Paprika is a versatile spice that is used all around the world to flavor a lot of dishes. It comes in a few varieties such as:

  1. Regular Paprika (Sweet Paprika)
  2. Hungarian Paprika – This variety has another eight grades
  3. Spanish Paprika (Pimenton) – This type also has around four different sub-varieties, including Smoked Paprika (Smoked Pimenton).

When it comes to paprika and smoked paprika, the difference basically lies in the flavor and the way of processing. Smoked paprika has an ultimate smoky rich flavor that regular paprika usually does not possess. Thus, in order to discover more details on this difference, just scroll down our article. 

Difference Between Paprika And Smoked Paprika

Both smoked paprika and regular paprika are prepared from crushed and dried chilis. These chilis come from the plant Capsicum annum, and the chilis used to obtain paprika are more temperate and tend to have thinner flesh. Moreover, this iconic bright red powder becomes a scrumptious flavor and color enhancer when included in the food. 

So, let us start by explaining what regular paprika and smoked paprika are.

Key Difference Between Paprika And Smoked Paprika - SpiceRally

What Is Actually Smoked Paprika?

As we mentioned earlier in this article, smoked paprika is a sub-variety of Spanish Paprika, also known as Smoked Pimento.

In fact, the process that takes place before it comes to the market shelf is one factor that makes it different from regular paprika.

Once the peppers are harvested, they are gradually and deliberately dried on an oak wood fire. This slow de-moisturizing and smoking procedure freeload the moistness from the peppers while aromatizing them with the natural smokiness of the wood fire. 

Then, after a time period of approximately two weeks or fourteen days, the peppers are prepared to be pulverized down into a fine powder, packaged, and sent to the store.

When the differences between paprika and smoked paprika are explained, you may be intrigued by knowing if smoked paprika could be replaced by regular paprika. Click here for clarification.

The Flavor Of Smoked Paprika

Generally, smoked paprika has a robustly smoky flavor. However, the spiciness could be a bit of a complex matter since it can vary depending on the type of pimento used. Therefore, the flavors could have variations as follows:

  • Hot- smoky ( Picante)
  • Bitter-mild-smoky (Agrodulce)
  • Sweet-smoky ( Dulce)

What Is Regular Paprika, And How Is It Made?

The processing of regular paprika is not that complicated when compared to smoked paprika. 

After the peppers are being picked, they should undergo the dehydrating process. The drying method of regular paprika does not require any special means. Hence, they are usually sun-dried or even oven-dried. Once completely dried and the fruits are brittle, they are de-seeded, and the flesh is ground until it becomes a fine powder. Then, it is packed and sent to the market. 

The Flavor Of Regular Paprika

While smoked paprika possesses an unparalleled smoky flavor, we don’t usually get to savor that in regular paprika. Accordingly, the taste of regular paprika may vary upon the type of peppers used. 

However, all paprika is not as hot as red chili powder. They are mild, somewhat sweet, and have slight hotness.

Paprika Vs Smoked Paprika

Since we discussed the key difference between paprika and smoked paprika- which is the way of processing and flavor variations, let us now have a look at their other differences.


Smoked Paprika

A little dash of smoked paprika goes a long way when incorporated into any dish that you need an extra kick. It is great to be included in marinades, dry rubs for meat or seafood, sauces, and dips. The smokiness of this spice could give a unique taste to recipes like:

  1. Paella With Smoked Paprika
  2. Garlic and Paprika Chicken
  3. Roasted Red Potatoes With Smoked Paprika
  4. Smoke Paprika Onion Rings
  5. Red Lentil Soup with Smoked Paprika

Regular Paprika

Paprika generally goes well with savory dishes. Thus, you can use regular paprika when you need a bit of a mild spiciness with a bright red hue. 

Since regular paprika does not contain any intense, pungent flavor or smokiness like smoked paprika, it is more versatile to go in with any warm-flavored dish.

Try using paprika with these recipes:

  1. Chicken Paprikash
  2. Devilled Eggs
  3. Poached Tofu Shakshuka
  4. Smoky White Bean and Roasted Yellow Pepper Hummus
  5. Cashew Cheese Spread

Now, since you learned about the key difference about paprika and smoked paprika, you might be interested in discovering a seasoning blend that uses paprika. Facts about Cajun seasoning are right here if you need to read.


Smoked Paprika- Can be easily bought from the store. But, you may have to check the label to find whether it is hot-smoky, bitter-mild-smoky, or sweet-smoky.

Regular Paprika- This is readily available in any local store.

Can You Replace Smoked Paprika With Regular Paprika And Vice Versa?

In loud and precise terms, the smokiness and the strong flavor that you get by smoked paprika are technically irreplaceable by regular paprika. Thus, if you substitute regular paprika with smoked paprika in a dish, you may not get the desired taste.

However, regular paprika will still add a great flavor to your plate even though it does not possess the intense smoking flavor that smoked paprika would give. And, you are free to decide what type would go into your plate. 

Are you interested in knowing whether smoked paprika is spicy or not? We have an article here for your reference.


Paprika is an excellent flavor enhancer and a colorant that makes a certain dish so appealing. Whether it is smoked paprika or regular paprika, both varieties give the perfect punch to any recipe they are included in.

However, the key difference between paprika and smoked paprika lies in the flavor and the way they are processed.

Apart from the unique, intense smokiness that smoked paprika gives, it does not have much difference compared with regular paprika.

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