This spicy gochujang caramel sauce is sweet, salty, and super addicting!!
The gochujang adds umami to the caramel sauce, and the spiciness subtly kicks in towards the end. You can have this with your favorite desserts, like my Corn Ice Cream recipe, or snacks like popcorn or coffee!
Why you’ll love this recipe
The combination of spicy and umami flavors of gochujang combined with the sweet and salty taste of the caramel makes this sauce an intriguing treat you can’t miss out on.
But if you’re not too fond of spicy treats, you don’t have to worry about the spiciness of the gochujang overwhelming the caramel sauce because it only adds a delightful zing to your tongue to make the sauce more irresistible.
By the way, have I mentioned how easy this is to make? That’s right, it only takes 10 minutes to whip up, so you can add it to your desserts or snacks any time you like.
How do I prepare Spicy Gochujang Caramel Sauce?
This spicy gochujang caramel sauce recipe should take you no time to make once you follow the steps below:
Step 1: Combine heavy cream and gochujang
Combine heavy cream with gochujang and mix well until fully combined.
Step 2: Make the caramel
In a pan over medium heat, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat until the mixture turns into a dark amber color, making sure not to over-stir. Then, remove the mixture from the heat.
Step 3: Add heavy cream
Pour heavy cream into the melted sugar while whisking to mix well.
Step 4: Add butter and salt
Next, add butter and salt. Mix until the salt is completely dissolved.
Step 5: Strain the caramel
Pour through a chinois or fine mesh sieve.
Step 6: Cool and store
Allow the caramel to cool before storing it in the fridge.
Preparation Tips for Spicy Gochujang Caramel Sauce
If you feel intimidated by making this caramel sauce from scratch, here are a few tips you can keep in mind to help make the process easier:
- Watch out for splatters when you pour the heavy cream into the melted sugar mixture since it’s hot and can burn your skin.
- Avoid using high heat when cooking the caramel because it burns easily. If it gets burnt, your sauce will have a bitter taste that can’t be fixed.
- Using a thick pan for cooking will help prevent your caramel sauce from burning since it doesn’t absorb heat as quickly compared to a thin pan.
- When cooking the caramel sauce, you can prevent sugar crystals from forming on the sides of the pot by wiping them down with a wet pastry brush.
- Feel free to adjust the amount of gochujang you want to add to the caramel sauce according to your spice level.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Sugar: sugar is the main ingredient for making the caramel sauce. I recommend you use white sugar for this recipe since brown sugar will give you butterscotch.
Light corn syrup: light corn syrup adds sweetness and stabilizes the texture of the caramel sauce. You can substitute it with regular corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, or golden syrup (cane syrup or treacle).
Water: water helps the sugar dissolve, so you only need enough to dissolve the sugar crystals.
Heavy cream: heavy cream helps the texture of the caramel sauce thicken. You can substitute it with half and half or coconut cream.
Gochujang: gochujang adds a spicy twist to the sauce. You can substitute it with gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) or Sriracha sauce.
Unsalted butter: unsalted butter gives the caramel sauce a richer texture and a buttery flavor. You can use salted butter, but adjust the amount of salt to add so your sauce doesn’t turn out too salty.
Salt: salt balances out the sweetness of the caramel sauce, so it’s not too tooth-achingly sweet.
Where can you use Spicy Gochujang Caramel Sauce?
If you’re wondering where you can use this explosively good gochujang caramel sauce, here are a few ideas you can experiment around:
1. Coffee – you no longer have to spend a ton on caramel lattes when you can easily prepare them at home with this recipe. You can incorporate the gochujang caramel sauce into your coffee or drizzle it on top for a sweet pick-me-up that has a bit of a kick.
2. Cakes – decorate vanilla or chocolate cake with this spicy caramel sauce to elevate your dessert into dangerously good territory. You can also incorporate the sauce into frosting to put a spin on caramel cake!
3. Pancakes/ waffles – whether you’re team pancakes or team waffles, spice up your breakfast by drizzling a generous amount of this spicy caramel sauce on top. Add a dollop of whipped cream, and you have a decadent meal to start your morning!
4. Apple slices – level up a quick snack by drizzling some gochugang caramel sauce on top of apple slices. It will remind you of the cozy flavors of candied apples but with a slightly spicy twist!
