This gochujang sauce is sweet, spicy, and perfect as a Korean fried chicken sauce (yangnyeom sauce) or as a glaze to brush on protein! Use it on Korean fried chicken, pork, seafood, beef or even tofu and vegetables!
This gochujang sauce, also called a yangnyeom sauce, is a popular sweet and spicy Korean sauce made of gochujang, soy sacue, sugar, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and ginger. It tastes great on chicken, pork, beef, seafood, tofu, and vegetables!
It’s a sweet, spicy, tangy, and sticky sauce that sticks to your fingers and has a syrupy consistency. It’s perfect on wings, in particular Korean fried chicken wings! When this sauce is added to fried chicken, it’s called yangnyeom chicken in Korea.
What makes this gochujang sauce authentic? It’s the secret ingredient, which is strawberry jam! Fresh fruit and fruit jams are widely used in Korean cuisine in addition to (or instead of) sugar because it adds sweetness but with more flavor than just sugar.
The strawberry jam gives this gochujang sauce a sweet, slightly tart, and fruity taste that also thickens it up nicely. Ketchup can also be added when using this as a Korean fried chicken sauce, which is called a yangnyeom sauce in Korea.
What is gochujang?
Gochujang, also known as Korean red pepper paste, is a popular Korean condiment made out of Korean red pepper flakes, fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, sweetener, and other spices. It tastes spicy, sweet, umami, and savory.
The Korean red peppers give it a vibrant red hue while also giving it an earthy, spicy, pepper flavor. Korean red peppers have a different flavor profile from other peppers so you’ve got to give this a try if you haven’t already.
You can buy gochujang from most Asian markets or at any Korean grocery store. I’ve even seen them in the Asian food aisle of my local grocery store.
When buying gochujang, some brands carry a hot version and a mild version. If you love spicy foods, look for one that says “hot” or “spicy” on the label.
How do you use gochujang?
You can use gochujang in a variety of Korean dishes as a marinade for meat dishes like spicy pork bulgogi, or in sauces such as bibimbap or bibim noodles.
It can also be used to flavor soups or stews and can be added to salad dressings, dipping sauces, or can be used in fried rice, such as this Kimchi Fried Rice recipe.
Another popular dish that uses this ingredient is Tteokbokki, which is Korean rice cakes cooked in a spicy gochujang flavored sauce.
Gochujang has a thick consistency and can be eaten plain or raw but it’s usually combined with other ingredients to thin out the texture and add more flavor. Slightly cooking the gochujang with other ingredients such as garlic and ginger brings out more of its flavor, though it’s not necessary to do.
This gochujang sauce is just one application of this amazing condiment!
Ingredients you’ll need
- Gochujang – the key ingredient in this sauce. It adds spiciness while also adding a delicious sweet and savory umami flavor.
- Strawberry jam – Koreans love using fruit as a sweetener in their marinades and sauces and this recipe is no exception. The jam helps thicken the sauce and adds a subtle fruitiness and sweetness while adding more flavor.
- Rice wine vinegar – adds brightness and tang
- Sugar – you can substitute with honey or agave but you may need to reduce the sauce a little longer
How to make gochujang sauce
Add all your ingredients to a pot with 6 tablespoons of water and set it over medium heat.
When the sauce comes to a full boil, take a spoon and test the thickness of it. If it coats the back of a spoon then it’s ready to take off the heat.
You can also drip a small amount of the gochujang sauce onto a plate and let it cool to see how thick it is.
- If it’s too thin, continue to reduce the sauce until the consistency is to your liking.
- If it’s too thick, mix in a bit of water and turn off the heat.
Keep in mind, once cooled, it should thicken up even more so take this into consideration when you’re reducing the sauce.
The gochujang sauce will turn into a syrupy consistency, similar to agave syrup or warmed honey. This was the perfect consistency to for a sweet and spicy sauce, which is perfect for Korean fried chicken, glazing proteins, and tossing with vegetables!
You can also brush this gochujang glaze on any protein of your choice! It tastes excellent brushed over salmon, shrimp, chicken, and pork.
I also use this to toss tofu or grilled or roasted vegetables. It tastes amazing on fried tofu or baked tofu and doubles as a sweet and sour sauce!
Variations and substitutions
- Sweetener – instead of sugar, you can substitute with honey, agave, or brown sugar
- Strawberry jam – if you don’t have strawberry jam, you can use apricot or peach jam
- Some variations of yangnyeom sauce include a bit of ketchup but I prefer it without. If you’d like to add ketchup, you can add 1 tablespoon to the sauce at the same time as the other ingredients.
Frequently asked questions
This gochujang sauce is sweet, spicy, savory, and tangy. It’s most similar to a Korean sweet and sour sauce that’s also spicy. It goes great with fried foods.
The Korean red peppers in the sauce gives it an earthy, peppery spice while giving it its vibrant red hue. The sweetness and tang perfectly contrasts the spice and gives it a complete flavor profile of spicy, sweet, tangy, and savory.
You can buy gochujang from most Asian grocery stores and all Korean grocery stores. It’s usually located next to the sauces and condiments.
You may even be able to find it at your local grocery store in the Asian food aisle as gochujang has become more and more popular.
This sauce is perfect when used as a Korean fried chicken sauce, called a yangnyeom sauce in Korea! It’s the perfect consistency to glaze wings or any deep fried protein – including tofu.
You can also use this sauce to dip egg rolls, wings, potstickers, calamari, onion rings, and more.
The syrupy consistency makes it an excellent gochujang glaze! Brush this sweet and spicy glaze on grilled meats, seafood, or tofu. It’s a versatile sauce with many uses!
It depends on whether you buy the mild version or spicy version. Usually, the package label will state if the gochujang is the ‘Hot’ version or not.
The spicy version, can be spicy, similar in spice to sriracha sauce. The mild version is quite mellow and has a savory, red pepper flavor without that much spice.
Absolutely! There is no need to cook gochujang before eating it. But, cooking it with spices such as garlic and ginger enhance its flavor.
After opening, refrigerate it just like any other condiment. Make sure it’s not exposed to air and the lid is secured tightly.
More recipes to try:
- Sweet and Tangy Sticky Soy Glaze
- Chinese White Sauce – Easy Stir Fry Sauce
- 3 Classic Spring Roll Dipping Sauces
- Spicy Asian Chimichurri Sauce
- 5 Minute Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe
Gochujang Sauce – Korean Red Pepper Paste Sauce
- ¼ cup gochujang
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoon strawberry jam – use the seedless variety
- 2 ½ Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 ½ Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 6 Tablespoon water
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger – grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- small pinch five spice powder – (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon ketchup – (optional) See Note 3
- Add all the ingredients to a sauce pan and set it over medium high heat.
- Stir the sauce occasionally and wait for it to come to a rolling boil with lots of bubbling. The sugar content in this sauce allows it to easily burn so keep an eye on it. This should take about 2 minutes.
- Once the sauce comes to a boil, test that it is properly reduced and thickened up. Drizzle a small amount onto a plate and let it cool. If it's too thin, let it boil more. If it's too thick, add a teaspoon more water at a time and turn off the heat. Once cooled taste the sauce and adjust for seasoning if needed. Makes slightly over 1 cup of sauce.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: The sauce will thicken up once cooled. Microwave it while covered for 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each time, until it’s warmed through. Or heat it over low heat in a saucepan. You may need to add a bit of water if it’s too thick.
- Ketchup: When using this as a Korean fried chicken sauce, some variations include ketchup, which gives this sauce a sweeter, more tangy flavor. If desired, feel free to add 1 Tablespoon of ketchup along with the other ingredients.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.