4 Best doenjang Substitutes (Korean soybean paste)

Do you try to make ssambap or soup containing Doenjang but can’t process due to the absence of Korean Bean paste! Then not too worry, I listed four ideal and easy-to-find Doenjang substitutes for your favorite Korean recipes.

You just need a few adjustments and can eventually make anything used to make Doenjang. All have similar flavors and textures, like Korean bean paste. So keep scrolling through all details.

What is Doenjang? What is doenjang used for?

Doenjang is a Korean fermented soybean paste. It has been used as a relish also base for making soup and stews such as doenjang jigae (soybean paste stew) and doenjang-jjigae (kimchi and soybean paste stew). 

It is also common to make dipping sauces like gochujang (hot pepper paste), another popular spicy condiment for dishes like gyeran-jjim (steamed egg), and kimchi.

What can I use instead of a doenjang?

When I always run out the Korean soybean paste, always choose miso then alternatively any fermented bean paste in a 1:1 ratio. Also, you can use Natto and yellow bean paste to get a similar taste.

4 Ideal Doenjang Substitutes 

1. MISO- A perfect Substitute for Doenjang

Miso is a traditional Japanese thick fermented soybean paste. It is widely used in various Japanese savory dishes, soups, sauce, and pickles.

miso is a perfect substitute for doenjang.

Miso is often mixed with Dashi, miso soup. Miso has a balanced flavor with a sweet, salty, savory, beany, and earthy flavor.

You can use Miso paste 1:1 ratio for Korean Doenjang in any recipe calling for it.

Read More- Ideal Miso Substitutes Must Use

2. YELLOW BEAN PASTE- A Decent Alternative for Doenjang

Yellow bean paste is another similar fermented soybean paste popular in China. It is made from yellow soybean, salt, and water and then fermenting.

Yellow soybean paste is typically added to noodles and soups. You can find any Asian grocery store. Use 1 tbsp yellow soybean paste for every tbsp Doenjang.

3. NATTO- Good Replacement for Doenjang/ Korean Soybean paste

Natto is another fermented food made from the whole soybean. It is typically consumed in breakfast. You can say canned soybeans.

It has a distinctly strong smell, so most people can’t take it; it is served with taro sauce, karashi mustard, and rice.

4. FERMENTED BEAN PASTEBest Korean Bean Paste Substitute

If you don’t find anything to substitute for Korean fermented soybean paste, use any fermented bean paste instead. After all, Doenjang is a type of fermented bean paste.

Various beans can be used in fermented bean paste fava bean, broad beans, etc. But it has a similar taste to Doenjang. 

Although fermented bean paste contains more salt than doenjang, check the taste before putting too much.

Read More- Substitute for Golden Musroom Soup and Ideal Dashi Substitutes

Doenjang VS Ssamjang

What’s the difference between doenjang and ssamjang? For a lot of Korean dishes, like kimchi jjigae and kimchi bokkeumbap, you’ll need both of them to make the dish taste right. 

Both doenjang and ssamjang are made with doenjang, but they’re two very different sauces.

What’s doenjang?

Doenjang is a kind of Korean soybean paste. It’s fermented with rice, wheat bran (which gives it its brown color), and salt. Doenjang is used often in Korean cooking to give flavor to stews, soups, side dishes, etc.

What’s ssamjang?

Ssamjang is the combination of doenjang, gochujang (red chili pepper paste), and gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes). It’s a great accompaniment for grilled meat.

What dishes use doenjang and ssamjang?

Doenjang is used in soups, stews, and some side dishes. Ssamjang is used as a dip for grilled meat, also known as ssam or ssambap.

Can you make ssamjang without doenjang?

Yes, you can make ssamjang without doenjang if you use miso. If you make ssamjang with miso, it’s called miso ssamjang.

Doenjang VS Ssamjang – conclusion

Both doenjang and ssamjang are made with doenjang. They’re two very different sauces, but it’s difficult to say which one you should use for a dish. 

You can combine the two to add flavor to your side dishes and grilled meat.

How to store doenjang

What I like most about doenjang (soybean paste) its distinctive flavor and aroma. No other food tastes like doenjang.

Doenjang is the foundation of kimchi (traditional Korean fermented vegetables) and stews, such as doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew) and doenjang jjajangmyeon (soybean paste noodles).

Doenjang is quite hearty, so it doesn’t require much care after opening the package, but some of you might be wondering, “How long do I have to keep it after opening?”

Just like soy sauce and other condiments, doenjang (Korean soybean paste) can also be stored for a long time in the refrigerator.

Read More- Best Kimchi Alternatives and Ideal Fish Sauce Replacement in Kimchi

Doenjang vS Miso

Doenjang and miso are two types of soybean paste used in Korean and Japanese cuisine, respectively. 

They are both manufactured from fermented soybeans, although their flavors and textures differ.

Doenjang is salty and slightly sweet, while miso is earthy and slightly salty and sour.

Korean miso is typically made in the town of Andong in Gyeongsangbuk-do, an area known for its doenjang. 

It is a thicker paste with a stronger flavor than its Japanese counterpart and is often used in making soups, stews, and dipping sauces.

Spicy bean paste substitutes

I like to use a spicy bean paste substitute in my cooking. I usually use either Sambal Oelek or Sriracha sauce. They’re both very flavorful and add a lot of heat to dishes. However, this time I thought of using something different.

if you don't like spicy bean paste substitute it with sriracha sauce.

Chilli garlic sauce is a very common condiment in Sichuan cuisine, and it’s also one of my favorite sauces to use with steamed vegetables and dumplings. 

