Chili Powder vs Paprika is often confusing, especially if we are fond of grabbing the bottle of the spice out of grocery store self, based on the color rather than name or ingredients. Both, Chili Powder and Paprika are deep red in color and smell almost similar. They make up for important ingredients in the pantry, hence they are mostly available in abundance.

However, there are a few questions that arise while discussing Paprika and Chili Powder. Such as their difference and similarities, whether they are interchangeable, and taste and usage profile. Today in this article we will try to address several queries that cause confusion while trying to understand the difference between chili powder and paprika.

Chili Powder vs Paprika; The Difference

Paprika Powder

Paprika Powder is entirely made of ground Pepper which can also be smoked sometimes. Paprika production can consist of one or more spices, but the end result will always be just pepper. The highest quality paprika comes from either Spain or Hungary. They can be both spicy and sweet.

Hungarian paprika holds a more intense pepper flavor than its Spanish version. Spanish paprika is smoked, which gives it a milder flavor. Americans are mostly fond of sweet and mild-tasting paprika, hence they prefer Spanish paprika over Hungarian.

Chili Powder

Although both chili powder and paprika look similar and appear similar as per the taste and aroma profiles for many; in all reality, they are not. Generic Chili Powder you find in the grocery stores has a base of chili pepper but with a mash of other ingredients such as cumin, oregano, salt, and garlic powder. The chili base found in the powder can incorporate powdered ancho peppers to cayenne Peppers.

Due to the existence of multiple spices in the chili powder, it offers comparatively intense flavors than the simple paprika powder. The chili powder can also be spicier mainly due to the base of ancho peppers compared to the mild flavors of paprika. Therefore, there are high chances that some chili powder will also include paprika and other base peppers (ancho pepper or cayenne pepper).

Chilli Powder vs Paprika; Heat and Spice Profile

If we explain it in technical terms, paprika will be between 100 to 500 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) of Pimento Pepper Spiciness level as compared to chili powder, which contains additional spices and stands between 1000 to 1500 SHU of Ancho Pepper Spiciness level (sometimes it can reach higher) depending on the blend and mixes you are using as the base.

Does Paprika and Chili Powder Taste Different?

Yes, they do! Due to the additional ingredients in the chili powder, it becomes more like a seasoning. As a result, it has an earthier flavor. Paprika, however, tastes sweeter than this; it is purer and has a simpler flavor. Nevertheless, different types of paprika taste different.

Can Paprika Powder Substitute Chili Powder?

The simple answer is yes. However, you need to be mindful that the additional spices in the chili powder can impact your dish. The generic chili powder does not taste the same as paprika due to the pinch of other seasonings; It is spicier. If you can adjust to the subtle taste difference, you can definitely use them interchangeably.

For example, Americans sprinkle paprika powder over potato salad or eggs. However, for sprinkling raw and garnishing, chili powder might not be a good idea, mainly because of its intense flavor. If the dish tastes milder, chili powder cannot be an effective substitute.

When to Use Paprika and When to use Chili Powder?

Paprika is considered to be an all-time favorite seasoning. Its mild flavors and intense color make it ideal for various dishes such as soups, rice dishes, and stew. It is also famously used to season sausages, eggs, and pasta.

Chili Powder is initially invented to flavor chili, which makes it perfect use for it. However, the additional spices present in chili powder become the perfect choice for different types of savory dishes. You can also use chili powder in your barbeque sauce or even as a substitute for your taco seasoning.

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