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What is Korean Hot Sauce?

What is Korean Hot Sauce?

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  • 4 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red hot pepper paste)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Whisk ingredients together until combined. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Leftovers may be frozen.

Use sauce as a condiment for Bibimbap and other Korean dishes. Serve in a small bowl or a condiment squeeze bottle.

If you've been to a Korean restaurant, chances are this sauce was on the table. I think of it as a Korean sriracha sauce. It makes almost every Korean dish better. It's spicy, but not over-the-top spicy. The main ingredient is gochujang (or kochujang) fermented red pepper paste, a staple in Korean cooking. This only takes a couple of minutes to make. It's simply a matter of whisking together the ingredients, and it's ready to serve.


  • gochujang (kochujang) red pepper paste
  • toasted sesame oil
  • rice vinegar
  • soy sauce -- I use low sodium
  • fresh garlic, minced
  • brown sugar
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl, whisk them together, and refrigerate. I've seen this sauce made both with and without the added sesame seeds--it's good either way.

Serve this sauce with Korean tacos, sandwiches, bibimbap rice bowls, or as a side with any Korean meal. This sauce is always on the table with my other Korean recipes:

Korean restaurants often serve this sauce in a condiment squeeze bottle for convenient dispensing at the table. The sauce will keep for at least 2 weeks, and the bottle will fit in your fridge door with other condiments. (NOTE: I f you're using a condiment bottle, o mit the sesame seeds and finely mince the garlic--otherwise they will clog the opening in the lid.) I labeled this bottle for easy identification on a buffet table.

Perfect for Korean Bibimbap and noodle bowls. I periodically prepare lunch for the hungry crew at my sons' company Less Annoying CRM located in downtown St. Louis. This Bibimbap Sauce was among the condiments included on a make-your-own Korean rice or noodle bowl buffet. I served it along with homemade Spicy Mayo Sauce, Everyday Korean Sauce, and store bought Sriracha and Gochujang (Korean chili paste).


This sauce is so good! Highly recommended, perfect for recipes or just to pour it in your favorite food

I love this sauce so much! I love it more on dumplings then dumpling sauce. I Love it just on rice. Or with vegetables

I was at Mariano's and This guy had me at "This is my mamas recipe". It's seriously SO GOOD!! I want to eat it with everything. My family is hooked too. I need more.

Found it at a local farmers market a while ago and it’s been taking off for good reason! Very unique flavor with the heat and sesame oil. I gave my last bottle to my cousin when he was at my house because he just loved it. It’s available at Hy-Vee now. I strongly suggest trying it!

I don't even need sriracha anymore. I put the spicy version on everything. This is the real deal. If you like sauce, you need to have this on hand for all rice, meat, noodles, and anything else you like a good sauce on.

This is now my go to hot sauce. It's delicious and reminds of me of my mothers home cooked Korean food. You can put this on anything which is awesome and it won't become a painful spice, but rather a delightful spice.

Just picked up 2 bottles (one spicy and one regular) of K-Mama from their stand at the Auto Show. We were pleasantly surprised because we have tried so many kinds of hot sauces, but this one is different with it's initial sweet and then changes to a slower heat. It's just really pleasant and adds great flavor. Keep it up, guys!

There are some fruits like pears that can help tenderize the meat which is why you’ll see Asian Pears being used in recipes. But since we are making chicken and marinating this overnight, I didn’t feel the need to use pear and wanted the ingredient list to be short and simple.

Yes, very similar! You can expect the same flavors when you use this marinade.

Guys, bust out that cast iron pan that’s been lying around and definitely try this recipe! You’ll be amazed at the amount of flavor that only seven ingredients can bring to a recipe. And you’ll be thanking me for making you try Korean at home!

Chili Peppers Boost Immunity

The bright color of red chili peppers signal their high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chili peppers provide about 6 percent of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin A. Often called the anti-infection vitamin, vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract, and urinary tract as well as serving as the body's first line of defense against invading pathogens.

