flavor to Gochugaru, and it can be used as an adequate substitute for the latter.

However, some would argue that Cayenne pepper is not as pungent or spicy compared to Gochugaru, so you may need to use a bit more if you want the same intensity of flavor. Additionally, Cayenne pepper can have notes of smokiness that may not be present in Gochugaru.

5. Chile de Arbol Powder.

Chile de Arbol powder is a great substitute for Gochugaru as it has a similar level of heat intensity and smoky flavor. It is made up of dried, red chiles that are ground up into a fine powder.

When using this powder to replace Gochugaru in recipes, you should use one teaspoon of Chile de Arbol powder for every tablespoon of Gochugaru. Additionally, you may need to adjust the amount depending on how spicy you want your dish to be.

6. Chile Pasilla.

This is a dark, smoky chile pepper that is similar to gochugaru in spiciness and heat. It has a mild sweet flavor and can be used as an alternative for Korean dishes like bibimbap and kimchi.

7. Chipotle Powder.

chipotle chili powder

Chipotle powder can be used as a substitute for gochugaru in most recipes. It has a smoky flavor that will add depth and complexity to the dish.

However, chipotle powder is often spicier than gochugaru, so use it sparingly until you find the perfect balance of heat and flavor.

8. Chungyang Red Pepper.

Also known as Korean red pepper, it is a milder variety of gochugaru that’s widely used in Korea.

It has a bright red color and is slightly less sweet than the more commonly used gochu-garu. This type of Korean chili pepper is available in powder form, flakes or coarsely ground.

9. Crushed Red Pepper flakes.

A great substitute for Gochugaru is crushed red pepper flakes. Also known as red pepper flakes, crushed red pepper, or simply chili flakes, are a condiment made of dried and crushed (as the name implies) red chili peppers.

The most common variety used is cayenne, but other types may also be found in different parts of the world. Most people use them to add flavor to their food, but they are also often used as a garnish and to add heat.

Crushed Red Pepper flakes come in varying levels of heat – mild, medium, or hot. The amount of heat can depend on the variety of chili pepper used or if other peppers such as jalapenos are added. To get the most flavor out of them, store them in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.

When adding them to food, they can be used raw or cooked. Using them raw will provide the strongest flavor and heat, while cooking them will mellow out the flavors and make them less spicy. It is best to add a small amount at a time – it’s easy to add more if needed but difficult to take out.

10. Espelette

espelette chili

Espelette is a chile pepper that is most commonly used in French and Basque cooking. It has a mild, slightly smoky flavor and is often used to add richness and depth to dishes.

As a substitute for gochugaru, Espelette can be used in many Korean dishes such as bibimbap and kimchi. It has a milder flavor than gochugaru, so it may be necessary to increase the quantity used in order to achieve the desired spiciness.

Additionally, Espelette has a slightly smoky taste that can add complexity to dishes so it is important to adjust other ingredients accordingly.

11. Fish Pepper

Fish Pepper is a variety of chili pepper native to the Chesapeake Bay region. It is often used as a substitute for Gochugaru, which is also known as Korean Red Pepper Flakes.

Fish Pepper has a unique smoky-sweet flavor and can be used in various dishes such as stir-fries, soups, and stews. Its lower heat level makes it an ideal substitute for Gochugaru in recipes that require a milder flavor.

Fish Pepper can be found in specialty spice stores and is usually sold in dried form, which can be reconstituted before use. It’s also possible to find it fresh during the summer months.

12. Gochujang

It is a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from chili peppers, glutinous rice, meju powder or soybean paste, and salt. It has a thick consistency and is used as an essential ingredient in many traditional dishes such as bibimbap and tteokbokki.

Gochujang is a good substitute for gochugaru, which is the dried and powdered version of chili peppers. It has all of the same flavor notes as gochugaru but is slightly sweeter and milder in its heat level.

Additionally, it adds depth to dishes with its umami-rich fermented taste. To replicate the texture of gochugaru, try crushing the gochujang into a fine powder before adding it to your dish.

13. Guajillo Powder.

guajillo chili

Guajillo powder is a chili powder made from guajillo, the mildest of all the dried Mexican chilis. The flavor and heat level of guajillo powder can vary depending on how it has been prepared and stored, but generally, it carries a moderate to hot spiciness with a fruity flavor.