There are many similar products on the market, most notably – Sambal Oelek, which is made from spicy red jalapeño peppers.

The one I used for this dish is made from red chilies and contains no preservatives, so it’s not as fiery as the Sambal Oelek. It turned out to be a perfect substitute.

Spicy bean paste substitute is a name of bean paste that Koreans eat. It’s made with soybean powder, sugar, hot pepper flakes, etc. 

If you are familiar with Japanese miso soup called “miso shiru,” it has a kind of savory and salty taste, but “kongnamul shigae” (Korean spicy bean paste substitute) has a sweet and spicy flavor.

What is the best Doenjang brand?

1. Q-RAPHA TRADITIONAL KOREAN DOENJANG- It is gluten-free and natural taste.


Best ways to use doenjang

Best ways to use doenjang (Korean miso paste)

Doenjang is one of the most essential ingredients in Korean cooking. With its tangy, savory flavor, doenjang can be used to make most Korean dishes. 

It’s one of the reasons Koreans adore doenjang. In addition, doenjang can last for a very long time without going bad.

Doenjang sitting on a Korean kitchen shelf or in a Korean fridge for 10 years or more is not an uncommon sight. In fact, doenjang from the ’50s and ’60s are still around because Koreans have kept them around as heirlooms.

But doenjang can go bad if it’s exposed to heat or sunlight for too long; keep it in mind while you make your purchase.

Here are some of the best ways to use and enjoy doenjang:

1. SOUP – Spicy doenjang soup

Doenjang jjigae is one of the most famous soups in Korea. It’s quick to make, healthy, and has a unique flavor that you won’t find in any other type of soup.


Doenjang jjigae is thicker than most soups, but it’s definitely not considered a stew. When you order doenjang jjigae at a restaurant, you’ll usually be served with a bowl of rice with the soup in a small bowl on top. 

· You can use your spoon to break up the chunks of doenjang and mix it all up, so you get both the soup and rice at once.

3. STEW (Jjigae)

Doenjang jjigae is not a stew. It’s closer to a soup because the consistency is quite liquidy. If you add too much water, your doenjang jjigae will become more soup than a stew.

4. STIR-FRY (Jokbal)- Doenjang jjim

Doenjang adds a nice flavor and aroma to all sorts of stir-fries and stews. Stews and stews flavored with doenjang are often called jokbal or jjim because braised dishes give off a good jokbal fragrance (Jokbal is actually the term for braised pig trotters).

5.BAP (Bap)- Doenjang bap (Doenjangbap)

The thing about doenjang is that it’s so tasty, it can actually be eaten by itself. When you want a quick meal that’s inexpensive and filling, doenjang bap or doenjang jjigae with rice is the perfect dish for you.

6. JEON (Jeon)- Doenjang jeon (Jjimjeon)

When you go to a Korean restaurant, there’s a chance that you’ll be served either seafood or meat as an appetizer. When it comes time to make the jeon (pancake), they will most likely use doenjang as their main ingredients.

Wrap Up On Substitute for Korean Soybean Paste Doenjang

Doenjang substitutes are Korean condiments that can be used to serve as soy sauce or miso soup for those who don’t eat meat. 

The article discusses the ingredients and how to use doenjang substitutes. Still, it doesn’t mention any health benefits of using this substitute instead of soy sauce or miso soup

I hope this will help to find out the right Doenjang replacements.

Q1. Substitute doenjang for miso

Yes, you can substitute doenjang with miso. However, it will not be an exact substitution because the taste and flavor will differ.

One of the main differences is that miso contains salt, whereas doenjang does not. Doenjang is earthier and full of umami, while miso is saltier and less intense.

Q2. Can i substitute ssamjang for doenjang?

No, Ssamjang is a thick spicy paste made from doenjang, gochujang, garlic, seasoning spices, onion, and other ingredients. 

Q3. Is gochujang the same as doenjang?

No, they are different. While gochujang is a fermented paste made of chili powder (gochugaru), rice (or wheat), and salt, doenjang is also a soybean-based paste but not fermented. It’s akin to miso in taste and use – think miso soup.

Q4. Is doenjang the same as miso?

No. The two products resemble one another but are actually different by nature. Miso is fermented with a fungus (Aspergillus oryzae). Doenjang is fermented with a bacterial culture (Aspergillus oryzae and Bacillus subtilis).

Most doenjang sold in Korea is made from soybeans, salt, and ‘kongnamul’ (the sprouted seeds of a legume). 

On the other hand, Miso is a Japanese seasoning made using a larger variety of ingredients, including fermented soybeans, with salt and kōji rice and barley and is fermented over a longer period. Miso is usually lighter in color and has a more complex flavor than doenjang.

Typically, miso is salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on the ingredients Doenjang is Sweet and salty.

Q5. Can I substitute Gochujang for doenjang?

Gochujang is a paste made from chili powder, glutinous rice flour, salt, and fermented soybeans. It forms the base for many Korean dishes. 

It is the essential ingredient in making gochujang-based stews such as buddae jjigae (army stew) and kimchi jjigae.
It is also mixed with other seasonings to make a dipping sauce for naengmyeon (buckwheat noodles) and ganjang (soy sauce).

I’ve recently come across a question from a reader asking whether gochujang and doenjang can be substituted for each other. 

The answer is that the two have completely different flavors, textures, and colors. It is difficult, if not impossible, to substitute one for the other. 

For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend trying to use gochujang as a substitute for doenjang.

However, certain dishes are made with equal parts of both gochujang and doenjang. In this case, you can substitute one for the other. 

I’ve also seen recipes calling for only gochujang. In this case, I would recommend doubling the amount of doenjang as a substitute.

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