What is smoked paprika? (Plus 20 easy and healthy recipes!)

Have you ever wondered “what is smoked paprika?” or perhaps the difference between smoked paprika and paprika in a recipe? I have these answers and more for you – plus 20 easy and healthy smoked paprika recipes!

What is smoked paprika?

Smoked paprika, also called Spanish paprika Pimenton de la Verais a type of pepper made from dried and smoked red peppers. Originally from Spain, it is used in many different Spanish dishes, but is now easily found in the US and Canada as well. It has a sweet, woody and smoky flavor as the name suggests.

Smoked paprika vs paprika

Both smoked paprika and regular paprika are made from dried and ground red peppers. However, the peppers from which smoked paprika is made are first smoked over an oak fire. This gives them the distinctive smoked flavor.

Both smoked paprika and regular paprika can be made from paprika of different spice strengths.

Horizontal photo of smoked paprika in glass jars

Is smoked paprika hot?

Whether smoked paprika is hot or not depends on the type of red pepper it is made from. Smoked paprika comes in different spice levels – Dulce (sweet), agridulce (“bittersweet”, also called mild) or picante (hot). If you choose to Dulce With smoked paprika you get a sweet taste without spices picante Paprika definitely gives every recipe that certain something.

If the smoked paprika you see in the store isn’t labeled, it’s probably sweet smoked paprika.

Smoked Paprika Substitute

Smoked paprika should be available in almost every grocery store these days, so I definitely recommend picking some up next time you go shopping. However, if you’re making a smoked paprika recipe and realize you don’t have any on hand, you have a few options:

  • Use chili powder. Ancho chili powder and chipotle powder are also made from smoked and dried peppers, so they add that smoky flavor to a dish. Be aware that chipotle powder can be a bit spicy.
  • Add cumin to the peppers. Another option is to add some cumin to regular paprika. 2 servings of paprika to 1 serving of cumin provides a slightly smoky flavor, but isn’t a perfect substitute.
Smoked paprika in a bowl with a spoon

20 easy smoked paprika recipes

Now you know the answer to the question, “What is smoked paprika?” And to understand why it adds such amazing flavor to dishes, let’s dive into some of my favorite recipes that use smoked paprika.

shredded grilled chicken on a bun

Shredded Instant Pot BBQ Chicken recipe

For an easy dinner that’s ready in just 30 minutes, grab this Shredded Instant Pot BBQ Chicken recipe! With a sweet, smoky, and super-delicious sauce, this chicken is the perfect addition to sandwiches, sweet potatoes, salads, and more.

Air fryer chicken strips on a plate with fresh lemon wedges and ketchup

Chicken fillets from the hot air fryer

Ready in just 20 minutes, these Air Fryer Chicken Tenders feature a crispy, gluten-free breading seasoned to perfection with smoked paprika and other spices. Perfect for lunch or dinner.

A Baja fish taco bowl on a granite countertop with a spoon in the bowl

Baja Fish Taco Rice Bowls

These Baja Fish Taco Rice Bowls are a fun and easy dinner of smoked pan-fried fish, crispy coleslaw, and guacamole on a bed of rice. Don’t forget to add your favorite ingredients!

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili – web-4

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans

For a gluten-free, veggie chili with a smoky chili flavor, try this easy Instant Pot Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili. Perfect for busy weeknights!

two mason jar Southwest chicken salads with cilantro lime dressing

Mason Jar Southwest Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

This Southwest Mason Jar Chicken Salad is perfect for meal prep! Fresh and healthy with great flavor it makes a great weeknight lunch.

Overhead photo of a wooden spoon scooping Mexican Instant Pot black beans

Easy Mexican Instant Pot Black Beans (No Soak)

These super flavorful Mexican Instant Pot Black Beans are ready in just 45 minutes – no soaking required! Serve as a side dish or add to tacos, burritos, rice bowls and more.