Guajillo powder is a great substitute for Gochugaru and can be used in kimchi, stews, curries, and sauces. It can also be used as a rub for grilled meats or fish, or simply used to spice up your favorite dishes. Guajillo powder is sold in large bags at most Mexican grocery stores or specialty spice shops.

14. Indian Chili Powder-Cayenne mix

This blend is a combination of both cayenne powder and Indian chili powders like Kashmiri or Deggi Mirch. This combination adds the heat from the cayenne with the flavor of Indian chilis, creating an ideal substitute for Gochugaru. It can be used in traditional Korean dishes to replicate the taste and texture of Gochugaru.

15. Jalapenos

Jalapeno peppers, or simply jalapenos, are a type of chili pepper commonly used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. They have a spicy, earthy flavor and are typically used to add heat to dishes. While jalapenos can stand alone as an ingredient, they’re often chopped up and added to other dishes such as tacos, salsa, and guacamole.

Jalapenos are a popular substitute for gochugaru because of their similar flavor profile and heat level. They have a mild-medium level of spiciness and pair well with other Mexican flavors like cilantro and garlic. While jalapenos don’t have the same smokiness that gochugaru has, they are still a good substitute for adding heat to dishes.

When substituting jalapenos for gochugaru, it’s important to adjust the quantity accordingly. Jalapenos tend to be spicier than gochugaru, so start with half the amount and add more to taste. Keep in mind that jalapenos also contain a lot of moisture, so it’s a good idea to reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients in the recipe to make up for it.

16. Kashmiri chilli powder.

Well, it’s a mild red chili powder used mainly in Indian and Pakistani cuisines. It originated from the Kashmir region of India, hence its name. Its bright red color is due to the fact that it is made from dried, ripe chilis that have been ground into a fine powder.

Kashmiri chilli powder can be used as an alternative to gochugaru, though it is much milder in flavor and not as spicy. It’s also slightly sweeter than other chili powders, which makes it an ideal choice for those who want a bit of heat but don’t want their dishes too spicy.

Because Kashmiri chilli powder has a milder flavor, it is ideal for dishes that require a bit of heat but don’t need too much spiciness. It can be used to add some kick to curries and stews as well as marinades and sauces. Additionally, it’s great in vegetarian dishes because its mild flavor doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.

17. Paprika

Paprika is a type of chili pepper with a sweet, earthy flavor that can be used as an alternative to Gochugaru. Paprika is typically made from dried and ground sweet or hot peppers, which can range in color from bright orange to deep red.

While it has a mild flavor compared to Gochugaru, paprika still has some heat to it, so use it sparingly if you don’t want your dish to be too spicy.

18. Red Chile Pepper Flakes

Red Chile Pepper Flakes are made from dried, ground red chile peppers. They have a moderate to hot level of spiciness and provide a distinct sweet, smoky flavor.

Red Chile Pepper Flakes make a great substitute for Gochugaru in Korean dishes like kimchi, soups, stews, marinades, and sauces. They have a slightly sharper flavor than Gochugaru but still produce the desired heat level in recipes.

19. Sandia Chiles

Native to New Mexico, Sandia Chiles are a variety of chile pepper that are slightly hotter than jalapeño peppers. They have a similar flavor profile as Gochugaru and can be used as an excellent substitute in Korean recipes.

When substituting Sandia Chiles for Gochugaru powder, it is recommended to use about one and a half times the amount of Sandia Chiles as you would Gochugaru. For example, if a recipe calls for two tablespoons of Gochugaru, use three tablespoons of chopped Sandia Chiles instead.

20. Homemade gochugaru substitute.

Gochugaru is a popular Korean chili powder that adds flavor and spice to many traditional dishes. However, it can be difficult to find in stores outside of Korea, so some home cooks may want to make their own gochugaru substitute.

Making your own homemade gochugaru is easy and requires just a few ingredients. All you need is dried red chili peppers, garlic powder, and a spice grinder or food processor.

Start by removing the stems from the dried chilies and then grind them into a fine powder using either a spice grinder or food processor.

Once you have your ground chili pepper powder, add in 1 teaspoon of garlic powder for every one cup of chili pepper powder. Mix the two together and store in an airtight container for up to six months.

Using your homemade gochugaru substitute, you can make all sorts of delicious dishes including spicy kimchi and flavorful stir-fries. You can also use it as a condiment or seasoning in many other dishes. The spicy flavor of the chili powder and the aromatic garlic bring out a unique flavor that is sure to please any palate.

Is gochugaru the same as chili powder?

Well, not exactly. Gochugaru is a type of Korean chili powder that is made from dried and ground red chili peppers.

It has a deep and smoky flavor that sets it apart from other types of chili powder, such as the traditional American version which is typically made with sweet paprika.

So while they may be similar in some ways, they are definitely not the same. Gochugaru is more commonly used in Korean cooking, while chili powder is typically used in Mexican and Tex-Mex style dishes.

Can I substitute paprika for gochugaru?

Generally speaking, you can use paprika instead of gochugaru in a recipe. However, it is worth noting that the flavor and heat levels are different between the two spices. Paprika has a milder flavor than gochugaru and provides less heat.

If you want to maintain the same level of spiciness as a recipe calls for with gochugaru, you may need to adjust the quantity of paprika accordingly.

Additionally, smoked and sweet varieties of paprika are available, so if your recipe calls for a particular type of gochugaru, try to select the closest equivalent when choosing a paprika variety. In any case, it is always worth experimenting and tasting as you go to get the desired results.

Can I use crushed red pepper instead of gochugaru?

The answer is yes, but you must adjust the amount used. Crushed red pepper is spicier than gochugaru, so you may want to start with half of the recommended amount and add more if needed.

You should also keep in mind that crushed red pepper doesn’t have the same signature sweetness as gochugaru, so you may want to add a bit of sugar or honey to make up for the lack of sweetness.

Additionally, if you’re substituting crushed red pepper for gochugaru in a kimchi recipe, you may need to adjust the salinity and fermentation time accordingly.

Can kimchi be made without gochugaru?

Yes, kimchi can be made without gochugaru. The classic Korean dish is traditionally made with gochugaru, a coarse powder of red pepper flakes, but other ingredients such as sesame oil, garlic, ginger and fish sauce can also be used to give the dish an extra kick of flavor.

Some cooks opt to leave out the gochugaru altogether and instead rely on other ingredients to make the kimchi taste zesty.

Kimchi can also be made with different vegetables such as cucumbers, radishes, carrots and cabbage that don’t require gochugaru for flavor. The end result may not taste quite like traditional kimchi but is still a delicious and healthy dish.

Can I use paprika powder for kimchi?

Yes, you can use paprika powder for kimchi. In some Korean dishes, particularly kimchi, paprika is used to give a sweet and spicy flavor.

Paprika has a milder taste than other chile powders and has been found to be an effective substitute for traditional Korean chili pepper flakes used in kimchi.

Paprika powder is also a great choice for kimchi because it provides some of the health benefits that are found in peppers, such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Additionally, paprika adds a unique flavor to your kimchi that you can’t get with other chili powders. To use paprika powder for kimchi, simply add it to the mixture of seasonings and vegetables used in your recipe.

The amount of paprika powder you should use depends on how spicy you prefer your kimchi to be, so start small and adjust as needed.

Homemade Gochugaru substitute

Homemade Gochugaru substitute

Yield: 6

Gochugaru is a popular Korean red chili pepper powder that adds both heat and color to many dishes. If you don’t have access to gochugaru, this recipe provides an easy alternative.


  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. In a small bowl, combine the paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  2. Stir in the ground ginger until evenly mixed.
  3. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.


This recipe makes around 6 tablespoons of substitute gochugaru. If you want more, simply double or triple the ingredients. You can also adjust the amounts of each ingredient to suit your personal tastes and preferences.

For best results, use fresh herbs and spices for this recipe, as they will provide maximum flavor. Ground cayenne pepper should be used sparingly, as it is much hotter than the other ingredients. Be sure to taste your combination before adding it to any dish, as everyone’s tastes are different.

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best substitutes for gochugaru

Gochugaru is a spicy, flavorful and versatile ingredient used in traditional Korean cooking. While it’s a key component of many recipes, there are several options for substitutes if you’re unable to find it.

Options include cayenne pepper, Aleppo pepper or red chili flakes. For the most authentic flavor profile, however, nothing beats the unique taste of genuine Gochugaru. Experiment with different types to find out which one works best in your favorite recipes.

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