Smoked Paprika: All About It
Smoked paprika is made from red peppers that are smoked or charred, dried, then crushed into a fine, bright red powder. It adds a wonderful, pungent smokiness to many dishes. Learn more about it.
Even if you do not consider yourself to be an avid home chef, you are likely still quite familiar with paprika. Paprika is used across the board in many, many cuisines. Whether it is incorporated into the cooking process or added afterwards for seasoning or garnishing, paprika adds a hint of spice and a tangy, sometimes smoky flavor to whatever it touches.
Another great thing about paprika is that it comes with a lot of variety. There are several different types of paprika that you can use to bring out different types of flavors in your food. For example, you have sweet paprika, Hungarian paprika, smoked paprika, smoked Spanish paprika, and your regular old plain paprika.
Today, we will talk all about smoked paprika.
What is Smoked Paprika?
Smoked paprika is similar to Hungarian paprika in that the peppers used to make either of these paprikas are smoked first to give it that gorgeous earthy aroma and flavor. The difference lies in the kind of peppers that are used in the process.
Where Hungarian paprika uses Hungarian peppers, smoked paprika is made from pimiento peppers that are smoked or charred, dried up, and then crushed into a fine, bright red powder.
Smoked paprika tends to have an especially dark red color and a very noticeable, smoky aroma that gives you just a hint of what is to come.
How to Use Smoked Paprika?
The best way to use smoked paprika is to pair it with something like meat or roasted vegetables. You can use the bright red powder to create a nice meat rub with several other ground up spices and enjoy a delicious barbecue. It is a primary ingredient in paella and chorizo sausages much like Hungarian paprika.
On the other hand, you can also use it for seasoning your vegetables or spicing up stews, curries, and sauces. Keep in mind that the smokiness of the paprika is often quite pronounced, so use it in moderation. You may want to use another agent if you want to amp up the heat level as well and offer more of a subtle smokiness. Start with half a teaspoon and increase the quantity as per your taste.
Is Smoked Paprika Spicy?
The heat level of smoked paprika can go up to 33k Scoville Heat units. This means that it is mildly spicy but it ranges from brand to brand. Some varieties are mild and even kind of sweet, while others tend to be a lot spicier. But generally speaking, smoked paprika is not typically used for its remarkable heat level.
Instead, it is preferred for its mouth watering smoky taste that adds a layer of complexity in the dish to which it is added.
Where to Buy Smoked Paprika?
Smoked paprika is quite readily available in most places. Head out to your local grocery store and browse the spices section to locate a container that specifically says ‘smoked paprika’. If you cannot find it at the grocery store, then you can order it online as well.
- Buy Smoked Paprika here (Amazon affiliate link, my friends!)
What is the Difference Between Smoked Paprika And Regular Paprika?
Regular paprika lacks that smoky undertone since it is simply made from uncharred, dried peppers. Smoked paprika adds an extra layer of complexity to your dishes by giving it a delicious earthy flavor that accentuates the taste as well as the aroma.
Smoked paprika uses peppers that are smoked with oak, a process that gives it a very strong, natural, and raw essence which reflects quite powerfully in your food.
Can you Use Regular Paprika Instead of Smoked Paprika?
If you are in a pinch and do not have smoked paprika on hand, you can substitute it with regular paprika. Keep in mind, however, that plain paprika is not quite as spicy and it lacks the smokiness factor as well.
Hungarian paprika or hot paprika would be better substitutes if you are after that smokiness or heat level respectively. Other good replacements include chipotle powder and liquid smoke.