Smoked Paprika: Everything You Need To Know

Smoked Paprika: Everything You Need To Know

Sep 26, 2022Corinna Jones

If the only image that comes to your mind when you hear the word paprika is the brilliant red-orange, nearly flavorless spice that you put on top of deviled eggs, think again. As its name suggests, smoked paprika is big, strong, and smoky.

Want to know more about this special spice that belongs in your pantry? Read on.

What is smoked paprika?

Because smoked paprika is Spanish in origin, it is also occasionally referred to as Spanish paprika or paprika of the La Vera. This region in Western Spain is well-known for its red peppers, which are dried and smoked before being consumed. This unusual technique yields a vibrantly crimson spice with a delectably smokey flavor.

Paprika vs. Smoked Paprika

The primary distinction between smoked paprika and regular paprika is that the former is produced using red peppers that have first been dried and smoked over an oak fire before being ground. This gives smoked paprika a powerful smoky flavor that isn't present in regular paprika.

Since both smoked paprika and regular paprika can be produced using either sweet, mild red peppers or hot, spicy red peppers, its distinction is more about smokiness than it is about heat.

Types of Smoked Paprika

Red peppers can be used to make smoked paprika in a variety of heat levels. Red peppers can be used to make it whether you prefer them sweet (dulce), semi-spicy or bittersweet (agridulce), or fiery (picante).

However, because most recipes don't mention the level of heat, you can choose the recipe you like most based on how much spice you can handle.

It's also crucial to remember that a lot of the smoked paprikas in the store don't also indicate their amount of heat. If that applies to the jar you're purchasing, you can presume it's sweet smoked paprika, which means the flavor will be smoky without being spicy.

If you're just beginning your smoked paprika trip, I strongly advise you to start there. If you want to add more spice to your recipes, go for the other variations. My personal favorite smoked paprika is hot, since it strikes the perfect balance between smoke and heat.

What is the taste of smoked paprika?

Well, smoked paprika is smokey. Without actually smoking the meal, it imparts a smokey, woodsy flavor. Additionally, it has an earthy, slightly fruity, and lively flavor.

Places where can you by smoked paprika

Smoked paprika was originally difficult to get, but in recent years it has become so popular that most grocery stores now carry it. As previously indicated, you might not be able to find the many kinds of smoked paprika at these shops. The three types of smoked paprika can be purchased through Amazon, spice shops, and stores that specialize in Spanish ingredients.

Substitutes for smoked paprika

There isn't a perfect alternative because the smokey flavor of smoked paprika is distinctive. Ancho chile or chipotle powder, which are also created from dried and smoked chilies, can be used in a pinch.

However, if you prefer a less spicy dish, add less chipotle powder because it has a heat level closer to hot smoked paprika.

Paprika and ground cumin mixed in a 2:1 ratio is an additional option. Therefore, try substituting 2/3 teaspoons smoked paprika and 1/3 teaspoon ground cumin for the 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika called for in the recipe.


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