Gochujang Chicken Noodle Soup

published Dec 7, 2023
Gochujang Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

The Korean red chili paste levels up chicken noodle soup with the perfect amount of heat.

Serves4 to 6

Prep5 minutes

Cook34 minutes

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Head on shot of chopsticks picking up a bunch of noodles out of a white bowl full of gochujang noodle soup.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Whenever I’m craving something spicy and comforting, I make gochujang jjigae, a brothy Korean stew with pork and potatoes that’s perfect with noodles or over a bed of rice. I have so many fond memories of my dad whipping up this dish in no time for a quick family meal.

Even though pork is delicious in gochujang broth, I wanted to switch things up by making a chicken noodle version, and it was just as good. Here, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) is combined with rendered chicken fat and chicken broth, creating layers of different and dynamic flavors. Although it’s not the quickest soup to make, trust me — once you taste the broth, you’ll immediately understand that this soup is definitely worth investing your time in. 

Ingredients You’ll Need for Gochujang Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Scallions: Cutting the scallions into big chunks and simmering them in the broth brings a wonderful savoriness that completes the flavor profile. 
  • Chicken thighs: I highly recommend using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for making the soup for two reasons. First, you can extract delicious schmaltz by cooking chicken skin. Secondly, as the broth simmers, the chicken bones add more flavor. You can easily substitute with boneless, skinless chicken thighs — just add more oil and cut the cooking time in half. 
  • Gochujang: This Korean red pepper paste adds the perfect amount of heat. It’s not super spicy, and when caramelized in chicken fat, it brings all the umami and seasons the soup.
  • Chicken broth: You can use water, but adding chicken broth yields an extra layer of flavor to the soup. Be sure to get a low-sodium one. 
  • Fish sauce: This liquid seasoning brings a sharp, funky saltiness to dishes. It adds a lot of flavor and depth to soups almost instantly!
  • Thin Chinese wheat noodles: You can use any noodles, from thick udon noodles to squiggly ramyun noodles. You can even enjoy it with rice! 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

3 Tips for Making Gochujang Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Be patient when cooking the chicken thighs. It takes time to render as much chicken fat as possible from the skin on the thighs. You want that golden fat to flavor the soup, so be patient.
  • Add different types of veggies. This soup is super flexible and can be customized with anything, which is why it’s great for nights you need to clean out the fridge. I love adding a variety of mushrooms, zucchini, potatoes, and bok choy.
  • Have fun with different protein options. My dad’s version includes pork belly (which I think about all the time!). You can even use bacon instead of chicken or make it vegetarian by using cubes of tofu instead.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Gochujang Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

The Korean red chili paste levels up chicken noodle soup with the perfect amount of heat.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 34 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1/2

    medium zucchini

  • 4

    medium scallions

  • 4 ounces

    fresh shiitake mushrooms

  • 1 tablespoon

    neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable

  • 2 pounds

    bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup

    gochujang (Korean red chili paste)

  • 1

    (32-ounce) carton low-sodium chicken broth (scant 4 cups), divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    fish sauce, plus more as needed

  • 8 ounces

    dried thin Chinese wheat noodles, such as Kame


  1. Halve and thinly slice 1 medium yellow onion. Cut 1/2 medium zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Cut 4 medium scallions crosswise into three pieces each; finely chop a handful of the dark green parts (about 2 tablespoons) and reserve for garnish. Thinly slice 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Pat 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs dry with paper towels, then add them to the pot, skin-side down. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook undisturbed until the skin is crisp and browned, and some of the fat is rendered, about 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until the second side is golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate (it will not be cooked through at this point).

  3. Add 1/4 cup gochujang to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the low-sodium chicken broth and scrape up the browned gochujang from the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, onion, zucchini, remaining scallions, and shiitakes. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

  4. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices on the plate to the pot. Bring the heat down to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, 15 to 17 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat.

  5. Transfer the chicken with tongs to a clean cutting board. Use 2 forks to shred the meat into bite-size pieces; discard the skin and bones. Return the chicken to the soup and add 1 tablespoon fish sauce. Keep the soup at a low simmer until the noodles are ready.

  6. Add 8 ounces dried Chinese wheat noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until tender. Drain the noodles, then transfer them to serving bowls. Taste and season the soup with more fish sauce as needed. Ladle the soup, chicken, and vegetables over the noodles. Garnish with the reserved scallion greens.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftover soup and cooked noodles separately in airtight containers for up to 3 days. To reheat, warm the soup and noodles together over medium heat until heated through.