Soybean paste

Doenjang 된장

Doenjang is a signature ingredient in Korean cooking, used in many 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.

Today most Koreans use commercially made soybean paste (it may or may not be labeled “fermented”), but traditionally we make it at home. The process takes about a year, my recipe is here if you want to try. It’s usually sold in brown tubs at the Korean grocery store. Keep in the fridge and use within 3 months. The top of the paste may oxidize a bit and turn brown, but it’s still edible.

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 fermented soybean paste (doenjang):



  1. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,948 comments

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

  2. he len& has 1 comment

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

  3. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,948 comments

    I always keep it in the refrigerator after opening it.

  4. 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

  5. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,948 comments

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

  6. 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! :)

  7. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,948 comments

    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

  8. Bianca& has 1 comment

    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!

  9. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,948 comments

    Thank you very much! : )

  10. Debbie& has 1 comment

    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

  11. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,948 comments

    Thank you very much for your nice comment!

  12. Endang& has 1 comment

    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,

  13. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,948 comments

    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.

  14. Doris& has 1 comment

    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

  15. Thanx a lot!

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