Learn About Smoked Paprika

Author: Chef Sydney

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What is Smoked Paprika?

Smoked paprika is a spice with roots in Spain.  It is also called Spanish paprika or pimenton.  It is a powdered spice, ground from a specific type of Spanish pepper that has been smoked over oak wood.  Smoked paprika is usually a darker orange color, somewhat burnt orange.  The three varieties of smoked paprika are mild, mildly hot, and hot or spicy.

What Does Smoked Paprika Taste Like?

Smoked paprika has a smoky and spicy flavor with hints of sweetness.  Mildly hot smoked paprika does not have much sweetness, but it has some heat in the flavor.  Hot or spicy smoked paprika has more heat than mildly hot smoked paprika and no sweetness.

Learn About Smoked Paprika
A bowl of smoked paprika.

How Do You Eat Smoked Paprika?

Because it’s a spice, people enjoy smoked paprika by mixing it into their foods to add flavor.  It is often paired with chicken, shrimp, and pork to add a depth of flavor.  To enhance the flavor of different recipes, mix smoked paprika into potato dishes, green beans, and other vegetables.  Soups, stews, and sauces benefit from smoked paprika.  Foods commonly paired with smoked paprika include lemon and garlic.

Where Can You Buy Smoked Paprika?

Find smoked paprika in the spice aisle of a well-stocked grocery store.  If you cannot find it in your grocery store, look for it in the spice aisle of international grocery stores.

How Do You Store Smoked Paprika?

Store smoked paprika in a sealed, airtight container in a cool, dry place.  For longer storage, transfer paprika to a dark-colored container away from light.

Fun Fact About Smoked Paprika

While smoked paprika is usually made by smoking peppers over oak wood, some peppers are smoked in kilns.

Did You Know?

Because of its unique flavor, smoked paprika should not be substituted.

Recipes Using Smoked Paprika

Watch Our Oven Roasted Chicken Video That Uses Smoked Paprika as part of the rub.

roasted chicken savory delicious
Roasted Chicken Cooking Video (using smoked paprika)

Wedge Salad with Smokey Ranch

To make smokey ranch dressing, combine whole milk yogurt, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Whisk the ingredients until combined and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the dressing onto a wedge of iceberg lettuce and garnish with blue cheese crumbles, cherry tomatoes, and chopped bacon.

Slow Cooker Paprika Chicken and Vegetables

This is a great recipe to throw together in the morning for a healthy dinner at night. In a slow cooker, add your favorite chopped vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, and onions. Add melted butter, salt, pepper, and parsley and toss to combine. In a small bowl, combine butter, smoked paprika, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, honey, salt, and cumin. Rub the mixture all over some chicken breasts and place them over the vegetables. Cook on low for high for 3-4 hours or on low for 8-9 hours until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

Shrimp and Chorizo Paella

Paella is a commonly make Spanish rice dish with vibrant yellow color and different kinds of meat and seafood. In a large sauté pan, fry diced onion and garlic. Add tomato paste, saffron, turmeric, chili flakes, and smoked paprika, and stir to incorporate. Add the rice and fry it until it is completely coated with the oil and spices. Stir in chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to cook the rice. Before the rice is done cooking, add in sliced Spanish chorizo and raw, peeled shrimp. The vapor from the rice with heat the chorizo and cook the shrimp. Serve garnished with parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

Red Lentil Soup

Make this red lentil soup cooks in 30 minutes and is perfect for a vegetarian, wintertime meal. In a large stockpot, sauté diced onions, garlic, and celery in some olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and smoked paprika, and cook until the spices are fragrant. Then, add in rinsed lentils and vegetable broth. Cook until the lentils and very soft and falling apart, and blend in the blender, or using an immersion blender. Serve garnished with more smoked paprika and olive oil.

Maple Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Paprika

In a large bowl, mix olive oil, maple syrup, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Add in sliced sweet potatoes and make sure that the slices are all evenly coated in the glaze. Arrange the sliced on a baking sheet and bake the potatoes at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, flipping once.


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