What’s the Difference between Smoked, Hot and Sweet Paprika?

We get this question often and to be honest, until recently, smoked paprika wasn’t available in most grocery stores, but we have been finding it everywhere lately. We also see sometimes sweet paprika, hot paprika and Hungarian paprika. You will find paprika used in Hungarian dishes, Spanish dishes, South American dishes and thanks to Rachael and other American cooks, we are using it here more and more now.

Paprika is made from grinding dried peppers, so just like peppers can range from sweet to mild to red hot, so can paprika. Paprika is sometimes a garnish, as you might see it sprinkled on deviled eggs or garlic bread, but in Hungarian and Spanish cooking, it is an ingredient used to really flavor dishes and play a larger role, as you see in Rach’s Paprika Chicken Stew .

Our advice, as with all herbs and spices, is to try these flavors for yourself because you never really know what you like until you actually give it a taste. There is a difference between smoked, sweet and hot paprika, so you can’t really substitute one for the other, but sometimes you will find smoked sweet paprika or smoked hot paprika. Hungarian is a place of origin for the spice so it isn’t a flavor necessarily, but it usually refers to the mild or sweet kind.

It’s also really key to keep this spice fresh. Don’t keep it around for more than 6 months or the flavor will become dull and it won’t give your dish the special flavor it deserves and will get from fresher paprika.

Here are some of Rach’s dishes using various paprikas:

Smoked Paprika or Smokey Sweet Paprika Dishes

Paprika Toasted Chick Peas (part of a Spanish Nibbles trio)

Buffalo Chicken Chili Mac

Paprika Pork Cutlets with Swiss Chard Egg Noodles

Smoked Paprika O Rings

Sweet Paprika Dishes

Paella Burgers and Spanish Fries with Pimento Mayonnaise

Great Goulash! Ground Turkey Paprikash and Macaroni

Hungarian-ish Mini Dumpling and Egg Noodle Soup


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