10 Ways to Use Paprika in Every Day Cooking

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Image courtesy of jk1991 at freedigitalphotos.net

Paprika is probably one of those ingredients that you buy only to use in a recipe and then don’t really know what to do with the rest of the packet. Its probably a spice you know little about, but it can have a big impact on flavour and takes your meals from ordinary to extraordinary.

Paprika is a spice made from dried and ground peppers. It comes in various types such as sweet or smoked and is synonymous with Spanish cuisine. Plenty of other cuisines use paprika too: you’ll find it in Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Hungarian, Portuguese and Mexican foods as well.

I usually need to buy a new bottle of paprika every few weeks because I use it so much – in fact its my most used spice. I tend to cook a lot of Mexican and Middle Eastern foods, and not just at dinner time either; I use it for eggs with breakfast, with snacks or sides (like on homemade potato wedges) and in things like veggie burgers or samosas.

I also use it for garnishing or decorating meals too. You can use paprika to garnish:

  • Fried or scrambled eggs.
  • Devilled eggs.
  • Savoury yoghurts like tzatiki and labne.
  • Dips and hummus.
  • Homemade samosas.
  • Homemade savoury tarts and quiches.
Here my homemade samosas are decorated with paprika, cumin and herbs.


To use paprika more often it helps to know what other ingredients it works well with.

The ingredients that work best with paprika are:

  • Chicken.
  • Fish.
  • Oregano.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Olives.
  • Potatoes.
  • Lemon.
  • Chickpeas.

10 Recipe Ideas using Paprika


If you’re interested in using paprika for the first time or want to extend your repertoire, try some of the recipes below:

1. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, from The River Cottage TV show in the UK shared a few paprika recipes with The Guardian.

2. These polenta wedges from Taste.com.au are delicious and are really versatite. Add paprika or other herbs and spices to make them taste the way you like them.

3. Make shakshuka (baked eggs) for brunch this weekend.

Shakshuka, or baked eggs, uses paprika too.


4. How about lamb shank tagine with tabbouleh for dinner next weekend?

5. Fry a fish fillet or piece of salmon with cumin and paprika, or bake a whole fish (like snapper) with the spices, then serve with lemon and a side salad for a really fast and healthy mid-week meal.

Whole baked snapper with cumin and paprika, baked in the oven.


6. Try this paprika and chicken casserole on a cooler night. Reduce the cooking time if you use chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken broken down into pieces, and add more vegetables to bulk out the meal.

7. Use paprika in Mexican seasoning to make enchiladas, burritos, or fajitas. If you don’t have or can’t find onion or garlic powder, just add garlic and onion to the dish rather than the spice mix.

8. Use this Portuguese spice mix to put over grilled chicken (perhaps as a grilled chicken salad) or salmon, like in the salmon and lemon kebabs below.

Portuguese seasoning with sesame seeds on grilled salmon kebabs.


9. You can’t go past patatas bravas (Spanish fried potatoes). They are delicious and you can make them as spicy as you like them.

10. Or for something a little different try this recipe for Hungarian Chicken Paprikash.


It only takes a little bit of knowledge and a heap of imagination to come up with your own uses for paprika too. Now you won’t be stuck with an open packet of paprika any more that you won’t know what to do with.

Which recipe will you be cooking next that uses paprika? Are you going to make one of the ones suggested above?