Hot pepper paste

Gochujang 고추장

I’m thrilled to introduce you to my homemade Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang) recipe today. Yes, eventually! Over the years so many of my readers and viewers have requested the recipe for gochujang, but I thought I couldn’t make it until I visited Jamie Frater’s house in New Zealand during my Gapshida trip last year. To make good, well-fermented gochujang, you need good quality ingredients, an earthenware pot to make it in, and a sunny place for it to ferment. Making gochujang is easy, but taking care of it requires lots of patience and hard work.

Gochujang needs direct sunlight, so after you make it you need to open the earthenware pot on sunny mornings to let the sunlight hit it, and be sure to cover it in the evening. You have to stir it sometimes and turn it over from the bottom to the top so that it’ll be mixed and fermented evenly. As time goes on, your gochujang will turn shiny and turn a richer red. If you go outside to meet your friend but it suddenly rains and you forgot to close the lid, your gochujang will be spoiled.

Besides this, gochujang  should not be made in the heat of summer or it will ferment too fast and explode. One of my Korean friends studying in the USA brought a container filled with his mother’s homemade gochujang on the airplane. He took it in his carry on. A long time ago, it was possible for people to bring gooey stuff like hot pepper paste, soybean paste, and even kimchi on an airplane. We have so many funny stories about this.

So my friend’s gochujang exploded on the airplane. Store bought gochujang is processed to stop fermenting, but homemade gochujang never stops, just like kimchi. The gas from the fermentation process kept pushing the lid of the container until it blew up. My friend’s mother must have packed it tightly with plastic bags and tape.

I’m living in an apartment in Manhattan without a patio, so it seemed impossible for me to make something that needs lots of direct sunlight to ferment well. Well-fermented gochujang is really delicious, and a totally different flavor from gochujang bought in a store. For a delicious meal you can simply mix it with warm rice, chopped kimchi, and sesame oil.

So on my Gapshida trip, Korean food fan Jamie Frater invited me to his house to cook together. We filmed my popcorn chicken gizzard recipe video and the next day we filmed this gochujang video. The cameraman, Ryan Sweeney, is also a big fan of Korean food.

Jamie was waiting for me with all the ingredients for gochujang as well as Korean earthenware pots: onggi. He brought these from a trip to Korea that he won in a Korean food blog contest 2011 on the basis of his Korean food writing.

This Korean gochujang was made in New Zealand and taken care of by Jamie for months. It’s really international!


Makes about 16 quarts



  1. Mix 8 liters (32 cups) of water and 2 pounds of barley malt powder (yeotgireum) in a large basin
  2. Strain the mixture and put it in a large heavy bottomed pot.
  3. Heat it up on the stove for about 20 minutes until it’s warm. Dip your finger in to test it: it should be warm, not hot.
  4. Remove it from the heat and add sweet rice flour. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Let it sit for 2 hours. The liquid on the surface will look a lot clearer, and it will taste a little sweet.
  6. Bring to a boil for about 2 hours over medium high heat, until it reduces by ¼-⅓ (about 28-30 cups).
    *tip: Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon so it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pot.
  7. Add the rice syrup and mix well.
  8. Remove from the heat and wait until it completely cools down.
  9. Add mejugaru  and mix well. Then add  hot pepper powder and mix well. Lastly add salt, and stir until there are no lumps in the paste.
  10. Transfer it to an earthenware pot or glass jar and cover with mesh or cheesecloth before closing the lid.
  11. It will take about 2-3 months to properly ferment. During that time it’s best to open the lid and let it sit in the sunlight during the daytime, and close it at night.

Jamie updated me recently about his gochujang with a few photos and emails. I missed the gochujang a lot! Jamie loves the texture and flavor of it, which made me very happy. Thank you very much Jamie for your effort taking care of the gochujang and updating us! Many of my readers will be encouraged to make their own homemade gochujang because of him.

He emailed:

“The gochujang came out great! It is a little thicker than commercial gochujang but I don’t think that is a problem at all. The flavor is deeper and slightly less salty than store bought pepper paste which is good I think. The hot New Zealand summer sun took great care of our precious paste! I can’t wait to see our video! I have attached 5 of the best photos I took of the gochujang.”




