With its bright red color and spiciness, it’s easy to mistake gochujang for sriracha.
That’s not all. There are even articles saying gochujang is the Korean sriracha. (*)
And wait, there’s more. You can even find a condiment named gochujang sriracha. (*)
This makes a lot of people wonder—is gochujang same as sriracha?
Keep on reading to find out their differences!
Is Gochujang Same as Sriracha?
No, gochujang and sriracha are not the same.
But with all their similarities, it’s easy to see why you may think they are one and the same.
For one, they are both made from chili peppers which give them their spiciness as well as their bright red color.
Not only that, these two condiments have a distinct umami flavor that you can’t find in other spicy sauces.
Despite all of these, these sauces have a lot of differences, and we’ll share them with you in the next few sections.
Gochujang Vs. Sriracha: How Do They Differ?
The most obvious difference between these sauces is their origin or the type of cuisine they are often used for. Sriracha is most commonly associated with Vietnamese and Thai cuisine while gochujang is a staple paste in Korean cooking.
Aside from this, here are the other points of difference that you should know about:
|Comparison Between Gochujang and Sriracha||Gochujang||Sriracha|
|Ingredients||Fermented soybeans, glutinous rice powder, red pepper powder, salt, water||Red chili pepper, garlic, sugar, vinegar, salt.|
|Taste||A balance of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors||Sweet and garlicky with a tangy kick|
|Level of Spiciness||Mild to medium heat||Medium to high heat|
|Texture and Consistency||Thick and paste-like, with a few small bits of chili pepper||Smooth and runny, with no chunks|
|Uses||Main ingredient in sauces, marinades, soups and stews or as a dip for meats and vegetables.||As a condiment for adding more kick to dishes such as noodles, pizza, sandwiches or as a dipping sauce for sushi and spring rolls.|
|Storage||Keep refrigerated after opening, lasts 6-12 months||Store at room temperature or refrigerate after opening, lasts up to 3 years|
|Where To Find and Buy in Grocery Store||Can be found in most Korean grocery stores or general grocery stores in the international food section. Online retailers such as Amazon also sell gochujang.||Can be found in most grocery stores, often in the condiment aisle. Online retailers such as Amazon also sell sriracha.|
As we’ve mentioned, these condiments are known for their umami flavor and spicy kick. However, the intensity or characteristics of their flavors is quite different because they contain different ingredients.
Sriracha is known for its pungent savory flavor from the garlic. It also contains distilled vinegar, chili peppers, salt, and sugar.
However, there’s no place for garlic in Gochujang’s ingredients list. Instead, gochujang gets its funky umami taste from fermented soybean paste.
In addition, it also contains red chili pepper which comes in the form of dried chili flakes called gochugaru. (*) Not only that, but it also contains salt and glutinous rice.
With their different ingredients, you can expect the sauces’ taste and texture to be quite different too.
Both condiments add heat to any dish and they also have that distinct umami flavor that backs up and balances their spiciness. However, their flavor profiles vary significantly.
Sriracha is known for its spicy, tangy, pungent, and slightly sweet flavor.
Learn more: What Does Sriracha Taste Like?
It packs some heat from the chili peppers along with pungent umami from garlic. Additionally, it has a bit of tanginess from vinegar and slight sweetness from sugar.
On the other hand, gochujang will give you that classic Korean flavor— spicy but also a bit funky and salty and a whole lot of funky.
Learn more: What Does Gochujang Taste Like?
The gochugaru or Korean dried chili flakes give it its classic spicy flavor along with a slightly smoky taste and a whole lot of umami.
On the other hand, the fermentation process lends the paste its highly funky and savory taste. To finish it off, the glutinous rice provides a slight sweetness that balances off its flavor profile.
Between the two, gochujang is a lot sweeter, funkier, and has a more complex flavor while sriracha gives off its trademark tangy taste.
Level of Spiciness
Both sauces feature a bright red Of course, the most common question people would ask when choosing between these sauces would be—which is spicier?
While it may vary depending on the variety and brand, sriracha generally has 2200 SHU while gochujang is only around 1000 SHU.
Texture and Consistency
Due to the sauces’ different ingredients, it’s also expected that they will have varying textures as well.
Since all of sriracha’s ingredients can be easily blended into one another, sriracha has a smooth ketchup-like consistency.
On the other hand, gochujang has a thick and sticky paste-like texture all due to its glutinous rice content.
As you may have expected by now, these two sauces are used differently in the cooking industry.
So when to use sriracha?
Sriracha is often served as a dip for fried dishes. Since it’s a lot simpler and less complex than the flavor profiles of other hot sauces, Sriracha can be used for both Asian and Western cuisines.
It’s also one of the go-to sauces when you need just a basic hot sauce to add plain spicy flavor to your meals. Due to its interesting garlic flavor, most people also use it to pack heat in some pasta dishes.
So when to use gochujang?
On the other hand, Gochujang is often used to add heat and deep umami flavor to classic Korean dishes.
It’s also added to popular Korean sauces like galbi. But its most popular use is as a dipping sauce for Korean-style fried chicken or pork and beef samgyupsal
Since it contains simple shelf-stable ingredients, you can simply store sriracha at room temperature.
And because it contains glutinous rice which is sensitive to handle, it’s best that you keep gochujang refrigerated after opening.
Can You Substitute Gochujang with Sriracha (and Vice Versa)?
Yes, you can substitute gochujang for sriracha. But there are two exceptions you need to keep in mind before you do so.
First, remember that gochujang has a deep funky flavor that will overpower most flavors. If you’re working with a lightly flavored dish or you’re not a fan of a funky taste, think twice before using gochujang in place of sriracha.
Second, don’t use gochujang as a finishing sauce as its flavor may be too intense for such a purpose.
On the other hand, sriracha isn’t a good alternative to gochujang as its simple taste won’t be able to mimic gochujang’s complex flavors.
Learn more: Top 9 Best Gochujang Substitutes For Spicy Korean Cooking
Is gochujang same as sriracha? It’s definitely not.
The only similar things that they are both bright red spicy condiments. Aside from these, the sauces are already different in all other aspects—from their flavor, spicy level, use, and even storage.
The good news is you can substitute sriracha with gochujang (but not vice versa). But make sure to keep our pointers in mind when you do so.