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The 7 Best Paprika Substitutes


Paprika is a vibrant spice that can have earthy, sweet, smokey and fiery flavor depending on the variety used. The bright hue is due to high levels of carotene found in Paprika, the same pigment found most notably in...carrots! Paprika is a key spice ingredient in stuffed bell peppers, deviled eggs, chorizo, and traditional Spanish rice. There are many varieties of paprika, and they are best recognized by their differing flavor, color, heat level, and smokiness. Read our paprika spice spotlight for more information on the nuanced differences between our paprikas.  

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Substitutes for Smoked Paprika 

Smoked paprika adds such a deep unforgettable flavor, that it can be hard to know what can replace paprika when you’re all out. Luckily, there are many different spices that will give you the same impact in your favorite dish. Our favorite smoky substitutions are:


Substitute for Hot Smoked Paprika

To create the same flavor as smoked paprika using the suggestions above will be your best bet. But if you want to add some heat that can be found in hot smoked paprika, use any of the substitutes above paired with hot red pepper flakes.


Substitutes for Sweet Paprika: 

While smoked paprika gives a dish depth, sweet paprika is a classic staple and can be used in almost every dish alongside garlic and onion. Use the following spices instead to get the paprika flavor when you don’t have any on hand.


Common Paprika Questions

Where is Paprika Most Commonly Used?

Paprika can be used in any dish to add a bright vibrant color, like in this Grilled Eggplant Recipe or Creamy Garlic Dressing. Smoked paprika is used to add a smoky aroma that’s desired in chorizo, sausages, or in these Lamb Kabobs.

Where Does Paprika Come From?

The peppers used in making paprika originate in Central Mexico and later were introduced to Spain, and after that Hungary - explaining the Hungarian root of the word “paprika.” Spanish and Hungarian paprika are the two most commonly used paprika types. Spanish paprika having a more smoky flavor, which can be either mild or hot, and Hungarian paprika having a sweeter, more versatile flavor, which can also be found in medium or hot varieties.



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