Soybean paste

Doenjang 된장

Fermented soybean paste (doenjang) is a classic fermented Korean 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 are the most iconic and delicious of all Korean dishes.

It’s made by grinding soybeans into a thick paste and forming it into blocks that are dried and fermented for months before being soaked in brine for a few more months. The liquid becomes Korean soup soy sauce and the solids become 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. maiv california 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?

  2. ellekimura Malaysia 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?

  3. Kamil Poland 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 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. ^^

    • budji Philippines joined 4/16
      Posted March 12th, 2017 at 4:35 am | # |

      I’m worried about mine too. Last one I bought from the same brand is light brown, but this one is dark. Expiration date is 2018 so I’m confused if I can use it.

      See full size image

  4. lovex3jennyy New York 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 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!

  5. Jasper Philippines 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?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 29th, 2011 at 3:35 pm | # |

      Yes, I always keep it in the fridge after opening.

  6. Isabel Philippines 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?

  7. ainah Malaysia 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 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 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 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.

  8. Neny Lily Lao Philippines 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 joined 3/11
    Posted March 5th, 2011 at 6:35 pm | # |

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

  10. JamieF New Zealand 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 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 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~ =)

    • beckaivans joined 10/15
      Posted March 2nd, 2016 at 8:28 pm | # |

      Maangchi didn’t use alcohol in the doen jaang recipe she just developed. It’s possible that is one of the ingredients added to stop fermentation in commercial doen jaang so it doesn’t explode in storage. Alcohol kills lots of microbes, so I don’t think it would help fermentation. Usually salt is added to help good bacteria/fungi and kill the bad. I really don’t know for sure though

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