How to Select Paprika

Paprika is a spice made from dried ground red peppers. It is a wonderful addition to many dishes, imparting flavour and spiciness in a variety of cuisines at a level that is hot enough to give a lift but nowhere near as hot as chilli or cayenne pepper. As a delightful bonus, paprika carries a high vitamin C level.


  1. Image titled Select Paprika Step 1
    Look for paprika in supermarkets, gourmet grocery stores and stores specialising in spices and herbs. It is also possible to purchase it online.
  2. Image titled Select Paprika Step 2
    Select paprika in good condition. Paprika should be:
    • In date
    • Ground finely and evenly
    • Shiny in colour and consistent[1]
  3. Image titled Select Paprika Step 3
    Choose paprika according to your recipe needs. Paprika is available in various styles, including smoked. The plain, hot and sweet varieties are Hungarian and the smoked version is Spanish.
    • Hungarian regular paprika - ranging from red to yellow in colour, see "Tips" for explanation; usually a very mild flavour with slightly bitter overtones.
    • Hungarian sweet paprika - sweet, with slight bitterness, described by some as "pleasant". It is described by BBC Food as "warm", with the suggestion to obtain the variety labelled "noble sweet".[2]
    • Hungarian hot paprika - a bearable kick that does not increase in heat; no bitterness.
    • Spanish paprika - this is milder than Hungarian paprika and comes in sweet (dulce), bittersweet (agridulce) and hot (picante)[3]
    • Spanish smoked paprika:

      • Sweet - smoky, low level of bitterness and balanced sweetness
      • Spanish bittersweet
      • Spanish hot (picante) - smoky and less hot than Hungarian hot paprika
  4. Image titled Select Paprika Step 4
    Store paprika in an airtight container. It should be kept in a dark container in a cool place. It is even recommended by some to refrigerate it.


  • The redder the paprika, the milder its taste; the yellower the paprika, the hotter its taste.[4]
  • Did you know that some zoos include paprika in the food destined for flamingos to help them keep their pink colour?

Things You'll Need

  • Appropriate storage container
  • Paprika recipes

Article Info

Categories: Herbs and Spices