Best Ways To Use Sweet Smoked Paprika In Recipes

Sweet smoked paprika
Sweet smoked paprika is a spice made from smoked and dried red peppers ground into a fine powder. It has a deep reddish-brown color and a distinct smoky aroma. The flavor profile of sweet smoked paprika is earthy, slightly sweet, and smoky, with a mild heat level, ideal for sweet potato wedges.

What is sweet smoked paprika?

Sweet smoked paprika
Sweet smoked paprika

Sweet smoked paprika is a type of ground spice made from dried sweet peppers that have been smoked and ground into a fine powder. The peppers usually belong to the Capsicum annuum species, together with bell peppers.

The two most known types of paprika are:

  • Smoked Spanish paprika or Pimentón de la Vera Paprika (from the La Vera region of Spain)
  • Hungarian paprika
AppearancePowder with a vibrant reddish-brown color
Flavor profileSmoky, slightly sweet, and mildly spicy


Originating in Spain, sweet smoked paprika is widely used in Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine. It is also common in dishes from other regions, like Hungary and Marocco. For example, goulash, paella, deviled eggs, chorizo, and Moroccan tagines.


The sweet smoked paprika powder has a vibrant reddish-brown color and a slightly granular texture.

Flavor profile

Sweet smoked paprika is smoky, slightly sweet, and mildly spicy, with a rich depth that can enhance the taste of a wide range of dishes.

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Nutritional Benefits of sweet smoked paprika

Paprika, a seasoning derived from peppers, contains capsaicin, a compound scientifically proven to offer numerous health benefits. Paprika’s antioxidant properties may help protect against cancer and heart disease while boosting the immune system and easing gastrointestinal discomfort. 

Additionally, paprika has been linked to pain relief, healthy weight management, UV protection, and possibly cancer prevention. In addition to its therapeutic qualities, paprika is a rich source of essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, as well as vitamins A, B-6, E, K, niacin, choline, and folate.

Can smoked paprika be hot?

Yes, smoky paprika can be hot. Different varieties of smoked paprika, including hot, sweet, and bittersweet, have varying heat levels. The heat comes from the type and amount of chili peppers used to make the paprika.

When to use smoked paprika – recipe ideas

Roasted carrots
Roasted carrots

Here are some recipe examples where sweet paprika can improve the taste of the dish:

Roasted Smoky Carrots: Toss sliced carrots with olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt, then roast in the oven until tender and caramelized.

Smoked Paprika Aioli: Mix mayonnaise, minced garlic, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and salt to make a delicious dipping sauce for fries or veggies.

Smoky Sweet Potato Wedges: Cut sweet potatoes into wedges and toss with olive oil, smoked paprika, and a pinch of Cayenne pepper. Roast in the oven until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Smoky Red Lentil Soup: Cook red lentils with onions, garlic, and smoked paprika until tender. Puree with an immersion blender and serve with crusty bread.

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Other dishes where you can use smoked paprika include, but are not limited to:

Hummus or anything with chickpeasSmoked paprika can add a smoky flavor to hummus or any dish with chickpeas as the main ingredient.
PaprikashPaprikash is a Hungarian stew made with chicken or beef and paprika. Smoked sweet paprika can add a rich smoky flavor to the dish.
ChorizoChorizo is a spicy sausage commonly used in Spanish and Mexican cuisine. Smoked paprika is one of the key ingredients in making it.
GoulashGoulash is a stew that originated in Hungary and is typically made with beef, onions, and paprika.
PaellaPaella is a traditional Spanish dish made with rice, seafood, chicken, and vegetables. Sweet smoked paprika is a critical ingredient in the seasoning blend added to the dish, giving it its distinctive smoky flavor and red color.

How to cook with sweet smoked paprika?

When cooking with paprika, it’s essential not to burn it. Cook on low heat for about 2 minutes to release the flavors and keep an eye on it to prevent it from burning.

Here are some tips on how to cook with sweet smoked paprika:

  • Use it as a dry rub:

Mix sweet smoked paprika with spices and seasonings to create a dry rub for meats, poultry, or seafood. Rub the mixture onto the surface of the food before cooking or grilling to impart a smoky flavor.

  • Add it to soups:

Sweet smoked paprika can add rich flavor to soups and stews. Stir in a teaspoon or two at the beginning of cooking to allow the flavors to meld together.

  • Sprinkle on roasted vegetables:
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Sweet smoked paprika can add a smoky kick to roasted vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. Toss the vegetables with olive oil and sweet smoked paprika before roasting them in the oven.

  • Add it to dips:

Sweet smoked paprika can be added to dips and spreads like hummus, aioli, and baba ganoush. It adds a smoky flavor and a vibrant red color to the dish.

  • Make a marinade:

Combine sweet smoked paprika with other spices like garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder to create a versatile spice blend to be used in marinades for meats, poultry, or tofu.

Best sweet smoked paprika replacements

Some suitable replacements for sweet smoked paprika include:

  • Regular paprika
  • Chipotle powder
  • Ancho chile powder

Sometimes, you can combine sweet paprika and liquid smoke. The choice of replacement will depend on the specific dish and the desired flavor profile.

How to make smoked paprika at home?

Making smoked paprika at home can be a fun and easy project. Here’s a simple recipe to follow:


  • Dried red peppers (any variety you prefer)
  • Wood chips (preferably oak)
  • Large pot with lid
  • Heat-safe bowl
  • Food processor or spice grinder
  • Airtight container for storage


  1. Start by soaking your wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes. This will help them produce more smoke when you cook the peppers.
  2. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried red peppers and place them in a single layer at the bottom of a large pot.
  3. Drain the wood chips and place them in a heat-safe bowl. Place the bowl on top of the peppers in the pot.
  4. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it over medium-low heat.
  5. As the pot heats up, the wood chips will smoke and infuse the peppers with flavor.
  6. Allow the peppers to smoke over the oak fire for 10-15 minutes or until they are slightly charred and fragrant.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Once the peppers have cooled, transfer them to a food processor or spice grinder and pulse until finely ground. Store the smoked paprika in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months.


Alexandra is a passionate writer with a deep appreciation for food - not just as nourishment but as an expression of culture, a reflection of history, and a celebration of life. She knows that everything in life requires a little spice - and gets a kick (get it?) every time she achieves the perfect combination of heat and depth.

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