Noodles tossed with a gochujang sauce? Count me in! These noodles are so much more than just “asian noodles.” The gochujang sauce has a punchy heat to it while also being characterized by a silky, sauciness—both reasons why it’s so craveable.
Gochujang Rice Noodles
Since rice noodles are so sticky, they work wonderfully in this recipe because they grab ahold of the flavorful sauce. Feel free to use any type of rice noodles such as pad thai, stir-fry, vermicelli, straight cut, etc. Often times I’ll stop by our local Asian market and just grab whatever variety looks interesting that day! No need to fret about the shape or size.
If you aren’t a fan of rice noodles or don’t have any on hand, you can also use spaghetti or linguine instead.
Serve these gochujang noodles with Glazed Asian Meatballs, seared scallops, or simply as is!
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a fermented Korean chili paste that’s sweet, spicy and savory. It’s bright red in color, is sticky and thick, and is used as a condiment or in sauces in Korean cooking. (Think “sticky tomato paste,” to help you visualize the texture).
Where can I find gochujang?
I can always find a large container of gochujang at my local international market, but it’s becoming increasingly easier to find in mainstream grocery stores. You should be able to find it in the Asian section of most supermarkets. Otherwise, head on over to your local international or Asian market, it’s sure to be there. And of course, you can always get gochujang on Amazon.
When shopping for gochujang, look for a short bright red rectangle container (some have a gold lid)
How to Make a Gochujang Sauce for Noodles?
The sweet, spicy and savory qualities of gochujang make the bright red paste an ideal ingredient for pasta sauces, dipping sauces, bbq sauces, and more.
Here, I use gochujang in a sauce destined for a mixture of zucchini noodles and rice noodles (although you can choose to use one or the other if you don’t want the mixture). If you want just rice noodles, use 14–16 ounces of rice noodles. If you choose to use all zucchini noodles, use 6–8 medium zucchini.
This sauce recipe combines gochujang, hoisin (more salty, sweet), lime juice, olive oil and garlic. Instead of cooking the sauce separately from the noodles, I simply toss it right in with the cooked and drained rice noodles. Just a couple minutes over medium heat is all it needs to cook that “bite” out of the garlic.
From there, I toss in the zucchini noodles to heat through. While those are warming, I whisk together some water and cornstarch—an essential step to create a thick, smooth sauce. The cornstarch slurry gets added to the pot of noodles and cooked for a minute or so until thicken. Off heat, I throw in a few pats of butter and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil to guarantee that crave-able silkiness and to add a dose of comfort.
How to Use Gochujang Sauce
There are a few ways you can use this sauce:
- Use it to make a delicious drizzle sauce for our Korean Meatballs. (We also have a turkey version!)
- As a glaze for asian meatballs (swap out the hoisin sauce for a few tablespoons of gochujang and honey)
- As a bbq sauce for grilled meat
- Make our go-to pan-seared salmon then brush it with gochujang slightly sweetened with honey.
Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make these saucy Gochujang Noodles.
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Saucy Gochujang Noodles
- 3 large zucchini, spiralized*
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces rice noodles, cooked according to package directions; drained
- ¼ cup gochujang**
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, vegan butter if needed
- Sliced scallions and sesame seeds for serving, optional
- Toss zucchini with salt in a strainer set over a bowl; let sit 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together gochujang, hoisin, lime juice, oil, and garlic.
- Cook rice noodles according to package directions; drain and transfer back to pot over medium heat. Pour gochujang sauce over noodles and cook 2 minutes.
- Squeeze zucchini noodles to release excess liquid (when you think you’re done, squeeze a bit more), discard liquid and transfer zucchini noodles to pot with rice noodles and sauce and gently toss to combine.
- Whisk together water and cornstarch; pour into pan with noodles and cook until thickened and silky; about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in sesame oil and butter.
- Top with scallions and sesame seeds.
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I tried gochujang sauce for the first time last year and now I love it! These noodles were a hit at my house.
We love anything spicy, saucy and with noodles in this house – this recipe was a hit! Thank you!!
So quick and easy! We loved it with some shishito peppers for an appetizer!
My whole family loved this!
Freaking love gochujang! And we do Asian at least 1x per week!
A good depth of flavors with just the right amount of heat…good by itself or combined with your Asian turkey meatballs, chicken or shrimp…This warmed me up on a cold winter day! Thanks Lauren!
🙂 So happy you enjoyed these! Gochujang is such a fun ingredient to cook with!
These look so good! But just an fyi, many hoisin sauces are not GF. I would add to your notes, to check labels.
Hi Jaime! Thanks for letting me know, I remember seeking out a GF version but forgot to mention it in the post. I will add that note!
