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I've tried various different brands of paprika but none seem to have any flavor.

Can anyone recommend a kind of paprika that is less bland? For example, I've seen certain "special" varieties such as Hungarian Paprika... how do these taste compared to the regular kind?

  • Knives! where are you? – hobodave Jul 23 '10 at 2:36
  • I think that there's a decent question hiding under the questionable phrasing. I've done my best to edit into shape. – Aaronut Jul 23 '10 at 2:40
  • If there is a Penzey's store near you, go there and you can smell their varieties of paprika for yourself :) – flies Mar 22 '18 at 16:48
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I don't know about brands, but there are six different types. Hot, Hungarian, Plain, Smoked, Spanish, Sweet.

Paprika releases its flavor with heat, but burns easily. So mix it in with liquid, and make sure it gets hot.

Sprinkled onto a cold dish (like deviled eggs), it remains quite bland. Add it to browned hamburger meat, and you're halfway to taco heaven.

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    I have hot/sweet varieties of smoked, so I would hazard that those types come in combinations too. – Orbling Dec 23 '10 at 23:24
  • Spanish paprika is generally smoked; any recipe calling for it is asking for smoked paprika. – flies Mar 22 '18 at 16:54
9

If you find that the paprika or any spice you buy has very little flavor it can have more to do with age than the specific brand. If you don't use a spice frequently, then buy it in the smallest quantity you can find and use it up quickly. Bulk purchases of spice aren't less expensive if they sit on your shelf and lose flavor.

In my experience I usually describe Hungarian paprika as having a bit more of a slight tartness to it (basic sweet paprika, not spicy) and Spanish paprika has more of an earthy/woody/dusty flavor.

Ask a spaniard what they recommend and they'll say Spanish, ask a Hungarian and they'll of course be partial to their own. What I like very well may be different than your preference. The best thing to do is sample different ones side by side to see which you prefer and determine why.

Try Penzey's for high quality spices/herbs/seasonings. They sell in a broad range of packaging so you don't have to commit to a big container only to discover you don't like it. You may also want to visit the Spice House. They are separate branches of the same family and both do mail order.

  • Especially with paprika, where the answer to "the spice has gone bland" is not "then add more", given it will taste papery and bitter then,.. – rackandboneman Mar 24 '17 at 10:11
  • This is the correct answer. If your paprika is bland, the problem is most likely that it is too old. Buy spices from a specialty vendor like Penzey's. Discard old spices when they aren't fragrant anymore (anywhere from 6-18 months; whole spices last longer; buy a coffee grinder just for spices). By the same logic, it's best to buy in small quantities unless it's something you use a lot of. (A price break on bulk spices is no bargain if it loses its taste before you're half done.) – flies Mar 22 '18 at 16:58
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As with most spices, especially once you are talking about varieties and the differences between them, it is difficult to speak directly to what each tastes like.

However, a good way of finding out the differences between spices like paprika is to "bloom" them, where you dry toast them in a skillet. i find one way of doing this and getting to enjoy they flavor immediately is by then following the toasting with a splash of olive oil and lightly toasting a bagel in the spices.

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    +1 In fact, it's a good idea to warm any dried spices in this way before use. – Ben Aug 30 '11 at 12:34
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See my answer to this question here.

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Well, if you can't get Paprika that would suit your flavor and if you happen to be a proprietor of some sort of a spice grinder - make your own paprika! Paprika is simply ground capsicums / chillies, so you can get dried chillies and grind them.

Personally, I grow my own chilies, dry them off and grind them - the outcome is so potent you could probably fuel a rocket with it :-)

  • You can use any old coffee grinder as a spice grinder. Clean it out between uses by grinding rice. (Best to get a grinder just for spices unless you like random spice flavors in your coffee, but they are very cheap and easily available at a second hand store.) – flies Mar 22 '18 at 16:50
  • Also, note that there are about a gajillion cultivars of capsicum annuum and they vary widely in flavor. – flies Mar 22 '18 at 16:53

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