Gochujang is a popular Korean paste made from red chili powder, glutinous rice powder, fermented soybeans, and salt. The paste from this mixture provides a funky yet savory, salty, and spicy condiment for sauces, soups, and stews. While gochujang originates from Korea, there are a lot of gochujang products you can purchase on Amazon.
The best gochujang should have quality ingredients and a high red chili pepper content. There are some brands that manufacture their gochujang pastes in different countries but import ingredients from Korea.
With this in mind, the best gochujang product is CJ Haechandle Gochujang. You can also choose Sempio Hot Pepper Paste, Chung Jung One O'Food Medium Hot Pepper Paste Gold, and Mother-In-Law's Kimchi Fermented Chile Paste. This article covers eight gochujang pastes, one gochujang sauce, and one gochujang powder.
Best Gochujang Brands
Overall Best: CJ Haechandle Gochujang
Our overall best gochujang is 100% made in Korea with premium-quality products.
Pros: It is made with quality ingredients, made in Korea, vegan, preservative-free, and coloring-free
Cons: Issues regarding the packaging
CJ Haechandle Gochujang is our overall best gochujang paste. Aside from being 100% made in Korea, this product assures consumers of using natural and high-quality ingredients in their gochujang paste. This Sunchang gochujang product comes in a plastic tub with a sealed lid and contains no preservatives, additives, or coloring.
We like that the CJ Haechandle Gochujang provides the perfect blend of traditional flavors we look for in a gochujang paste, but the main drawback to this product is its packaging. Although the product comes with a sealed lid, there are a handful of incidents where the lid opens, bursts, or there are complaints of broken seals.
First Runner-up: Sempio Hot Pepper Paste
Made from clear red sun-dried peppers and pepper powder, this paste is a superb addition to recipes in need of spiciness and intense flavor.
Pros: Made in Korea, affordable, flavorful, and does not contain additives.
Cons: It's a little saltier and less spicy.
Sempio Hot Pepper Paste is another Korean-made gochujang paste that you would enjoy. Like any other Korean gochujang product, this one from Sempio provides a blend of savory taste from red chili pepper and fermented soybean. This product also comes in a plastic tub with a sealed lid.
We like that this product is affordable and available in a 6.1-pound tub, so you don’t have to repurchase it all the time. However, the paste you get here is runnier than you would expect, and the product is saltier and less spicy than your regular gochujang. Nevertheless, this is an excellent product for those who can’t tolerate very spicy food.
Amazon’s Best Seller: Chung Jung One O'Food Medium Hot Pepper Paste Gold
It can be used as a condiment, meat marinade, or even added to soups and stir-fry dishes for a spicy kick.
Pros: Provides a balanced flavor profile, is vegan, has no additives, and is affordable
Cons: Shipping and packaging issues
Chung Jung One O'Food Medium Hot Pepper Paste Gold is a product from one of Korea’s leading food brands. One notable thing about this product is that it uses brown rice, which is healthier than regular rice or white glutinous rice. This product also uses all-natural ingredients, including tapioca syrup as its sweetener.
Even though it is vegan and meets global food safety standards, this Sunchang gochujang paste is still cheap. The only drawback to this product is its packaging. Since this red pepper paste comes in a plastic tub, there have been issues with seal breakage and spillage during shipment.
Best Spicy: Chung Jung One Extra Hot Fire Pepper Paste
This brand uses brown rice syrup, which has qualities that can lower cholesterol, help manage diabetes, provide antioxidants, and more.
Pros: Has an extreme spice level for spicy lovers, uses brown rice, has no additives, and is vegan
Cons: It comes in a 200-gram tub and has packaging issues.
Chung Jung One Extra Hot Fire Pepper Paste is the best gochujang paste for spicy lovers. Since this product has a high gochugaru, or Korean chili powder, content, you will only need a small amount for your gochujang fried rice, gochujang tofu, or any Korean recipes you wish to follow. We also appreciate that Chung Jung gochujang products use brown rice, which is healthier than white rice, and natural sweeteners, too.
However, the primary concern consumers have with this product is its packaging. This extra-hot gochujang is available in a 200-gram tub, so you may have to repurchase more often. Also, since this product comes in a plastic tub, there are issues with packaging quality, especially during shipment.
Best Flavor: Mother-In-Law's Kimchi Fermented Chile Paste
It has that umami taste that makes a difference, but it's not gluten-free because it has malt syrup and glutinous rice powder.
Pros: It has a well-balanced taste, is not too spicy, is vegan, and has no preservatives.
Cons: Contained in a glass jar; prone to breakage
Mother-In-Law's Kimchi Fermented Chile Paste is the perfect gochujang when it comes to flavor. Although this gochujang paste has only eight items in its ingredient list, it provides a well-balanced taste that goes well with any Korean cooking that requires red chili pepper.
However, the major drawback of this product is its packaging; this gochujang comes in a glass jar. While glass jars are a sign of high-quality products when it comes to gochujang, they're not the most shipment-friendly as they are prone to breakage.
Best Premium: Chung Jung One Gochujang Premium Korean Red Chili Paste
This brand has been consistently producing top quality gochujang, with chili peppers sourced from Korea and made using traditional methods of fermentation and gochujang production.
