Gochujang fried rice is a flavorful Korean-inspired fried rice made with gochujang, a sweet and spicy Korean red chili paste.
This easy fried rice comes together in just 15 minutes and is a great way to use up leftover rice.
Let's take a look at how to make delicious gochujang fried rice at home.
Gochujang is a thick, pungent red chili paste that is a staple ingredient in Korean cooking. It's made from glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, salt, and chili powder. The fermentation process gives gochujang its distinctive deep, savory umami flavor.
Gochujang has notes of sweetness, heat, and smokiness. Its flavor profile is complex with a slight funkiness from the fermentation process. The spice level of gochujang can range from mild to fiery depending on the amount of chili powder used.
This versatile Korean chili paste can be used to add flavor to soups, stews, marinades, dipping sauces, dressings, and of course, fried rice. A little bit goes a long way in infusing dishes with big, bold Korean flavor.
Gochujang Fried Rice Ingredients
Gochujang fried rice comes together with simple ingredients you likely have on hand. Here's what you'll need:
- Cooked rice - Leftover rice works best. Spread it out on a baking sheet to cool quickly before using.
- Gochujang - Adds sweet heat and savoriness. Adjust the amount to your desired spice level.
- Soy sauce - For salty umami flavor.
- Sesame oil - Toasted sesame oil provides a nutty aroma.
- Vegetables - Carrots, onion, garlic, and peppers add flavor, color, and crunch.
- Protein - Beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, eggs, or tofu.
- Aromatics - Garlic, ginger, green onions enhance flavor.
- Garnishes - Sesame seeds, green onions, kimchi, eggs.
You can customize the vegetables and protein to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. The possibilities are endless!
How to Make Gochujang Fried Rice
Making gochujang fried rice is a quick and easy process. Follow these simple steps:
1. Prepare the ingredients
First, prepare and chop up the vegetables and protein. You want bite-sized pieces so they are easy to eat. Grate the garlic and ginger. Chop the green onions.
2. Cook the protein
Heat oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the protein and cook until no longer pink if using meat. Set aside.
3. Sauté the aromatics and veggies
Add more oil to the pan and sauté the garlic, ginger, and any other aromatics until fragrant. Then add the vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften.
4. Add the rice and gochujang sauce
5. Toss everything together
Keep tossing and stirring the rice to thoroughly coat it in the gochujang sauce. Break up any clumps. Add a splash of water if needed to loosen up the rice.
6. Add the cooked protein and toss
Once the rice is evenly mixed, add the cooked protein back to the pan. Continue tossing everything for another minute to combine.
7. Adjust seasoning and add garnishes
Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add more gochujang for extra heat or soy sauce for saltiness. Top with green onions, sesame seeds, kimchi, and other desired garnishes.
That's it! Enjoy your flavor-packed gochujang fried rice.
Cooking Tips for the Best Fried Rice
Follow these tips to take your gochujang fried rice to the next level:
- Use day-old rice - Leftover refrigerated rice works best to prevent mushy fried rice. Fresh rice can be spread out on a baking sheet and chilled quickly in the fridge or freezer before using.
- Cool rice completely before using - This helps fried rice stay fluffy vs. clumping together.
- Use a nonstick pan or wok - Less oil is needed and rice won't stick.
- Toss and stir constantly - This evenly distributes ingredients and prevents burning.
- Cook over high heat - You want that smoky 'wok hay' flavor.
- Add a little liquid if needed - A splash of water or broth helps loosen up the rice.
- Season to taste - Add more gochujang and soy sauce to adjust flavor.
- Work in batches if needed - For large volumes of rice, work in smaller batches.
Customize Your Gochujang Fried Rice
One of the great things about fried rice is how versatile it is. You can easily customize gochujang fried rice to your preferences and what you have on hand.
- Vegetables - Try mushrooms, broccoli, snap peas, bell peppers, edamame, kimchi, cabbage, spinach.
- Proteins - Chicken, pork, shrimp, beef, bacon, spam, tofu, eggs.
- Grains - Brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice.
- Extras - Pineapple, corn, beans, cashews.
- Add spice - Chili paste, chili flakes, sambal.
