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17 Amazing Gochugaru (Korean Chili Flakes) Substitutes

Gochugaru is very popular among Korean chefs because it is a necessary ingredient in making dishes such as Kimchi, Tofu, and Galbi.

Gochugaru has a characteristic heat flavor that makes it perfect for these dishes. However, it is not pepper you can easily find around.

Should that stop you from making these amazing dishes [1]? Not in the slightest. Check out some fantastic gochugaru substitutes below.

What is Gochugaru?

Gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) is a fundamental ingredient in many Korean dishes and has been growing steadily in popularity.

Most people will be familiar with its role as the basis for gochujang (red chili pepper paste), but it can also be used to flavor kimchi and sprinkle on top of namul (seasoned vegetables) or rice cakes boiled in broth.

Benefits of Gochugaru

Gochugaru has some essential nutrients essential for healthy body growth [2].

These nutrients (include vitamins E and A, dietary fiber, iron, and copper) make gochugaru the perfect ingredient for your food: tasty, spicy, and healthy.

Regular consumption of gochugaru helps to minimize the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and diabetes.

Top 17 Substitutes for Korean Chili Flakes – Gochugaru

Though it will be better to use actual gochugaru in making dishes that require it, you are still better off with these substitutes if you cannot find gochugaru.

With the following gochugaru substitutes, you can make excellent dishes without fear. Let’s check them out:

1. Aleppo Pepper

aleppo pepper

Aleppo pepper comes from the town of Aleppo in Turkey.

It has an intoxicating flavor with a perfect red color, making it ideal as a substitute for gochugaru in Korean cuisines.

Also, Aleppo pepper is not too hot and has a cumin-like, fruity undertone with a touch of salty vinegar. Its unique properties also make Aleppo pepper a perfect substitute for crushed red pepper or paprika.

2. Indian Chili Powder-Cayenne mix

indian chili powder-cayenne mix

Mix this peppery powder with a bit of cayenne pepper, and you are good to go.

The very spicy nature of the Indian chili powder-cayenne mix makes it a perfect alternative to gochugaru when you want to make spicy dishes.

If you want more spice and heat, add more of the cayenne pepper to the mix. However, if you want more sweetness, you should add more of the Indian chili powder.

3. Sandia Chiles

sandia chiles

This pepper is primarily used in its green form; however, it reddens if allowed to do so.

While you can use them as substitutes for gochugaru in their green form, your dish will lack the reddish color that gochugaru gives.

Sandia chiles are very hot, though they are not brutal on the taste buds. You should use them in your dish depending on how spicy you want the food to turn out.

4. Gochujang


Can I substitute Gochugaru with Gochujang? Of course yes!

Gochujang is simply Korean hot pepper paste, which makes it a fantastic gochugaru replacement.

It is salty; therefore, you should adjust how you make your dish to accommodate this fact. If you have gochujang at hand, you can use it as a spice for your chicken dish or as a marinade.

Gochujang is a very versatile cooking ingredient. You only have to be creative with it.

To substitute gochugaru with gochujang, use a 1:1 ratio.

You May Like: Top 10 Amazing Gochujang Substitutes for Korean Dishes

5. Jalapenos

jalapeno pepper

Jalapenos are hot. However, they will do no damage to your taste buds. You can use them as snacks or add them to dishes for an extra spicy feel.

You may also use them as the primary ingredients in your sauces or salsas.

There are green jalapenos; however, you should remember that your dish will be lacking the notable red of the gochugaru if you use green jalapenos.

What’s more, jalapenos can also be a great green chili substitute.

6. Ancho Chiles

ancho chiles

They are dried poblano peppers: wrinkled, reddish-brown hue, sweet, and, yes, very spicy.

Ancho chiles are an excellent substitute for gochugaru in your dishes. You can also add in other peppers or more Ancho chiles if your palate can accommodate such extreme measures of spiciness.

7. Fish Peppers

fish pepper

Fish peppers are excellent gochugaru substitutes. Though they are not really spicy, they still make for an irresistible and hot ingredient in your dishes.

Not only do they taste hot and sweet, but their leaves also make for lovely ornaments to beautify the home or your garden.

Fish peppers grow without much supervision and can also be used as a pest repellent.

8. Chipotle

chipotle peppers

Chipotle peppers are not actual or naturally occurring peppers. They are smoked jalapenos.

Chipotles have a smoky, spicy, sweet, and vibrant taste and texture. The process of making chipotles is tasking. It takes days to dry out jalapenos completely, and even at that, you get little chipotle from plenty of jalapenos.

But is the process worth the wait? Absolutely.

9. Red Chile Pepper Flakes

chili flake

Also known as cayenne pepper flakes, Red chile pepper flakes are made from hot peppers that have been dried and crushed.

As a substitute for Korean chili flakes, they are very hot and spicy [3] and can be brutal on the taste buds.

Therefore, you have to be careful while using them, except, of course, if you want to make your dish extra spicy.

With these pepper flakes, you can even make a delicious gochujang.

10. Guajillo


Guajilos are mostly dried, but you will find them in a paste or whole in some cases.

They have a reddish-brown color that also affects the color of the meal you are making.

However, they are not too spicy, so if you are craving a really hot dish, you might want to consider another pepper or a guajillo mix with other hot peppers.

Further reading: 14 Guajillo Chili Pepper Substitutes

11. Espelette


Originating from the little village of Espelette in the Basque region of France, the Piment d’Espelette is a pepper that does not offer much in terms of heat.

Still, it will make your food very delicious and bright.

If you do not like too much heat in your food, this pepper is perfect for you as a replacement for gochugaru.

12. Anaheim Pepper

anaheim pepper

They do not offer too much in terms of heat, and you may need to mix this pepper with other peppers if you want more spice for your food.

However, in terms of taste and color, they are a perfect gochugaru substitute in your dishes.

13. Chungyang Red Pepper

The chungyang red pepper is small-sized, but it is very hot and fiery on the tongue.

They are very brutal on the taste buds, so you might want to use the chungyang red pepper when you want something extra spicy.

14. Homemade Gochugaru

Can’t find none of them? Don’t worry, you can still make your own gochugaru at home.

Other Replacements

There are some other substitutes you can choose from:

  • 15. Chile De Arbol Powder
  • 16. Indian Kashmiri Pepper
  • 17. Asian Chile Sauce

How to Make Kimchi with Gochugaru Substitute

Don’t worry if you can’t find gochugaru in your kitchen when making kimchi. You can still use one of the above substitutes to make it.

The following video shows how you can make kimchi with Gochujang.

FAQs About Gochugaru

What’s a good Gochugaru substitute for kimchi?

Gochujang will be your best substitute gochugaru substitute for kimchi.

It will add the same brilliant red color as gochugaru. What’s more, Gochujang will bring you the same tastes you can find in gochugaru.

Can I substitute crushed red pepper for gochugaru?

It can be used to replace gochugaru, but not ideal especially when you plan to use the crushed red pepper for kimchi.

Can I replace Gochugaru with chili powder?

Yes you can! Chili powder especially the red chili powder is  hot and spicy enough to replace Gochugaru.


Do you need a substitute for korean chili flakes – gochugaru in making your dishes? Then, you should try any of the above alternatives. They will not disappoint you.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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