I'm making Korean pork bulgogi and the recipe I am using calls for gochugaru powder but all I could find was a paste.

Can I use it and would it still be the same amount? The recipe asks for 4 tbsp. of the powder.

  • 1
    By "a paste", do you mean gochujang? (Sticky red paste, thicker than ketchup, sold in a red tub with a red or gold lid)
    – Sneftel
    Jan 21, 2021 at 7:46
  • A quick scan of bulgogi recipes shows some use gochujang, some gochugaru & some use both. Quantities vary massively, depending on spice level.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 21, 2021 at 9:15
  • Hey, folks, this is a NEW CONTRIBUTOR! Maybe don't close her post without explaining how to fix it?
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 22, 2021 at 6:48
  • @mantra is right on, but if you want to add the recipe you're following, you might be able to get away with it here. T struck he that bulgogi marinades typically include some sugar? So you might be able to fiddle around with the amount of sweetener and use gochujang for your bulgogi after all.
    – kitukwfyer
    Jan 23, 2021 at 18:09
  • Thank you all.. on the label it states its gochugaru and yes it is thicker than ketchup and comes in a red tub. I am looking for that sweet spicy flavor!!
    – Deb
    Jan 25, 2021 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


If you are referring to gochujang, gochugaru and gochujang have significantly different flavors (gochugaru is thought to impart a "cleaner" hotness to dishes, while gochujang tends to be a bit more complex due to aspects like added sugar and grain e.g. rice flour (which adds a thickening element) and some fermentation.

Thus Korean recipes will often use both, and as a rule of thumb gochugaru is the more flexible of the two (due to being mainly used for only hotness and color). In addition, while gochujang is reasonably replaceable with gochugaru + some sweeteners and thickeners, trying to replace gochugaru with gochujang is generally a bad idea. I'd recommend trying a different kind of relatively fine red pepper flakes - preferably a less spicy and less "aromatic" (i.e. one that has few flavors and aromas outside of "hot") variety, although your mileage may very depending on the type your local market has.

  • 1
    Aleppo pepper is actually a pretty good substitute. Ancho chile powder can also work.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 22, 2021 at 6:51
  • I've actually used paprika and a pinch of cayenne in an emergency. Not perfect, but more readily available on my budget, sadlol.
    – kitukwfyer
    Jan 23, 2021 at 2:19

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