Best Substitutes for Korean Chili Powder (Gochugaru) (Gochugaru)

If you’ve ever tasted Korean food, you’ve probably wondered what makes some of it so hot. If you’re thinking about normal chili powder or paprika, you’re mistaken. Spices are one of the key variables that define meals throughout the globe. Spices are responsible for the scent and color of a meal, in addition to the flavor.

Similarly, Korean cuisine has a variety of speciality ingredients that are associated with its delicacy, one of which is gochugaru. We’ll go over the fundamentals as well as the finest gochugaru alternative based on flavor, color, and texture.

What is Gochugaru?

Since Gochu means chili pepper and Garu means powder, the name Gochugaru signifies chili pepper powder. It’s an ingredient in many well-known Korean dishes, and it’s also a pantry staple.

Gochugaru of the highest grade is produced from seedless sun-dried spicy peppers. Although machine-dried peppers are less costly, the traditional approach of employing sun-dried hot peppers for accurate color and heat level is preferred.

Deseeded hot peppers are dried and ground to a coarse texture that is finer than crushed red chili flakes but not totally powdered. Since seedless peppers are used, the finished product is a brilliant red spice.

The heat and spice level of gochugaru vary from moderate to intense, thus there are many variations available. Expect flavors that are somewhat sweet, smokey, and peppery. Gochugaru ranks between 1500 to 10,000 SHU (Scoville heat units) on the Scoville Scale. Maewoon gochugaru is the spicier of the three, whereas deolmaewoon gochugaru is the mildest.

Remember to experiment with various types of gochugaru, since it is often used in Korean recipes and you may not be used to such heat levels. Yet, if you’re familiar with the flavors of East or West Indian cuisine, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Gochugaru is used in several well-known Korean dishes, including Kimchi, cucumber salad, and a variety of spicy soups.

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Although it may be difficult to obtain gochugaru in your local grocery shop, this should not deter you from eating great Korean cuisine.

These are our top five substitutions for gochugaru:

1. Chipotle Powder as Substitute for Gochugaru

To some degree, spicy cuisine is dependent on the quantity of chili powder added for that additional spike of flavor. Although gochugaru is the most spicy option, chipotle powder is a close second and the closest Korean chili powder alternative.

Chipotle powder is not a pepper in and of itself. It is created with dried and smoked jalapeño peppers, giving it a smokey taste comparable to gochugaru. The heat levels of the two spices are almost identical. Gochugaru has a SHU range of 1500 to 10,000, while chipotle powder has a SHU range of 3000 to 30,000.

One thing to keep in mind is that chipotle powder may have a little more smokey flavor than gochugaru, which may impact the overall flavor of the dish. But, you may counteract the tastes by mixing in some crushed red pepper with the chipotle powder. This will minimize the smokey taste while increasing the spice level. In terms of color, the chipotle powder is a flaming red but a touch darker than gochugaru.

The nice part about chipotle powder is that it is widely accessible in supermarkets and grocery shops. If you have any leftover chipotle powder, you may use it in Mexican cuisine dishes later. Use equal amounts chipotle powder and gochugaru.

Can’t seem to locate chipotle powder? Replacement for Chipotle Powder

2. Cayenne Pepper

A excellent spice replacement not only has a comparable taste, but it also has a similar texture. Cayenne pepper is an excellent alternative for gochugaru since it has a comparable heat and textural profile. Cayenne pepper is a rich red with a brownish-orange tinge.

Cayenne pepper is also frequently used in many Korean recipes, so if you have it on hand, you may use it to make other Korean meals like Kimchi. Cayenne has a similar texture to gochugaru but is hotter. Cayenne pepper is available in flakes or powder form. Cayenne flakes, on the other hand, are very fiery because they include crushed pepper seeds.

4th teaspoon of cayenne pepper with one teaspoon of gochugaru. Taste and adjust as needed. Cayenne pepper powder has a Scoville Scale value of 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. To reduce the spiciness of cayenne pepper, soak it in lukewarm water for a few minutes before adding it to your dish. 3rd substitute

Cayenne pepper is high in vitamins A, C, and E, in addition to having a fantastic taste and texture. It also includes flavonoids, an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage.

3. Chile Pasilla as Substitute for Gochugaro

Spicy meals are not for everyone. If you’re creating Korean food for children or visitors who have a poor tolerance for spicy food, use a mild-flavored gochugaru alternative. If you wish to reduce the spiciness, Chile pasilla is an excellent substitute for gochugaru.

Chile Pasilla is a Mexican plant with a dark, nearly black tint. It’s a key component in salsa, tortilla soups, and adobo sauces. Chile Pasilla scores from 1000 to 4000 SHU on the Scoville Scale, which is about the same as the spice level of gochugarus. Despite this, Chile Pasilla has a milder flavor and provides for more control over the quantity of spiciness in the meal.

Chile Pasilla’s sole disadvantage is its hue. The deep tint is nothing like the brilliant red colour of gochugarus. This will undoubtedly have an impact on the ultimate outcome of your food. If sacrificing on color is not an option, it is best to avoid Chile Pasilla.

Chile Pasilla has a stronger taste than other spices with a vivid red hue, such as paprika, chungyang red pepper, and fish pepper. You may use equal parts Chile Pasilla and gochugaru, and add more as required.

