Sweet paprika is a sweeter variety of the typical paprika found in most grocery store spice aisles, a hugely popular seasoning used in many dishes around the world. Learn all about it.
Paprika is arguably one of the most popular and widely used spices across the world. Spicy and vibrant with variable heat, it is made using various kinds of Capsicum annuum peppers that are dried and ground up into a fine powder form. Paprika is used in thousands of dishes to bring out the flavor as well as a gorgeous tinted color.
But did you know that there is more than one kind of paprika? That is right- there are various kinds of paprika that you can use for many purposes. Some go all out on the spiciness factor, some add a hint of smokiness, while others go the opposite direction altogether.
That is where sweet paprika comes from.
What is Sweet Paprika?
Most of what you find in the store or in your kitchen cabinet labelled as ‘Paprika’ tends to be sweet paprika. This variety, as you can guess by the name, tends to be quite mild in regards to the spice factor which is why its applications are practically limitless. Paprika is a primary feature in many dishes and in case it is not in one, you can always sprinkle in some to bring out the flavors.
How to Use Sweet Paprika?
The milder taste of sweet paprika means that you can use it for almost anything and everything. It doesn't focus on heat. Instead, it is used to bring about that unique peppery flavor that comes from the crushed up, dried, red peppers. In fact, you may even use it in some dishes to lower the heat level if the original intensity is simply too much for you.
The great thing about this is that it allows you to garner that peppery flavor in ample amounts without letting the spice overpower the rest of the flavors of the dish.
You can also use sweet paprika to balance out the strong flavors of the rest of your spice blend. It adds a nice, subtle touch that pairs well with earthy as well as bright, tangy flavors. That is why it is a prominent feature in many stews, curries, stir fries, and roasts. Add it to some broth or incorporate it during the cooking process for some sweet heat.
Another way to use your sweet paprika would be to add vibrant color to your dish. Paprika comes in its signature fiery red hot color. Thus, it imparts a similar reddish hue to the food it is added in. So instead of reaching for that food coloring or sacrificing the flavor for the sake of the aesthetics, add some sweet paprika to your stew or curry.
But that is not all. Not only can you incorporate sweet paprika into your cooking process, you can also use it as a seasoning. Its relatively mild flavor ensures that you can sprinkle it on top of anything - devilled eggs, pop corn, chips, potato salad - and enjoy the tangy spiciness it brings to the table.
Is Sweet Paprika Spicy?
As we mentioned before, sweet paprika is not all that spicy (as suggested by the name as well!). At its best, sweet paprika will only measure 12k Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville scale. That is why it may not be the best spice to use if your goal is to amp up the heat level of any given dish.
What is a Substitute for Sweet Paprika?
In case you find yourself struggling to locate a container of sweet paprika, there are some handy substitutes that you can use instead. A good substitute is chipotle powder, which has a similar color and flavor, although it is spicier and lacks that underlying sweetness in its flavor profile.
Some people also use cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper flakes in its place. You can also try replacing sweet paprika with other kinds of paprika like regular paprika or smoked Hungarian paprika.
What is the Difference Between Sweet Paprika And Regular Paprika?
While sweet paprika can be acquired very easily, it is still not the same as regular paprika. Some people may mistake regular, plain paprika for sweet paprika but we are here to tell you the difference.
Plain paprika is quite lacking when it comes to flavor. It is not overly spicy nor does it have any sweet or smoky undertones. Its primary use is to add color and aesthetic appeal to the visual aspect of the food. Sweet paprika, on the other hand, has a distinctive sweetness to it that complements the peppery flavor of the blend.
What is the Difference Between Sweet Paprika And Hungarian Paprika?
Hungarian paprika is made using peppers that are first smoked and dried, then ground up into a fine, red powder, giving it its distinctive smoky flavor that works great for meat rubs, barbecues, and roasts. Sweet paprika has a sweeter flavor without the smokiness.
Where to Buy Sweet Paprika?
Sweet paprika is usually readily available. You should be able to find it in your local supermarket or grocery store in the spices section. If you unable to find it, you can order some online as well.
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Thanks for posting this, Mike! When I open my spice cabinet, I always wonder do I use Smoked Paprika or plain Paprika. Now I know! I will have to look for Sweet Paprika. My mom always had Hungarian, but I don't believe I've seen this in the supermarkets.
Mike Hultquist says
Glad to help!