- Switch up the sauce - Add more soy or sesame oil. A touch of rice vinegar, oyster sauce, sriracha, hoisin or fish sauce.
The possibilities are endless for creating your own signature gochujang fried rice at home!
Gochujang fried rice is delicious and enjoyed on its own, but there are lots of tasty ways to serve it:
- Top with a fried egg, kimchi, green onions, and sesame seeds.
- Pair it with Korean barbecue like bulgogi or kalbi for a complete meal.
- Stuff into lettuce wraps along with fresh veggies and dipping sauce.
- Use as a base for a fried rice bowl and top with veggies, egg, and protein.
- Serve with a side of kimchi and miso soup for a classic Korean meal.
- Make it into fried rice balls for an appetizer by forming portions of fried rice into compact balls, coating it in flour, egg, and panko, and pan-frying until crispy.
This versatile gochujang fried rice pairs well with many Korean classics. Get creative with serving suggestions!
Gochujang fried rice will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days stored in an airtight container.
Here are some storage tips:
- Allow fried rice to cool completely before storing.
- Store in a shallow container so it cools quickly.
- Press plastic wrap directly on the surface before sealing to prevent drying out.
- Reheat gently in a skillet with a little oil or splash of water to restore texture.
You can also freeze gochujang fried rice for longer storage. Portion it out before freezing for quick weekday meals.
More Delicious Fried Rice Recipes
If you love fried rice, try these other flavorful versions:
- Kimchi Fried Rice - With spicy fermented napa cabbage.
- Shrimp Fried Rice - Plump shrimp and veggies.
- Pineapple Fried Rice - With sweet pineapple chunks.
- Vegetable Fried Rice - Chock full of mixed veggies.
- Chicken Fried Rice - Diced chicken breast or thighs.
- Thai Basil Fried Rice - With fragrant basil.
- Singapore Fried Rice - Curry powder and eggs.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to fried rice! Gochujang fried rice is a simple place to start to add some Korean flavor to this classic dish.
Q: What kind of rice is best to use for gochujang fried rice?
A: Medium or long-grain white rice like jasmine, basmati, or calrose works well. Short-grain rice can get sticky. Day-old refrigerated rice is ideal as it dries out a bit. Freshly cooked rice can be chilled quickly on a baking sheet before using.
Q: Can I make gochujang fried rice gluten-free?
A: Yes, you can substitute tamari for the soy sauce and look for a gluten-free certified gochujang to make this recipe gluten-free. Be sure to use oil rather than sesame oil.
Q: What's the difference between gochujang and sriracha?
Q: Can I freeze leftover gochujang fried rice?
A: Yes, fried rice freezes very well for up to 3 months. Let it cool completely before portioning into freezer bags or containers. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating gently in a skillet or microwave.
Q: What protein can I use besides beef in gochujang fried rice?
A: You can easily swap in chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu or eggs for the beef. Adjust cooking times as needed for the protein. For a vegetarian/vegan option, use tofu.
Gochujang fried rice is easy to make at home in just 15 minutes with leftover rice and pantry staples. It's a great way to use up leftovers and please a crowd.
The sweet heat of the gochujang pairs perfectly with fluffy rice, veggies, eggs, and meat for a quick weeknight meal or an easy potluck dish. Customize it to your tastes and enjoy all that flavorful Korean goodness in fried rice form.
With just a few basic ingredients and simple steps, you can whip up this delicious gochujang fried rice any night of the week. Give this recipe a try!
Gochujang Fried Rice
- 2 tablespoons gochujang paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1- inch ginger, minced
- 1 cup mixed diced veggies (carrots, onion, bell pepper)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 1 green onion, sliced
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
- In a small bowl, combine the gochujang paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Set aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
- Add veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Push veggies to the side.
- Add beaten eggs and scramble until set, then mix with veggies.
- Add rice and gochujang sauce. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until heated through.
- Remove from heat. Top with green onions and sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Use day-old rice or refrigerated cooked rice for best results
- Add any protein like chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu when adding rice
- Adjust gochujang amount to your desired spice level
- Garnish with kimchi, fried egg, or additional green onions