What is paprika?

Paprika is a spice that is made from dried, ground pepper pods. The peppers are smoked or air-dried until they are brittle. Then they are ground into a powder and mixed with other spices like garlic, cumin and coriander to create the distinctive orange-coloured spice that we know as paprika. 

Paprika is a spice with a mild, peppery flavour that can be used for cooking or as a garnish. It comes in three varieties - sweet, smoked, and hot - and is used in dishes from around the world. It is frequently used in Spanish cuisine, and hence is also often referred to as Spanish smoked paprika.

What is the difference between sweet paprika and smoked paprika? 

The flavour notes of paprika depend on the peppers which are ground: 

  • Sweet paprika has the mildest flavour and is used to add a gentle warmth to dishes. It adds a bright red colour without an overpowering flavour. 
  • Smoked paprika delivers the flavours it suggests - a central smoky flavour that complements the warm spice. It is derived from smoked dried peppers. It can be both hot and mild. 
  • Hot paprika originates from Hungary and is the main ingredient in their traditional of Goulash It has a more spicy kick than its counterparts.   

Smoked paprika can also differ. It comes in two varieties - hot smoked paprika and sweet smoked paprika. La Chinata is the most famous Spanish smoked paprika producer, renowned for its rich flavour. 

How to cook with paprika 

Sweet paprika is generally used as a garnish or as an all-purpose seasoning. Smoked paprikas have a mellow flavour that pairs well with meats and tomato sauces.

Some of our favourite recipes using paprika: