The ubiquitous Korean sauce that goes with EVERYTHING.
If I had to choose one sauce to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it. Gochujang Sauce is the one Korean sauce that rules them all.
What is Gochujang Sauce?
Gochujang Sauce is a Korean sauce. Think of it as a condiment, like ketchup or sriracha. Sweet and spicy with loads of umami flavor, this addictive sauce tastes good on just about everything.
The flavor base comes from Gochujang, Korean fermented chili paste. Naturally vegan, Gochujang is a thick paste that’s quite unique in flavor. Spicy, salty, sweet, and a little bit smoky. There is no substitute!
In Korean, Gochujang Sauce is called Cho Gochujang. “Cho” means “vinegar,” meaning that vinegar has been added to thin out the sauce and add that special tang. Cho Gochujang is runny and pourable, very different from the thick pasty texture of Gochujang alone.
How do you eat it?
Traditionally, Gochujang Sauce is eaten as a sauce or dip. Again, think of it as a condiment — like ketchup or sriracha.
The most common ways to enjoy Gochujang Sauce:
- Bibimbap – Also known as Bibimbap Sauce, drizzle Gochujang Sauce all over your favorite rice bowl. A fried egg on top is a must! Also great with Hwe Dup Bap (Korean Sushi Bowls) and Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls.
- Korean BBQ – Swipe onto lettuce wraps and grilled meat and vegetables. The absolute BEST!
- Dip – Serve alongside crudites — cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, shishito peppers, etc. I grew up eating vegetables this way in my Korean American home. Koreans also dip shrimp cocktail, boiled squid, and even lobster into it.
But honestly? Gochujang Sauce is the versatile condiment that goes with just about anything and everything. I’ve seen it added to a wide range of food. Drizzle on top of:
- Fried Rice
- Scrambled Eggs
- Avocado Toast
- French Fries
Is Gochujang Sauce like Sriracha?
Gochujang Sauce is similar to Sriracha — but not exactly the same.
The are both spicy, red condiments and used as a sauce or dip. They can both be drizzled from a squeeze bottle, too.
But the flavor profile is VERY different! Gochujang Sauce contains a deeper umami flavor because Gochujang is a fermented food product. It’s more earthy and flavorful. Also, it’s sweeter.
By contrast, Sriracha is less intense. More bright and tangy than deep and rich, it’s got subtle smoky and garlic notes.
- Gochujang is Korean fermented chili paste. Bright red with a thick, pasty texture, it adds instant flavor, depth, and savory-richness to any dish. The fermentation process makes Gochujang truly special. The taste is spicy, sweet, savory, and a little smoky. There’s so much depth and umami goodness in one spoonful.
- Vinegar. Any kind of vinegar works. My two preferences are Rice Vinegar and Apple Vinegar. The Rice Vinegar is more acidic and tangy. The Apple Vinegar is more fruity and floral. But both work. Also, white vinegar works just fine if you don’t have either.
- Sugar. Sweetness rounds out all the intense flavors of this sauce. Regular sugar works great. But maple syrup and honey add slightly deeper flavor, if you have it.
- Soy Sauce. Add more umami richness with a little bit of soy sauce. Note: do not use low sodium soy sauce! I find it leaves behind a weird metallic taste.
- Sesame Oil. Makes Gochujang Sauce smooth and pourable. Also adds fragrance and that special, nutty flavor.
How do I store Gochujang Sauce?
Gochujang Sauce keeps well in the fridge. Make sure it’s tightly covered, so it doesn’t dry out.
I store Gochujang Sauce in two ways:
- Glass Jar. Find a jar with a tight fitting lid. Store in the coldest part of the fridge and it should keep for 2-3 weeks. When ready to use, remove from the fridge and stir. If it’s too thick, add a little bit more sesame oil to make it runny and pourable. If the favor is flat, add a little more vinegar.
- Squeeze bottle. Simply double the recipe and add to a squeeze bottle. Make sure the tip is tightly covered.
Honestly, once you start making this sauce, life won’t be the same!
- 1/4 cup Gochujang Korean fermented chili paste
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (white vinegar also works)
- 1 Tbsp sugar (honey or maple syrup also work)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil (add 2 Tbsp if storing in squeeze bottle)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (don't add sesame seeds if storing in squeeze bottle)