Smoked paprika is hands-down one of the most interesting and versatile spices on the culinary market.
Whether you’re marinating chicken, whipping up a flavorsome paella, or just looking for an extra kick from your morning scrambled eggs, a sprinkling of smoked paprika can go a long way!
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However, smoked paprika not only tastes incredible and packs an antioxidant punch; it also comes at a premium price.
Moreover, because the pimiento peppers used to make smoked paprika can be difficult to source, it’s not the easiest spice to locate.
Luckily for you, we’ve done our research and put together a selection of the 7 best smoked paprika brands you can buy on the market today!
What is Smoked Paprika?
First of all, we should explain what smoked paprika actually is and how it’s made.
Smoked paprika, as we’ve already mentioned, is made from pimiento peppers. The term ‘pimiento’ can actually be used to refer to most kinds of red peppers, but in the U.S., it’s mostly used to describe the capsicum annum variety of sweet, red peppers.
Pimiento peppers are native to South America. Once harvested, the peppers are slowly and carefully dried over an oak wood fire. This slow drying and smoking process leeches the moisture from the peppers while infusing them with the natural smokiness of the wood fire.
After a period of roughly 2 weeks, the peppers are ready to be ground down into a fine powder and packaged, creating the smoked paprika you can find on shelves in stores!
You can buy smoked paprika in its natural, mild form or with added cayenne pepper for medium and hot spiced varieties.
Top 7 Best Smoked Paprika You Can Buy
Because smoked paprika can come in a variety of spice levels, it’s helpful to know about a few different brands to increase your chances of finding the perfect fit for each individual dish you make.
Moreover, the growing, smoking and blending processes used by different brands play a role in determining the nutritional value, dietary compatibility, and affordability of smoked paprika.
Our selection of the top 7 best smoked paprika brands includes budget, premium, organic, and non-GMO blends to suit all recipes and requirements!
Our top choice for the best smoked paprika you can buy is The Spice Lab’s Smoked Paprika.
This smoked paprika from The Spice Lab is a premium blend, which you can easily tell from the rich, smoky aroma and taste of the powder. It has been infused using the traditional oak fire method and genuine pimiento peppers.
Experienced and novice cooks alike have fallen in love with this indulgent, aromatic smoked paprika brand for its balance of powerful flavor and delicate versatility.
The blend contains just the right amount of spice, so it delivers a slight kick without overpowering other flavors in the powder and the rest of your recipe.
The Spice Lab’s Smoked Paprika has a slightly sweet aftertaste that complements salty, savory dishes perfectly and could even be used to add a unique twist to chocolate-based desserts!
Additionally, this formula is rich in a range of essential vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin B6. Vitamin C, of course, is important for immune health, as are vitamins A and E.
Vitamin B6, meanwhile, is crucial for many bodily functions. It helps with hemoglobin production in the blood as well as maintaining energy stores from protein and carbohydrates.
- High-quality blend - Superior flavor and nutritional value
- Sweet aftertaste - Widely compatible with sweet and savory dishes
- Mildly spiced - Flavorsome but not overpowering
- Proven health benefits - Contains vitamins C, E, A, and B6
- Premium price - Not the most affordable
Our runner-up smoked paprika product is one that food fanatics may already be familiar with. Trader Joe’s is known for its unique and quirky range of food items as well as its wide selection of health foods. The Smoked Paprika blend from Trader Joe’s is no exception to any of these expectations.
Trader Joe’s Smoked Paprika blend is made with pimiento peppers sourced directly from Valencia, Spain, where the supplier company has almost 80 years of experience in paprika production.
The blend is ever so slightly sweet, but not so much that it will come to the foreground of any recipe. Instead, it will contribute a subtle hint of smoky sweetness to your favorite recipes.
However, while this has the advantage of making this paprika brand very versatile and suitable for people who aren’t big fans of spice, if you like your smoked paprika to pack a big punch of spice, this may not be the ideal blend for you.
This smoked paprika is kosher-certified, so customers can rest assured the spice has been grown and produced in accordance with Kosher dietary guidelines.
While all smoked paprika brands are likely to be a little more expensive than most spice blends owing to the expensive nature of the main ingredient and the length of the preparation process. However, this smoked paprika blend is surprisingly affordable, considering how amazing it tastes!
- Trusted brand - Sourced from experienced supplier
- Subtle sweetness - Extremely versatile
- Kosher-certified - Prepared in compliance with Kosher standards
- Affordable - Budget-friendly price
- Mild flavor - May not be strong enough for spice lovers
Since smoked paprika isn’t exactly the most affordable spice out there, it makes sense to get the best value where you can.
If you’re looking for good-quality smoked paprika that allows you to get a lot of spice for your money, we would recommend the Badia Smoked Paprika blend.
