Paprika - How To Use

(Also known as Hungarian pepper and Pimenton)


Bittersweet, earthy and fruity. This powdered condiment is derived from special types of dried and ground ripe pepper. Paprika is a very important ingredient in Hungarian cooking, with the slightly sweet Hungarian paprika variety.

With some exceptions, the idea of hot chiles, or the use of chiles as a vegetable in all their infinite variety, is the case in Mexico, never really took hold in Europe. Two versions of chiles are common in Europe, either sweet chiles roasted (as in Spanish piquillo), dried, ground versions are known as paprika in Hungary, Turkey, and the Balkan countries pimento in Spain. They are both quite different, come in sweet and piquant versions, and are integral to their respective cuisines. In Spain, two areas produce pimento. A sweet version is made from the flora pepper in Murcia, utilised throughout the country to flavour and colour sausages, rice dishes, and all sorts of seafood and vegetables. 


Paprika is richer in Vitamin C than most citrus fruits. However, to protect the quality and the health benefits, store paprika in dark containers as it is very sensitive to light.

Interesting Facts

  • Pimento de la Vera is smoked paprika made from chiles that probably descend from the original variety brought back by Columbus himself, having been grown in this western region for over 500 years. It is available in sweet and hot smoked versions, highly prized as a flavour enhancer throughout Spanish culture.
  • Paprika spice is gaining popularity in many parts of Europe. It was Spanish Monks that first started grinding and drying the chilli fruit. Arguably to this day, the globes best tasting smoked paprika comes from La Vera valley in Extremadura, where said fruits are hung in smokehouses to get the amazing taste.
  • The Ottoman Turks first brought paprika peppers to Hungry, where paprika has been the national spice since the 1800s.
  • A French chef named Georges Escoffier brought paprika to the mainstream of the culinary world in 1879 with paprika chicken, or should we say poulet au paprika.
  • After World War II, the communist Government of Hungry only allowed the production of paprika at state-owned mills. 

Chief flavour profile

Pyrazine combinations: (earthy and smoky) the rich earthiness comes from pyrazine which typically develops from drying and smoking. Black cardamom, sesame and ajwain are just some of the spices that compliment paprika with their smoky and earthy compound elements.   

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