Italian Meets Korean in This Viral Gochujang Pasta Recipe That’s Creamy, Spicy + Ready in 15 Minutes

March 15, 2024

Pasta always feels like that cozy, reliable friend in the kitchen. But we can all admit that sometimes even the classic recipes like spaghetti get old. It’s about time we shake up the noodle menu with the viral gochujang pasta. That’s right — we’re fusing Korean spice and Italian comfort in this delicious 15-minute recipe. Just one bite of pasta coated in a creamy, hot ‘n’ sweet sauce and you’ll already be thinking about having seconds. So keep reading to learn more about gochujang from a celebrity chef, choosing the best pasta shape and expert tips for a creamy sauce. Plus, we’re also spilling some creative variations to make it yours. Here’s everything you need to make gochujang pasta.

What is gochujang pasta?

These days, you can’t go online without coming across new viral food recipes. From to , we’ve covered our fair share of trending dishes. But gochujang pasta might just be our new favorite. This dish has been taken the food world by storm, becoming a hit on social media platforms like. So, what exactly is it? Gochujang pasta is an Italian-Korean fusion pasta dish made by coating pasta in a thick, umami-rich sauce. Ingredients in the sauce include garlic, butter, heavy cream, parmesan and gochujang paste. Check out this TikTok video below for a peak into all the hype.

All about gochujang

gochujang pasta: gochujang paste

Gochujang is what gives this pasta its viral savory, sweet and semi-spicy flavor. But what is it? “Gochujang is a popular Korean condiment that is comprised of fermented red chili paste made from dried chili and rice,” says celebrity chef and owner of restaurant. The paste contains glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, salt and sometimes sweeteners. And you only need a little to pack a serious punch. This condiment can be found in Asian specialty stores or the international aisle of your local market. Once you open it, gochujang should be stored in the fridge.

In terms of flavor, gochujang checks all the boxes. Its sweetness comes from the fermentation process. The chilis also provide that funky, umami and spicy component. That said, gochujang isn’t always super spicy. The heat levels vary depending on the brand and are usually indicated on the packaging. “There are many spice levels for this sauce, as that depends on the ‘temperature’ of the actual pepper,” says Lee. “Most people when using gochujang in a recipe use a lot of sugar and sesame oil along with the pepper to mellow out the strong flavor.”

Gochujang adds depth to many dishes. According to Lee, “some of the most popular Korean dishes are bibimbap and tteokbokki, both of which have lots of gochujang.” At Birdies, a modern Korean steak house in Oklahoma City, Lee incorporates gochujang in various dishes. “We make a tteokbokki dish that is made with gochujang bolognese sauce that is cooked low and slow with ground beef, carrots, cabbage and onion.” Check out this picture of Chef Lee’s gochujang tteokbokki:

gochujang Tteokkboki
Chef Kevin Lee

Choosing the right shape for gochujang pasta

There are so many types of pasta out there (roughly 350 shapes). Some of them you probably have in your pantry, while others might sound straight out of a restaurant in Italy. Although they all taste the same, it can be tricky deciding which pasta to cook. But here’s our secret: it all comes down to the sauce. And when it comes to a creamier sauce like gochujang, tubular is best, says former chef and food blogger from .

“For thick, creamy sauces, you want to opt for short, tubular pasta with ridges like rigatoni, penne, and cavatappi,” says Chan. “These features are perfect for trapping the sauce on the inside and holding onto the sauce on the outside, ensuring a flavorful bite every time.”

Related: For more pasta tricks, click through for and

Expert tips for creamy gochujang pasta sauce

Getting the perfect consistency when making a cream sauce might sound challenging. But with a few expert tips up your sleeve, you’ll be well on your way to creating lusciously creamy sauces that coat pasta just right. Here, Chan shares her tricks:

1. Watch the temperature

“Be mindful of the cooking temperature when making the sauce,” says Chan. “Boiling the heavy cream can cause it to separate, leaving you with a curdled cream. After adding heavy cream to the pan, adjust the flame to medium-low and simmer until the sauce has thickened.”

2. Reserve pasta water

“Reserve half a cup of pasta water before draining the pasta,” advises Chan. “Adding starchy pasta water will emulsify and thicken the sauce, resulting in a creamy texture and consistency.”

See also:

15-Minute gochujang pasta recipe

Making gochujang pasta couldn’t be any easier. If you’re in a rush to make a dish that tastes like it took an hour, we have the best recipe from . You only need a handful of ingredients, plus some green onions and parmesan cheese for garnish.

Rigatoni Gochujang Pasta



  • Kosher salt, for pasta water
  • 8 oz. rigatoni, or any pasta of your choice
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 Tbs. garlic minced (about 2-3 cloves)
  • 3 Tbs. gochujang
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar, or your preferred sweetener
  • 1 stalk green onion sliced, plus more for garnish
  • Parmesan grated, optional


  • Active Time: 1 minute
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and season with salt to taste. Add pasta and stir. Cook to al-dente, according to the package instructions. Make sure to stir occasionally.
  2. While pasta is cooking, add 2 Tbs. of butter into a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Once melted, add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add gochujang paste and cook briefly, about 30 seconds or until combined.
  3. Pour in heavy cream, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Mix until well combined. Set aside. Reserve pasta water. Then, drain the pasta well.
  4. Add pasta water and sugar into gochujang cream sauce; stir to combine. Bring sauce to a simmer and add pasta. Let it soak for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and coats well. Stir and toss the pasta frequently.
  5. Turn off the heat; add 1 Tbs. of butter and the sliced green onions. Stir and swirl the pan until butter is melted. Garnish with more green onions and grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Note: For more control on spice, hold back ½ Tbs. of gochujang and adjust to your taste.

Personalize your gochujang pasta

While this pasta is anything but boring, there’s still a lot of room for personalization. Whether you’re up for a little extra heat or craving some freshness, we’ve got you covered. So go ahead and take your gochujang pasta to a new level with these tasty additions.

1. Pack in protein

For an energy-boosting meal, mix some shredded chicken, shrimp, tofu or even beef into your pasta sauce. Watch this video for an easy shrimp gochujang pasta recipe.

2. Swap in coconut cream

For a plant-based alternative that adds a touch of sweetness and , consider using coconut cream.

3. Add vegetables

Amp up your daily nutrition with colorful vegetables like broccoli, spinach or bell peppers.

4. Kick up the spice

If you’re a fan of heat, don’t be shy! Add more gochujang or crushed red pepper flakes for extra spice.

For more quick pasta dishes, check out these stories:

Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.