Substitute for Gochugaru


Gochugaru is a vibrant spicy and smoky ingredient popular for preparing Korean cuisine. It is used in almost every Korean dish. For example, banchan, kimchi, sauces, and delicious stews. Gochugaru is a red pepper that has been coarsely ground to appear like red pepper flakes. The most amazing thing about this ingredient is that it contains no seeds. Besides, it is traditionally made by sun-drying chili peppers.

Gochugaru has a sweet and hot flavor with a small touch of smokiness. So which ingredient can you substitute for Gochugaru?

Amazing substitute for Gochugaru

1. Cayenne Pepper flakes

Cayenne is a popular substitute for Gochugaru. It is one of the easiest ingredients to find whether when ground or in its flakes form. The best thing about cayenne pepper flakes is that they are also used in most Korean cuisines. That means it won’t change especially when it comes to flavor. The only difference is that cayenne has seeds while Gochugaru does not. So if you are looking for a substitute without seeds cayenne pepper may not be the ideal choice for you. Besides, cayenne and Gochugaru have similar spiciness and they are red.

Please do not confuse cayenne pepper flakes for red pepper flakes. Because red pepper flakes may contain several types combined which may change the flavor and spiciness that you are looking for. Cayenne pepper flakes are widely available hence you will not have a hard time getting this ingredient. Furthermore, you can easily prepare your own if you have cayenne pepper. You can crush it and use as flakes or ground it into a fine powder. Either way makes a great option for you


If you are looking for an alternative that is good for preparing Korean dishes then cayenne pepper is a perfect choice. Besides that, it is widely available and easy to prepare by yourself. The only difference between the two ingredients is that cayenne pepper contains seeds while Gochugaru does not.

2. Paprika

Paprika is similar to Gochugaru in so many different ways. For example, it has a pungent flavor and a vibrant red color. Besides that paprika is sweet and its spiciness is almost the same as that of Gochugaru. Sometimes it varies depending on the brand. However, if you have a staple it will be very easy for you to know the right level for your dish. The only downside for Paprika is that it’s expensive. Paprika hails from N. America especially in Mexico where it’s mostly planted and has existed for centuries. Besides, it’s good to note that Paprika is made from a combination of capsicum sweet and large varieties.


Paprika can be a second great option especially when it comes to flavor, spiciness, and color. The only disadvantage of Paprika as an alternative is that it’s a bit expensive. But overall it makes a good alternative when used in the right amounts.

3. Chipotle powder

Chipotle powder is made up of the ground and smoked chipotle chilies. It makes a good alternative since the heat levels are similar to that of chipotle powder. However, the chipotle powder is a little smokier compared to the Korean spices. Another great advantage of the chipotle powder is that it is widely available. You can easily get it in any supermarket. Besides making your chipotle powder is easy as long as you have chipotle powder. Making your powder is better because you can customize it according to your preferences. For example, you can mix other ingredients such as cumin, cayenne pepper, and garlic to come up with a more enhanced flavor.


Chipotle powder is among the most accessible substitute for Gochugaru. It is easy to make on your own and it contains similar heat levels as Gochugaru.

4. Aleppo pepper powder

Another great match for Gochugaru is the Aleppo pepper powder. However, just like Gochugaru, Aleppo pepper powder can be hard to get hands-on. It is a variety of the capsicum which is mostly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. The Aleppo pepper starts as pods that ripen to form a burgundy color. Then they are dried before the seeds getting extracted. They are then coarsely crushed and ground into a fine powder. Aleppo powder is similar to Gochugaru in such a way that both seeds are not included. Furthermore, it contains moderate heat levels and a fruity raisin flavor. Besides, Aleppo is commonly used in the form of crushed flakes. The flakes are oily and milder as compared to crushed red pepper.


Aleppo pepper powder is a great match thanks to its properties such as flavor and heat levels. However, it may be difficult to come across Aleppo pepper or powder in areas far from the Middle Eastern countries and the Mediterranean region.

5. Chile Pasilla

With a Scoville range of 1000-3999, this Mexican chili is similar to Gochugaru. It’s among the closest when compared to other Gochugaru substitutes. It is a member of the capsicum annum family named after its dark wrinkled skin. When fresh the Chilaca is usually narrow and can measure up to 22 cm long with a twisted shape. Sometimes producers and grocers in the United States confuse the pasilla with the poblano pepper. Pasilla is suitable for preparing sauces, mushrooms, lamb, seafood, duck, and stews. You can also combine it with fruits or other spices to come up with a custom flavor.


Chile pasilla has one of the closest properties to the Gochugaru. Sometimes grocers may confuse it with pablano, so better be keen while making a purchase.

6. Gochujang paste

If you don’t want to go for a different spice then you can replace Gochugaru with Gochujang. It is a popular Korean alternative with a strong miso flavor. Furthermore, it is sweet with a touch of earthiness and salty. It can be used as a substitute for Gochugaru in a few recipes only because of its paste form. Since it’s not a powder, it may not be ideal for certain recipes. It goes well with sauces stews and soups. Making Gochujang at home is easy, you just have to blend Gochujang with other spices while adding some water. Other ingredients that you will require in the mixture include garlic clove, white miso paste, light corn syrup or honey.


Gochujang is a perfect substitute for Gochugaru especially when it comes to sauces, stews, and soups. Because it’s a paste rather than a powder, Gochujang may not be suitable for all dishes.

Summary Table

Substitute Flavor Profile Texture Best Used In Source
Cayenne Pepper Flakes Hot, pungent, intense Flakes Spicy dishes, sauces, marinades Dried cayenne peppers
Paprika Varies (smoked, sweet, hot) Ground spice Seasoning, garnishing, sauces Ground dried red peppers
Chipotle Powder Smoky, rich, medium heat Ground spice Mexican dishes, marinades Smoked and dried jalapenos
Aleppo Pepper Powder Fruity, moderately spicy Ground spice Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes Ground dried Aleppo peppers
Chile Pasilla Mild, earthy, raisin-like Whole or ground Mexican sauces, moles Dried Chilaca peppers
Gochujang Paste Spicy, sweet, umami Thick paste Korean dishes, marinades Fermented red chili, glutinous rice


Is gochugaru just chili powder?

Gochugaru is a specific type of Korean red pepper powder. While it is made from dried chili peppers like many chili powders, gochugaru has a distinct flavor and texture that sets it apart. It’s often used in Korean cuisine for its unique characteristics.

Is Taekyung red pepper powder the same as gochugaru?

Taekyung red pepper powder is a brand of gochugaru, so it can be considered a type of gochugaru. Different brands might have variations in flavor and heat level, but they generally serve the same purpose in Korean cooking.

Can you use red pepper instead of gochugaru?

While you can use red pepper flakes or powder as a substitute for gochugaru, keep in mind that gochugaru has a specific flavor profile and heat level that might not be replicated exactly. Gochugaru contributes to the unique taste of Korean dishes, so substituting it with regular red pepper might alter the intended flavor of the dish.

Ji Eun Kim

Written by Ji Eun Kim

Don't listen to anyone who says you can't be vegan and do well in sports and fitness. Vegans can do great, look good, and feel awesome!

Best Substitute for Dill Weed

Best Substitute for Dill Weed

Rice Vinegar

Substitute for Rice Vinegar