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The 5 Best Substitutes for Gochugaru

Korean chili flakes, or gochugaru, are a must for any Korean dish.

The vibrant red pepper flakes add a spicy and salty kick that can’t be beaten.

Whether you’re making kimchi or bulgogi, gochugaru is a key ingredient.

If you’re looking to make your Korean dishes at home or want to add some spice to your routine, gochugaru is the perfect ingredient for you.

That being said, what if you can’t find gochugaru? Or what if you’re looking for a different chili pepper to use in your cooking? Here are five substitutes for gochugaru that will give your dish the same flavor and spice.

From Gochujang to cayenne pepper, we’ve got you covered.

So fire up the stove and start cooking.

What is Gochugaru?

what is gochugaru

Gochugaru is a Korean chili powder typically made from sun-dried chili peppers.

The peppers are then ground into a fine powder that ranges from deep red to light brown.

Gochugaru is typically moderately spicy, with a slightly sweet flavor.

It is often used in dishes such as kimchi and jjigae and can also be used to make gochujang, a type of chili paste.

It can also make a spicy seasoning for meats or vegetables.

It is readily available in Korean markets and can also be purchased online.

With its unique flavor and moderate spiciness, gochugaru is a versatile ingredient that can add depth and spice to any dish.

When used judiciously, it can be a delicious way to add some heat to your cooking.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Gochugaru

There are several good substitutes for those who cannot find gochugaru or those who are looking for a milder chili powder.

Here are five of the best:

1. Gochujang


Who doesn’t love a good Korean BBQ? Gochujang is a key ingredient in many Korean dishes, and it gives the food its signature spicy-sweet flavor.

This fermented chili paste is made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.

While gochujang can add a touch of heat to your meal, its flavor is much more complex than that.

The fermentation process creates a unique umami taste, while the chili peppers contribute sweetness and fruitiness.

And because gochujang is so concentrated, a little goes a long way in flavor.

Gochujang has been used in Korean cuisine for centuries, and it’s now gaining popularity worldwide.

Gochujang is the perfect ingredient if you’re looking to add a little spice to your life.

Whether you’re making Korean BBQ or simply adding it to your stir-fry, this chili paste will give your dish an authentic flavor.

When substituting gochugaru for gochujang, use half the amount of gochugaru called for in the recipe.

2. Chipotle Powder

chipotle powder

For those who love a little spice in their life, the chipotle powder is the way to go.

Made from smoked and dried jalapeño peppers, this powder packs a punch.

It has a deep, smoky flavor with a hint of heat that can elevate any dish.

Add it to your favorite dishes for an extra kick, or use it as a rub for grilled meats.

You can also use it to make a quick and easy rub for grilled chicken or fish.

Just combine the chipotle powder with garlic powder, paprika, and salt, and rub it all over your food before cooking.

The chipotle powder can be used in tried-and-true favorites like chili and enchiladas, or it can add a new twist to more mundane dishes like pasta or rice.

And because it’s so easy to find, it’s a great way to experiment with new flavors without breaking the bank.

3. Cayenne Pepper

cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is a popular spice with a variety of uses.

It can add flavor to food, or it can be used as a natural remedy for various ailments.

Cayenne pepper is made from the dried pods of a type of chili pepper.

The peppers are usually grown in hot, dry climates and are very spicy.

When cayenne peppers are crushed, they release a substance called capsaicin.

This substance is what gives cayenne peppers their heat.

Capsaicin is also responsible for many of the health benefits of cayenne pepper.

Compared to gochugaru, cayenne pepper is not as sweet.

It also has a more sharp, peppery flavor.

When substituting cayenne pepper for gochugaru, you will need to use less since it is more potent.

Start with ½ teaspoon and add more to taste.

That way, you can avoid overwhelming your dish with too much heat.

Cayenne pepper can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores.

4. Chile Pasilla

chile pasilla

Chile pasilla is a type of dried chile pepper commonly used in Mexican cuisine.

The pepper is named after the Spanish word for “RAVEN,” It has a deep, rich flavor that is perfect for adding depth to sauces and stews.

Chile pasillas are typically considered medium-hot on the spice scale, but they can vary in heat depending on where they are grown.

The peppers are also available in both fresh and dried form, although the dried peppers are more common.

When purchasing dried chiles, look for flexible ones with a deep red color.

Avoid brittle or cracked chiles, as these may be old and past their peak flavor.

To use a chile pasilla, remove the stem and seeds and then chop or grind the pepper into the desired consistency.

Compared to gochugaru, chile pasilla peppers are not as sweet and have a more intense smoky flavor.

They are also considerably hotter, so you will need to use less when substituting them in a recipe.

When substituting chile pasilla peppers for gochugaru, it is best to use them in small amounts and taste the dish as you go to ensure that it is not too spicy.

5. Paprika


Who would have thought that such a small, innocuous-looking spice could pack such a flavorful punch? Paprika is made from ground dried peppers, and it comes in a variety of colors and heat levels.

The most common type of paprika is red paprika, which has a mild, sweet flavor.

However, paprika can also be found in shades of orange, yellow, and even green.

When it comes to heat levels, paprika ranges from mild to fiery hot.

As a result, it can add a subtle hint of flavor or give food a real kick.

Whether you use sweet or hot paprika, this spice is a great substitute for gochugaru.

Regarding the substitute ratio, use ⅓ to ½ teaspoon of paprika for every tablespoon of gochugaru called for in a recipe.

When it comes to flavor, paprika is not as intense as gochugaru.

It also lacks the smoky quality that gochugaru imparts.

However, paprika will still give your food a nice bit of heat and a lovely red color.


If you’re looking for a gochugaru substitute, there are plenty of options.

Gochujang, paprika, and cayenne pepper can all be used in place of gochugaru.

Each of these substitutes will provide a similar heat level, although the exact flavor will differ slightly.

When choosing a substitute, it’s important to keep in mind the other ingredients in your dish.

For example, paprika is a good choice for dishes with many other spices, as it won’t overwhelm the other flavors.

Cayenne pepper is a good option if you want more heat than what gochugaru offers.

Ultimately, the best substitute for gochugaru is one that you have on hand and will complement the other flavors in your dish.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Gochugaru

The 5 Best Substitutes for Gochugaru
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Gochujang
  • Chipotle Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chile Pasilla
  • Paprika


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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