Homemade Korean Gochujang (Hot Pepper Paste)

Over the past few months, gochujang has become one of my favorite condiments. This Korean red pepper paste is salty, sweet, and spicy. I’ve used it Slow Cooker Korean Lettuce wraps, chicken recipes, and even in salad dressings. However, I always have to order it online since I have trouble finding it locally (and that can get pricey!). For a while, we were going through about 1 lb a week of the delicious paste.

To solve my constant gochujang shortage, I decided to start making my own. This gochujang is made from red chili powder, barley malt powder, rice flour, rice syrup, and soybean powder. It does take a few hours to prepare, but thankfully doesn’t need constant attention.

Plus, having a giant jar of homemade gochujang on hand is totally worth the preparation time.

Homemade Korean Gochujang (Hot Pepper Paste)

Gochujang is typically fermented in an earthenware pot. These pots have lids that allow gasses to escape during the fermentation process. Since I didn’t want to buy a new pot, I decided to grab a glass jar that I commonly use for making kimchi. These Fido jars do have tighter-fitting lids, but the gaskets still allow gasses to escape (you can often hear it!).

To help the fermentation along, I placed the jar outside or in a sunny window with the lid open and a piece of cheesecloth over the opening. Just don’t forget about the gochujang if you leave it open outside, you don’t want all of your hard work spoiled by a rain storm! I’ll even set an alarm on my phone so I don’t forget to bring it in at night.
Homemade Korean Gochujang (Hot Pepper Paste)Homemade Korean Gochujang (Hot Pepper Paste)

The most difficult part of making this gochujang is waiting for it to ferment for 2 or more months. I normally don’t have that kind of patience, but this is worth the wait.

As the gochujang ferments, it will become darker and richer in color. Technically, you don’t have to wait several months before starting to eat the paste, but the taste will be different before it has a chance to ferment properly.
Homemade Korean Gochujang (Hot Pepper Paste)Homemade Korean Gochujang (Hot Pepper Paste)

Ever since I had my first taste of this homemade gochujang, I’ve been excited to try it in all sorts of new dishes. My next recipe is probably one of my new favorites: Crispy Korean Chicken. It’s addictive.

Stay tuned!

Homemade Korean Gochujang (Hot Pepper Paste)
  • ½ lb. barley malt powder
  • 8 cups water
  • 2½ cups sweet white rice flour
  • 2 cups rice syrup
  • 1 cup fermented soybean powder
  • 4 cups red pepper powder
  • 1 cup kosher salt + extra for the top of the gochujang
  1. Combine the barley malt powder and water in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
  2. Strain the mixture by carefully pouring the liquid into a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, leaving any sediment behind in the mixing bowl. Discard the sediment.
  3. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat. Warm the malt mixture until it reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit, then turn off the heat. It should be warm, but not hot. Stir in the sweet rice flour, then allow the mixture to rest for 1½ hours.
  4. After allowing the mixture to sit, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the mixture for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until it has reduced by almost one-third. Then, add the rice syrup and stir until well incorporated. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool completely.
  5. After the mixture is cool, add the fermented soybean powder, red pepper powder, and kosher salt. Stir until no lumps remain.
  6. Transfer the gochujang to a glass jar or fermenting pot. Sprinkle an extra layer of salt over the paste. Cover with cheesecloth, then close the lid tightly.
  7. Allow the gochujang to ferment for 2-3 months. To facilitate the fermentation process, open the lid and allow the pot to sit in the sun during the day (the cheesecloth will help keep stuff out of the pot), then close the lid and bring it inside during the night.
Adapted from Maangchi


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I assume the 'red pepper powder' is the powdered red pepper one would use in  recipes?  Or is it a special type?   Thanks!