The 5 Best Gochugaru Substitutes to Consider

Are you looking for gochugaru substitutes for your recipes? You’re not alone.

This Korean chili pepper powder is a staple in many of the delicious dishes that come out of this vibrant country, but it can be difficult to find, particularly if you don’t live near an Asian market.

Fortunately, there are some great substitutes available that pack a lot of flavor while still creating the same authentic taste and texture as gochugaru—so if you want to add an amazing kick to your dish without breaking the bank or cancelling your grocery store trip then keep reading.

We’ve rounded up five of the best gochugaru alternatives so you can experiment with new flavors and create dishes bursting with unique depth and complexity.

What is Gochugaru?

Are you a fan of Korean cuisine? If so, then you may have heard the term “Gochugaru” thrown around in recipes or restaurant menus.

Gochugaru is a type of chili pepper that is a staple in Korean cooking.

It is typically made by drying and grinding red chili peppers into coarse flakes.

However, not all Gochugaru is created equal – the flavor and spiciness can vary depending on the region it was grown in and the method of production.

Typically, Gochugaru has a medium level of heat, with a slight smoky flavor.

It is used in a variety of Korean dishes, such as kimchi, banchan (side dishes), and stews.

If you’re looking to add a bit of spice and complexity to your cooking, try incorporating Gochugaru into your recipes and experience the unique flavors of Korean cuisine.

Why You Might Need Substitutes for Gochugaru?

For those who are unfamiliar with gochugaru, it is a type of Korean chili pepper that is commonly used in Korean cuisine.

Unfortunately, this ingredient may be difficult to come by in some areas or may not be suitable for those who cannot tolerate spicy foods.

See also  The 5 Best Rose Water Substitutes to Consider

However, there are several substitutes available that can provide a similar flavor and heat level.

One option is to use red pepper flakes, which can be found at most grocery stores and are milder in flavor compared to gochugaru.

Another alternative is to use cayenne pepper, which can be found in most spice aisles and has a similar heat level.

Paprika, smoked paprika, and chili powder can also be used as substitutes, but may vary in flavor and heat intensity.

Overall, it is important to experiment with different substitutes to find the best alternative for your specific needs.

The 5 Best Gochugaru Substitutes to Consider

Looking for alternatives to Gochugaru? Here are a few suggestions:

1 – Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is a popular spice, known for its pungent taste and spiciness.

When used as a substitute for Gochugaru, it can add heat to a variety of dishes.

  • It has a bright red color, making it an excellent choice when replacing the visual appeal of Gochugaru in your recipe.
  • It has a similar level of spiciness as Gochugaru, making it ideal if you prefer heat in your dishes.
  • Cayenne pepper is high in capsaicin, which provides several health benefits.
  • Unlike Gochugaru, cayenne pepper is commonly available in grocery stores and online markets worldwide at reasonable prices.

Moreover, cayenne pepper can be added to rubs or marinades to impart smokiness and enhance the flavor profile of meat or vegetables.

So if you don’t have Gochugaru on hand, cayenne pepper is an excellent alternative to consider for its versatility and accessibility.

2 – Paprika

Paprika presents itself as the apparent replacement for gochugaru.

Its mild and smoky flavor profile adds depth to dishes that require heat.

Paprika’s affordability, easy availability worldwide, makes it an attractive option.

However, its lack of spiciness may require adding chili flakes or powder to attain desired heat levels.

While both spices come from the Capsicum family—the main distinction lies in their origin, processing techniques, and intensity.

See also  The 5 Best Meyer Lemon Substitutes to Consider

Gochugaru is made from dried red chili peppers that undergo sun-drying or smoke drying.

On the other hand, paprika can be produced from various peppers and undergoes milling or blending into a powder.

Sun-dried paprika shares similar characteristics with gochugaru’s robust flavor profile but sourcing this variety requires effort and continuous monitoring to avoid rancidity.

Smoked paprika provides another alternative because its deep taste also works well in stews, soups, and barbeque rubs if smoke features on your palate preference.

The absence of a one-size-fits-all alternative means that individual preferences play a crucial role when selecting substitutes for gochugaru.

In summary, factors like cuisines’ requirement- spice level required, pricing verses budget available will determine the best-fit substitute for your cooking endeavors.

3 – Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes are a popular spice used in various dishes worldwide.

These fiery flakes can be a good substitute for gochugaru if you don’t have it in your pantry.

Here are some ways to use red pepper flakes as an alternative:

  • Add them to marinades or rubs for meat and fish.
  • Sprinkle them over pizza and pasta dishes for extra heat.
  • Mix them with softened butter for spicy garlic bread.
  • Add to dressings, dips, and sauces for a kick of flavor.
  • Use in stir-fry recipes by adding them at the beginning of cooking.

Aside from their versatility, red pepper flakes are also known to provide health benefits such as aiding in digestion and boosting metabolism.

However, keep in mind that too much of this spice can overpower the dish’s taste and make it unbearable for those sensitive to heat.

4 – Chili Powder

Chili Powder is a suitable Gochugaru substitute known for its spicy kick.

Here are some essential points to consider when using it as a Gochugaru alternative:

  • Chili powder is readily available in supermarkets and grocery stores.
  • It can replace Gochugaru at a 1:1 ratio, but it varies in heat level depending on the blend; it’s better to start with small amounts.
  • It has a different texture from Gochugaru, so it may not provide the necessary texture for certain dishes.
  • Chili Powder can lack complexity found in Gochugaru because of the added spices and herbs, which might change the overall dish flavor profile.
  • If you’re choosing chili powder as an alternative, buy pure chili powder without any added ingredients or preservatives.
See also  5 BEST Chickpea Substitutes You Should Try

Suppose you’re looking for a substitute that mimics Gochugura closely.

In that case, Chili Powder may not be the best choice due to its complexity and difference in texture.

Therefore, it’s essential to explore other substitutes that offer similar flavor profiles and textures without overpowering your dish.

5 – Korean Red Pepper Paste (Gochujang)

For those seeking a gochugaru replacement, Gochujang is an excellent option.

Although it has a paste-like texture compared to the fine powder of gochugaru, gochujang provides a similar heat level and smoky flavor.

It also contains fermented soybeans for added umami depth.

Another benefit of using gochujang as a substitute is that it can be used in place of both gochugaru and doenjang (fermented soybean paste) in many Korean dishes.

However, keep in mind that the consistency and sweetness of the dish may change.


As we come to the end of our exploration on Gochugaru substitutes, it is evident that the market offers unique alternatives with contrasting flavors and textures.

While all of them are good choices for your dishes, their suitability depends on the desired result.

It is best to experiment with each ingredient and choose what best fits your needs.

It’s essential to remember that choosing a substitute depends on factors such as availability, preferences and cultural significance.

It is advisable to familiarize oneself with possible substitutes and carry out taste tests before settling on one.

The 5 Best Gochugaru Substitutes to Consider

The 5 Best Gochugaru Substitutes to Consider

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 – Ichimi Togarashi (Cayenne Pepper)
  • 2 – Nanami Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice Blend)
  • 3 – Gochugaru (Korean Red Pepper Flakes)
  • 4 – Aleppo Pepper
  • 5 – Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


  1. Choose a preferred substitute from the provided list.
  2. Follow the cooking instructions for the selected substitute.
  3. Use the correct proportion of ingredients when preparing the substitute.

Similar Posts