The Badia Smoked Paprika comes in 16 oz containers and can be purchased either as single units or in packs of 2 or 3. So, if you’re a spice-lover who wants to regularly incorporate smoked paprika into your meals without putting yourself out of pocket, this blend is an excellent choice.
In addition to delivering great value for money, this blend delivers a real kick of flavor. It’s not especially spicy, but the smokiness really comes through.
If you’re sensitive to strong flavors, we’d recommend using this powder in sparing amounts at first and seasoning to taste rather than following recipe recommendations.
Plus, Badia’s Smoked Paprika is both Kosher-certified and sodium-free, which makes it suitable for those with ethical dietary restrictions and those who want to work on regulating their blood pressure and improving heart health.
- 16 oz containers - Large quantities
- Available as a multipack - Excellent deal
- Strong flavors - Ideal for spice-lovers
- Kosher-certified - No non-Kosher ingredients or practices
- Sodium-free - Good for blood pressure and heart health
- Intense smokiness - May be too much for the tastes of some buyers
Smoked paprika, in general, is typically considered a gourmet spice. However, if you really want to go down the artisanal route, the Gustus Vitae Smoked Spanish Paprika blend is a delicious, high-quality spice.
This smoked paprika has been formulated using the best, naturally-sourced pimiento peppers. Apart from the high-quality ingredients, the secret to the fantastic taste of the Gustus Vitae Smoked Spanish Paprika is that it’s checked for quality at each stage of the smoking and blending process.
The flavor is mild, with enough smoke to distinguish it from regular paprika, but not so much as to be overpowering. It is, however, buildable, so if you enjoy strong flavors, you can add a little more of the powder for a more substantial kick.
This smoked paprika is non-GMO and hasn’t been treated with MSG, ETO gas, or irradiated at any point during the growing, smoking, or manufacturing process.
As an added bonus, the product comes in a convenient, magnetic tin. This means you can keep it fixed to any metal surface in your kitchen for stability and safekeeping while you cook.
Unfortunately, the fact that this premium smoked paprika is sold in such small quantities makes it an inaccessible choice for many in the long-term. However, if you use paprika sparingly and want to treat yourself to the very best, it’s a great option!
- Ideal flavor - Mild but buildable
- Thoroughly quality-checked - Produced to the highest standards
- Non-GMO - Naturally grown ingredients
- All-natural treatment - No MSG, ETO, or irradiation
- Magnetic tin - Practical and easy to store
- Sold in small quantities - Not much for the price
If you’re a fan of organic cuisine, it makes sense to ensure that all your food products, including your spices, are naturally grown and free from unhealthy additives.
McCormick’s Gourmet Smoked Paprika is both organic and boldly flavored, so it’s healthy and delicious at the same time!
The McCormick Culinary Smoked Paprika is perfect for lovers of strong flavors and vibrant colors. The powder is a rich, bright red color that works really well for lending a bit of extra pigmentation to sauces, dips, and other recipes.
Plus, it has a strong, smoky, sweet flavor that doesn’t disappoint. However, the taste can actually be a little too strong for some, so we’d recommend incorporating it in small amounts on the first use.
Because this is an organic paprika blend, you can trust that it hasn’t been grown or manufactured in contact with any potentially harmful or unnatural chemicals.
Plus, it’s Kosher-certified, so it doesn’t contain any non-Kosher ingredients and has been produced according to Kosher standards.
The shaker lid on the container that this smoked paprika comes in makes it easy to sprinkle in appropriate quantities without lumps.
- Powerful flavor - Perfect for spice-lovers
- Organic - No unnatural chemicals or additives
- Kosher-certified - Suitable as part of a Kosher diet
- Vibrant color - Adds pigment to sauces and dips
- Shaker lid - Easy to dispense
- Very strong taste - May be overpowering for some
We’ve reviewed a couple of non-GMO smoked paprika brands in today’s article, but if keeping your food free from Genetically Modified Organisms and other treatment agents is your number 1 priority, you might want to check out the Frontier Smoked Ground Paprika!
This smoked paprika, of course, has not been made using any GMOs, which means that the peppers haven’t been modified or genetically altered.
Moreover, Frontier is committed to keeping its products free from other potentially harmful substances and processes.
Therefore, the Frontier Smoked Paprika has not been irradiated during production to extend shelf life, nor has it been exposed to any ETO gas for sterilization purposes. The smoked paprika from Frontier is also Kosher-certified.
This is a particularly versatile smoked paprika product that can be added in small amounts for just a hint of flavor or built up for a more powerful kick. However, lovers of extremely intense flavor might find this brand a little weak for their liking.