16 Recipes That Get a Spicy-Sweet Kick From Gochujang

Yasmine is an Assistant Editor at Serious Eats, splitting her time between social and editorial work. Her work has been featured in Women’s Health and on L’Officiel USA, and she recently graduated from New York University with a master's in journalism. You can find her at Bleecker Street Pizza on any given weekend.

If you’re familiar with Korean cuisine, then you’ve probably come across gochujang, a spicy-sweet chili paste that’s as versatile as it is delicious. The pungent paste is made from red chili pepper flakes, fermented soy beans, glutinous rice, and salt. It’s traditionally fermented for many months, and sometimes years, in which the starches from the rice are converted to sugars, helping create gochujang’s iconic yet subtle sweetness.

Because it's not just cooked, but fermented, Gochujang does much more than add spice to your favorite dishes. We love its complex layers of flavor that make it spicy, sweet, salty, and funky all at once. It also has a thick consistency and deep red color that adds texture and brightness when used, especially in sauces and marinades. You’ll often find gochujang in Korean dishes like bibimbap and bulgogi, as well as a number of stews and sauces.

A little goes a long way with this umami-boosting ingredient. In the recipes below, only about a tablespoon or two of gochujang is called for, but you can always add more to suit your tastes. From barbecue sauces and ketchups to stir-fried anchovy banchan and crispy skillet rice, these are our favorite ways to incorporate the sweet heat of gochujang.

No disrespect to the frozen tots these are based on, but making your own is way more fun than opening a bag (and they taste better, too).

Can’t find Japanese pickles? Shave some radishes, carrots, or cucumbers, then toss the slices with a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a few spoonfuls of rice vinegar. Let sit 5 minutes before using.

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

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How to Make Korean Bibimbap Sauce

*Each of the sauces below are enough for 12 to 15 servings.

**If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my 30 essential Korean ingredients list.

Classic Gochujang Bibimbap Sauce

Some people make bibimbap with just plain gochujang, but that’s just a big NO for me. I love adding some extra flavor! This classic gochujang bibimbap sauce is slightly sweet, zingy and nutty. It’s hugely addictive!

Many people around the world already tried and loved my “gochujang bibimbap sauce”. This recipe is a larger batch of my original bibimbap sauce recipe.

This classic sauce goes well in any kind of bibimbap bowl. Just note that it’s a bit spicy!


  • 1/2 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp vinegar, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 4 tsp minced garlic


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.

Funky Doenjang Bibimbap Sauce

I think this doenjang bibimbap sauce might be quite new to many of you. It’s certainly not a mainstream sauce, but nonetheless, it’s a great bibimbap sauce!

Its key ingredient is doenjang (Korean soybean paste, also known as Korean miso paste). So you can expect some funky and slightly pungent flavor!

I think this sauce goes well with vegetarian bibimbap where you use lots of vegetables and tofu. It’s also not spicy.


  • 1/2 cup doenjang (Korean soybean paste)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.

Meaty Gochujang Bibimbap Sauce

This meaty gochujang bibimbap sauce is essentially stir fried gochujang with some ground meat. It’s a great condiment to have because it can really save your meal prep time.

It is also a popular dipping sauce for ssambap (Korean rice lettuce wrap) as well.

As a bibimbap sauce, this sauce is not as runny as the other sauces here. Also, this bibimbap sauce requires slightly more preparation than the rest of the sauces here, so I will refer you to check out my instructions from here – stir fried gochujang.

Kid Friendly Soy Sauce Bibimbap Sauce

I love my bibimbap so much, but until recently I didn’t make it as often as I would like. Because, my little girl can’t handle the spicy food well yet. Then I thought why not make a non-spicy bibimbap sauce for her!? I should have thought of it sooner. LOL.

Anyway, this bibimbap sauce is without gochujang and is not spicy. It’s a great sauce for anyone who does not tolerate spicy food well. I based this sauce on my Korean pan fried tofu recipe. How handy!


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, regular
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 4 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.

What ‘Chu Know About Gochujang? It's the Hottest Hot Sauce on the Market

There's one dish on the menu at NYC's newly reopened Dirt Candy that recently caught the attention of several Bon Appétit staffers: the Korean fried broccoli . The deep-fried broccoli bites are coated in an addictive spicy sauce that gets its deep, piquant flavor from gochujang , the Korean fermented chile paste.

