Inspired Flavors

Flavor Story: Paprika

Inspired Flavors

Flavor Story: Paprika

McCormick

Mild paprika is the sweeter, gentler cousin of the hot chili pepper family. With fruity, slightly sweet notes and vivid red color, it brightens almost any dish without ever taking over the show. Use it in rubs and marinades, as a garnish for egg and fish dishes, or as a showstopper in chicken paprikash. When fresh, paprika should be a brilliant, toasty red with an aroma of ripe, red bell peppers. This sweet version carries only a hint of heat, though you can also try it in hot and smoked varieties. Regardless of which type is your favorite, you’ll find that no kitchen should be without it!

Creative Uses

  • Picture that iconic dusting of bold red color atop deviled eggs. That’s paprika! It lends mild, sweet flavor without overpowering the other condiments in your eggs.
  • Eastern Europeans—Hungarians in particular—love sweet paprika in recipes like goulash and chicken paprikash, where the color alone makes the dish look especially appealing.
  • Try it in any chicken, pork or beef stew. Paprika is a mellow ingredient, bringing beautiful color and a hint of sweetness. You’ll find it in everything from barbecue sauce, prepared rubs and marinades to Italian sausage, potato casseroles, cream sauces and egg dishes … we even love it sprinkled on mac and cheese!

Perfect Pairings

  • Use paprika as a base for your own spice rubs. The next time you serve up pork chops, try rubbing them with a combination of paprika, thyme leaves, black pepper and salt before pan frying. Delicious!
  • Paprika is a team player, always ready to lend toasty flavor and rich, red color. We suggest marinating chicken breasts in a swirl of olive oil and lemon juice with paprika, rosemary, salt and pepper before baking. It’s a winning combination.
  • Ever had Hungarian goulash? It’s a creamy, warming winter stew. Paprika, together with sour cream, browned onions and beef, is a key player in the mix. It brings color, sweetness and depth to the dish.

Substitutes

Q: If I don’t have paprika on hand, what makes a good substitute?

A: Most of the spices that would lend lively red color—chili powder, chipotle chili pepper or cayenne red pepper—are much hotter than paprika and will greatly alter the character of the dish. If you’d like the extra heat, use a light hand and go for it! If you’d simply like to add a bit of color, smoked paprika makes a mild yet flavorful substitute, with a sweet and smoky edge.

Recipes

Classic Deviled Eggs
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Savory Turkey Sausage and Lentil Soup
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Homestyle Pork Chops
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Beef Paprikash
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