Additionally, Frontier is a co-operative brand that supports responsible and sustainable farming practices through its growing, harvesting, and production methods.
- Co-operative brand - Practices responsible production
- Non-GMO - Natural ingredients
- Non-irradiated - No ionizing shelf-life extension
- Non-ETO - No gas sterilization
- Subtle flavor - Gentle but buildable
- Very mild - Not for extreme spice enthusiasts
Finally, if none of the products reviewed above have taken your fancy, our highly commended pick might be what you’ve been looking for!
The La Chinata Sweet Spanish Smoked Paprika delivers a deep, smoky flavor with a hint of sweetness that comes together beautifully for a sensational taste experience.
This smoked paprika comes in 2.5 oz containers, which isn’t a huge amount but is more than the average 2.1 oz jars that store-bought spices often come in.
You can rest assured that this smoked paprika has been lovingly handmade from the moment the pimiento peppers are harvested.
The peppers have been hand picked and smoked for 15 days before being stone-ground, so the production process is fully authentic.
However, we should specify that this is not the most budget-friendly of paprika blends. In fact, it’s one of the more expensive brands on our list.
However, if you’re in the mood to splash out on some gourmet spice for special occasions, we highly recommend it.
- Rich flavor - Powerful taste and aroma
- Harvested by hand - Authentically produced
- 2.5 oz containers - Larger than average
- Expensive - Not a budget-friendly pick
Can I use regular paprika instead of smoked paprika?
Yes, you can substitute smoked paprika for any other type of paprika if you don’t have the smoked variety available.
Non-smoked paprika will still add a kick of flavor to your recipe, it just won’t have the distinctive smoky undertones.
Just be careful with using hot paprika instead of smoked paprika because the recommended quantities for smoked paprika may be too much when you factor in the heat from the cayenne pepper.
The best way to substitute smoked paprika for another variety is add small, gradual amounts and season to taste.
Can I make my own smoked paprika?
Making your own smoked paprika is a difficult task, but that doesn’t mean it’s altogether impossible.
However, a homemade version of smoked paprika using available ingredients is unlikely to taste exactly the same as the products you could buy in store.
The first obstacle to making your own smoked paprika is that it can be difficult to source pimiento peppers. You could use Holland sweet peppers or Peppadew peppers instead, though.
If you’re lucky enough to own your own smoker, you can use this to smoke the peppers.
If you don’t own a smoker, you will need a grill or a food dehydrator.
You will need some smoked wood (the type is up to you) in order to provide the smoky flavor, and a spice grinder to turn the smoked peppers into powder.
The process of making your own smoked paprika can take hours, between heating up the smoker or grill, adding the wood, monitoring the smoking (avoiding a live flame) and turning the peppers routinely, and allowing them to dry out once smoked.
After this is done, the peppers will need to be put in the dehydrator to remove any residual moisture before grinding into a powder.
This is a very lengthy process, and while the results can be rewarding, they’re unlikely to match up to professional quality exactly. That’s why the ability to buy high-quality smoked paprika through online retailers and stores is so useful!
What recipes can I make with smoked paprika?
One of our favorite things about smoked paprika is that it’s such a versatile ingredient. There’s almost no limit to the kinds of savory foods and recipes that you can enhance using just a small amount of smoked paprika.
Smoked paprika makes a beautifully flavorful addition to marinades and dry rubs for meat and seafood products, as well as to sauces and dips.
Traditionally, smoked paprika is often incorporated into paella recipes, casseroles, and stews.
Smoked paprika works well in most pasta and rice dishes, including ravioli and risotto.
Stuffed and roasted vegetables, such as potatoes, sweetcorn, and carrots, taste delicious with a sprinkling of smoked paprika. It’s also a great way to liven up basic dishes like scrambled eggs.
Moreover, smoked paprika isn’t just restricted to use in savory dishes! It’s also surprisingly tasty in chocolate-based desserts like chocolate pudding, chocolate truffles, and even chocolate chip cookies!
What are the health benefits of smoked paprika?
There are many exciting health benefits to incorporating smoked paprika into your diet!
Smoked paprika contains several key vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and vitamin A. All of these vitamins are essential for immune function. Vitamins E and C are both antioxidants, as is capsaicin, which is found in peppers.
Antioxidants are effective at reducing inflammation and have been demonstrated to reduce the risk of some serious diseases, including some cancers and heart disease.
The vitamins and minerals contained in pimiento peppers and smoked paprika can help to reduce cholesterol levels, support healthy eye function, and regulate blood sugar.
Additionally, smoked paprika is high in iron, which is essential in the human diet for preventing health conditions such as anemia.
It’s also thought that smoked paprika and other paprika variants may help to soothe digestive issues and promote gut health.