Pros: It offers excellent flavors, contains no additives, and is vegan.
Cons: It might be too salty for others.
Chung Jung One Gochujang Premium Korean Red Chili Paste offers premium looks and premium gochujang flavor quality. Although some consumers find this gochujang paste saltier than their liking, it provides that traditional savory taste from the fermented soybean and Korean chili powder.
However, like other gochujang products, the Chung Jung One Gochujang Premium Korean Red Chili Paste is no exception to the packaging and shipment issues. Consumers have complaints about broken seals, product spillage, and packaging damage.
Best Affordable: LUCKY FOODS Seoul Gochujang Chili Paste
Based on the list of ingredients, this sauce doesn't have nitrates, nitrites, or synthetic preservatives. Nevertheless, it keeps quite well when refrigerated after opening.
Pros: Contains high levels of Korean pepper powder, is affordable and vegan, and does not use high fructose corn syrup.
Cons: The ingredient list contains alcohol and added flavorings.
LUCKY FOODS Seoul Gochujang Chili Paste is an affordable gochujang option that offers a quality taste. This Korean-made gochujang paste is vegan, has a high content of Korean pepper powder, and does not use high fructose corn syrup as its sweetener. However, it does use flavor enhancers and has alcohol in its ingredient list.
Best Gochujang Hot Sauce: Bibigo Gochujang Sauce
This sauce is made to satisfy the palates of everyone! It adds a sweet and spicy kick to any dish and can be used for marinades and dips as well.
Pros: It has a well-balanced taste, works well with any dish, and is ready to use.
Cons: It is not as concentrated as gochujang paste.
Bibigo Gochujang Sauce is the best option if you want that gochujang taste on the go. This gochujang sauce has a nice balance of flavors that go well with rice cakes or any other light Korean dish. You can also mix this Korean gochujang sauce with soy sauce to create an easy Korean BBQ sauce or Korean fried chicken dip.
However, since this is a gochujang sauce, you can’t expect the same intense flavors you get when using gochujang paste. Nevertheless, this is an easy way to get that traditional Korean red pepper taste in your Korean dishes.
Best Gochujang Powder: Taekyung Chili Powder For Paste
Regular spicy flavor with Scoville Heat Unit of around 4,500. Ideal as a basic ingredient for numerous Asian recipes.
Pros: It is 100% Korean-made, does not contain any additives, is gluten-free, and is vegan.
Cons: Processing requires time.
Taekyung Chili Powder is the perfect red chili powder to use when making homemade gochujang. Since some gochujang pastes do not contain enough gochugaru, or Korean red pepper powder, you can use this to enhance their flavor or make gochujang from scratch to match your tastes. This product is 100% made in Korea and contains only red chili peppers.
Best Vegan Option: Sempio Vegan Gochujang
Great for stir-frying, dipping, marinating, or combining with other condiments like mayo, ketchup, or salsa to spice them up.
Pros: Excellent taste, affordable, and vegan.
Cons: Has alcohol.
Sempio Vegan Gochujang is one of the go-to gochujang products that assures the traditional Korean gochujang taste. This vegan gochujang works well with rice cakes and other Korean dishes. While this gochujang brand is affordable, note that it contains alcohol and is not Halal.
Best Gochujang Buying Guide
Gochugaru, or Korean pepper powder, is essential to making gochujang. While you can use red chili powder like Taekyung Chili Powder to make homemade gochujang and ensure a spicy paste, you can also search for brands that contain at least 12% of gochugaru in their product.
The use of quality ingredients is the key to a good gochujang paste. Make sure to purchase gochujang products with high-quality and natural ingredients. It helps if you purchase from trusted Korean brands, such as CJ Haechandle Gochujang, Chung Jung One O'Food Medium Hot Pepper Paste, and Sempio Hot Pepper Paste, to ensure high-quality gochujang.
Type of Sweetener Used
The best sweetener for gochujang is grain syrup, since it’s healthier than high fructose corn syrup. You can try browsing the ingredient list and product information and looking for sweeteners like brown rice syrup, malt syrup, or even maple syrup.
One major issue when purchasing gochujang online is the packaging. Most products come in plastic tubs, which are prone to damage during shipment. However, you can try looking for shops that pack the products safely.
Yes. Gochujang is a type of fermented Korean chili paste that contains fermented soybeans.
No. Both gochujang and Thai chili paste have red chili pepper in them, but gochujang has a savory flavor from fermented soybeans, while Thai chili paste has a strong garlic flavor and tastes like rice vinegar.
The best gochujang substitutes are red pepper flakes mixture, miso paste and chili paste, Thai chili paste, Harissa paste, Sambal Oelek, dates and spice blend, and tomato paste. While tomato paste does not provide the same flavor profile as gochujang, you can add soy sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes and use it in a pinch.
Traditionally, gochujang is added to marinades, rice bowl meals, rice cakes, dipping sauces, stews, soups, and Korean side dishes. However, nowadays, people add it to any dish that requires that spicy and savory taste. Gochujang works well with sesame seeds, sesame oil, cheese, tomato paste, rice vinegar, and any meat.