"I wanted this snack to be a great, big, savory flavor bomb," chef Amanda Cohen told BA . "That's gochujang all over because it's got such a huge garlicky, spicy, fermented taste that holds its own with fried broccoli."

The Korean-fried broccoli with gochujang at Dirt Candy. Photo: Evan Sung

What Is Gochujang, Exactly?

Gochujang is a thick, crimson paste made from chile peppers, glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice), fermented soybeans, and salt. The chile peppers provide a healthy amount of lingering heat that's not burn-your-mouth spicy the sticky rice brings a touch of sweetness that's sometimes enhanced by added sugar and the fermented soybeans act as the miso-like ingredient that anchors gochujang's "umami" flavor. But "umami bomb sells it way short," says Matt Rodbard , the author of Koreatown: A Cookbook , which will be published by Clarkson Potter next February. Rodbard describes gochujang's flavor as having "funkiness, spice (sometimes a CRAZY amount of spice), and sweetness on the backend."

Gochujang isn't meant to be used as a finishing sauce like sriracha or Tabasco—it's too aggressive. And although it goes into many traditional Korean dishes, it's hardly ever used plain for the same reason. " It must be cut with something (sesame oil, crushed garlic, sugar, soy sauce), which is where the problem starts with novice chefs cooking with it," Rodbard says. Gochujang's sweet-hot-salty flavor truly shines when it's used by the spoonful to add depth to stews and marinades for meat dishes like spicy bulgogi . The Korean meat-and-veg rice bowls known as bibimbap always come with a side of gochujang-based sauce for mixing into the bowl. And Korean barbecue joints will often serve a sauce called ssam jang that includes gochujang and doenjang , another essential Korean fermented soybean paste.

Gochujang is most commonly sold in short, square-shaped tubs, like this one made by CJ Haechandle. Photo: Amazon

Gochujang Rising

Chefs are increasingly finding that gochujang's earthy spice pairs well with foods that are already popular in America—think grilled steak, tacos, and burgers.

"You don’t see a lot of Korean restaurants opening up all over the country," says chef Edward Lee , the Korean-born chef and owner of Louisville's 610 Magnolia and MilkWood . "They're very difficult to set up and are just not very economical as a business. So what you’re seeing instead is an explosion of traditional Korean ingredients through chefs and foodies who are using them in really nonconventional ways."

At his restaurants, Lee uses gochujang to riff on familiar foods in the American (and particularly Southern) diet. Lee swears by his gochujang butter —blended with honey, fish sauce, and soy sauce—over a simple grilled steak. And at MilkWood, he serves a popular collard greens dish cooked with gochujang and kimchi.

One reason for gochujang's burgeoning popularity is that it can easily piggy-back on already-popular, recognized flavors like barbecue sauce.

"You can take a very approachable product like ribs and give them a Korean twist and a certain level of authenticity," says Dean Small , the president and founder of Synergy Restaurant Consultants in California. "Same goes for pizza. If you can put barbecue chicken on it, could you not use a gochujang barbecue sauce?"

Small, who works with national chains and independent restaurants, says he's noticed an uptick in clients who have expressed interest in incorporating gochujang into their menus in the past three years.

The Future Is Bright (and Spicy)

Even Umami Burger , the California-based fast-casual burger chain with locations in New York, Las Vegas, and Chicago, is getting in on the gochujang craze. When the chain opened its newest location in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood two weeks ago, it also debuted a new burger inspired by the flavors of Korean barbecue. The K-BBQ burger is glazed with a reduction of gochujang and Sierra Mist, then topped with both caramelized and fresh kimchi, as well as a homemade gochujang ketchup.

Umami Burger's new K-BBQ burger features a gochujang glaze and a Korean ketchup. Photo: Umami Burger

"When you have gochujang on a burger, it brings about a smoky intenseness you can only get from that Korean funk," says Umami Burger's executive chef Ted Hopson .

