Soybean paste

Doenjang 된장

Doenjang is a classic fermented seasoning used in countless dishes, dips, soups and stews in Korean cuisine. It’s deep and rich, nutty and full of umami. Soup or stew made with doenjang is one of the most iconic and delicious of all Korean dishes.

It’s made by grinding soybeans into a thick paste that is formed into blocks that are dried and fermented for months, then soaked in brine for a few more months. The liquid becomes Korean soup soy sauce and the solids are doenjang.


This is my favorite brand, “Haechandul.” However, Wang or Soon Chang can also be pretty good.

Soy Bean Paste (Doenjang)I prefer doenjang that is not too dark or light, but a nice brown color like this one.

doenjangThis one looks a too light to me.


Recipes that use soybean paste (doenjang):



  1. ellekimura Malaysia My profile page joined 8/13
    Posted August 10th, 2013 at 5:14 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi,

    is the Haechandul , wang and soon chang brand are suitable for vegetarian and contained any animal substance?

  2. Kamil Poland My profile page joined 2/11
    Posted November 5th, 2012 at 2:16 pm | # |

    Dear Maangchi,

    I just received my long waited soy bean paste but I don’t know if it is good.
    The consistency is just like on the photos you uploaded but the colour is different-it’s dark black. I have never eaten it before so I don’t know if I don’t get ill!?

    Please answer me
    Best wishes,

    • Libelle Germany My profile page joined 10/09
      Posted November 6th, 2012 at 7:46 am | # |

      Hi there, Kamil! Soy bean paste can come in many different shades of brown. I’ve even had soy bean paste vary in colour from the same manufacturer, I guess every batch is different! ^^ Just make sure its soy bean paste you have and not black bean paste which is used for jja jang myun. Hope that helps. ^^

  3. lovex3jennyy New York My profile page joined 6/12
    Posted October 6th, 2012 at 3:13 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi

    I bought my first soy bean paste yesterday I’am excited to make soups and stew especially for my mother who is going to give birth any minute now!!, But i have a question regarding the paste…it came with a white packet inside and im not sure what am i supposed to do with it.

    Thanks – Jenny

    • MindyGirl Orange County, CA My profile page joined 8/09
      Posted October 8th, 2012 at 1:42 am | # |

      The white packet is to keep the paste fresh. Don’t open it, don’t eat it. You can leave it in there or you can throw it out. Hope your stews turn out deelish!

  4. Jasper Philippines My profile page joined 5/11
    Posted December 29th, 2011 at 9:56 am | # |

    hi maangchi.. do i have to keep this in the refrigerator once i open it?

  5. Isabel Philippines My profile page joined 2/10
    Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 5:48 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Is the Korean soy bean paste the same as the Japanese miso?

  6. ainah Malaysia My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 21st, 2011 at 6:25 am | # |

    Hi..maangchi…I’m from malaysia…I just wanna ask I would like to make kimchi but at my place it’s quite difficult to find sweet rice flour. Is it possible if i replace it with corn starch?Is it the taste still delicious?tQ

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 21st, 2011 at 6:48 am | # |

      I would use regular flour instead of starch powder. Good luck with your kimchi making!

    • Muffin21 Dubai My profile page joined 6/11
      Posted March 4th, 2012 at 1:08 am | # |

      Sweet rice flour is same as glutinous rice flour or also known as sticky rice flour in South East Asia! I can buy them in the Middle East! I’m sure you can buy them in Malaysia! I make kimchi with Maangchi’s recipe..minus the squid. It always turn out excellent! Good luck!

    • medusagurlyeah Adelaide My profile page joined 1/14
      Posted April 27th, 2014 at 10:41 pm | # |

      It’s the flour to make “biji salak”.
      Same thing, just called differently.
      Korean recipes and cooking uses some same ingredients us Sg and Ms ppl use too.

  7. maiv california My profile page joined 8/11
    Posted August 13th, 2011 at 11:21 pm | # |

    hi maangchi…i was planning on making some jajamyun but i accidentley bought the soy bean paste other than the black bean paste, so i was wondering if you know any good and easy dishes i can make with the soybean paste….by the way, the soy bean paste taste really salty and funny when in the box, will it taste the same if used in any dishes?

  8. Neny Lily Lao Philippines My profile page joined 5/11
    Posted June 2nd, 2011 at 2:59 am | # |

    Korean Foods and other mixing products are not very much available in our country. For that, I have to make use of my own. Can you specifically, show us the components in making doenjang?Hope you can assist. Thanks.

  9. kim chi US My profile page joined 3/11
    Posted March 5th, 2011 at 6:35 pm | # |

    Can I substitute Thai soybean paste (Healthy Boy brand)?

