What Does Smoked Paprika Taste Like?

Smoked paprika

If you have to choose just one spice that will complement just about any dish, let it be smoked paprika. It's not just regular paprika. Smoked paprika is made from smoke-dried chili peppers, which is why it has an exceptional taste and aroma. So, are you interested in what smoked paprika tastes like?

In most cases, smoke paprika has a sweet and smokey taste, but it can also be hot. Smoked paprika taste differs depending on the type of paprika used to make it.

Smoked paprika

In the rest of the text, you will find what this pepper tastes like and why it is so popular. Many use it in different dishes, which goes best with hearty recipes. But, precisely because of the uniqueness of its taste, they say it's challenging to find a good substitute. So, we won't even try; we'll give you a closer look at the flavor profile of this spice.

What Is Smoked Paprika?

Smoked paprika is a type of spice that we also call Spanish paprika or Pimenton de la Vera. As you can tell from the name, smoked paprika originates from Spain (the part of Spain that is known for drying and smoking red peppers).

It's obtained by a special process of drying and smoking red peppers over an oak fire. After that, the pepper should be ground. In the end, we get a spice that has a bright red color and a smoky aroma.

Smoked paprika in a wooden bowl

That's reflected in the fundamental difference between smoked paprika and regular paprika. The very process of smoking on an oak fire gives the pepper a unique aroma that regular pepper lacks. That smoky flavor and aroma make this spice almost unsurpassed in the culinary world.

Also, when you buy smoked paprika, you need to know what types there are. So, smoked paprika can be

  • mild
  • hot
  • spicy

The type of smoked paprika depends on the type of peppers used. However, you can often come across unmarked packaging in the store. In this case, it is a sweet smoked paprika. If the heat level is emphasized, even better, you will know what it is about.

If you have never used smoked paprika as a spice or you don't like spicy, we suggest you use sweet smoked paprika. And, if you still decide to add spiciness and smoke to your dish, choose the other two types. But first, let's see what the flavor of smoked paprika is.

What Does Smoked Paprika Taste Like?

This type of spice is more and more popular, and people use it as a spice for many dishes. This special smoky flavor gives the dish its unique aroma, and the bright red color provides lovely color for cooked dishes. Thus, the dishes get a red, strong, and attractive appearance.

Smoked paprika on top

The taste of smoked paprika varies depending on the type of peppers used. The taste ranges from mild and sweet to intense and hot. That means that mildly hot peppers have more heat than sweetness in taste. On the other hand, spice and hot paprika have more heat than mildly hot and have no sweetness at all.

There is also an earthy and woodsy flavor. That's how the dishes take on such flavors. Therefore, there is no need to smoke other dishes because they already get the aroma from the paprika. When adding this spice to your dish, add a small amount first. Only when you have established the taste can you determine whether you should add more.

Smoked Paprika Texture

The texture of smoked paprika is fine and delicate, unlike chilli flakes, which consist of larger, coarse pieces. Considering that the peppers are going inside the grinder, it's clear what kind of smooth texture it is. On top of that, you can use smoked paprika in basically any dish as it's easy to cook. This ingredient does not require any preparation, so you can just pour the wanted amount inside the pot and stir it until your dish is perfect in taste.

How Can You Use Smoked Paprika?

As you have seen, this is an ideal seasoning for many dishes. However, the best way to use smoked paprika is to pair it with meat or vegetables. When paired with these foods, it releases the maximum of its taste and aroma and gives the dish a divine taste.

In Spain, it's traditionally used in paella recipes and chorizo sausages. Also, if you add smoked paprika to cooked dishes such as stews, you will enrich the dish with a dark red color and a smoky flavor that will develop over time. It especially goes well with meat recipes like Beef Fajitas or Chicken Paprikash.

meat with smoked paprika

In addition, smoked paprika proved to be an excellent seasoning for meat rubs for barbecue, take chicken wings or country style ribs for example. Also, this ingredient goes well with grilled or roasted vegetables, especially beans. You can also combine it with other spices, such as:

  • garlic and onion
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • turmeric
  • saffron
  • ginger

These are just some of the spices that go well with smoked paprika. When you combine them, just pay attention to what type of smoked paprika you have so that you don't make the dish too hot.

Health Aspects of Smoke Paprika 

Smoked paprika is rich in vitamins C and E, and therefore, it's a perfect addition to our food if you want more protection against cardiovascular diseases. Namely, there is also a small portion of iron and magnesium in this type of paprika, so it's perfect for regulating our blood pressure and overall heart functions.

More importantly, some paprika is quite good when it comes to digesting food as it increases the release of stomach acids.  This will help you digest meat faster and without any complications such as stomach irritation or cardialgy.

preparing the meat with smoked paprika

Anyhow, if you combine smoked paprika with meat and other hard-to-digest foods, you'll definitely see the benefits this ingredient holds.

How to Store Smoke Paprika

In relation to the health benefits this ingredient is offering, storing smoked paprika the right way is quite important. Otherwise, you'll risk it changing the nutrient values which can be harmful to our health in the long run.

Anyhow, there are two ways to store smoke paprika:

  1. Keep it in a container - The important part here is to also keep the container in a dry place at room temperature. On top of that, the container must be properly sealed to prevent air from coming in and out.
  2. Keep it in a glass jar in a fridge - You can also keep the smoked paprika in the fridge, but only for two months. Also, it's important to keep it in a glass jar, not the plastic one. This is because smoked paprika can release a specific odor which can create a musky smell in the fridge.


The wide range of smoked paprika uses speaks of this spice's taste quality. So, finding a suitable substitute is challenging. But why would you look for it when smoked paprika is often available in all local supermarkets?

Since you can make so many recipes with this spice, ensure you have a jar in your kitchen and enjoy.

FAQ About Smoked Paprika

What Does Smoked Paprika Taste Like?

The taste of smoked paprika varies depending on the type of peppers used. The flavor is primarily smoky, ranging from mild and sweet to an intense and hot taste. Mildly hot peppers have more heat than sweetness in taste. On the other hand, spice and hot paprika have more heat than mildly hot and have no sweetness at all.

How To Best Use Smoked Paprika?

Smoked paprika can be used in stews, grilled or baked meat, and vegetables. It can also be used as a seasoning for various spreads and marinades.

What Texture Smoked Paprika Has?

Due to its fine grinding, smoked paprika has a smooth, silky texture.

Is Smoked Paprika Healthy?

Paprika contains high levels of vitamins C and E, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. That makes it healthy for the blood and cardiovascular system.

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