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Vegan Sweet & Spicy Gochujang Cookies 

These vegan gochujang cookies are the Korean-inspired snickerdoodle cookie you didn’t know you needed! Sweet, spicy, and totally unique. 

Many vegan gochujang cookies on a table with sesame seeds and extra gochujang powder.
Lots of vegan marbled gochujang cookies on the table.

Soft, a bit chewy, and with a nice heat from the gochujang, these cookies are totally unique and honestly, one of my new favorites. I’ve long been a fan of gochujang, adding it to things like my gochujang noodles or a bit mixed in with some tofu or stir fry veggies. Adding it to a cookie? I’m so in! 

Inspired by the viral NYT Gochujang cookies by Eric Kim, I’ve changed the recipe a bit to be more accommodating to the vegan diet. Plus, I decided to make this more of a marbled cookie as opposed to cookies with dollops of the gochujang on top. 

I hope you fall in love with these cookies as much as I have! 

Ingredients 

Here is a quick rundown of what you’ll need to make these cookies. For the full list with amounts, please see the recipe card below. 

Ingredients for gochujang cookies in various glass bowls on the wood table. Black and white labels have been added to name each ingredient.
All the ingredients for the gochujang cookies in various bowls on the table and ready to mix together!
  • Gochujang Paste: The star of the show! Gochujang is a Korean red pepper paste that has been fermented. I pick mine up at my local grocery store, but places like Asian Markets (naturally), Whole Foods, and even Trader Joe’s carry this ingredient.
  • Vegan Butter: Your favorite vegan butter will work great here. For these cookies, I used Earth Balance sticks. 
  • Applesauce: A bit of applesauce helps to provide moisture and keeps the cookies nice and soft. 
  • Vanilla Extract: This really rounds out the flavor profile of these cookies and adds that depth of flavor that only vanilla brings. 
  • Powdered Sugar: Using powdered sugar over granulated sugar was on purpose. Powdered sugar is a bit sweeter, has a bit of cornstarch to help the vegan cookies stay together, and makes for a softer, more tender cookie that won’t turn into a puddle on the cookie trays. 
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar compliments the flavors of the gochujang with the touch of molasses. 
  • All Purpose Flour: Regular all purpose flour is all you need for these cookies. 
  • Cream of Tartar: The secret ingredient of these cookies! Cream of tartar helps preserve the tang of the gochujang in the oven, plus it helps the cookies to stay soft and moist for days. 
  • Baking Soda: This helps the cookies to spread in the oven. 
  • Salt + Cinnamon: Adding a bit of cinnamon to the white dough brings a warming note to the entire cookie overall, plus it really compliments the gochujang flavors. 

Instructions 

Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the full recipe and ingredient list.

Prep Step

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Make sure the oven racks are in the middle of the oven. 

Now, you *can* make these cookies by hand, but I find that using a stand mixer or a hand mixer makes the whole job so much easier. So, it’s what I recommend after testing these cookies.

Step One: Mixing the Wet Ingredients 

The mixed vegan butter and sugar in a metal mixing bowl.
The mixed together vegan butter with powdered sugar.

Into a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the vegan butter, applesauce, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until creamy and fully combined. 

Step Two: Add the Dry Ingredients 

The finished cookie dough in a silver mixing bowl before separating.
The finished cookie dough.

Turn off the mixer and add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix again until a dough is formed. 

Step Three: Shaping the Dough

Divide the dough into thirds, leaving 2/3s for the white dough and leaving the remaining third in the bowl to be mixed with the gochujang.

Showing the two doughs divided on parchment paper.
The divided dough is two-thirds plain and one-third gochujang flavored.

With the third of the dough in the bowl, add the gochujang paste, brown sugar, and 1 additional tablespoon of flour. Mix until the dough is combined. 

Now, it’s time to shape! 

Start by making small, 0.6 ounce (about 18 grams) sized balls (about a rounded teaspoons worth of dough) of the white dough. Repeat with the gochujang dough, making a little smaller dough ball of about 0.4 ounces (about 11 grams).

The dough portioned out before rolling together.
The first step to making the cookies is measuring together the right amount of dough.

Now, press one white dough ball and one orange dough ball together and gently roll in your hands to make one ball. 

Break the dough ball in half, making sure each piece gets a bit of white and a bit of orange. 

Rolling the cookies together, step one. A Caucasian woman's hand shows the rolled dough in her palm.
One: Roll the two colors together.
Rolling the cookies together, step two. A Caucasian woman's hand shows the rolled dough in her palm. The dough has been split in two.
Two: Break the dough ball in half.
Rolling the cookies together, step three. A Caucasian woman's hand shows the rolled dough in her palm. The dough has been flipped so the colors are alternating.
Three: Rotate and flip so the colors are alternating.
Rolling the cookies together, step four. A Caucasian woman's hand shows the rolled dough in her palm. The dough has been rolled back together, showing a marbled effect.
Four: Roll together again. You can repeat this process for a more marbled look.

Place one half on top of the other, making sure the colors alternate. 

Roll the dough ball together again. Look for a pretty swirl and mark that as the “top” of the cookie. If you don’t have a nice looking swirl, you can repeat the breaking in half and smooshing together again. 

Gently flatten the dough ball into a disc and set on the prepared baking sheet. 

Place 8 cookies on a tray. 

Shaped gochujang cookies on a baking tray before baking.
The marbled cookies on a tray with a little sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Step Four: Baking 

Bake the cookies at 375F for about 13 minutes. When I tested, 11 minutes was too soft a cookie and 15 minutes was getting a bit crunchy. 

Let them rest on the trays until fully cooled and enjoy! 

Close up of marbled gochujang cookies.
Closeup of a pile of vegan gochujang cookies, some with sesame seeds and some plain.

How to Store 

Countertop: Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container on the countertop for up to 5 days. 

Freezer: Store the fully baked and cooled cookies in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Allow the cookies to thaw on the countertop for a few hours before serving.

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Many vegan gochujang cookies on a table with sesame seeds and extra gochujang powder.

Vegan Sweet & Spicy Gochujang Cookies

These vegan gochujang cookies are the Korean-inspired snickerdoodle cookie you didn’t know you needed! Sweet, spicy, and totally unique. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, Baked Goods
Keyword: cookies, dessert, vegan baking
Servings: 20 cookies
Calories: 101kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls
  • Mixing spoons
  • measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Baking sheets
  • parchment paper

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce unsweetened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon extra
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang paste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Make sure the oven racks are in the middle of the oven.
  • Mix the wet ingredients. Into a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the vegan butter, applesauce, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until creamy and fully combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients. Turn off the mixer and add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix again until a dough is formed.
  • Shape the cookies. Start by making small, half ounce sized balls (about a rounded teaspoons worth of dough) of the white dough. Repeat with the gochujang dough, making the same half ounce sized balls. Press one white dough ball and one orange dough ball together and gently roll in your hands to make one ball. Break the dough ball in half, making sure each piece gets a bit of white and a bit of orange. Place one half on top of the other, making sure the colors alternate. Roll the dough ball together again. Look for a pretty swirl and mark that as the “top” of the cookie. If you don’t have a nice looking swirl, you can repeat the breaking in half and smooshing together again. Gently flatten the dough ball into a disc and set on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies. Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes. Let them rest on the trays until fully cooled and enjoy!

Notes

  • How to Store 
    • Countertop: Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container on the countertop for up to 5 days. 
    • Freezer: Store the fully baked and cooled cookies in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Allow the cookies to thaw on the countertop for a few hours before serving.

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Nutrition

Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 121mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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