Sweet Hungarian Paprika: Best Uses & Recipes

Sweet Hungarian Paprika
Made with dried sweet red peppers, sweet Hungarian paprika has a bright red color. It's a fine powder with mild heat and a fruity, pleasantly sweet flavor with hints of tartness and bitterness. The spice is present in classic Hungarian dishes like goulash and chicken paprikash.

What is sweet Hungarian paprika?

Sweet Hungarian paprika
Sweet Hungarian paprika

Sweet Hungarian paprika is a dry, bright red spice made from dried, sweet red peppers ground into a fine powder. 

The sweet peppers used to make Hungarian-style sweet paprika in different combinations include:

  • Banana peppers: 0-500 SHUs (Scoville Heat Units)
  • Bell peppers: 0 SHUs
  • Hungarian “Sweet Cherry” cherry peppers: about 500 SHUs
  • Pimento peppers: 100-500 SHUs

The spice is also called Hungarian sweet paprika and is one of the three true types of paprika. Its counterparts are hot paprika (Hungarian paprika) and smoked paprika (Spanish paprika or pimenton). These two are made with spicy, dried, bright red chili peppers.

OriginComes from Hungary
AppearanceA fine-textured bright red powder
Flavor profileHas a mild, fruity, pleasantly sweet flavor with hints of tartness and bitterness

Origin

Sweet Hungarian paprika comes from Hungary, whose national staple spice is paprika.

The high-quality spice comes from different regions of Hungary, such as Szeged, where it is known as Szeged Hungarian sweet paprika, and the “Pride of Szeged” brand is common. Some come from Kalosca.

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The versatile spice is a staple in Hungarian and Turkish cuisines, where it appears on the table alongside other common spices like salt.

Paprika from Hungary is available in eight grades that differ in heat, pungency, and flavor. Sweet Hungarian paprika, known as édesnemes, is the sweetest. It’s the grade mostly exported to other countries, including the US.

Appearance

Hungarian sweet paprika is a fine-textured bright red powder.

Flavor profile

Sweet Hungarian paprika has a mild, fruity, pleasantly sweet flavor with hints of tartness and bitterness.

The rich flavor of sweet paprika powder blends well with spices with earthy and tangy flavors.

Nutritional Benefits of Sweet Hungarian paprika

Sweet Hungarian paprika contains capsaicin, a pepper compound that may reduce the chances of heart disease and cancer and improve immunity.

Hungarian sweet paprika is rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. It also has vitamins, including vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, and K. All these play vital roles in your body.

Sweet paprika can be a sleep inducer. The vitamin B in paprika aids in producing melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. The spice also regulates serotonin, the happy hormone.

The carotene A and B in sweet paprika can help reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. They help regulate the levels of cholesterol in your blood.

Is sweet Hungarian paprika the same as regular paprika?

Sweet Hungarian paprika
Sweet Hungarian paprika

Sweet Hungarian paprika is not the same as regular paprika. While the former is made with one or several types of sweet red peppers and is spicy and flavored, regular paprika is a generic product with no heat and little to no flavor. Regular paprika is used as a food color rather than a spice for adding heat and flavor to dishes.

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Is Hungarian paprika available in stores?

You can find Hungarian paprika in grocery stores and supermarkets across the US, such as Walmart. Online outlets like Amazon, Instacart, and spice retailers also carry the spice.

It’s also possible to find Sweet American paprika made from paprika peppers grown in the US in California and New Mexico.

Best uses in seasoning blends, condiments, and dips

Sweet Hungarian paprika goes into:

  • Harissa spice blend, which features garlic, sweet paprika, caraway, and red chile powder
  • Homemade cajun seasoning blend, (may feature cardamom, black pepper, sweet paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper, onion powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper)
  • Homemade ketchup
  • Marinades and dry rubs for meats
  • Olive oil infused with sweet paprika
  • Salsas

Recommended Sweet Hungarian paprika recipes

Beef goulash
Beef goulash

There are many recipes that you can try with sweet Hungarian paprika, including:

How to cook with sweet paprika?

When making these and other dishes with sweet paprika, you’ll want to add the spice at the end of cooking to get the best flavor.

Remember that sweet paprika burns easily because of its high sugar content. It turns brown and bitter when exposed to too much heat for a long time. Cook the spice over low heat for a short time, preferably no more than two minutes.

Alex Maina

Since discovering how well spices transform a dish from bland to enjoyable in seconds, Alex became sold on using spices to better three of his major passions—gardening, cooking, and writing. When he is not tending to his spice crops, you'll find him trying a new recipe, writing for the Spice Gourmand, or serving a second helping of his spicy food!

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