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Flavorful Choices: 5 BEST Doubanjiang Substitutes

Finding the perfect Doubanjiang substitute feels like a kitchen hack every food lover should know.

This spicy, umami-rich paste is a staple in Sichuan cuisine, turning dishes from meh to wow with just a spoonful.

But here’s the thing—sometimes it’s not on our pantry shelf, and a quick store run isn’t in the cards.

No stress, though. We’ve got you covered with some top-notch swaps that might just be hiding in your kitchen right now.

Get ready to keep those flavors bold and your cooking game strong, even when Doubanjiang is playing hard to get.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Doubanjiang

If you can’t find doubanjiang (spicy fermented bean paste) at your local Asian market, don’t worry.

There are plenty of substitutes that will give your dish the same flavor profile.

Here are the five best substitutes for doubanjiang:

1 – Gochujang

Gochujang is a type of Korean chili paste that is made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.

It has a strong, pungent flavor with a hint of sweetness and a thick, sticky texture.

Gochujang can be used as a condiment or ingredient in various dishes, such as stews, marinades, and sauces.

It can also be used as a substitute for Doubanjiang, a Chinese chili paste.

When substituting Gochujang for Doubanjiang, it is important to keep the ratio of other ingredients the same.

This will help to ensure that the dish retains its desired flavor and consistency.

2 – Sambal Oelek

Sambal oelek is a type of chili paste that originates from Indonesia.

Unlike other chili pastes, it is not primarily made from fermented beans.

Instead, it is made from fresh chilies that are ground into a paste.

This gives it a bright red color and a slightly different flavor profile.

Sambal oelek is typically quite spicy, with a blunt heat that lingers on the palate.

In terms of texture, it is relatively smooth, although there may be some small chunks of chili pepper present.

When used in cooking, it can be used as a condiment or as an ingredient in a dish.

For example, it might be added to noodles or rice or used as a dipping sauce for dumplings.

When substituting sambal oelek for doubanjiang, keep in mind that it will be significantly spicier.

Therefore, you may want to start with half the amount and then adjust according to taste.

3 – Toban Djan

If you’re a fan of spicy food, then you’re probably familiar with Doubanjiang.

But have you ever tried Toban Djan? This fermented bean paste is similar to Doubanjiang in both taste and texture, but it has a distinctively earthy flavor that sets it apart.

Toban Djan is also a bit milder than Doubanjiang, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for a less fiery alternative.

To use Toban Djan in place of Doubanjiang, simply substitute it in equal proportions.

The paste can be added to stir-fries, soups, and other dishes for an extra kick of flavor.

Plus, its rich color will add a beautiful depth of flavor to your dishes.

4 – Doenjang

Doenjang is a Korean fermented soybean paste that has a strong, umami flavor.

It is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and water for several months.

The resulting paste is then aged for additional flavor.

Doenjang has a thick, chunky texture and ranges in color from light brown to dark brown.

When used as a seasoning, it imparts a deep savory flavor to dishes.

Doenjang can be used as a substitute for doubanjiang in certain recipes.

When substituting, use half the amount of doenjang as you would doubanjiang.

This will ensure that your dish has the desired level of heat and saltiness.

5 – Chili Garlic Sauce

If you love spicy food, then chili garlic sauce is a must-have condiment.

This savory and fiery sauce is made from chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt.

It has a thick, pasty consistency and a deep red color. The taste is hot and garlicky, with a hint of acidity from the vinegar.

Chili garlic sauce can be used as a substitute for Doubanjiang in Chinese cooking.

Doubanjiang is a fermented bean paste that is typically used in stir-fries.

It imparts a savory, umami flavor to dishes. However, it can also be quite salty.

Chili garlic sauce can provide a similar savory flavor without being as salty.

In addition, the heat from the chili peppers will add an extra dimension of flavor to your dish.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Doubanjiang

Revamp your dish with the 5 best substitutes for Doubanjiang. Discover versatile alternatives that seamlessly replace the distinct flavors of Doubanjiang, elevating your culinary creations to new heights.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Gochujang
  • Sambal Oelek
  • Toban Djan
  • Doenjang
  • Chili Garlic Sauce


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Doubanjiang
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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