Should I use Hungarian Sweet Paprika for Chicken Paprikash or will regular paprika work?

The recipe I have for Chicken Paprikash is using 1 tablespoon of Hungarian Sweet Paprika. I found it at my local Whole Foods, but it cost way more than what I really to spend considering all I need is a tablespoon. Would regular paprika work or should I just buy the Hungarian type? Thanks!



paseo August 29, 2012
Buy the good stuff and keep in the freezer
pierino August 28, 2012
Interesting thread. I tend to think of supermarket "paprika" as being good to add color to deviled eggs and not much else. A total misnomer, but Spanish pimenton has been frequently referred to in cookbooks as "Spanish paprika". These spices are worlds apart. The "Hungarian paprika" you find on supermarket shelves is usually labeled as "sweet" or "hot" when typically they are indistinguishable.
katiebakes August 28, 2012
Thanks everyone! I'm going to buy the Hungarian version and find other ways to use it!! =)
Maedl August 27, 2012
Paprika is produced from Capsicum, a pepper, and peppers originated in the New World. Europeans introduced them to Europe in the 1600s and they found their way particularly successfully into Hungarian and Spanish kitchens.. I believe the major producers of paprika today are Peru, US, and Spain. Hungary produces it as well, and I'll bet the best of it is not exported. I also suspect that they have been growing it ling enough to develop their own varieties and flavors.
amysarah August 27, 2012
Will just weigh in as a 1/2 Hungarian girl who was weaned on the stuff. Hungarian paprika can be sweet or hot (smoked is Spanish.) There are nuances between brands, but those are the essential groups. The one from, e.g., McCormick, is pretty much about RED; it has as much to do with authentic flavor as their 'curry powder' does with true curry spices, garam masala, etc.

That flavor is the heart and soul of an authentic paprikash, so absolutely use the good stuff. If you're at all interested in Hungarian cooking, there are endless dishes that use paprika, so I wouldn't worry about using it up. If not, many other cuisines use paprika too. For me, it's an essential spice...

By the way, if you really want your paprikash to go there, make nokedli with it - the Hungarian version of spaetzle, and the traditional accompaniment. Fun to make and nothing short of pure love on a plate.
katiebakes August 28, 2012
thanks for your answer!
Do you have a tried-and-true recipe for nokedli that you would be willing to share, or know of a link to a good one?
Thanks a lot!
ChefOno August 27, 2012

I'm a little confused. In my kitchen, Hungarian paprika and "regular paprika" are synonymous. Maybe supermarket paprikas don't specify where they're grown but I'd suspect they're from Hungary as that's where most of it comes from. Since the dish originated in Hungary, it's logical to call for "Hungarian paprika" specifically but as long as you use sweet (as opposed to sharp / hot) and not smoked, you'll be fine.

Except if your jar is stale. I do exactly what Madel suggests; it's a great excuse to keep the dust off less frequently-used recipes -- and my spices.

HalfPint August 27, 2012
Most of the supermarket paprika in the US came from a variety of countries that may or may not be Hungary. McCormick's paprika come from Spain, Israel, North Africa, US, and South Africa. They state it on their website,
So unless the label specifies that the pepper comes from Hungary, I suspect that (from the cheap price tag) the paprika isn't Hungarian in origin.
susan G. August 27, 2012
Look for a store that sells bulk spices. When I did, we carried Hungarian paprika, so you could buy a small quantity from a quality source.
Maedl August 27, 2012
I agree with HalfPint. Paprika is one of those spices that sits on the shelf for years. If you are going to make Chicken paprikash, buy a decent Hungarian paprika and enjoy the flavor boost it will provide. Make goulasch and a few other Hungarian dishes and you will finish the container in no time.

HalfPint August 27, 2012
Regular paprika often doesn't have much flavor, unless you've got a really fresh container of it. The Hungarian stuff is expensive for good reason since the flavor and fragrance can be excellent. It's up to you. You should be ok with the regular. The dish might not be so flavorful as it can be, but it can still be good.
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