7 Effective Gochugaru Substitute – Try These (Updated)

If you are a big fan of spicy Korean foods, gochugaru is probably not a strange name to you. In fact, gochugaru has evolved far beyond a critical ingredient for Korean dishes.

Many Western recipes have now utilized gochugaru to add that hot punch. However, in many cases, we won’t find this thing accessible to buy.

Thus, this will be the list of 7 gochugaru substitute ingredients that do really work.


About Gochugaru

Gochugaru, with “Gochu” is the name of the chiles it is made from, is a coarse-grind chile powder.

The chilies are first dried under the sunlight, their seeds are then removed, and the chilies are ground to coarse powder. It’s most common in such iconic Korean dishes as bulgogi and kimchi.

This chile powder has an amazing spicy flavor, but its heat is not really overpowering. It’s thus fair to say that gochugaru has a moderate spiciness.

And for this reason, there are many ingredients that can be used as gochugaru substitute. The most significant ones present below.

7 Delicious Ingredients To Use As Gochugaru Substitute

Gochugaru Substitutes

1. Gochujang – A Close Neighbor

Gochu is the keyword here. As they all come from gochu pepper, but their two difference between Gochugaru vs Gochujang are texture and flavor. 

In most of the cases, you can use them interchangeably. Gochujang is in the form of a thick paste. And besides Gochu, it is the combination of fermented soybeans, sticky rice, and salt.

And if you want something saltier than gochugaru, gochujang is a perfect choice. This chili paste can help you with many recipes for stews, kimchi, and sauces.

When using gochujang, you may want to reduce the saltiness of the original recipe. Or else, it’s advisable to use gochujang is a lighter amount in comparison with gochugaru.

Another important note for using this gochugaru substitute is that its texture may make your dish wet and sticky.

Thus, use it in the proper amount. For storing gochujang, you should keep it away from heat and moisture. When in the fridge, this paste can last for about year.

2. Red Pepper Powder – The Best Convenient Substitute

Red pepper powder has a vibrant red color and moderate-high spicy flavor. For some people, red pepper may also refer to the Indian Kashmir pepper species.

This pepper powder can add beautiful color to your dishes with the proper hotness. Also, it is abundant in many local stores.

Swapping for red pepper powder, while being a great gochugaru substitute regarding its color, it is hotter than the original ingredient.

Gochugaru ranges from 4,000 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units, but red pepper is commonly at the 30,000-50,000 SHU.

Also, this powder often contains seeds where much of the heat comes from. And seeds may not be what some people want in their dishes. As a result, when using red pepper powder in your recipe, beware of its heat.

The amount of this ingredient should not exceed two teaspoons. Otherwise, you should be expecting an intense heat in your dish.

3. Chipotle Powder – For Those Who Like Smoky

By smoking Jalapenos chilies and ripping out the moisture inside them, the Chipotle powder comes as a result. The flavor of this powder is sweet, smoky, and spicy at the same time.

When the Jalapenos chilies turn to crimson red color, they are ready to be in the manufacturing for Chipotle powder.

The process of making Chipotle powder lasts for many days, but it does not come out with much quantity of the powder.

Also, the variety of brands on today’s market may offer a discrepancy in the flavor. It’s best if you can choose one that matches your cooking trial.

If finding a bottle of Chipotle powder is still hard for you, try switching to find Jalapenos chilies. They are the medium-sized peppers that create a pleasantly hot burning sensation.

However, they won’t be scorching the taste buds. Using these chilies can be a good choice considering for Gochugaru replacement that you don’t mind the texture of the ingredient using.

4. Cayenne Pepper Flakes – Closest To The Texture

Cayenne pepper flakes have already been popular in Korean cuisine. So you don’t have to worry about experimenting something exotic.

The red color looks like gochugaru and texture feel alike too. Cayenne pepper is available in both flakes and powder.

The flakes are a little bit spicier than the powder, so it’s up to you to choose one that best fits your taste. But an advantage of the powder that may make it win over flakes is that it comes with no seed.

This should be under your consideration for a gochugaru substitute when preparing for your recipe.

In comparison with gochugaru, Cayenne pepper is spicier. Just like using red pepper powder, it’s crucial to add in just a proper amount of it.

If you are making kimchi, it’s ideal to mix the flakes/powder into the lukewarm water before adding it in. This helps you to modify the spiciness if necessary.

5. Guajillo Powder – The Little Gourd

Guajillo means little gourd, which refers to its distinctive shape. This pepper is popular in Mexico, which commonly presents in the Tex-Mex cuisine.

All of their mole and chili recipes cannot be complete without Guajillo. What makes this pepper powder similar to gochugaru is that it’s also bright and tangy with moderate heat.

A famous counterpart of Guajillo is Aleppo pepper. These two are a good match because they both have the tangy flavor and medium heat.

Unlike its Mexico friend, Aleppo pepper is popular in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. This pepper powder has long been an essential ingredient in chicken, steak, and lamb.

The differences between Guajillo and Aleppo are recognizable in their colors and the aftertaste. Aleppo peppers have a more vibrant color and stronger aftertaste than Guajillo.

They hit your mouth instantly and tinge your throat for one or two minutes after the taste vanishing

6. Chile De Arbol – A Decent Alternative

Quite similar to the Chipotle, Chile de Arbol has that smoky and spicy flavor, which gives a hot kick to your recipe.

 This pepper also has a beautiful red color and available in both flakes, powder, and paste. It’s readily available in many grocery stores, and the pricing is quite affordable.

Besides being a good substitute for gochugaru, this pepper can also replace the paprika and many other spices in your recipes. The heat ranges from moderate to high level, which is a little bit hotter than gochugaru.

Thus, you may want to use it with caution, add a little by a little until you feel fine with the taste.

The Chile de Arbol ranges from 15,000 to 30,000 SHU, which makes it have a little more kick than gochugaru.

 But it’s the nuttiness of the pepper that makes it a good match with the original ingredients.

7. Chile Pasilla – Catch Up With The Heat

Chile Pasilla scores from 1,000 to 4,000 SHU, making it closer to gochugaru than the other peppers.

However, it’s fair to say that this particular chili is not as hot as gochugaru, you thus may want to increase the amount using in your recipe.

The flavor of Chile Pasilla is not overwhelming, making it a perfect choice for those with mild spicy taste preference.

However, a downside of using this pepper is that the color is often very dark, affecting the authentic appearance of the dishes.

So if your priority is the color (without compromising too much of the flavor, of course), consider using Paprika, Chungyang Red Pepper, Fish Pepper, and Espelette.

All of these pepper can offer a vibrant looking for your dishes, but their flavor may vary a little bit from the gochugaru.

The Bottom Line

substitute for Gochugaru

If you come across some gochugaru, don’t hesitate to buy it in bulk to save for future use. But if there is nothing you can do about it, replacing gochugaru with the listed above ingredients will help.

It’s also a good idea to mix the gochugaru substitute ingredients. Cooking trial and experiment are always fun and inspiring.

Read more on the substitutes for Cumin, Goat Cheese, Peanut Oil, and Coriander.

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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