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Mar 5, 2007 10:57 AM

How to make smoked paprika?

Garden planning time. Would like to try making my own smoked paprika this season but am unable to locate directions. Anyone know the technique, as well as what varieties of peppers are preferable?

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  1. You can smoke peppers just the same as you would fish, chicken or other food item. As with most smoking recipes, you'll get better results with relatively low heat over a long period, so an electric smoker probably works best. You want to dry the peppers, not cook them, in the smoke. It will take a couple of days at least, but you don't need to have smoke the whole time, and you can turn the smoker off at night if you're concerned about safety. Taste them now and then and when they seem smoky enough, stop adding chips or just take them out and finish drying in the sun (or in a food dehydrator if you have one). Oh, yes, make some trays from hardware cloth or chicken wire so the peppers don't fall through the racks.

    Sorry for the lack of detail but I just do it by trial and error and so much depends on what type of smoker you use. I haven't done paprika, but I've smoked jalapenos and chipotle peppers and the results were far better than what you can buy in stores (if you can find them).

    As for seeds, check out Tomato Growers Supply or I believe they sell seeds for several Hungarian varieties, but any mild or slightly hot red pepper should do.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Zeldog

      I agree with your recommendations, except that it shouldn't take anything like a couple of days. I generally lay whatever fresh peppers I have laying around (I have used jalepenos for chipotles, and Hungarian wax peppers for smoked paprika), on my smoker when I have started smoking some ribs or a pork shoulder, which takes about 8 hours or so depending. By the time I'm done, I leave the peppers on with the dying embers, and they're nicely dried and smoky when I get out to the smoker the next morning to put things in order. (If they seem a little under dried, I put them in a dehydrater for a couple hours, but that is only needed with very large peppers.) When they are done, I hold onto them in clean Ball jars, and either use them whole in sauces, or grind very fine in a food processor for chile powders. Not grinding until use is very good at avoiding loss of flavor. They keep OK for a few weeks after grinding, but are better if ground at the time of use.

      1. re: jeffruss

        If I do not have the capability of smoking his own peppers, does anyone know where I find smoked/dried peppers that I can buy and grind up myself? I've seen dried, smoked jalapenos and anchos, but I believe paprika is made from other varities (ie. capsicum), which I can't find anywhere.

    2. Hety chooch! Try this. Put a cup of good quality paprika on a dinner plate and place it in the smoker along with your other items. Each time you add chips, stir the paprika. I've been making my own smoked herbs, salt and white pepper for many years. Hickory seems best for herbs but by all means, experiment with other flavours.

      1 Reply
      1. re: steelchef

        steelchef, I like the idea and I'm going to try it with my Camerons stovetop smoker. I imagine that moisture shouldn't be an issue since the regular paprika is already dried. Will post my results.

      2. What if I don't have a "smoker"? Any other way to smoke the peppers for smoked paprika?

        7 Replies
        1. re: bostonpatriot


          You can use a barbeque quite handily. Put the chips in a pan or wrap them in foil. Pierce the foil several times with a fork and set on the briquets. Only turn on the burner that the chips are on. Place a foil pie plate or what-have-you on the top rack opposite the side that the chips are on. add about 1/2-3/4' of ground paprika or fresh peppers. If you have room, smoke some salt at the same time. You will love both of these. Good luck.

          1. re: steelchef

            Sorry if I seem a bit dense, but I'm not clear on what the "chips" are. Could you please explain?


            1. re: bostonpatriot

              No problem pal. I keep forgetting that there ARE folks out there with NO experience, LOL.
              The chips are harwood bits that can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. They are just small chunks of various woods such as hickory, maple, cherry, apple, alder, mesquite etc. Hickory is the flavor most often associated with smoking, particullarly in the Northeastern states. I prefer the fruitwoods for most of my projects but you have to find your own faves. Always glad to answer questions. For lots more info on smoking, meat preservation and sausage making, visit the forum at:
              or the website at:

              1. re: steelchef

                Thanks! I'll check out what we have here for "chips." You're right about the experience factor: none. However, I do make a mean Jewish Hungarian potato kugel...

                1. re: bostonpatriot

                  You're welcome pal! One other point; the chips you buy may mention soaking them prior to smoking. Omit this step for dry items such as paprika, salt, beans, rice, nuts etc. Being from Boston, (I assume) you may want to smoke some beans before adding them to the soaking water. Use only enough water to cover them and top up as required to keep them barely covered. when ready fro preparation, stain and add the soaking water to the pot. I'll bet that no one you know will believe the added flavor.

                  I use them in chili all the time, as well as maple baked beans; enjoy and if you have time, please share your kugel recipe.

                2. re: steelchef

                  Sites that promote Spanish pimenton brag about it being smoked with oak.