5. Cinnamon rolls – cinnamon rolls may be already perfect on their own, but make them heavenly good with some gochugaru caramel sauce on top. If you want to indulge, you can also drizzle them after slathering your cream cheese frosting.
6. Cookies – combine this spicy caramel sauce with soft and chewy cookies for a delightful treat. I think the sweetness of a Snickerdoodle batter will meld well with the flavors of the caramel, but feel free to use any cookie recipe you like!
7. Tarts – for bite-sized treats, you can also turn this velvety smooth caramel sauce into tart filling. The buttery crust will envelop its caramel sweetness to make it a memorable dessert.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if you over-stir the caramel?
Over-stirring the caramel can cause it to crystallize – where the sugar starts to form back into crystals. To prevent this, stop stirring once the sugar dissolves and it’s incorporated well with the corn syrup and water. Also, avoid stirring the caramel while it’s boiling since this can cause crystallization.
Why do you add light corn syrup to caramel?
I like to add light corn syrup to this caramel sauce recipe because it helps stabilize its texture by preventing it from crystallizing. You only need to add an ounce of light corn syrup to the mixture to ensure it turns out buttery smooth.
Why do you strain the caramel sauce?
I like to strain the caramel sauce after cooking to separate any lumps. You don’t have to do this step, but I highly recommend it since it ensures your caramel sauce is velvety smooth. If you find chunks after straining, you can squash them with the back of a spoon or discard them.
What is gochujang made of?
Gochujang is a type of Korean chili paste that’s made from fermented soybeans, salt, glutinous rice, and red chili pepper flakes. It has a combination of spicy and umami flavors with just a hint of sweetness. It’s often used in sauces, stews, and marinades in Korean cuisine, but for this recipe, I’m using it to add a surprising twist to the caramel sauce.
How do you store Spicy Gochujang Caramel Sauce?
Store your gochujang caramel sauce in an airtight container or squeeze bottle in the fridge to stay fresh for up to 3 weeks. It’s safe to add it to cakes, brownies, or cupcakes at room temperature for 3 days, but then you’ll have to refrigerate them so the sauce doesn’t go bad. You’ll know the caramel sauce is spoiled once mold appears, and it has an off smell and color.
Looking for more easy and delicious dessert recipes?
1. Easy Banana Pudding – impress your friends and family with this easy banana pudding recipe. Its perfect combination of sweet and creamy flavors make it a crowd favorite at any event!
2. Hong Kong Egg Waffle – if there’s one Hong Kong street food I can’t say no to, it’s definitely this sweet treat. Don’t be afraid to fill the crispy and fluffy waffles with ice cream and all your favorite toppings for an indulgent snack or dessert!
3. Miso Banana Bread – who knew that spicing up your classic banana bread with some miso turns it into an addicting snack? The umami and savory flavors of the miso combined with the sweetness of the bananas create a perfect balance of deliciousness on your tongue.
4. Brown Sugar Butter Toast – elevate your mornings with this tasty brown sugar butter toast. Its comforting buttery aroma and sweet and caramelized flavors make it an addictive treat to pair with your coffee.
5. Mango Mochi – this is the perfect dessert for when you want a quick and easy treat that only takes 10 minutes to whip up. I used mango nectar for the filling, so you can always get a burst of flavor in every bite.
6. Grapefruit Green Tea Granita – if you’re obsessed with bubble tea, you have to try this recipe. I combined the elements of your favorite drink with granita for a delightfully light and refreshing summer dessert.
Spicy Gochujang Caramel
- 200g (1 cup) sugar
- 28g (1 oz) light corn syrup
- 1 tbsp water
- 2/3 cup heavy cream room temperature
- 2 tsp gochujang adjust for spiciness
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Combine heavy cream with gochujang and mix well until fully combined.
- In a pan over medium heat, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat until the mixture turns dark amber, making sure not to over-stir. Remove off heat.
- Pour heavy cream into the melted sugar while whisking to mix well.
- Next, add butter and salt. Mix until the salt is completely dissolved.
- Pour through a chinois or fine mesh sieve.
- Allow the caramel to cool before storing in the fridge.
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