Small thinks gochujang has a long life ahead of it within the American food landscape, and he predicts we'll begin seeing it on more menus across the country in the coming years—and not just at of-the-moment restaurants like Dirt Candy. Small says gochujang, like its spicy predecessors—chipotle, ghost peppers, and sriracha—is likely headed for the chicken wings at your local Applebee's or Buffalo Wild Wings , although it might not show up on the menu as "gochujang-glazed chicken wings."

We're already seeing Western-friendly naming conventions for dishes like Umami's "K-BBQ" burger and Dirt Candy's "Korean" fried broccoli. "I didn't want to have another word on my menu that customers won't understand so I don't list it," Cohen says.

"If people can’t pronounce it, they oftentimes will not order it because they don’t want to feel ignorant or embarrassed," Small says. "So mainstream operators [like Applebee's] may just find themselves calling it something else, like 'Spicy Korean Wings.'"

Bringing Gochujang Home

You can find gochujang paste at any Korean market, where it's commonly sold in small, red square tubs. (Commercial brands come in varying heat levels, so check the package before purchasing.) Add a teaspoonful at a time to add complexity and a little heat to your favorite soups and marinades, or stir it into dressings like the one in our Steakhouse Salad with Red Chile Dressing and Peanuts recipe.

Chung Jung One's gochujang paste and Momofuku's gochujang-based sauce are both geared toward American home cooks. Photos: Chung Jung One and Momofuku.

Edward Lee has seen diners react so positively to gochujang's unique flavor that last year he agreed to consult on a new gochujang paste from the popular Korean food brand Chung Jung One that's specifically marketed to Americans and comes in a convenient squeeze bottle. The idea is to get gochujang into the pantries of Western home cooks who might not have tried or cooked with it before, versus cooks who already prepare Korean food, who have to use it. (And if Momofuku's new bottled, gochujang-based sauce is any indication, David Chang is thinking the same thing.)

"There was a time when Asian food was considered ‘foreign' or 'other' and now you see people saying, 'I want to put this on my Totino's stuffed pizza rolls,'" Lee says.

Spicy and Sweet Korean Chogochujang Dipping Sauce

Few Korean households would be without some spicy dipping sauce at the ready, particularly chogochujang, which is sometimes shortened to chojang. This particular spicy-sweet chili pepper dipping sauce is made with gochujang, a traditional Korean chili red pepper paste. The sauce is primarily used for mixed rice dishes, such as bibimbap and hwe dup bap. It adds a significant spice factor to a dish but also gives off a hint of sweetness.

Gochujang generally contains red chili powder, fermented soybeans, ground-up glutinous rice, and salt. Some recipes substitute other grains or starches, including sweet potato, barley, or wheat, for the glutinous rice. Gochujang also can contain a small amount of honey, sugar, or another sweetener. The resulting paste is thick and looks something like brick red icing or toothpaste.

In simpler times, most Koreans made their own gochujang paste. But since the paste must ferment for a month or more and is time-consuming to create, many Koreans now purchase the paste at the supermarket. It's usually sold in tubs that look something like margarine containers, although you also can find them in squeeze bottles.

For chogochujang, the chili pepper paste is mixed with sugar, honey, vinegar, garlic, and sesame oil for a flavorful dipping sauce.

How to make?

  • Cut the breast into strips.
  • Use a non-metallic bowl to marinate it. Or mix the marinade and the meat strips in a ziploc bag.
  • Make the gochujang marinade: combine the gochujang paste + soy sauce + apricot jam + sesame oil + gochugaru + fish sauce + rice vinegar.
  • Mix the meat with the marinade.
  • Marinate for 30 minutes to 6 hours, the longer the better.
  • If marinating for only 30 minutes, leave at room temperature (unless it is really hot).
  • If marinating for longer, bring it to room temperature before cooking.

  • Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan.
  • Cook the meat in two batches.
  • Place half of the strips in the hot pan and cook for 2 minutes without moving.

  • Flip and cook for another minute or until cooked through.
  • Remove from the pan and fry the second batch.
  • Return the first batch to the pan, add about 2/3 of the finely sliced green onions and stir fry for one minute.
  • Sprinkle the gochujang chicken breast with the remaining green onions and sesame seeds.


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