4. Paprika as Korean Chilli Powder Substitute

Several Korean foods, such as Kimchi, are bright red in color. If you want your dishes to have the same brilliant red color as gochugaru, use paprika instead. Paprika is the fourth most often used spice globally, and it is easily accessible in food shops. It’s possible you already have it in your pantry. Paprika, unlike gochugaru, comes in a variety of varieties.

Ground dried pepper is used to make paprika. The procedure yields a brilliant orange-red powder. Sweet, spicy, and smoked paprika are the three varieties of paprika. To choose the best gochugaru alternative, you must first grasp the differences between the three types.

Sweet or basic paprika, which has a moderate taste and falls within the Scoville Scale range of 250 to 1000 SHU, is often found in grocery shops. The spicier variety is known as Hungarian paprika, and it is popular in Hungarian cuisine such as Goulash. It is also recognized to be the highest quality of the three varieties. The last ingredient is smoked paprika, which gives a sweet and smokey taste to your meal.

Paprika is available in powder form, and you may use any of the three to replace gochugaru in an equal amount.

Paprika unavailable? See also Paprika Substitutes.

5. Gochujang

Gochujang is another famous Korean spice that may be used in place of gochugaru. Since both of these spices are made from gochu pepper, they have a similar taste. Yet, the texture distinguishes both spices. Gochujang is a thick paste that comprises additional ingredients including salt, soybeans, and sticky rice. Gochujang is less than 1000 SHU on the Scoville Scale.

If you use gochujang instead of gochugaru in your recipe, it will have a saltier taste. It’s a great flavor for stews, sauces, and kimchi. When adding gochujang to your cuisine, use a gentle touch with the salt. Recall that gochujang comes in paste form. It may cause your meal to get soggy and sticky.

The spiciness of gochujang will vary depending on the brand. To be safe, begin by using a tiny quantity in your recipe. Gochujang’s pungent and spicy taste is ideal for marinating meats. Gochujang is the greatest option for individuals who like salty tastes over sweet ones. Refrigerate it until ready to use in other Korean dishes.

For every teaspoon of gochugaru, use one teaspoon of gochujang. Taste and adjust as needed.


There are many red spices available, but only a handful can match the peculiar taste of gochugaru. It tastes like a variety of chillies rolled into one.

If you’ve been putting off tasting Korean food owing to a lack of Korean spices, you now have a thorough list of substitutes. You may use any or all of them as a gochugaru alternative to get the greatest flavor for you.


Is gochugaru the same as chili powder?

Gochugaru is a coarsely powdered Korean chili powder with a texture similar to crushed red pepper flakes, originally manufactured from sun-dried peppers without the seeds. Korean chili flakes, Korean hot pepper flakes, and Korean chili powder are other common names.

Is there a substitute for Korean chili powder?

Alternative for Korean Chilli Powder: Paprika

If you want your dishes to have the same brilliant red color as gochugaru, use paprika instead. Paprika is the fourth most popular spice in the world, and it is widely accessible in supermarkets. It’s possible you already have it in your pantry.

Can I substitute red pepper flakes for gochugaru?

Red pepper flakes are a suitable but not perfect alternative for gochugaru, particularly in applications such as kimchi. The sweet and smokey qualities of gochugaru are crucial to the taste profiles of Korean meals that call for it.

What is the closest spice to gochugaru?

Gochugaru Crushed Red Pepper is the best substitute. Crushed red pepper flakes are an excellent gochugaru alternative…. Paprika…. Gochujang…. Cayenne Pepper Flakes…. Aleppo Pepper Flakes…. Guajillo Powder…. Chipotle Powder…. Chili de Arbol Powder.
Additional details…•December 6, 2022

Is gochugaru just red chili powder?

Korean gochugaru is either a chili powder or a chili flake, depending on how it’s made or the brand you buy. These red pepper flakes are used in a variety of dishes in Korean cuisine, including cold salads, kimchi, stews, and more. Gochugaru has a bright crimson hue and a smokey, somewhat fruity taste.

Which Korean chili powder is best?

If you want to produce the greatest kimchi possible, use real Korean red chili powder. I used red pepper flakes in my Kimchi-Style Sauerkraut recipe at first but now prefer gochugaru.

What is the best chili powder for kimchi?

Gochugaru. Gochugaru is a coarsely powdered Korean chili powder, also known as red pepper flakes, that adds a lot of flavor and spiciness to kimchi. It is better to utilize genuine gochugaru rather than a substitute.

Which Korean chili powder brand is best for kimchi?

Red Chili Pepper Powder Tower Top Gochugaru for Kimchi is ideal for preparing a variety of Kimchi. Red pepper, a tropical perennial crop, is an alkaline meal high in fiery capsaicin and vitamins A and C.

What is the difference between gochugaru and normal chilli flakes?

What exactly is this? Gochugaru, on the other hand, tastes considerably different from other non-Korean standard chili powder and chili flakes variants (e.g. cayenne pepper powder). It has a considerably milder flavor in contrast, thus it is preferable not to replace it.

What is the difference between gochugaru and red pepper flakes?

Crushed red pepper is commonly manufactured from cayenne pepper, a chili with a Scoville heat unit rating of 30,000 to 50,000. (SHU). Gochugaru has a heat intensity of 4,000 to 8,000 SHU (similar to a jalapeo).

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