The Best Sweet Paprika Substitutes – 6 Substitutes You Need To Try

No kitchen cabinet is complete without the addition of sweet paprika. Even if you don’t use sweet paprika every day, this crimson-colored spice is something you have to keep in your spice cabinet. 

This red powder can be used to give a huge array of different dishes from an enormous range of cuisines a divine spicy flavor and sweetness. However, what are we supposed to do if we’ve run out?

As frustrating as it can be to realize you don’t have this much-loved spice in your cupboard when you need it most, the problem can be solved. Luckily, there are a number of excellent ingredients and spices we can use instead.

So much so, we see it fit to show you the very best. In this post, you’ll find a list of the best sweet paprika substitutes. If you need a sweet paprika substitute quickly, you’ve come to the right place.

The Best Sweet Paprika Substitutes - 6 Substitutes You Need To Try

What Is Sweet Paprika?

Let’s kick things off by taking a closer look at what sweet paprika is. Sweet paprika is a type of pepper that’s harvested when ripe and then dried. During the drying process, the sugars in the pepper are concentrated which helps create a sweetly flavored spice.

Most commonly used in Hungarian and Spanish cuisine, this variety of paprika is much sweeter and milder than other types of paprika.

After being processed, we’re left with a rich, sweet, and spicy powder that can be added to a wide range of dishes to enhance flavor.

It is also added to some dishes simply to enhance the overall color of the dish. Despite being the national spice of Hungary, sweet paprika originates in Portugal and Spain. For thousands of years, it has been used to season cured meats and chorizo.

Sweet paprika’s distinct sweet and mild flavor has also made it incredibly popular across the United States. We’ll look at what sweet paprika is used for next.

What Is Sweet Paprika Used For?

When it comes to what sweet paprika is used for, the opportunities are virtually endless. Sweet paprika can be used to give almost any dish or meat flavor and color. How sweet paprika is used will also vary depending on where you are in the world.

To give you a good understanding of how sweet paprika is used, we’ve highlighted some of its most common uses below!

  • In the United States, sweet paprika is commonly used to add more flavor to fish and chicken.
  • Sweet paprika is also used to give cured meats a stronger flavor and a kick of heat.
  • In some cuisines, sweet paprika is added to rice to give it a better color and more flavor.
  • In Spain, sweet paprika is commonly used to flavor chorizo.
  • The most common use for sweet paprika in Hungary is to give foods more color and flavor.
  • Goulash and fish soup are two dishes sweet paprika is added to in Hungary.

The Best Sweet Paprika Substitutes

It’s now time to start looking at the best sweet paprika substitutes. The 6 substitutes we’re going to look at are the best alternatives you can use if you don’t have any sweet paprika on hand.

We’ll tell you how you can use them and what makes each one a good choice.

1. Smoked Paprika

One of the most obvious substitutions you can make if you run out of sweet paprika is to swap it for smoked paprika. Smoked paprika is a type of paprika that’s been smoked over a fire. 

As you would expect, this gives it a strong, smoky flavor. Smoked paprika is usually made from red peppers. You can use it in any dish that calls for paprika but use it sparingly as the smoked flavor can be overpowering. 

We recommend using half the amount you would normally use when cooking with sweet paprika. We find that this substitute works well in soups, stews, and with meat.

2. Chili Powder

If you want to replicate the sweet and spicy flavors sweet paprika has to offer, chili powder is a great option. This is one of the best substitutes for sweet paprika because it has a similar flavor and color.

This type of spice is made using the same methods as paprika which is partly why it has a similar color. The color of chili powder and its mildly sweet and spicy flavor can be used in any dish that calls for sweet paprika.

Better still, you can use a ratio of 1:1. Of course, chili powder is a pantry staple too so you won’t have any trouble trying to find it.

Chili powder made from red pepper is probably your best option because it doesn’t have a serious heat like chili powder made from cayenne peppers. 

3. Tomato Juice

The next sweet paprika substitute we have for you is a bit more unique but it can still be used as a sweet paprika alternative if you need a quick solution. You can use tomato juice instead of sweet paprika in recipes that call for a liquid.

This may seem like a strange substitution but the red color of tomato juice and its sweet flavor work well. Tomato juice isn’t as red as sweet paprika and it is sweeter, but this makes it a great choice for anyone that prefers sweeter dishes and no spicy kick.

To give your dish some spice, simply throw in a sprinkle of pepper with tomato juice.

If you use tomato juice as a sweet paprika substitute, we recommend using tomato juice instead of the paprika and the stock or water a dish calls for. This substitute is probably better suited to stews, soups, and braises.

4. Hot Sauce

Another wonderfully simple sweet paprika substitute is hot sauce. If you run out of sweet paprika but you happen to be a hot sauce fan, simply substitute the paprika for your favorite sauce.

Most hot sauces offer a flavor and color that closely resembles sweet paprika. Of course, the two textures are different but that shouldn’t matter too much because you’ll be putting the sauce in a dish.

You’ll probably find that most hot sauces have a similarly sweet, smoky, and spicy flavor just like sweet paprika. Hot sauce works brilliantly in marinades, rubs, stews, braises, soups, roasts, and more.

5. Ancho Chili Powder

Ancho chili powder might not be the same color as sweet paprika but it’s still one of the best sweet paprika substitutes you can use. Ancho chili powder is made from ground ancho chilies that have been dried.

This type of chili typically has a mild spicy flavor that’s slightly hot, rich, and sweet. This substitute is known to give meats and dishes a deeper flavor. Interestingly, ancho chili powder also has a fruity taste that’s often compared to prunes and plums.

Thanks to the way this type of chili is dried, it also has a subtle smoky flavor. Like paprika, it has a fine and powdery texture. When it comes to using ancho chili powder, you can use it just like you would sweet paprika.

6. New Mexico Chili Powder

The final sweet paprika substitute on this list is New Mexico chili powder. New Mexico chili powder is a type of chili powder that’s made from a special type of chili pepper that only grows in the state of New Mexico. 

It has a strong earthy flavor, a strong kick, and a subtly sweet taste that works well as a sweet paprika substitute. Compared to other chili powders, New Mexico chili powder is sweeter. The texture of this chili powder is also a lot finer.

This makes it a great choice when it comes to rubbing meats or making a marinade. You can use New Mexico chili powder instead of sweet paprika in a 1:1 ratio.

Final Thoughts

In this post, we’ve shown you the best 6 substitutes you can use if you’ve run out of sweet paprika. The substitutes on our list can be used to easily swap out sweet paprika. 

As you can probably tell from our list, sweet paprika is an incredibly easy ingredient to substitute. There is a wide range of other spices we can use to recreate the same flavors. We can even use something as simple as tomato juice to create good flavors.

Now you have this list at your disposal, narrow the options down and choose the sweet paprika substitute you want to try first.  

The Best Sweet Paprika Substitutes – 6 Substitutes You Need To Try

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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  • Smoked Paprika

  •  Chili Powder

  • Tomato Juice

  • Hot Sauce

  • Ancho Chili Powder

  • New Mexico Chili Powder


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video can’t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: TOP 5 BEST PAPRIKA SUBSTITUTES (
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