Oh gosh, I did NOT like this dish. It was extremely spicy for my taste.
HOWEVER! My husband loved it so much he went for thirds. He won’t shut up about how good it was. I don’t remember him liking a dish SO much. AND its suuuper easy to make. So this will probably be on our dinner rotation!
Why not eat food you love, Ingrid?
Super yummy! Very spicy, but still great. I recommend a squeeze of lime right on top before you eat it to temper the spice and add just a little more zing. I stirred in meatballs I had made a while back and frozen; it was great. Normally with noodle/sauce recipes I have to double the sauce (especially if I’m adding protein), but that wasn’t necessary with this recipe.
This is going to the top of my want-to-eat-but-dont-want-to-cook list. Simple and tasty. I went for 100% zucchini noodles and left out the butter. And despite your warning I used regular sesame oil as that is the only kind I had 🙂 I also added some sugar snap peas. Fried them first and then put them on top (instead of tossing in the sauce) Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe!
We loved this! I also made your Glazed Asian Turkey Meatballs to go with this, cause my husband likes his meat! LOL Also a big hit! Thanks for 2 great recipes!
I’m so glad to hear your enjoyed the noodles and meatballs Carolyn!! Two of my favorite recipes! 🙂
Made this last night with the Vietnamese Mango Salad. Both recipes were outstanding!! Thank you !
The recipe was super easy and super good. I used shredded cabbage (stir fried and lightly steamed) added in with the noodles instead of zucchini. It gave a satisfying crunch to the otherwise creamy dish. We’ll definitely make this again – thanks!
Hi Brenda—I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I love the idea of adding cabbage, genius!
@zestful-kitchen thank you so much! I LOVED this recipe. The only thing I changed was that I added shrimp. Yum! Also I don’t have a spiralizer, but I just did thin slices of the zucchini. My sister and I really felt this was the perfect amount of spicy, and very very flavorful!
Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and love that the thin slices of zucchini worked well! 🙂
I tried this recipe, and I loved it!!!
It was so silky and the texture is perfect!!!
although I made my sauce different, and used no zucchini, it was delish!!!!!!
I love this recipe so much. I’ve made it weekly since I discovered it. I usually put black beans in for added protein.
Yay! Hi Ayesha! I am SO happy to hear you love these noodles. Such a great idea to add black beans, I’ll be doing that the next time I make these!
I love gochujang but this recipe was NOT it.
I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it. Was there something in particular you didn’t like?
I had been really nervous about cooking with rice noodles because I’d tried it once before & absolutely botched it, but this time they turned out great! Thanks very much for the recipe, it’s a keeper
I’m so glad they worked out well this time!! This is one of my favorite recipes, so much flavor! 🙂
It was okay, I mean I loved the heat, and the whole idea of the dish…but I didn’t like the raw zucchini. I followed the package directions on my rice noodles and cooked to al dente, but they broke apart into pieces when tossed with the tough, raw zucchini. After adding the cornstarch slurry (which I didn’t think it needed because it was already thick) it all stuck together like paste and tasted chalky. Ruined the sweetness of the gochujang sauce 🙁
Hi Madison, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it very much. A few things I’m curious about—did you salt and squeeze the zucchini? By doing this you draw out excess moisture from the zucchini which gives them a “cooked” texture. Additionally, rice noodles are really starchy on their own, so you’re right, if I didn’t add the 1/2 cup water this dish wouldn’t need that tablespoon of cornstarch. To make the dish saucier without losing the silkiness I opted for a small amount of cornstarch and a fairly good amount of water. This definitely shouldn’t have come out chalky or with the noodles sticking together. Per the instructions, I recommend cooking the rice noodles, draining, then immediately transferring back to the pot with the sauce. If the cooked noodles are allowed to dry and cool they will likely stick together without any sauce or oil. I hope these tips help!
Thank you for sharing this simple yet delicious recipe!! Love it! =^.^=
Yay! So happy you love it Angelina!
LOVE this, we’ve made it 4 times now. I made a small modification, by adding tons of veggies – it’s great with cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, bean sprouts – veg it up. Excellent as leftovers, even cold – if it lasts. My family has asked me to make this again several times. Yum! Thank you for sharing!
Hi Jessica!! So happy to hear you enjoy these noodles! I love the idea of adding cabbage (and all the other veg). I bet the texture is incredible!
I really want to make this right now, I have all ingredients except a lime….do you think I would miss it?? I love spicy food and looking for noodle recipes using gochujang and hoisin..please respond if lime is necessary??
Do you have rice vinegar or white distilled vinegar? I would use 2 tablespoons of vinegar in place of the 3 tablespoons lime juice!
I have seasoned rice vinegar..so I’ll try 2 tbsp of that instead