Photo from above: Recipe for Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan and low carb

Easy Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower Recipe

Seasoned with a handful of spices and then tossed with oil and Parmesan cheese, this Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower is a side dish no one can resist.

the best marinated, grilled flank steak on a cutting board with chimichurri sauce

The best recipe for marinated grilled flank steak

Grilled steak has never tasted so good! Marinated with lime juice, cilantro, and a few other spices, this grilled flank steak is super tender every time.

Side photo of easy vegan black bean stuffed sweet potatoes with guacamole on top

Easy Vegan Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

These Vegan Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are a quick and easy weeknight meal. With just the right amount of spices and ingredients like black beans and corn, these sweet potatoes are ready in just 30 minutes.

Bowl filled with creamy crockpot chicken tortilla soup topped with avocado

The Ultimate Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

There’s nothing like a hearty, warming soup on a chilly evening! With a handful of spices, veggies, chicken and cilantro, this creamy chicken tortilla soup is perfect for busy weeknights.

Tongs pick up barbacoa short rib tacos from the slow cooker

Barbacoa Short Rib Tacos in the slow cooker

The meat in these Slow Cooker Barbacoa Short Rib Tacos is so tender it almost melts in your mouth! Serve with your favorite toppings like cilantro, onions, and avocado for an easy weeknight dinner.

Top view of a simple 20 minute garlic butter baked salmon in foil with lemons on top

Easy 20-minute garlic butter baked salmon in foil

This Garlic Butter Baked Salmon is loaded with flavor! Seasoned salmon is coated in a honey garlic butter sauce, baked to perfection and served with lemon wedges – all in just 20 minutes!

Sweet smoky homemade BBQ sauce in a mason jar

Epic Sweet and Smokey Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

This sweet and smoky homemade BBQ sauce is the perfect blend of flavors. A little sweet, a little smoky and just the right amount of spiciness. Add it to chicken, ribs, pork, burgers and more!

Close-up of a taco filled with pan-seared shrimp and cilantro-lime slaw

Best Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

These Spicy Shrimp Tacos are pan-fried shrimp coated in a smoky spice blend. Serve on top of corn tortillas with your favorite topping and your dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes.

A plate full of chicken wings, carrots and celery sticks

The Crispiest Honey BBQ Air Fryer Chicken Wings

These Honey BBQ Air Fryer Chicken Wings feature a smoky honey barbecue sauce. Since the air fryer does all the work, this addictive appetizer only takes 20 minutes to make!

Close-up of bacon wrapped chicken breast slices on a plate

Chicken breast wrapped in smoky bacon

All you need to make this Smoked Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast is chicken, bacon, and a few spices (including smoked paprika). Wrap the chicken in bacon, pop in the oven, and dinner is ready in under an hour.

a bowl of smoky chicken chili with sliced ​​jalapenos, sour cream and cilantro

Hearty recipe with smoky chicken chili

Not only is this Smoky Chicken Chili super flavorful, it’s also super easy to make! Loaded with fresh veggies, beans, and shredded chicken, this easy chili recipe is ready in under an hour.

Slice the chicken breast and garnish with parsley and lemon

Incredibly juicy chicken breast from the air fryer

These juicy air fryer chicken breast fillets are the perfect solution for a quick and healthy dinner. Seasoned with basil, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cumin, they have a delightfully smoky flavor that goes well with almost any side dish.

shredded chicken tossed in a dark red mole sauce, garnished with fresh herbs

Super Flavorful Chicken Mole Recipe

An easy, classic Mexican recipe, this Chicken Mole recipe is loaded with spices, dried peppers, almonds, tomatoes, garlic, and of course, Mexican chocolate.

a plate of fried fish tacos with coleslaw and crema

Air Fryer Beer Fish Tacos

Perfectly seasoned and crispy, these Air Fryer Beer Baked Fish Tacos are great for lunch or dinner. Top with coleslaw and chipotle crema and serve with a fresh lime wedge.

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