  10. JamieF New Zealand My profile page I'm a fan! joined 1/11
    Posted February 22nd, 2011 at 7:55 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi – I just bought the brand of soybean paste you use and on the top was a lot of white stuff that smelt very strong (and not pleasant). When I scrape it off the paste beneath appears to be okay – do you think it is safe to use?

    • mimithorr My profile page joined 4/11
      Posted April 2nd, 2011 at 7:18 pm | # |

      I just want to tell you that the white stuff at the top are wax-like fillings that were added to preserve the paste. As long as you scrape it off, the paste will be fine ^^

  11. cuna86 Malaysia My profile page joined 12/10
    Posted December 7th, 2010 at 12:35 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi~! ^^
    I looked upon the ingredients in Hae chan Deul Doen Jaang and I found that it contains Elthyl Alcohol.
    So I was wondering, do you usually put any alcohol to make doenjang to help the fermentation process?
    Thank you in advance~ =)

  12. shuhan90 Singapore, London My profile page joined 11/10
    Posted November 4th, 2010 at 8:19 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I know yous aid there is a difference between doenjang and miso, supposedy miso is milder? but the miso i have is a brown rice miso, it’s dark brown and chunkier, with a stronger taste.. will it be a good substitute for doenjang? also i’m a bit curious about WHEN to add soybean paste to the food. i heard that the fermentation process creates many healthy bacteria, so it’s best to add miso at the end of cooking, to preserve these living enzymes. Yet, in korean food, you seem to add doenjang at the start of cooking..Is there a reason?

    Please help, thank you! I look forward to more yummy food from you (:

    Love, Shuh

  13. KalbiQueen Indiana My profile page joined 8/10
    Posted August 17th, 2010 at 10:48 pm | # |

    Oh, I have the same exact tub of soybean paste in my fridge! I love making jjigae with it using the huge zucchinis I buy from the Farmer’s market. I must admit I don’t make jjigae too often. How long does soybean paste stay “fresh?” I know it’s fermented so I don’t think it technically has an expiration date but thought I’d pose the question.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 18th, 2010 at 9:44 am | # |

      check the expiration date on the tub of soybean paste. I would throw it away even if I kept it in the fridge if the expiration date passed.

      • KalbiQueen Indiana My profile page joined 8/10
        Posted August 18th, 2010 at 7:04 pm | # |

        I can’t really see the expiration date because some water got on the label and rubbed it off. Considering I can’t remember when I bought it, I’ll throw it away and get a fresh tub of fragrant smelling soybean paste :)

  14. Erika
    Posted October 19th, 2009 at 7:33 am | # |

    what is the difference between black bean paste (chunjang) (sample picture:
    black bean garlic sauce? (sample picture:

    ~ i cannot find any chunjang here, how can i make my own recipe of chunjang? what are the ingredients and procedure?

    thank you ^^

  15. Vhon
    Posted October 18th, 2009 at 1:13 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi,

    I am a Filipino, but i love korean food… can i ask is it possible to do a bibimbap using soybean paste instead hot pepper paste? thank you so much!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 18th, 2009 at 11:37 am | # |

      It will be strange taste if bibimbap is mixed with soy bean paste. Don’t ask me why : ) Anyway, if hot pepper paste is too spicy for you to use in your bibimbap, make yangnyumjang. I posted the recipe under bibimbap recipe here:
      “Chop 4 green onions and put them in a small bowl. Pour half cup of soy sauce in there, and add 1 tbs of sesame seeds, 2 ts of sugar, 1 tbs of sesame oil and mix it up.”

    • Janell
      Posted November 12th, 2009 at 12:35 am | # |

      Here is a link to an article from The Korea Times about a small hole-in-the-wall place in Seoul that only sells doenjang bibimbab!

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 24th, 2009 at 6:36 pm | # |

      Hi Vhon:

      I actually like the taste of soybean paste mixed in with the hot pepper paste in my bibimbap. I would do 70% red pepper paste and 30% soybean. The flavours are really good.

  16. d
    Posted October 17th, 2009 at 4:27 am | # |


    this is my first time making pork bone soup, and i used 2 tblespoons of i think chinese soy bean paste… would this still be okay to use for the dish? if not do u think if i added the korean soybean paste to the pot, would it still work? or should i just make a new soup altogether..

  17. Oanh Luong
    Posted September 24th, 2009 at 9:13 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    If I want to buy bean paste, but I don’t know what kind is the best please give me a recommendation.


    • rv65
      Posted October 13th, 2009 at 2:53 am | # |

      Mine is made by Singsong.

      • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
        Posted October 13th, 2009 at 8:38 am | # |

        Probably the brand name is “sinsong”:신송
        I throw the container away after it’s empty.

  18. rv65
    Posted September 4th, 2009 at 11:40 pm | # |

    My container of Doenjang has a packet inside. Whats it used for?

    • ylre
      Posted October 24th, 2009 at 9:30 am | # |

      Wouldn’t that be the dessicant or something to keep the food fresh? I think it’s something like the ones in Gim.

  19. Usagi
    Posted July 14th, 2009 at 2:04 pm | # |

    I have bought a box of the korean bean paste but it has a weird smell to it. is it suppost to have that smell? if yes is there a way to get ride of it?

  20. Joan
    Posted May 26th, 2009 at 2:40 pm | # |

    I ordered bean paste online at koamart and when I recieved it, it smelled like it was overdue. How are bean paste suppose to smell?

  21. Mun
    Posted April 16th, 2009 at 9:47 pm | # |


    I think i really bought the wrong sauce (because the one i bought looks like the picture of soy bean paste)

    i thought soy bean paste is the same as black bean paste, i thought i could make jjajiang myun.

    Maangchi, is there any more food that can fully utilizes soy bean paste? i thought i can still make other great korean food. =)

    Thank you in advance!

  22. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted February 7th, 2009 at 9:07 am | # |

    he len,
    It’s sold at an Asian grocery store. I would appreciate it if you leave the information here if you find it.

  23. he len
    Posted February 6th, 2009 at 11:19 pm | # |

    where can I buy Soybean paste( haechandle Doenjing) at vietnamese?

  24. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted January 27th, 2009 at 11:18 pm | # |

    I always keep it in the refrigerator after opening it.

  25. Amy
    Posted January 27th, 2009 at 8:39 pm | # |

    Hey maangchi
    I want to ask when you open the soybean paste do you store it in refrigerator or I can just leave it in the cabinet

  26. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted January 20th, 2009 at 11:14 pm | # |

    I think you can use just a little salt instead of soy bean paste then.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted January 20th, 2009 at 10:06 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I was wondering for the soybean paste in your avocado recipe… Is there some sort of replacement for soybean paste or can I not use it due to the fact that I can’t really get to a Korean market… I’d love to try that recipe as soon as possible since I love avocado. Heehee, and thank you for all your other recipes! :)

  28. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted December 30th, 2008 at 11:48 pm | # |

    I’m copying my answer from another reader’s question and pasting it here.

    Sorry, I can’t show you how to make hot pepper paste and bean paste for some reasons. First of all I don’t have tools such as a huge earthen pot and other ingredients here in New York, and I don’t have space for the pot and don’t have time to check on it everyday for 1 month. To make bean paste, it takes months and months.
    However, I will keep it in mind.

    Check this out

  29. Bianca
    Posted December 29th, 2008 at 6:51 pm | # |

    Maangchi Onnee,

    Thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes! Let me just say that I check back frequently to check out new recieps, and the Tangsuyuk came out really crispy and delicious.

    I had a question about traditional Dwenjang. I normally buy mine at the store, but recently my mother’s friend from Korea sent me some real home-made dwenjang, and let me tell you, it tastes SO much more better than store bought.

    I want to try to make dwenjang paste myself. Do you know the traditional recipe to make the paste or any good websites that tell you how to make the fermented bean paste?

    Thank you so much!! Please keep all the yummy recipes coming! We all love them!

  30. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted December 17th, 2008 at 12:01 am | # |

    Thank you very much! : )

  31. Debbie
    Posted December 15th, 2008 at 12:52 pm | # |

    My love of Korea, the people and flavors of pure food are given more direction thanks to you. Please continue to make the world come together and enjoy goodness. It’s part of the change we need.

    Thank you Kam sa ham ni da

  32. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted December 15th, 2008 at 10:16 am | # |

    Thank you very much for your nice comment!

  33. Endang
    Posted December 14th, 2008 at 9:59 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Anyong haseyo….
    My name is Endang, I was married with Korean man before and we were live in seol before for 4 years. Now I live in Ca, USA. but I like Korean food very much.
    I would like to thank you for all your recipe, they are delicious, I love them all

    kamsham nida,

  34. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted November 20th, 2008 at 9:33 am | # |

    sayejeol is just a brand name. Ssamjang is dipping sauce. You can make it with soy bean paste and hot pepper paste. Check out my grilled beef recipe. The recipe for ssamjang, and how to use it is posted there.

  35. Doris
    Posted November 20th, 2008 at 6:30 am | # |

    hi Maangchi,

    Could u pls tell me what is the usage of sagyejeol ssamjang? Is it for dipping, seasoning or cooking?

