Easy Homemade Keto Gochujang (sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

The other day, I had a crazy craving for some bibimbap, a Korean rice and veggie dish. The problem I ran into was that I couldn’t seem to find a commercial gochujang sauce that wasn’t loaded with gluten and sugar – and I mean 8-9g of sugar per tablespoon levels of sugariness. While this is fine for most people, for those of us with blood sugar regulation issues this is obviously is not going to fly. After some trial and error with a few recipes for a quick gochujang, I arrived at this vegan easy homemade keto gochujang that is sugar-free, guten-free, soy-free and low-carb.

a saucepan and whisk with vegan keto gochujang

Is this recipe traditional? Goodness, no. For starters, real gochujang ferments for months at a time. Secondly, we’re using some different ingredients here. The end result, though, is an easy pepper paste that is quick to make, much lower in carbohydrates and can be used is a lot of recipes. Traditional gochuchang recipes call for the following ingredients:

  • water
  • Korean hot pepper powder, called gochugaru
  • salt
  • barley malt powder
  • sweet rice flour, also called glutinous rice flour
  • fermented soy flour
  • rice syrup

ingredients for making homemade keto gochujang: gochugaru, rice wine vinegar, miso, salt, and sugar free syrup

A lot of these items are pretty carby and sugar-heavy, so our keto-friendly low carb gochujang by contrast, includes the following ingredients:

So, while the first three are pretty similar…things get a little wild after that. This recipe cheats a few things in order to get that fermented quality that gochujang has. So, instead of using barley malt powder, rice flour and fermented soy flour…and then further fermenting that, we’re just using miso. Miso is basically fermented bean paste with a few other ingredients involved. Typically, miso is made with soy, koji, salt and sometimes rice flour. The miso I always use is soy-free from a company called Miso Master, and is the chickpea miso.

The rice wine vinegar also plays a role in giving that tangy, pungent fermented flavor. Be sure to buy regular rice wine vinegar, and not “seasoned” rice wine vinegar, as the seasoned variety contains a TON of sugar!

Instead of rice syrup, we’re using sugar-free “maple” syrup. The brand of sugar-free maple syrup I use is Lakanto. I like it because not only does it actually taste like maple, but it doesn’t upset my stomach. You can get 15% off at Lakanto using the code MeatFreeKeto!

Get 20% off Lakanto products with code MeatFreeKeto!

Notes on Making Easy Homemade Keto Gochujang (sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

  • Use chickpea miso to make sure this is soy-free! I like the one from Miso Master.
  • Soy-based miso will also work fine here, and is actually fewer carbs, so you could use that if carb-content is more of a concern, and you can tolerate soy.
  • I ordered the gochujaru (pepper powder) on Amazon, but if that’s not an option and you can’t find it in stores, cayenne or your preferred chile powder will work as well.
  • Be sure to subtract the grams of sugar alcohol from the total carbs as well as the fiber to arrive at the net carbs!
  • While I strive to provide accurate nutritional information, different ingredients have differing nutrient profiles, so your calculations may vary.

a small jar and whisk with vegan keto gochujang

a jar of homemade keto gochujang

Easy Homemade Keto Gochujang (gluten-free, soy-free)

Print Recipe
This keto variation on Korean gochujang pepper paste is a flavorful and low-carb way to add a spicy kick to bibimbap and other dishes.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Keto
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 12 tbsp
Calories 17



  • In a small saucepan on low heat, whisk together all ingredients. Continue cooking, whisking occasionally, until everything is combined and the sauce thickens - about five minutes.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 17kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.1g | Protein: 0.7g | Fat: 0.3g | Fiber: 1.2g

Join the Conversation

  1. Bajan Mum says:

    I guess I should’ve asked before making it, but I think you mean 1 TEASPOON salt because it’s easy to salty.

    1. Liz Author says:

      Oh my goodness, Bajan. So sorry! Yes – 1 tsp! Thank you so much for pointing it out. It’s fixed now!

      1. Bajan Mum says:

        Lol, nevermind. It was funny. My greediness took over and I took a large ladleful of the sauce. There was a wonderful moment of instant joy before the saltiness HIT me. But I can definitely see it’s potential. I’ll but some more miso and try again soon. πŸ™‚

        1. Liz Author says:

          I’m so glad you have such a positive attitude! πŸ˜€

          Haha, I can only imagine how salty that must have been!

          1. Is it possible to actually ferment this? I love fermentation and the probiotics. Thanks.

          2. Liz Author says:

            Hi Roxane! For fermentation to occur, you would need to use a sweetener with sugar instead of sugar alcohols. πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks so much for this – found a “keto” kroean recipe that calls for this spice then went shopping to find all sorts of wheat, sugar etc in the pastes out there – this was so easy and a delicious substitute

  3. I am soooo delighted to have found this keto version of Gochujang{ My very favorite, Mother-in-law, is not keto friendly and this is perfect. I did order gochujang powder not the flakes so I am assuming I will reduce the amount of powder somewhat. Can’t wait to put it on my air dried, dry brined chicken wiings later on today.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi, Kim! I’m so happy this recipe is helpful for you! I’m curious to know how making this went with the powder. πŸ™‚

      I also really used to love Mother-in-Law’s, and that was the one that inspired me to come up with my own!

  4. bet mercer says:

    I’m excited to try this. How long will the sauce last in the fridge? Can it be frozen to last longer?

    1. Liz Author says:

      Hi Bet, so sorry I didn’t see this until now! This should last for a while. I usually have mine in the fridge for a month before I use it all up, and it is always totally fine πŸ™‚

      1. bet mercer says:

        Thanks, Liz! It’ll probably be a while before I can try this now, as I don’t have the miso or gochugaru, but I look forward to trying it in the future when everything isn’t on lockdown.

    2. I have never commented on an online recipe. I am very skeptical of low carb substitutions but I had all the ingredients on hand already so I thought β€œwhy not”? WOW WOW WOW. This is something I will make on a weekly basis. Thank you!

  5. Hi,

    How long will this recipe keep in the fridge?

    1. Liz Author says:

      Hi! I’ve had it in my fridge for up to a month and it’s been fine πŸ™‚

  6. Barley malt is not keto. It is a type of sugar and spikes insulin. I was hopeful to male this, but I will keep looking for a keto recipe.

    1. Liz Author says:

      Hi there, barley malt is not included in the ingredients at all! It looks like you stopped at the beginning of the post before the recipe, where I mention the differences between this recipe and traditional gochujang. πŸ™‚

  7. dedicateddourly says:

    I just bought my first Korean cookbook, so I’m glad I found your gochujang recipe!

  8. Hi! What brand of miso did you use for this recipe?

    1. Liz Author says:

      I used the one from Miso Master. I list the brands I use in the recipe notes, for future reference. πŸ™‚

  9. Thanks for this — it tastes fantastic! Keto for about 2 years now, and I do miss gochujang, since I’m all too aware of how much sugar it’s got in it. Can’t wait to make some keto tteokbokki (I’ve heard string cheese sticks sub in pretty well) , spice up my tacos, and heck, throw in on just about everything. And can’t wait to check out the rest of the recipes on your site!

  10. Could you use a keto sugar substitute- like Swerve or Allulose? Instead of Sugar Free Maple Syrup?

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