Paprika is a spice that is often overlooked by cooks. The only time we think of paprika is when we make potato salad, chicken and deviled eggs, using the spice for color to make drab dishes look alive. But paprika is an interesting spice that can be used for much more than a coloring agent.
Paprika is made from grinding
various kinds of peppers. Some people think it’s flavorless, and boring, but
paprika is the fourth most common spice in the world, paprika has more flavor
than its given credit for! Depending on what type of pepper is used, how its
processed, and whether the seeds are included or discarded, Paprika can range
from sweet to mild to hot and bright red to deep brown.
There are two countries that
are famous for producing paprika Hungary and Spain. Hungarian paprika is
generally strong and rich, Spanish paprika is milder. Typically paprika that is
bright red is milder, while burnt orange paprika is hot.
Hungary is famous for its
paprika; it’s their national spice after all! They grow over 40 different types
with 8 different grades of pungency and heat. All have a peppery flavor, with
varying degrees of spiciness, from mild and delicate to hot and spicy. Some
Hungarian paprika contains cayenne powder to kick up the heat even more!
Spanish paprika has 3 levels
of heat, sweet, semi-sweet and hot. Spain also produces a unique smoked
paprika. The peppers are smoked before they are ground leaving a smoky aroma
The paprika we typically
encounter in our grocery stores is usually referred to as “regular paprika”. It
is not known for being overtly flavorful or aromatic and is generally used to add
color to a dish. Buying good quality paprika is worth the added cost. It’s
typically much more flavorful.
If a dish calls for paprika
without specifying which kind, regular paprika or sweet Hungarian paprika are
safe bets. Try changing it up until you find the perfect sweet and spicy
Paprika deteriorates quickly.
To make sure it stays fresh, purchase paprika in small quantities and store in
a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
Here are some of our favorite recipes:
Southwestern Deviled Eggs
Stovetop Beefy Mac and Cheese