Korean Chili Powder (Gochugaru)

Gochugaru (Korean chili powder)

(Last update: June 19, 2015)

Gochugaru (고추가루) has a few different English names under its belt.

Korean chili powder, Korean chili flakes, Hot pepper flakes, red pepper flakes etc. Gochugaru is one of the most important Korean cooking ingredients. It is used in Gochujang (Korean chili paste), Kimchi, spicy Korean soups and stews (e.g. Sundubu Jjaigae) and spicy Korean side dishes (e.g. Korean spicy cucumber salad).

Korean chili powder tastes different (e.g. often not as spicy) to other chili powder varieties (e.g. Thai chili) available on the market, so it is best not to substitute with these kinds. Please also note that some Korean chili powder is spicier than others.

Typical Korean households make their own chili powder. They try to source good quality dried Korean red chilies at a farmer’s market and once they bring them home they do the following. (It is also possible to buy dried red chilies that are already trimmed and cleaned.)

  1. Cut the stem off the red chilies with a pair of scissors and open one side of the chili and shake off the seeds. (According to my mum, it is best to leave some seeds on still as it makes more tasty chili powder.)
  2. Wipe the chilies with a dry cloth thoroughly and take it to their local rice mill (Bangatgan, 방앗간) and ask them to be ground according to their preferred particle size.

There are mainly two different kinds of Korean chili powder and they are used for different cooking needs.

  • Fine chili powder ->  Gochujang and radish water Kimchi
  • Coarse chili powder (This is more versatile in its use.) -> Kimchi, Korean side dishes and soups & stews

How to store Korean chili powder

Once you open the package, it needs to be kept in a cool shaded place. It can get mouldy if you don’t store it well. I keep mine in an air tight container and in the fridge. When the chili powder gets hardened, you can use the food processor to separate it again. Just a few seconds of pulse will fix it.

You might also like




About Sue

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the author/cook/photographer behind My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!


  1. rosse anne says:

    what if i cant find korean chili powder? is there any substitute?

    • I couldn’t get korean pepper powder so used 1/2 chilli flkes and 1/2 hot paprika. The paprika gave the slightly smoky/sweet flavour. You could adjust the amount of chilli flakes to taste,

  2. Hi Karlsfoodie
    I think they are probably the same chilies
    For chili powder (Gochutgaru) that Koreans use, sun dried chilies are the best apparently.

  3. Helo Sue
    when u dry this chilli.. is it the same as thoe whole dried chilli we get from the chinese stall?

    Kam sa ham ni da

  4. You’re welcome, Anthony
    I hope you make yummy Kimchi. :)
    Take care

  5. Thanks for the information! I should go off to the local Korean market now and try making the kimchi :]

  6. No, I’ve never made or tried making it before. I translated an encyclopedia, and added some of my opinion. :)

  7. That looks very spicy. Have you ever tried making it yourself? Thanks for showing the photo of the bottle, makes it easier to look for it in the store :)

  8. hai willard says:

    do you know how to make korean bbq sauce?

Speak Your Mind


Never Miss a New Recipe

Never Miss a New Recipe

Join now to receive the My Korean Kitchen email newsletter and my e-Book "How to Enjoy Korean BBQ at Home, Just Like a Restaurant."

It's FREE!

You are now subscribed to the My Korean Kitchen newsletter. Please check your email for further instructions.