Well fermented gochujang! The top layer looks dark red and a little dry! I can almost smell the aroma from this photo!


Beautiful gochujang is showing off its bright red color! Thank you my gochujang! You grew up well, thanks to Jamie! : )


On the left is homemade gochujang, and on the right is store-bought gochujang. A big difference!



  1. Mi Heui Iran - Tehran My profile page joined 5/16
    Posted June 7th, 2016 at 4:07 am | # |

    망치 언니 안녕하세요? ^^
    I can’t find 메주 가루 in korean grocery store in my town But i start to 된장과 국간장 project ^^
    i washed carefully 메주 blocks after fermented but some fungus to exist inside the 메주 blocks and dried in the sunlight for 1 day , can i put one 메주 block in a food processor and make 메주 가루 and add in 고추장 ?!can i use ?! is it OK or NO?!
    정말 감사합니다. ♡♡

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 7th, 2016 at 11:53 pm | # |

      Your meju looks well and nicely fermented. Don’t worry about the white fungus inside the meju because it’s good bacteria. But you can’t use this for gochujang making, it’s different than what you need.

  2. Mi Heui Iran - Tehran My profile page joined 5/16
    Posted May 20th, 2016 at 8:36 am | # |

    Hi dear i have a question about 고추장 => in my cuentry haven’t any rise syrup but i have caramel syrup and honey and just find corn syrup. Can i use corn syrup or caramel syrup or honey in 고추장 resipe ?! Wich one is better for 고추장 resipe?! 나를 돠주는데 정말 감사합니다. ♡♡

  3. crazycook Pune, India My profile page joined 4/16
    Posted April 18th, 2016 at 2:16 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    i am big foodie and chef with small food point, i love Bibim Guksu so much and its main ingrediant is gochujang sauce which i want to make it available at my place in local price, so i am trying to make gochujang sauce with indian ingrediants except bean paste which i will use korean for sure as i have korean friend here who have korean restra here, i just need your help with other ingrediants, for example can i make it with minimum ingrediants to cut the price, i have some chillies in my mind for substitute and rice. also main problem is here now days temp is reaching 45`C so is it will be safe to make it in this weather

  4. innerspacesuit My profile page joined 11/15
    Posted November 27th, 2015 at 3:48 pm | # |


    Thanks for the recipe!

    I made this a year ago and it tastes ready to eat now. How long can I keep this and how to recommend storing it? I have about 5 liters :)

  5. kevinz My profile page joined 7/15
    Posted July 14th, 2015 at 10:01 pm | # |

    It is in the 90’s currently here in Charlotte NC. Can I keep this next to a window inside my house where the temp is a steady 25 celsius ? Most days are sunny here in Charlotte. Also what size pot is that you are using?


  6. Kiwipan My profile page joined 6/15
    Posted June 23rd, 2015 at 1:25 pm | # |

    Hi! I’m allergic to fructose… do you know of any alternatives I can use for making Gochujang? I’m in LOVE with it but I don’t know what syrup I could use…

  7. oliveva United States My profile page joined 8/14
    Posted June 3rd, 2015 at 5:38 pm | # |

    I did find this non-gmo fermented soybean powder:

    Do you think it would work as the meju powder?
    Thanks so much for your time!!

  8. oliveva United States My profile page joined 8/14
    Posted June 3rd, 2015 at 5:28 pm | # |

    Hi, So I was wondering if anyone has found a brand of fermented soybean powder (mejugaru) that states on the package that it is non-GMO?

  9. eclipseyesmile My profile page joined 3/15
    Posted March 23rd, 2015 at 6:43 pm | # |

    Hi! We barely get sun at all and it’s snowing in Finland, is there another way to ferment the gochujang, perhaps, with the oven?

  10. jordanmattes Arlington, WA, USA My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted February 24th, 2015 at 5:54 am | # |

    Is diastatic barley malt going to work? It’s the kind of malt that still has active enzymes, which I think is the same as the Korean type roughly. The Korean type is unavailable here in my current state of Montana, or online anywhere I know of, so it’ll be nice if this will work so I can make gochujang this summer.

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