How To Make Your Own Smoked Paprika

Have you ever found a recipe you wanted to try but didn’t have smoked paprika and thought oh I’ll just use regular paprika, no big deal? Well I found out it is a big deal, this spice has a subtle, smoky, earthy flavor adding a depth to your dishes you can’t get with regular paprika.Smoked paprika is a prominent spice in Spanish cooking. It’s also used in marinades, dry rubs and stews. It’s also a great way to lend a smoky, almost meaty flavor to meatless dishes.

You can use almost any red pepper from sweet peppers such as red bell peppers to spicy peppers like red chili’s, jalapenos or poblano peppers. It all depends on if you want sweet smoked paprika or spicy smoked paprika. The peppers used for traditional paprika are made from pimiento peppers, a small, sweet, red pepper with thin walls. I haven’t found these peppers in my area either to buy the plants or the peppers.

Steps To Make Your Own Smoked Paprika

First you want to rinse your peppers under cool water and dry your peppers. I let mine air dry so I know they’re dry but you can also dry them with paper towels. If you’re using hot peppers, please wear gloves when removing the stems, ribs, seeds and the center of the peppers. Believe me using bare hands is not a good idea! Ask me how I know 🙂

Slice the peppers into thin strips. The thin strips makes it easier to dry them. If you just hollow out the peppers leaving them whole, they will take much longer to dry and the smoke won’t really penetrate into them. Also, it’s much easier to grind strips than have to cut up whole peppers. Why make more work for yourself?


How To Make Your Own Smoked Paprika

How To Dry Smoked Peppers

The traditional way of drying the peppers is by smoking them using oak wood, which usually takes about 2 weeks to ensure the peppers are dry.

Here’s a couple of ways to smoke your peppers. You can use a charcoal grill with oak chips in it to get that smoky flavor or use a smoker. Either method you will want to smoke them for at least a day.

So now your peppers are smoked and have a lovely aroma but they’re still pretty much wet and fleshy, so additional drying is needed to be able to store the paprika. There are a couple of ways to dry your peppers, you can use the oven or you can use a dehydrator. I’ve found the most practical way for me is to use my dehydrator. This is the best dehydrator I’ve found for drying all kinds of food.

If you’re using your oven, line baking sheets with parchment paper to dry the smoked peppers in your oven at the lowest possible setting. Turn them several times until they’re completely dry. You shouldn’t feel any damp areas on the strips and they should snap in half when dried.

Now to dry out the smoked peppers faster, after you smoked the peppers for a day, you can complete the drying process by using a dehydrator. Transfer your peppers to your dehydrator trays, setting it at 125 degrees F for about 10 hours. It could take more or less time depending on your humidity levels. Keep checking your peppers, when they’re crisp and brittle, they’re done!

When they’re done, it’s now safe to store the peppers in tightly sealed containers and use them as needed.

Prep the Dried Peppers for Use

The best way to store your smoked peppers is in an airtight container, leaving them in strips until you’re ready to use them. Only grind them once you’re ready to use them, this will preserve its smoky flavor and potency.


Store your smoked paprika away from direct light and heat, such as in a drawer or a closed cupboard. Smoked paprika doesn’t exactly go bad, but it loses potency in a period of six to eight months if exposed to heat and light.

There’s many uses for smoked paprika to enhance your dishes. Try it in eggs, dry rubs, marinades and meatless dishes. This spice might be your new go to spice.

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