Smoked paprika deserves a spot in any spice drawer; it has an irresistible subtle smoky flavor. Here are the best smoked paprika recipes for using up a jar!
Got your hands on some smoked paprika? Because get ready, you’ve got so many delicious recipes in store! Alex and I have been cooking with smoked paprika for years, ever since I lived abroad in Spain (it’s essential in Spanish cooking). It’s got a subtle smoky flavor, and adds a hearty meatiness to vegetarian and plant based recipes. It’s such a versatile spice that we think smoked paprika deserves a spot in all spice cabinets around the globe!
Looking for smoked paprika recipes to use up a jar of it? You’ve come to the right place. Here are all the most delicious ways to use it, from Spanish roasted potatoes to paella to romesco sauce! Ready to get cooking?
What is smoked paprika?
But first, what is smoked paprika? It’s similar to the more common Hungarian sweet paprika, but it’s Spanish in origin. It’s made up of dried pimiento peppers that that are smoked over a fire, then ground. Here’s something important to note:
Smoked paprika may be labeled as any of the following: pimentón, Spanish smoked paprika or sweet smoked paprika.
Avoid hot smoked paprika! It’s too spicy and not interchangeable.
Avoid sweet paprika or Hungarian paprika! It’s not smoky.
Where to buy smoked paprika?
You can find smoked paprika in the spice aisle in most grocery stores. Refer to the terminology above when you’re looking for it. You can also buy it online here!
The ultimate smoked paprika recipe: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish is actually easy to make at home: we promise! You don't even need a fancy pan: a large skillet will do! Smoked paprika adds an earthy flair to the rice, which is topped with veggies, artichokes and shrimp. It's a stunning recipe for entertaining, but easy enough for a weeknight. (For a vegetarian version, try our Simple Vegetarian Paella.)
Patatas bravas are traditional Spanish tapas: fried potatoes with a warm sauce. Here's a version you can make at home! Here the potatoes are baked until crispy, instead of fried. They're topped with a creamy aioli sauce mixed with smoked paprika for a smoky flair!
Here's one of our favorite smoked paprika recipes: Smoky Ranch Dressing. That's right: it's homemade ranch dressing, made smoky by adding a bit of smoked paprika! Drizzle it over an iceberg wedge and top with chives, sundried tomatoes, blue cheese and crushed potato chips, and it's heavenly.
Romesco sauce is another traditional smoked paprika recipe! Romesco is a Spanish sauce made with jarred red peppers, garlic, olive oil, and almonds. It often has smoked paprika for a smoky undertone, as does this one. You can blend it up in just 5 minutes! Serve it with gnocchi for a super-fast meal.
Smoked paprika is a great way to add meatiness to vegetarian and plant based recipes. Here it is adding a meaty undertone in this black bean burger! Made with sweet potato and black beans, top it with spicy mayo for a hearty meal.
Speaking of meaty, this smoked paprika recipe also uses the smoky quality of the spice to evoke the idea of meat. Though these vegetarian meatballs are made of chickpeas and veggies, they're seriously satisfying! Especially doused in vegetarian gravy.
Smoked paprika also adds savoriness in this smoky lentil tacos recipe, where lentils and rice stand in as taco meat! Adding the pimenton brings in the perfect meaty element. Throw it into a tortilla and garnish with veggies and salsa for a tasty meal!
Here's a seriously incredible recipe using smoked paprika that's the best shrimp and grits you'll make in your home kitchen! This Southern classic traditionally uses bacon, but voila: with the magic of smoked paprika there's no need! A touch of the spice adds a smoky undertone that's seriously tasty.
Here's a smoked paprika recipe where you wouldn't even know it's there! These tacos are a unique fusion of Crispy Breaded Cauliflower, covered in our savory Yum Yum Sauce. The textures and flavors are so satisfying, this one's a big fan favorite. The smoked paprika is hiding in the cauliflower, giving it savory, salty, sweet and smoky flavors all at once.
