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Flavor without the heat!


Sweet smoked paprika, known as "pimentón dulce ahumado" in Spanish, is a spice made from the grinding of dried, sweet varieties of red peppers.  This spice often includes the bell pepper or tomato pepper varieties. The process of smoking these peppers over wood fires before grinding them imparts the characteristic smoky flavor. This spice is closely associated with Spanish cuisine, but it's used worldwide to add depth and complexity to dishes,

Sweet smoked paprika can also be grown and crafted in the United States, although it is traditionally associated with Spain, particularly the La Vera and Murcia regions, where specific techniques and pepper varieties are used to create the authentic Spanish version. In the U.S., farmers and producers grow varieties of peppers that can be used to make paprika, including sweet versions, and some do smoke the peppers to create a product similar to the traditional Spanish smoked paprika.

The process involves smoking the peppers over wood fires to impart a distinct smoky flavor before drying and grinding them into a fine powder. American producers might use different types of wood and peppers, resulting in variations in flavor and color. While the U.S. produced sweet smoked paprika may differ slightly from its Spanish counterpart due to these regional differences in raw materials and production methods, it can still provide a delicious smoky flavor to a wide range of dishes.


Sweet smoked paprika is versatile in the kitchen and can be used in a variety of dishes to add color, flavor, and aroma. Common uses include:

  • Seasoning for meats and fish, especially in rubs and marinades.

  • Flavoring for soups, stews, and sauces, such as in Spanish classics like paella and chorizo.

  • Added to vegetables and legumes, enhancing dishes like roasted potatoes, hummus, and lentil stews.

  • Sprinkling over deviled eggs or avocado toast for a smoky accent.

  • An ingredient in spice blends and homemade barbecue sauces.

Sweet smoked paprika offers a rich, complex taste that is mildly sweet with a pronounced smoky flavor. Unlike its hot counterpart, it lacks the heat, making it more adaptable to various dishes where the aim is to add depth without the spice.

Paprika, including sweet paprika, is made from peppers that thrive in warm, sunny climates. In the United States, regions with such climates, particularly in the Southwest, are well-suited for growing the types of peppers used to make paprika. States like California, New Mexico, and Arizona are notable for their production of chili peppers, which can include varieties used for paprika.


In the U.S., the production of paprika powder, including sweet varieties, is more likely to be done on a smaller scale by specialty or artisan producers rather than being a major commercial product. Due to this limited supply and high quality of ingredients, Bear Creek Rubs has chosen to use the Spanish smoked paprika.   This spice is included in our All American and Smoking Blue Bonnet products.

 These producers might source locally grown peppers and apply smoking and drying techniques to create a product reminiscent of the traditional Spanish spice, catering to gourmet markets and consumers looking for artisanal and domestically produced spices.

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