Chili powder is a blend of various spices including ground chili peppers, paprika is made from dried red bell peppers or mild chili peppers. Chili powder tends to be spicier than paprika.

TL;DR Chili powder Vs. Paprika

Chili powder is made from ground chili peppers and is spicier, while paprika is from dried bell peppers with a milder, sweet flavor. Chili powder adds heat and is used in Mexican cuisine, while paprika enhances color and taste, commonly used in Hungarian dishes.


picture of paprika

Paprika, the vibrant red spice that hails from Hungary, is a pantry staple for many cooks around the world. This versatile seasoning adds a beautiful hue and a mild, slightly sweet flavor to dishes.

Made from dried and ground bell peppers or chili peppers, paprika comes in various grades – ranging from mild and sweet to hot and smoky.

Chili Powder

picture of chili powder

Chili powder is a spice that adds heat and flavor to dishes. It is made from grinding dried chili peppers into a fine powder. The intensity of the heat depends on the types of chili peppers used, ranging from mild to extremely spicy.

There are also different variations of chili powder available, each offering its own unique blend of flavors. Some may include additional ingredients like cumin or garlic for added depth and complexity.

Chili powder Vs. Paprika – Key differences

AspectChili PowderPaprika
SourceGround chili peppersDried bell peppers (sweet or chili peppers)
SpicinessSpicy, varying heat levels depending on peppersMild to spicy, but generally milder than chili powder
FlavorFiery kick with savory and smoky notesMild, slightly sweet with earthy or smoky undertones
ColorVaries, often reddish-brown or dark reddishVibrant red to deep orange
Culinary UseAdds heat and flavor to dishesEnhances color and mild flavor in various dishes
Common VarietiesAncho, cayenne, chipotle, Korean gochugaru, etc.Sweet, hot, smoked, Hungarian, Spanish (pimentón)
Popular CuisinesMexican, Tex-Mex, Indian, and spicy cuisinesHungarian, Spanish, European, and various cuisines
Additional SpicesMay contain cumin, garlic, oregano, etc.Typically pure ground peppers
Heat Level OptionsVaries, from mild to extremely spicyVaries, from sweet to hot
Best forSpicy and savory dishes, Mexican cuisineColorful and mild dishes, Hungarian cuisine

Types of chili powder

  1. Ancho Chili Powder: Made from dried poblano peppers, it has a mild heat with fruity undertones and a sweet, smoky flavor.
  2. Chipotle Chili Powder: Derived from smoked jalapenos, this powder offers medium heat with a distinct smokiness that adds depth to dishes.
  3. Cayenne Pepper Powder: Known for its fiery spiciness, cayenne pepper powder is made from ground red chili peppers and adds a strong kick to any recipe.
  4. Korean Gochugaru: This vibrant red chili powder is often used in Korean cuisine, providing moderate heat and slightly sweet notes.
  5. New Mexico Chili Powder: Made from dried New Mexico chilies, this versatile powder ranges in heat levels but typically offers a mild to medium spice with earthy flavors.
  6. Guajillo Chili Powder: Made from dried guajillo peppers, this chili powder has a mild to medium heat and a slightly tangy, fruity taste.
  7. Thai Chili Powder: Commonly used in Thai cuisine, this powder is made from ground Thai bird’s eye chili peppers and provides a hot and vibrant flavor.
  8. Kashmiri Chili Powder: Originating from India, this chili powder has a mild heat and imparts a bright red color to dishes.
  9. Pasilla Chili Powder: Made from dried pasilla peppers, it offers a mild to medium heat with rich, earthy flavors and hints of dried fruit.

Types of paprika

  1. Sweet Paprika: This is the mildest variety with a rich red color and a sweet, fruity taste. It adds vibrant color to dishes without overwhelming them with spiciness.
  2. Hot Paprika: As the name suggests, this paprika has more heat than its sweet counterpart. It adds a fiery kick to foods while still offering that distinctive smoky flavor.
  3. Smoked Paprika: Made from peppers that are slowly dried over oak fires, smoked paprika brings intense smokiness to your dishes. It comes in both sweet and hot varieties depending on your preference for heat levels.
  4. Hungarian Paprika: Known for its deep red hue and robust flavor profile, Hungarian paprika can range from mild to spicy. It is often used in traditional Hungarian cuisine like goulash or chicken paprikash.
  5. Spanish Paprika (Pimentón): Spaniards take pride in their pimentón, which comes in three distinct styles – dulce (sweet), agridulce (bittersweet), and picante (hot). These red powders are made from smoked peppers and offer varying levels of spice.
  6. Korean Gochugaru: Although primarily used in Korean cuisine, this paprika is gaining popularity worldwide. It has a medium heat level with slightly sweet and smoky undertones.
  7. Moroccan Paprika: Known for its earthy flavor and moderate heat, Moroccan paprika is a key ingredient in many North African dishes.
  8. California Paprika: A mild variety of paprika with a bright red color, often used in American and Mexican cuisines.

Substitutes for paprika

  • Chili Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Tomato Paste or Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Aleppo Pepper


Image Credits

Featured Image By – Racool_studio on Freepik

Image 1 By – Sketchepedia 

Image 2 By –  jcomp on Freepik

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