9 Unbelievable and Easy Substitutes for Gochugaru

If you have explored the Korean cooking, probably you have come across gochugaru as an ingredient for Korean recipes that are authentic. Gochugaru may be available at some specialty market near you, although sometimes, you must need to think outside the box and come up with a substitute if ever there’s no Gochugaru available in the market.

Here’s the good catch, while Gochugaru alternative may sound exotic, it is just a kind of crushed chili pepper. Thus, you have several options in your hands. Each option can be a gochugaru substitute. However, there are weaknesses and strengths to consider upon making the swap.


What is a Gochugaru?

A Gochugaru is a kind of chili powder that is widely used in Korean dishes like tofu, kimchi, and galbi. This type of chili has its distinct yet not overpowering heat flavor.

Also, it’s used in a lot of Korean recipes that are aiming to have a bit of red heat in the dish. It can be more smoky and sweet, which is identified as maewoon gochugaru. Also, it can be coarse or fine. Let me break down your best option for you.



May Be Interested: Learn the awesome ways to thicken Chilli

Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo Pepper via Savory Spice

Aleppo Pepper via ​savoryspiceshop.com

Try this exotic pepper if you are finding a great substitute for the Gochugaru powder. This pepper acquires its name from the Syrian town of Aleppo in southern Turkey, also renowned as the Mediterranean culinary mecca.

It’s a great substitute for a gochugaru powder since it’s heated moderately with a cumin-like undertone, balanced with a touch of fruitiness and a salty vinegar. It’s extensively used in their cuisines and also a good substitute to crushed red pepper and paprika. Its vibrant red color and aromatic flavor make it a perfect alternative for gochugaru in several Korean dishes.

Chile De Arbol Powder

Chile De Arbol Powder via Chipotle Texas

Chile De Arbol Powder via ​chipotletexas.com

The Chile de Arbol powder is similar to cayenne pepper that shares the thin flesh, smoky flavor, and acidic heat. In Spanish, it means “tree-like-pepper” and gives a grassy undertone to the dishes. This bright red pepper is ground up with several seeds. Thus, it’ll pack a hot punch to any dish you put it.

You shouldn’t look further than this fiery devil if you’re looking for a substitute for a gochugaru that’s spicier. If you want to buy some, it’s best to stock up since this pepper is ideal for stews, salsas and any Mexican dish that comes to your mind. So it’s guaranteed that you have many ways to use this chili powder.


Gochujang via Quite Good Food

Gochujang via Quite Good Food

Primarily, gochujang is made with Korean pepper, which makes it a great alternative for Gochugaru. Always remember that this kind of paste is saltier compared to the powdered pepper because of the way it’s made. Meaning, you have to accordingly adjust your recipes.

Gochujang have the power to at least last in the freezer for a year, so, even if you don’t always cook Korean food, don’t be afraid to stock up on it. It can also be used as a marinade, a dip or a condiment for your chicken. Thus, probably you’ll find a lot of uses for it compared to merely cooking additive.

Indian Chili Powder

Indian Chili Powder via Shiv Export

Indian Chili Powder via ​shivindianspices.com

Indian chili powder, which is also known as lal mirch, is blended with cayenne in a 3:2 ration can work in a lot of dishes when you need an alternative for a spicy Korean chili powder. The correct ratio that you use in cooking will know how your recipe will turn out.

If you want a little bit sweeter, it is suggested to add more Indian chili pepper. Moreover, if you prefer an additional heat and spice on your dish, then try adding more cayenne. When you add a Spanish smoked paprika, it’ll also give you a sultry hotness in your dish. The red powder gives a dark color, which will help you make your dish look good as it tastes.

Sandia Chiles

Sandia pepper via PepperScale

Sandia pepper via ​pepperscale.com

Sandia chili pepper is the same with the Anaheim that grows from six to seven inches. Oftentimes, these are used while green while these peppers ripen to red. Remember that your dish will be lacking the signature dark red color that a gocharu is supposed to do if you use them while they are green.

Sandias can add a kick, although similar with a Korean red pepper, the results won’t be that overwhelming. These chiles are a bit hotter compared to jalapenos. And if ever you are used to putting a lot of pepper, you may want to add them to your garden for you to have them instantly when you need them.

Indian Kashmiri Pepper

Indian Kashmiri Pepper via Byadgi Chilli

Indian Kashmiri Pepper via ​bdpatil.com

This pepper originated from the land of Kashmiri in Northern India. Unluckily, this pepper may be hard to find like the gochugaru because of a drain on its demand and supply.

The Byadgi chile is one imitation of this pepper, which can be easier to find and use in Korean meals. Also, Byadgi chile is named after a town in India. These peppers were both associated to paprika, although they give more heat.

Its bright crimson color would turn your dish into an eccentric red. You should opt for finding for Kashmiri powder if you wish to use this gochugaru as an alternative.

Asian Chile Sauce

Asian Chile Sauce via The Woks of Life

Asian Chile Sauce via ​thewoksoflife.com

This alternative is a little confusing since it can be found under several signatures. Asian chile sauce uses a lot of various chile peppers to make variants both in flavor intensity and heat. The bottle might say Chile Paste and Asian Chile Sauce and may be comprised of herbs, oil, garlic, sugar and other seasonings.

You might also want to look for them in various colors such as green, brown, yellow or red. They are oilier compared to the U.S or Mexican chile sauces since tomatoes aren’t included in the ingredients.


Guajillo via Mexican Food Journal

Guajillo via ​mexicanfoodjournal.com

In cooking preparations, Guajillo chiles are second only to the Ancho chile pepper in few most famous chiles in Mexico. These chiles are a second close to Jalapenos. Usually, these peppers are dried. However, you may see them diced, whole, made into a paste or julienned.

Their colors are reddish-brown and so it alters the color of your meal or dish. Along with Pasillas and Anchos, Guajillos are also identified as the Holy Trinity of Chiles. These chiles would not make your food too hot. Thus, you might consider adding a bit more spice.

Anaheim Pepper

Anaheim Pepper via Specialty Produce

Anaheim Pepper via Specialty Produce

Anaheim Pepper, which is also called as Magdalenas or New Mexico Peppers, can be used in many ways. These peppers are a great choice if you want to cook for a large group of people since they impart a mild kick that almost everyone can tolerate. Anaheim pepper is nearly 10 times milder than the jalapenos.

This varies according to where they’re grown; those peppers that were grown from New Mexico is usually hotter compare to their California Cousins. They are called Chile Seco del Norte if they are dried.

Often, Anaheim peppers can be utilized to replace both bell peppers and poblanos. That’s how versatile they are as peppers.


There you have it! Those are the 9 unbelievable and easy substitutes for Gochugaru. Some of these may look like exotic, but you can be able to find most of these spices and purchase through the Internet or in the stores near you. Let me know if you enjoyed this article through comments and sharing it with your friends who love Korean spices such as Gochugaro.

Read Also: How To Store Peppers

Lita Watson

Hi there! I’m Lita, and I’m absolutely in love with cooking blogs. I’m a beginner in cooking and i try my best to make it quick and easy. Even though, it’s not always quick and easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so i keep learning and blogging about quick and easy ways to create delicious and yummy foods for my two kids and a wonderful husband.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: