Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies

These Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies have bold peanut butter flavor with subtle sweet heat from gochujang chile paste.

Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies

If you had asked me what to do with gochujang a couple of weeks ago, I would have told you all about my husband’s favorite Korean beef bowl recipe. It never occurred to me to incorporate the chile paste into desserts – until I saw a recipe by Eric Kim, cooking columnist for the New York Times, for Gochujang Caramel Cookies (by way of Chef John). What a brilliant idea! His recipe was often reviewed as tasting ..’like a snickerdoodle with heat”.

Much as a spicy snickerdoodle appealed to me, I was eager to put my own spin on the idea. Recalling one of my favorite spicy peanut noodle dishes, I decided gochujang would be absolutely delicious in peanut butter cookie dough. Off to the drawing board I went, and returned with a batch of Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies that were gobbled up immediately!

About Gochujang

Gochujang is a staple in Korean cuisine. It’s a fermented chili paste made primarily from red chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. This mixture is traditionally fermented in earthenware pots for several months to develop its flavors: heat and spice, with a touch of sweetness. You’ll often find it in dishes like bibimbap and bulgogi marinades. Gochujang comes in both paste and sauce forms – for this recipe, be sure to use gochujang chile paste (concentrate).

Gochu (GO-CHU) = “Chile pepper”
Jang (rhymes with Tang) = “Fermented soybean”

Make the Gochujang-Brown Sugar Mixture

Stir together 1 tablespoon of room temperature butter, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of gochujang paste in a small bowl. Mix well, mashing the ingredients together with a rubber spatula until well incorporated. Set aside.

Make the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

In the bowl of an electric mixer (I used a hand mixer) cream together butter, brown and white sugars, egg yolks, vanilla, and creamy peanut butter. Use shelf-stable creamy peanut butter for the best results. Add in flour, leavens and salt, and beat until the mixture forms thick dough.

Swirl in the Gochujang Mixture

Scrape down the cookie dough and spread it down evenly into the bowl using a rubber spatula. Then, dot the surface of the cookie dough with the gochujang mixture. Gently swirl and fold it into the cookie dough; avoid over-mixing. This creates pockets of gochujang in the dough.

Repeat the process with the remaining gochujang mixture (see video of the mixing process). The end result should have visible ribbons of the gochujang mixture running throughout the dough.

Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies
Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies

Use a Cookie Scoop!

Here I go again preaching the virtues of the cookie scoop – but it’s a real time-saver! You can find the one I use right here. Scoop dough out onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Because the spread, space them out 2-3 inches apart. And only place about six per 13×9 inch baking sheet. Which is the size cookie sheet I used.

Add some coarsely chopped peanuts on top of each dough mound before baking. These only bake for about 10 minutes, and they’ll be soft right from the oven. So let them cool and firm up before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies

After taking these from the oven, the cookies will be slightly puffed. Rap the pan on the counter top 2-3 times to deflate them and to create that craggy, pillowed look.

Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies

Cool on the Pans

Wait just a few minutes before removing these from the pan – while they are hot they are soft. So give them 5 minutes to cool on the pans to firm up a little.

I love how these cookies turned out – sweet and peanut-ty with a little hit of salt and heat from the gochujang. I almost wish I could re-write Sea Salt Sweet to include these cookies. They’d go in the same “Well Seasoned” chapter as the Miso Caramel Cupcakes with Ramen Brittle I developed for the book. (Page 177 if you have it, pictured below.)

Miso Caramel Cupcakes from Sea Salt Sweet.
Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies

These cookies are so deliciously peanut buttery, with mild sweet heat. The gochujang is not as assertive as you might expect. However, the heat level may vary with different brands of gochujang. So if you’re looking for a really great one, I use and recommend Mother in Law’s Kimchi brand.

Related Recipe: Homemade Hot Honey

Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies

Heather Baird
Sweet with a little heat and filled with peanut butter flavor, these Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies are chewy and delicious. Perfect for the gourmand or chile pepper enthusiast in your life.
Gochujang is a Korean chile paste that can be found in the Asian food section at most grocery stores, and online. Be sure to buy the paste and not the sauce, the paste is concentrated and works best in this recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Korean
Servings 24 cookies


  • large baking sheets
  • parchment paper


Gochujang mixture

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons gochujang fermented chile paste

Peanut butter cookie dough

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter shelf stable such as Skippy or Jif
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 1/3 cup peanuts salted variety coarsely chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two or more large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Gochujang mixture

  • Mix the butter, brown sugar, and gochujang in a small bowl to form a paste.
  • Use a small rubber spatula to effectively mash and stir the ingredients together. Set aside.

Peanut butter cookie dough

  • In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
  • Beat in the egg yolks. Add the vanilla extract and mix again. Add the peanut butter and beat until smooth and consistent, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and flatten the surface of the dough.
  • Dot half of the gochujang mixture onto the surface of the dough; roughly swirl and fold into the dough; don’t overmix. (See video for visual.) Repeat dotting process with remaining gochujang mixture. Swirl it into the dough with a spatula or knife. Avoid over-mixing. You want to see ribbons of the gochujang running through the dough.
  • Scoop the dough into 24 balls using a small cookie scoop. Arrange them well-spaced on the prepared baking sheets. Top each dough ball with a few of the chopped peanuts.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately rap the bottom of the baking sheet on a work surface to slightly flatten the cookies, which creates the craggy, pillowed texture shown. (You can skip this step and the cookies will deflate slightly. But they won’t have the exact same texture shown.)
  • Let cool 5 minutes on the pan, or until they are firm enough to move without tearing. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container, or in zip-top bags.


What to expect: A classic, chewy peanut butter cookie with marbling of sweet heat from the gochujang-brown sugar mixture. The peanut butter is the driving flavor in this recipe, and the subtle spicy flavor of gochujang provides a delightful grace note. 
This original cookie recipe was inspired by food columnist Eric Kim’s popular recipe, Gochujang Caramel Cookies, which he contributed to The New York Times. 
Keyword chile desserts, chopped peanuts, creamy peanut butter, gochujang chile paste, gochujang cookies, Korean food, peanut butter cookies, quick dessert
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