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 toasted 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. lulanirisaka Iowa joined 10/19 & has 2 comments

    Is there any recommendations for a replacement for the malted barley? I have a friend that recently was diagnosed with Celiacs and must avoid all gluten containing things.

  2. I am growing Korean hot peppers in my garden, and have a lot of them. I am wondering if I can make gochujang with fresh peppers (and reduce the water in the recipe) or if I need to dry them first? Maybe I will make two batches, one with fresh peppers and one with dried?

  3. patrickmxg Vermont joined 12/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi, thanks for your great blog. As I scour the internet for traditional gochujang recipes, I can’t find anything about benefits/drawbacks about different weather conditions during the many months of fermentation. Gochujang was traditionally made in the fall, and stored in onggi, and historically it was aged outside on a jangdokdae. The Korean peninsula has weather that is roughly similar to mine here in Vermont, although the southern parts of Korea are milder in the winter.
    I have a big stoneware crock of gochujang fermenting right now, and after keeping it indoors on the ledge of a bay window where it could get some of our infrequent winter sunlight, I decided to move the whole crock onto our back porch. We’re now in a cold spell, with temperatures in the low teens, rising into the 20s during the day. I’ve seen pictures of snow-covered onggi but haven’t read anything about significant temperature fluctuations and its effect on fermenting things — whether gochujang, doenjang, or ganjang.
    I would welcome your perspective on the effects of temperature on Korean fermented goods. Again, thanks for your blog! Patrick in Vermont

  4. Mariposa Los Angeles joined 10/18 & has 1 comment

    In your instructions you said to strain the barley malt powder mixture. Does that mean you don’t want any of the powder like how you make sikhye? Or should I just stir the water and barley malt flour until it is completely mixed and turn on the heat?

  5. Merlesgirl Pyeongtaek, South Korea joined 8/18 & has 1 comment


    I am here in Pyeongtaek, South Korea and would like to start a batch of gochujang. My question is; is it too late in the year? It will be fall before fermentation is complete.

    Thank you!

  6. jmatthew Santa Cruz, CA joined 8/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi, does anyone know of an online source for organic fermented soybean powder (mejugaru) or at least non-GMO? Thanks, John

  7. Sio lover Ksa joined 12/16 & has 46 comments

    I am proud of myself today I thought I would never do this recipe cause of the ingredients but today I made this jar and it’s sooooo delicious but my dad had a taste he said it’s too spicy I laughed and I told him it’s supposed to be like that poor Dad I am sorry for him

    See full size image

  8. Sio lover Ksa joined 12/16 & has 46 comments

    Hi maangchi.
    Actually I was having two questions in my mind.
    The first one is can I use this after I just make it?
    The second one is that I can put this in the fridge instead of leaving it in the air?
    Please reply

  9. Shikin Singapore joined 2/17 & has 14 comments

    Hi maangchi, till today I still can’t find mejugaru.. Its been abt two years… All the Korean store here does not carry mejugaru… Tried Amazon but does not ship to my country… Ask my cousin who recently visited korea but was told that they couldn’t find it… I don’t understand…. Do you know where I can get it that actually provide international shipping? I desperately need it in order to make my own gochujang…. Is there any way that I can make it own my own? Can I do the same as doenjang meju block and grind it after the fermentation process? Please many … I need your input and suggestion…… Thank you

    • sussiesu Singapore joined 11/16 & has 10 comments

      Hey saw your comment. Do you want mejugaru? Cos i just came back from korea and bought some

      • Shikin Singapore joined 2/17 & has 14 comments

        Hi there sorry just saw ur msg… how nice of u.. im excited reading ur msg… im keen, will u have enough for urself? Looking forward to ur reply.

        • sussiesu Singapore joined 11/16 & has 10 comments

          Hi! Finally a reply (: I decided not to do the gochujang again in the end hence I don’t mind selling what I bought to u if not it will go to waste. I have about 900g of meju and gochugaru each and a bag of barley malt. Enough ingredients to maybe make 1/4 batch of maangchi’s recipe. Would u be interested to buy them off me?

          • Shikin Singapore joined 2/17 & has 14 comments

            great but unfortunately i only need mejugaru the other ingredient i have plenty… so is it still available? How much are you selling the mejugaru?

          • sussiesu Singapore joined 11/16 & has 10 comments

            Hi Shikin, sure no problem about selling the mejugaru only. $13 for the bag…if you’re still keen

  10. Syar Malaysia joined 11/17 & has 1 comment

    Hi maangchi !
    I want to make Gochujang .Can I use this BARLEY ( in the picture ) . then put in blender to make barley powder and change it with BARLEY MALT POWDER .
    The different is mine we just call it BARLEY and your is BARLEY MALT . We actually make drink form this by putting it in warm water.

    For the FERMENTED SOYBEAN POWDER , can I change it with TEMPE (in malaysia). Tempe is actually made form soybean and fermented. Then , blend it to make powder form it .

    It might sound ridiculous! To change it ! But it is possible?

    I hope you can reply it asap. I really enjoy your watching your cooking .

    See full size image

  11. sussiesu Singapore joined 11/16 & has 10 comments

    Hi Maangchi, it’s been 6 months now and I wanted to check with you whether gochujang will spoil if it’s kept covered and at room temperature? The last I check, my gochujang has a dried layer on top with a very pungent smell. I haven’t tasted it yet :x I kept a few jars in my fridge just in case

  12. Cirtalam Lamia France joined 8/17 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi
    I live in France and I cannot have of Mejugaru or Fermented soybean Powder. I do not find any nowhere even in the specialized store in the Korean products.. On Internet one finds it but it does not deliver in France. Thus my question is the following one: can one replace Mejugaru by another thing? If not how can I even make of Fermented soybean Powder Me? Thank you in advance. Cordially Lamia.
    Sorry for my approximate English

  13. salloom Los Angeles joined 2/14 & has 11 comments

    I use hot pepper paste, gochujang, all the time in my cooking. I love it and it kicks up my cooking more than one notch. Today, I am widowed and as much as I love to make it at home, I cannot find time to make gochujang. I usually buy 500 gm tub from the Korean grocery market which lasts me 3-4 months.

  14. Nvollono Monterey, CA joined 6/17 & has 1 comment

    I just started mixing my first batch of gochujang and i accidently added thr malt powder in with the liquid. I soaked it but did not strain it. Will my paste be okay or should i start over?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,077 comments

      I’m sorry to say that you need to start over again, because we only need the liquid from the malt powder, not the dregs. If you make gochujang this way the texture will be very gritty.

  15. Sio lover Ksa joined 12/16 & has 46 comments

    Maangchi can I use honey instead of rice syrup and can I use short grain rice flour cause I cant find all the ingredients in my area????

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