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7 Ways to Know if Gochujang is Bad or Expired

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Did you buy Gochujang and forgot to eat it? Well, it might have gone bad or is expired. This has happened to me many times but before you throw it out. Make sure it’s 100% unusable.

After living in Korea for about 3 years, I’ve noticed that many people that use Gochujang don’t think it can go bad.

However, it actually can, and if you eat food that has gone bad. You will get sick, so it’s important to make sure it is still good before you eat it.

There are 7 ways to know if Gochujang has gone bad.

Let’s get started.

Ways to Know if Gochujang Has Gone Bad

1. Weird Smell

If your Gochujang has a weird smell, it’s most likely has gone bad.

There are some foods that you can eat even if they smell weird, however, that is not the case with Gochujang. Because it’s made from chili peppers it won’t smell very bad.

If it doesn’t smell very bad it probably means it’s still okay to use.

But from my own experience cooking with Gochujang usually smells a bit spicy. And if it’s no longer than 16 to 24 months, it’s probably still good to use.

Keep in mind that on most packages there is an expiration date. So look at that first and then see if it has a weird smell.

2. Looks Rotten

Does your Gochujang look rotten or there’s some sort of oil floating on top. Then it’s good to go.

The oil that’s on top rises because of the ingredients. It’s not stirred properly but still safe to use. The fermented soybeans the Gochujang is made from cause this.

Most of the time there won’t be any problem but just to make sure.

Check the expiration date and if it doesn’t look edible. Throw it away immediately.

3. Strange taste

If it doesn’t smell weird and look rotten, it tastes weird. It’s probably because you haven’t eaten Gochujang in a long time.

Usually, after 12 to 14 months the taste begins to change. Especially if you haven’t cooked with Gochujang.

it’s still okay to use and you shouldn’t worry too much about it.

When making Gochujang it goes through a long fermentation process which makes the taste quite strong.

4. Weird Texture

Does your Gochujang sauce have a weird texture, don’t worry.

It’s normal because Gochujang is made for cooking food. The weird texture doesn’t mean it has gone bad or is rotten.

If you’ve bought it from a store then it’s good to use. It hasn’t gone bad and it’s perfectly fine to use. Make sure to store it correctly the next time you’re using it.

Note: Never freeze gochujang. This will remove the flavoring and will ruin the taste.

5. White Bumps on the Surface

If store-bought gochujang has white bumps on the surface. Throw it away immediately. These little white bumps are mold growing on the surface because it has gone bad.

If you eat food with mold, you will get sick. And it’s never a good idea to eat moldy food.

It will cause stomach problems and even vomiting.

6. Past Expiry date

Has your gochujang gone bad and is it past the expiration date. Well, expired gochujang should never be eaten. It will cause massive stomach problems.

From my own experience, I’ve eaten gochujang that has gone bad before and I was sick for a week. It wasn’t fun at all.

As for homemade gochujang, it’ll usually last about 24 months. It doesn’t have an expiry date but if you’re cooking Korean food with it then it should be perfectly fine.

7. If it causes allergic symptoms

If gochujang causes allergic symptoms like itchiness or skin rashes. Then it has gone bad.

Gochujang is made with soybeans, red pepper powder, and salt so there aren’t many ingredients in it.

It’s not likely that gochujang will cause any allergic symptoms and if it does, you might have eaten gochujang that has gone bad.

Does Gochujang Expire?

Yes, Gochujang does expire after 24 months. Generally speaking, after 24 months expired gochujang should be thrown away. Don’t eat it since it may cause nausea, and vomiting or may contain a lot of bacteria.

Never eat expired gochujang even not for Korean cooking. Cooking with expired ingredients is one of the worst ideas. It’ll cause many problems.

So always check the expiration date and throw it away immediately.

It will prevent many headaches.

I’ve eaten expired gochujang in the past and I was sick for a week, it’s not worth it. It’s better to purchase a new one from the store.

If it’s homemade gochujang, then I would recommend you taste it a little bit. If it doesn’t taste weird or hasn’t gone bad.

Then it might be good to eat. However, after 24 months it’s usually not good anymore.

Always check with a taste test first before actually cooking with it.

What about dipping sauces?

If you’re going to use gochujang as a dipping sauce then try to taste it first. Don’t go all in and eat it all.

Just take a small amount and try to taste it first. If it tastes good then you’re good to go.


After all, it’s always important to know if your gochujang has gone bad. If you don’t it may cause many problems.

The best way to store gochujang is in the refrigerator. It will last for a long time and it’ll taste like new.

Usually, it’ll last up to 24 months before going bad.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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