How To Make Homemade Smoked Paprika is one of the easiest spices to grow, smoke, dry and grind at home. There is nothing complicated about homemade smoked paprika, so let me show you how it’s done!
What Is Paprika?
Paprika, simply explained, is peppers; dried and ground into a spice.
My preference is smoked paprika but it doesn’t have to be smoked.
While this flavorful spice is most often a deep red, having used only red peppers, it is also made from a variety of other peppers.
Is Bell Pepper And Paprika The Same?
For the most part, yes, paprika is most often made from red bell peppers.
The peppers used to make paprika, however, will determine how sweet or hot the paprika will be.
As for my preference, I enjoy a little addition of heat in my spice, so for this reason I will often toss in a few chili peppers to the mix.
Smoked Paprika Vs. Regular Paprika
If you want a deeper spice flavor in your dishes, then smoking the peppers is the way to go.
Regular paprika, not smoked, can be made from a range of peppers; anywhere from sweet to very hot.
This choice is up to you.
Homemade Smoked Paprika
You might be saying to yourself ‘why make it when I can buy it’?
The answer to that is ‘quality and price’!
Homemade paprika made from home grown peppers is so easy and abundant that you will never buy it from a store again.
Home Grown Peppers For Homemade Paprika
No other veggie seems to grow easier than peppers.
The only drawback, is that they take nearly the entire summer to grow and often aren’t ready until fall.
I didn’t grow up in a home where my parents grew things to eat.
Are Peppers Easy To Grow?
It’s only been in recent years, and particularly since the onset of the 2020 pandemic, that I found a passion for growing food.
If the only location you have to grow a pepper plant, is on your balcony or in a sunny window, then by all means give it a try.
Such a satisfying experience.
Smoking Foods At Home
Who loves to impart the flavor of smoke in their grill cooked foods?
I always look forward to the smell and flavor of the grill after a long freezing winter.
But smoking our food doesn’t always have to be from the grill or even done in large quantities.
Homemade food items, smoked with a small smoking gun are easy, fun and so affordable.
A variety of types of wood chips can be used in these smoking guns to impart a favored wood flavor or smell.
Making Homemade Smoked Paprika
Undoubtedly, you will want to start with fresh peppers, preferably locally grown, not shipped in from ‘who knows where’.
Since smoking peppers will add a deeper dimension to the flavor, you will want to carefully select the peppers you will use.
Choosing either very sweet peppers, such as bell peppers, or mild peppers like the banana pepper and toss in a few chili peppers, will assure a deep rich flavor in the paprika.
Tips For Smoking Paprika
I have found the best way to approach this task is to freeze the peppers you plan to use, first.
Surprisingly, freezing the peppers, which makes them soggy, also is the trick to making them more absorbing of the smoking process.
Once the peppers have been frozen and then thawed, simply cut them open, clean out the seeds and slice the peppers into thin strips.
Working With A Smoking Gun
Setting up the smoking gun couldn’t be easier; simply attach the hose, fill the metal cup with wood chips and light the wood to burn.
Meanwhile the container, used to place the peppers and smoking hose in, can be tricky. Most important is to use something that will not allow the smoke to escape; like a zip baggie.
Occasionally I have used a plastic container with an airtight lid and punctured a hole the size of the smoking hose.
This works great but the hole isn’t always easy to make. Just be careful and try to keep the hole a tight fit for the hose.
Dehydrating Peppers To Make Paprika
Lastly, though most important, is to dehydrate the peppers so that they can be ground into a spice powder.
Surely this step can be done in an oven set on low, leaving the peppers in the oven for a long drying-out process.
Dehydrators Vs. Oven Drying
However, the oven can’t be used for anything else for as long as it takes; often up to 10 hours or more.
The oven uses more energy and will require more of your attention to keep an eye on it.
I bought a small dehydrator, about a square foot in dimensions, sits on the countertop, uses way less energy and indicates the length of time for the item used.
Using A Dehydrator To Make Paprika
Once the peppers have been smoked (if you plan to smoke them), sliced and placed on the dehydrator shelves, I closed the door, set it as indicated and forgot about it.
Once the peppers were dried, the machine cuts off and there was nothing I had to do until I was ready to grind them.
The best news about this fun kitchen tool is the price; just under sixty bucks! I plan to use this dehydrator for drying my herbs, fruits and an endless array of other food items.
Recipes For Smoked Paprika
Since I have learned to grow some amazing foods in my garden, I also have discovered so many more ways to incorporate smoked paprika into them. These are just a few yummies from Whisk and Dine:
- Smoked Vegan Garden Gumbo – A lovely end-of-summer soup using okra from my garden that also has been lightly smoked.
- Deconstructed Ratatouille Pizza – My favorite pizza made from fresh peppers, zucchini and eggplant, all the ingredients that typically go into a ratatouille.
- Countryside Chicken and Waffles – This delicious sandwich made from homemade waffles and chicken cooked with smoked paprika is also the very same one I made on the PBS series The Great American Recipe!
- Mediterranean Spiced Lamb Tajine With Apricots – A traditional Moroccan dish I grew up eating and have always love.
- Shakshuka – A Mediterranean style of cooking an egg over a bed of smoked peppers and tomatoes, a dish I also prepared on The Great American Recipe.
- Zip baggie or airtight plastic container
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Smoking gun
- Dehydrator or oven
- Spice grinder or mortar and pestle
- 2 oz. airtight jar
- Peppers – Red Bell, a few red chilies or any pepper you enjoy
- Hickory of Apple wood chips – often come with the smoking gun
How To Make Homemade Smoked Paprika
- Home Smoking Device many affordable options
- Spice Grinder or Food Processor
- 1 1/2 cups Peppers loosely chopped
- 1 tbsp Hickory or Apple wood chips
- Freeze the peppers for just a few hours or overnight. Thaw, remove seeds and slice into thin strips.
- Place the strips of peppers into a zip bag or airtight plastic container, with a hole made the size of the smoking hose. Seal it shut with the hose in place.
- Place the wood chips into the metal cup of the smoking gun, turn it on (to start the draw of air through the hose), and light the wood, keeping it lit while smoking. Smoke for bout 15 minutes.
- Place the smoked peppers onto the shelves of the dehydrator. Follow the instructions for the recommended drying time.
- Once the peppers are dried, place them into a small spice grinder (mortar and pestle works too), and grind to the desired texture. Store in an airtight container.