Got a bit of smoked paprika to use up? Add it to deviled eggs! It adds just the right savory smokiness. Use it as a garnish on our Easy Deviled Eggs, or try these smoky deviled eggs topped with crispy shallots.
You've got to try this one to believe it. Yes, jackfruit can stand in as vegan pulled pork: and it's damn good! Here it's smothered in a homemade bourbon BBQ sauce that uses smoked paprika as a smoky element. After tasting it, we’re 99.9% sure you’ll also be on the jackfruit BBQ train, too.
Ever made your own seasoning salt blend? It's kind of like Lawry's seasoning salt, but you can make it at home! This recipe uses smoked paprika to add a nuanced, smoky element. It’s a fun kitchen DIY and perfect on grilled fish, veggies, and more.
Another way to make a smoked paprika recipe: throw it into soup! Since corn chowder often is made with bacon, for this vegan spin on it we used smoked paprika for a back-end smokiness. It's so seriously good: you'll never know it's plant based!
This refried bean dip is seriously flavorful: without the traditional cheese! Often bean dips are gooey and cheesy (here's our favorite cheesy bean dip). But why not try a healthy spin? This bean dip has lots of flavor from green chilis and cumin, and a smoky undertone from smoked paprika.
Ever had biscuits and gravy...without the meat? This recipe uses smoked paprika to make one seriously savory, mushroom country gravy. It's so thick and creamy and the biscuits are so impossibly flaky, it's hard to believe they're vegan.
It's not often that you'll find smoked paprika in an Italian soup recipe! But this one is unique. We've dubbed it our "pizza soup" recipe because it tastes like liquid pizza from the tangy tomatoes and Italian spices. Smoked paprika adds just the right savory undertone.
Yes, a homemade BBQ sauce is perfect with a little smoked paprika! This sauce is sweet and smoky, sweet from maple syrup and smoky from the paprika. Add a little vinegary tang and it's a go-to recipe for grilling season.
Yet another soup you'd never know is a smoked paprika recipe: this butternut squash soup! It brings big flavor to this soup along with sage, cinnamon and garlic powder. It's the perfect creamy fall puree!
This vegan pot pie is next level: it's got hearty vegetables, a gooey sauce, and a flaky, sage crust. Better yet, it features smoked paprika! It's used here to add a meaty undertone to the thick gravy. This one is a big fan favorite!
And last but not least in our smoked paprika recipes: spiced chickpea tacos! Here smoked paprika is used along with a long list of spices (cumin, onion powder, garlic powder and oregano) to bring flavor to a chickpea filling. Top with a tangy avocado drizzle, and it's one seriously tasty taco.
In a large skillet or paella pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high. Add the shrimp and saute until just barely opaque, about 1 minute per side, sprinkling with 1 pinch each kosher salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Set the shrimp aside.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until just translucent, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until all liquid is reduced, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the rice, smoked paprika, turmeric (or saffron), and kosher salt for about 1 minute. Add the broth and spinach leaves and stir in the spinach so that it is covered by the liquid. Bring to a medium simmer; do not stir. (The goal is to slowly cook down the liquid through the rice without stirring, so make sure the heat is not too high.) Arrange artichoke quarters on top of the rice. While you wait, clean the kitchen, set the table, assemble a simple green salad or dessert.
Cook until the rice is al dente and the liquid is fully cooked down, about 20 minutes. In the last 3 minutes, arrange the peas and cooked shrimp on top.
After the liquid is mostly cooked out, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes (a little more of the liquid will absorb as it sits). Make sure not to leave on the heat too long or the paella may burn — though crusty bits on the bottom are both traditional and desirable! Serve immediately.
Note: A large skillet works for this recipe, but you can use a paella pan if you have it! We placed ours across two burners to get even heat. This recipe serves enough for 4, so if you make it for a date night you’ll also have leftovers!
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.