Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies

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

If you had asked me what to do with 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 , cooking columnist for the New York Times, for (by way of ). 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.

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 . 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.

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.

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 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.

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 brand.

Related Recipe:

Peanut Butter Gochujang Cookies

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  • large baking sheets
  • parchment paper



Gochujang mixture

Peanut butter cookie dough


  • 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.
  • 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.





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