Kitchen Decoder: The Many Types of Paprika
Getty Chances are, you've cooked with paprika before. But did you know the spice comes in a wide array of varieties? Varying in shade from an earthy brown to a rich bright red, paprika is a powder made from different kinds of ground Capsicum annuum peppers. Below, we break down the three major types.
Much like generic "curry powder," plain paprika, the kind you can most easily find in supermarkets, is so mild in flavor that it's pretty much useless in the kitchen unless you're using it for the aesthetic appeal it adds to foods that need a punch of color. (Think deviled eggs.)
Hungary is famous for its paprika, and it grows more than 40 types of it. (In fact, paprika is the country's national spice.) It comes in eight grades of pungency and heat, ranging from delicate and mild to fiery hot. The highest grade of Hungarian paprika, különleges (exquisitely delicate), consists of only the flesh of fully ripe, flawless peppers and has a mild, delicate flavor, brilliant red color, and silky texture. Édesnemes (noble-sweet), the most widely exported grade, has subtle pungency and bright red color. Rosza (rose) is less colorful and has more heat because it's ground with some seeds.
The key ingredient in traditional Spanish foods and dishes like chorizo sausage and paella, Spanish paprika is also great for dressing up basic foods like chicken breasts and fried eggs. There are three kinds:
Pimentón Dulce (Sweet Paprika) -- A mild, light orange paprika made from round red peppers.
Pimentón Agridulce (Medium Hot Paprika) -- A medium hot paprika made from longer, dark red pepper.
Pimentón Picante (Hot Paprika) –- Made from any of several different types of long red peppers.
Pimentón de la Vera -- Has a distinctly smoky flavor.
Want to know more? Read about paprika in our Food Encyclopedia.
Skirt Steak with Paprika Butter
Sweet Paprika and Pepper Chips