Korean Spicy Dipping Sauce

Korean Spicy Dipping Sauce

The Spruce / Christine Ma

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
25 Calories
2g Fat
1g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 25
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 578mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 63mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Dipping sauces are an integral part of Asian cuisines, and every country has its own repertoire of sauces, such as the spicy and sweet Korean dipping sauce. This sauce is a twist on the basic soy and vinegar dipping sauce. It takes only five minutes to stir together, and there is no cooking involved. It is a tasty accompaniment to Korean dumplings, scallion pancakes, mung bean pancakes, or tempura.

The sauce keeps in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Because you can serve it with so many different dishes, making a large batch of the sauce comes in handy.

The soy sauce to use in this recipe is light soy sauce, most likely the one that you have in your pantry already. Unlike dark soy sauce, which is thick, light soy sauce is thin, light reddish brown, and opaque. Light soy sauce is different from low-salt or reduced-salt soy sauce, which is sometimes labeled as “lite soy sauce.”

For rice vinegar, use the unseasoned type. They are usually right next to each other on the supermarket shelf. Seasoned rice vinegar is sweetened, unseasoned rice vinegar isn’t.

Rice vinegar is similar to white vinegar in color but has a completely different flavor profile; it is much milder, less sharp, and sweeter. Rice vinegar is also called rice wine vinegar. Rice wine is a different condiment and not the same as rice wine vinegar.

For sesame oil, use the plain type, not toasted sesame oil. Plain sesame oil, which is colorless and neutral in flavor and scent, is made from raw sesame seeds. Toasted sesame oil has a dark color, a nutty flavor, and a much thicker consistency. 

The signature spice in this recipe is kochukaru (or gochugaru), Korean chile pepper. Its texture is finer than flakes but coarser than chili powder. It has a hot, sweet, and slightly smoky flavor. With a heat index of 4,000 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale, kochukaru is mildly hot, in the same range as jalapeño peppers. 

You can find kochukaru at Asian grocery stores. If you cannot get it, substitute cayenne pepper for kochukaru but start with a smaller amount as cayenne pepper is much hotter; however, it lacks the typical sweet and slightly smoky component of kochukaru. Sriracha sauce, on the other hand, is much milder than kochukaru, so you might want to increase the amount if you like your dipping sauce spicy.


  • 1/3 cup soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon kochukaru, or chile pepper flakes

  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Korean Spicy Dipping Sauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Add all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.

    Korean Spicy Dipping Sauce in a bowl

    The Spruce / Christine Ma