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View Full Version : Sweet Paprika vs. Paprika



Scott Michaels
07-26-2007, 06:16 AM
What's the difference?

Rusty Barton
07-26-2007, 11:15 AM
From Cooking Light.com

http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking/flavorprofiles/Paprika.html

Regular/plain paprika: Very mild in taste with a slightly bitter flavor. There's no detectable sweetness or heat, making it a good garnish for everything from deviled eggs to hummus.

Hungarian paprika is known for its high quality and rich flavor.

Hungarian regular/plain paprika: The label for this product will not specify sweet or hot--it's just a high-quality regular paprika.

Hungarian sweet: This type of paprika has a slightly lingering flavor of sweet red peppers with a pleasant bitterness.

Hungarian hot: Rich flavor of sweet red peppers, with subtle heat that remains constant without increasing in intensity. There's no detectable bitterness.

Spanish smoked paprika comes either dolce (sweet), agridulce (semisweet), or picante (hot). Look for brands that come from La Vera--the climate and the process of smoke-drying produce the highest quality Spanish paprika.

Spanish sweet smoked paprika: Deep smoky flavor and slight sweetness with very little bitterness.

Spanish semisweet smoked paprika: Oaky, lingering smoke flavor with a fair amount of bitterness.

Spanish hot smoked paprika: Not as spicy as Hungarian hot paprika. The smoky flavor provides a nice balance to temper the heat and bitter flavor.

K Kruger
07-27-2007, 10:34 AM
The difference between the two is unknown if that is all that appears on the labels.

'Paprika' (with no other qualifiers and without a source) probably means little. Were it of quality it would designate both. 'Sweet Paprika' only means something if it is from Hungary or Spain. No other sources have regulations designating what can be called sweet. Other sources might label a paprika 'sweet' but who knows if it actually is or not until tasted.

Hungarian paprika has 8-9 grades only two of which are generally available here--sweet and half-sharp . The very best sweet is designated Kulonleges. Sweet, but of a bit lower quality, is simply called 'sweet'--edesnemes. 'Hot' paprika of quality (eros) is designated 'half-sharp'.

Low-end paprikas are ubiquitous--the big box stores and supermarkets carry them. Many are quite fine for 'normal' use. Low-end paprikas might be from anywhere (not necessarily a big deal) but aren't often of high quality--the stems and seeds might be included when ground, the ripeness of the peppers might not be as important when picking, inferior peppers might be included in the grind with better peppers--that sort of thing, and their lower price reflects this. Cheap paprikas can be useful in rubs (they add bulk and color) and are fine to use in that way. No need to seek better paprikas for rubs as paprika's flavor does not withstand prolonged dry-heat cooking--regardless what quality they are. If you are looking to add chile pepper flavor to a rub use a chile that is more suitable to long cooking. But for bulk and color, inexpensive generic paprika works well.

If, however, the paprika is to be used in a shorter dry-heat cook or a moist heat cook like a braise (of nearly any length of time) then seek the best quality paprika as it will make all the difference in the results.

(Hungarian paprika does not have a 'plain' or 'regular' designation and, notwithstanding Cooking Light's imprimatur, Hungarian paprika without a designation of Kuhlonleges, sweet, or half-sharp should be avoided if one is seeking quality as there is simply no such thing as 'high-quality regular [Hungarian] paprika.' Were it of quality it would carry a designation.)

David Lohrentz
07-27-2007, 01:42 PM
Penzeys carries a Smoked Spanish Paprika that I really like. That is the only paprika I have used much of late. I don't know if it is sweet, semisweet or hot, but it does have a little heat, so I would guess it is semisweet. It works well in Chili or Paella.

Bryan S
07-27-2007, 07:09 PM
Am I the only one, but I really don't like the stuff. Too gritty in rubs, has basicly no flavor to speak of. Hey but it does look really cool on top of Deviled eggs. http://tvwbb.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Scott Michaels
07-27-2007, 08:38 PM
Wow, thanks for all the responses. I was only asking because I ran across Jim Minion's brisket recipe in the Weber Charcoal Grilling cookbook, and he lists sweet paprika as an ingredient.

K Kruger
07-28-2007, 06:55 AM
David-- I don't recall if Penzey's specifies which are used (it can be--and is--made with any or a blend) but I like it too. It's nice as well in rubs for grilled foods that are grilled fairly quickly which don't otherwise have enough time to pick up much in the way of smoke flavors. Sometimes I want heat so chipotle is better but when I don't smoked Spanish it is.

(I'm working on a reply to your cart biz post, David. Haven't finished it yet.)\

Bryan-- Cheap paprika is especially flavorless: it's of dubious quality with seeds and stems ground in (and which, if not screened out well, add markedly to the grittiness you mention), not sorted well and, likely, old. It is worth re-grinding/screening it--especially if one is using it as a primary ingredient since doing so would amplify this 'quality'--but it seems scarcely worth the trouble for something that, used in a typical low/slow cook, isn't adding much to begin with.

Bryan S
07-28-2007, 02:03 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by K Kruger:


Bryan-- Cheap paprika is especially flavorless: it's of dubious quality with seeds and stems ground in (and which, if not screened out well, add markedly to the grittiness you mention), not sorted well and, likely, old. It is worth re-grinding/screening it--especially if one is using it as a primary ingredient since doing so would amplify this 'quality'--but it seems scarcely worth the trouble for something that, used in a typical low/slow cook, isn't adding much to begin with. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Kevin, I did pick up a small jar of the Smoked from Penzey's on a recent order just for eggs and such. You know I tasted it and....... well maybe I got Dud Paprika buds, but man there's just not much there of anything. It does look nice on top of eggs though. http://tvwbb.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif