Paprika Pepper - Hot, Sweet or Mild? - Smoked or Hungarian? - What's Your Favourite?

To get the popular spice, first dry the fruit of the popular paprika pepper plant and then grind to a fine powder. Or like me, you could always buy a quality brand from the store. This is one of the few spices I recommend buying pre-ground, others being turmeric, ginger and garlic.

This spice can range in colour from bright orange to rich brown to the deepest red and it can be sweet and mild, or tangy and hot.

Picture of paprika peppers

It adds rich flavour and colour to goulash, tandoori, grilled meats, devilled eggs and potatoes.

Hungarians sure love their paprika, and the country is one of the world’s largest producers. Click to read much more about this Hungarian favourite.

The Spanish are fond of it too, and this is where you'll find the best, authentic smoked paprika.

This subtle, flavourful and rich spice is a critical ingredient in the Spanish chorizo sausage, in tapas, and in a number of shrimp and seafood dishes.

Hungarian or Spanish Paprika - What's The Difference?

Like the Hungarian variety, the smoked spice also comes in varying intensities, ranging from mild to hot, sweet to savoury.

The Spanish call the sweet mild variety dulce, the medium flavour is agridulce and the hot is picante.

But compared to chili peppers, even the hottest of the Spanish varieties is not too hot, and can be tolerated by most people.

The big difference between traditional Hungarian paprika and Spanish varieties is the process in which it is produced...

In Hungary, it is made from peppers which are dried in the sun or toasted and blended by master craftsmen.

Whilst the Spanish slowly roast the peppers over an oak fire for several weeks prior to grinding. It is then ground repeatedly with stones, which turns it into a fine powder.

Picture of hot Hungarian paprika peppers

A word of caution...

there are some brands of smoked paprika which are really regular paprika with artificial smoke flavouring added. This is no substitute for the real thing, so I recommend avoiding this type.

Incidentally, we have Christopher Columbus to thank for introducing the first pepper plants to Europe.

Originally, native to Central and South America, they were intoduced to Spain after the discovery of the New World.

Paprika pepper is used in many spice mixes and blends, and if you are interested in using it to make your own, then have a quick look at my book. It's full of easy-to-make recipes from around the world.
Available as a digital book that you can download and start using immediately. Click for more information.

Links to Recipes That Use Paprika Pepper

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