    And also, what is the difference between sagyejeol ssamjang and hot pepper paste?

    Thank you

  36. Jamie
    Posted November 8th, 2008 at 10:50 am | # |

    Thanx a lot!

  37. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted November 7th, 2008 at 10:05 am | # |

    Check this out. I posted it on the forum to share the information with others.

  38. Jamie
    Posted November 6th, 2008 at 11:53 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi!
    Could you tell me where to get soybean paste recipe?

  39. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted November 1st, 2008 at 5:40 pm | # |

    You can use soy bean paste for so many different kinds of dishes. I don’t know much about black bean paste. I use it only for jjajangmyun. Why don’t you ask your questions on the forum on my website? You may get good tips from someone else! Thank you!

  40. dalany
    Posted November 1st, 2008 at 4:20 pm | # |

    Hi Maanghi,

    I was wondering if you can use the soy bean paste or black bean paste for anything else other than soup. Do you have any non-stew/soup recipes with these ingredients? Thank you. Love your blog! I’ve cooked many of your recipes and all are delicious!

  41. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted October 11th, 2008 at 8:00 am | # |
  42. lam
    Posted October 11th, 2008 at 3:09 am | # |


  43. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted August 30th, 2008 at 10:49 am | # |

    It’s interesting that you found me by searching the word “food” on the internet. I feel honored to be in the food category. : )
    Thank you for your support! You bought my book even though you can download it for free.

  44. Cidtalk
    Posted August 30th, 2008 at 4:19 am | # |

    I am always trying to find videos and podcasts to take to work with me. I did a search for “food” recently and found you by pure chance. I absolutely love your videos, your style, your commitment to such lovely traditional food.

    I watched all of your videos in two days and now I’m looking forward to more more more. I was inspired by you to cook something new, but it didn’t taste as good as your dishes look:) Maybe with more practice.

    I did buy your book, so that will surely help.

    Thanks so much for all your hard work and excellent site. I’ll put a link to you on my own site and tell everyone I know to try Korean cuisine!!

  45. Maangchi My profile page joined 7/08
    Posted August 18th, 2008 at 4:31 pm | # |

    to make meju. only soybeans are used.

    • eva
      Posted August 27th, 2009 at 12:15 pm | # |

      Do you know how to make your own meju blocks?
      If so, would you be willing to share the process?

  46. nona
    Posted August 18th, 2008 at 3:16 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi! I was asking you about home made doenjang the other day – can’t find the thread now but thanks for the wikipedia link. I can see why you wouldn’t want to make it anymore since it sounds time consuming and labor intensive. I’ve been looking everywhere for instructions on how to make the meju and I’m surprised not to be able to find any. I think home made doenjang is Korea’s best kept secret! You could make a fortune off it Maangchi! Here’s my main question: Do I need to get anything other than soybeans to make meju? If you can answer that I’ll love you forever! I can see from watching your blog that you really know what you’re talking about.

  47. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted March 28th, 2008 at 10:11 pm | # |

    Hi, keith,
    Thanks a lot! (kam sa ham ni da!) : )

  48. Keith
    Posted March 28th, 2008 at 12:44 pm | # |

    Dear Hammer, (Maangchi:)

    Thank you! I love your videos, you have a great personality and it comes across well on camera. I worked in kitchens years ago and sometimes miss it. Your knife skills are outstanding and best of all you also appear to have all your fingers. I live in Washington, DC and we have a large Korean population, you have made them proud.

    Thank you again for sharing,

  49. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted March 28th, 2008 at 7:30 am | # |

    Hi, Keith,

    Yes, it is a littl different taste between Japanese miso and Korean doenjang even though it’s from the same ingredient soybeans.

    I sometimes use japanese miso when I make miso soup which has not many ingredients. For miso soup, after making delicious stock using dried anchovies, I just use a little bit of japanese soybean paste (miso),very little sea plant(miyuk), and a few cubes of tofu.
    And sprinkle a few chopped green onion, that’s all! I just enjoy the soup as it is.

    However, Korean style doenjang jjigae(soybean stew)needs a lot of ingredients as you see in my “Tofu stew…” video.

    Thank you very much for your interest in my recipes.

  50. Keith
    Posted March 27th, 2008 at 9:25 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Is there a difference between this soybean paste and the Japanese paste used for miso? I live in the Washington, DC area and have been shopping at several Korean markets for years. Your videos and website taught me so much about the many different ingredients that I have passed over before. I am much better educated and can’t wait to try some of your recipes.

    Thank you and keep up the good work,

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