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Paprika Varieties

I‘ve been reading a lot of recipes lately that use Paprika as an ingredient. I always thought there was only one variation which was Ground Paprika. Boy was I wrong. As it turns out, there are loads of variations.

The variations i’ve come across in recipes include;

Hungarian Sweet Paprika

Best in pizza, eggs, soft cheese, sprinkle on salads. Improves every meat and poultry dish, goulash, devilled chicken, sausage, salami and most Hungarian meat dishes. Has a very pleasant taste and a wonderful reddish colour in dishes. Makes finer soups, sauces, gravies, chilli sauce, cream soups, Hungarian goulash soup.

Smoked Paprika

This is a sweet, smokey, slightly woody capsicum flavour. Best with barbequed meats, roast chicken or vegetables. Or in your favourite beef stroganoff.

Ground Paprika

This is a warm, slightly woody capsicum flavour. Best with barbequed meats, roast chicken or vegetables. Or in your favourite beef stroganoff.

Hot Paprika

This is best in all dishes where hot paprika is necessary for kick or mix a little with sweet paprika. Garnish on soups, tuna, chicken, egg, macaroni, potato salads, French dressing, mayonaisse. Garnish for potatoes, onions, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, creamed vegetables. Garnish for egg and cheese dishes, Hungarian goulash, veal paprika. Garnish for meats, chicken paprika.


There’s actually a lot more out there but these look like the common ones. The Smoked Paprika, and the Ground Paprika were the easiest to find in the supermarket. The Hungarian Sweet Paprika was also relatively easy but isn’t as popular as the other two. The Hot Paprika was only available in packet form from Woolworths and I’ve yet to find the Mild Paprika anywhere I’ve looked.

I wondered how the different varieties tasted so I thought I’d do a bit of a taste test with the four varieties I had in my spice rack. I was mainly interested in the Smoked Paprika because it seems to come up a bit in recipes.

Smoked Paprika

Paprika Spice Taste Test


The results were rather interesting. I wasn’t sure how much taste difference there is between the four spices but it was actually pretty stark. The first one to taste was the Hot Paprika. While I was expecting it to be hot, it turned out a lot hotter than I expected. I only put a very small amount on my finger tip and put it on my tongue and immediately I could feel the burning. It wasn’t like a chilli hot though.. This was sort of dull hot whereas I find a chilli hot to be more of a sharp hot. I think this could almost be used as a chilli pepper substitute.

Next was the Sweet Paprika. It didn’t really have a sweet taste, not in comparison to other sweet foods I’ve eaten, but maybe in comparison to other Paprika’s it might be sweet. It was an okay taste, and something I’d be inclined to use on a regular basis.

Next was the Ground Paprika. This one was like licking paper (not that I regularly lick paper). It just seemed to lack any kind of bite, or taste for that matter. I’m not sure if it’s just because of the other two spices, but it really lacked any kind of distinguisable taste. I’ve made devilled eggs in the past though and always used Ground Paprika and it’s always tasted great. Maybe my senses were a bit numb from the other two spices.

Last but not least, I tried the Smoked Paprika. This was was a little similar to the Sweet Paprika in that it had a bit of bite to it, but still a very dull wooden taste. It was like licking a piece of wood (again.. not that I do that).



I wasn’t expecting such a stark difference between the various types of Paprika. I’m not an experienced chef so I wouldn’t have the foggiest as to which one to use in a recipe if I was experimenting but at least I have a bit of an idea what to expect if i’m putting them in a recipe. I normally love spicy foods but I can see I’ll still need to watch how much Hot Paprika I put in any recipe as I suspect it will overpower any other ingredients.


About Geoff Leff

Geoff is the founder of Geoff's Kitchen. In an attempt to improve his cooking skills, he's learning how to cook at age 47. Geoff has also developed a Flight Tracker website which you can visit by clicking the Visit My Website link.

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