Learn how to make your own homemade paprika using only dried red peppers. This recipe is extremely simple and comes together in 5 minutes. It's a wonderful DIY recipe to use in spice blends, marinades, and so much more.
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It's a popular spice blend that's known as a staple in cuisines around the world. And for good reason, as it's (sometimes) smoky, mildly sweet, and sometimes spicy flavor profile adds that something special to so many dishes.
Here's all you will need to make your own paprika at home:
- 2 cups dried peppers (can be a blend of capsium, bell, aleppo, etc.)
See recipe card for quantities and keep reading for more details on the varieties of peppers you can use.
Step by Step Instructions
Smoked Paprika vs. Regular Paprika
Smoked paprika is a very common alternative or substitute people use for regular paprika. It lends a smokier, spicier flavor thanks to the method used to dry the peppers.
While traditional paprika uses dehydrated or dried peppers, smoked paprika uses peppers that are dried using a smoker/smoking process.
Occasionally, cumin is added into some smoked paprika blends to enhance the flavor.
Make Your Own Dried Peppers
If you're feeling like doing the whole process from scratch, you can buy fresh peppers and dry them yourself using a dehydrator.
Rinse and dry your peppers before stemming and removing the seeds (optional). Dehydrate your peppers at 145 degrees F until all the moisture has evaporated.
The exact time will depend on the size of your peppers, but it will take at least an hour.
Types of Peppers & Their Result
Obviously the more traditional paprika made by professional producers have their own signature blend or variety of peppers that they cultivate for this exact purpose.
When making paprika at home, it's really up to you what kind of flavor profiles and peppers you want to use. I like to use a mix of spicy, smoky, and sweet peppers in my blend.
Here are some options and their results:
- Capsium (bell) peppers: this is likely the most accessible and similar pepper for making paprika.
- Pimento: these smaller red peppers are sweet in flavor and help produce that sweet and slightly smoky flavor profile.
- Arbol: this smoky pepper is spicier than a jalapeño, so keep that in mind when incorporating it into your paprika.
TIP: I don't recommend using chili peppers as the result will be chili powder, not paprika.
Where to Use Paprika
It's probably harder to find recipes that don't include paprika on my site, because I use the spice so often.
Because of it's mild but savory flavor profile, it lends well to a wide variety of dishes.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes to use your homemade spice:
- Arroz con Pollo: as a finishing spice or in the sazon seasoning.
- Loubia: this stewed white bean recipe wouldn't be the same without it!
- 15 Minute Chickpea Salad: this salad is a great representation of how a few good quality spices can create a perfect balance of flavor.
You will also need a dehydrator if you plan on drying your own peppers.
This recipe should keep for up to 6 months stored in an air tight jar in your pantry.