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Too Much Smoked Paprika – Relax, You Can Fix It!


We all love to add a bit of flavor and spice here and there in our lives. And the same goes for our meals. And nothing does this better than the smoked paprika.

However, if you’re not careful enough you might add smoked paprika more than needed. This might change the taste of your dish but you can fix this right away!

So what to do if you add too much smoked paprika?

All you need to do is add a factor to neutralize your dish. You can decrease the smoky flavor of the paprika in your dish. Just by adding any of the following: dairy products, proteins, vegetables, or even acids! Sometimes, adding sugar and honey also helps decrease the smokiness. They also counteract the spice level of your dish.

These are some ways to fix your dish in case it has more amount of smoke paprika than needed. To know the in-depth methods of neutralizing smoked paprika, read along!

How Much Smoked Paprika Is Too Much?

You might not know when your dish becomes too paprika-flavored. And we don’t blame you. That’s because smoked paprika has a very low spice range. So it only adds a mild flavor to your dish.

This is a common mistake a lot of us make- paprika or smoked paprika are not spicy. Let us explain this in terms of the Scoville scale for your convenience-

Pepper TypesScoville Scale (measure in heat units)Amount of sugar-water to dilute to zero heat
Sweet smoked paprika100-250 SHU100-250 cups
Hot smoked paprika500-1,000 SHU500-1000 cups
Pepperoncini100-500 SHU100-500 cups
Jalapeno2500-8000 SHU2500-8000 cups

You can clearly see the difference in spice levels among other peppers. If you can endure a jalapeno or pepperoncini, smoked paprika will be nothing compared to it.


However, too much of it might make your dish a little too smoky. Smoked paprika is popular for its effect of smokiness in the dish. 

But there is a limit to this smokiness. And there are two ways you can identify if the limit has been crossed. The two methods for cross-checking your dish are-

Visual Difference

Sprinkling smoked paprika while cooking sounds harmless. But how will you know if you’ve added too much? Well, keep an eye out for signs.

One of the first signs that will capture your attention is the color of your dish. If you’ve added way too much paprika, you’ll see the color of your dish changing. It either becomes too red or too brown.

Let’s suppose you’re making a beef stew. So after adding smoked paprika, you’ll see the curry turning red gradually. This is an obvious indication of way too much smoked paprika.

Flavor Difference

While cooking, you might not notice the extra bit of smoked paprika added. Maybe the color hasn’t changed but the taste surely has.

The best way to confirm is to simply taste it. Take a spoon and taste your dish. If you think the smokiness is just about right, you can stop worrying. If you think the smokiness has made the taste a bit pungent, start preparing for damage control.

Now if you think your dish has too much smoked paprika, then you can move onto the methods of neutralizing your dish-

How To Neutralize Too Much Smoked Paprika 

Smoked paprika or Spanish paprika, whatever you name it, has become popular quite recently. It adds that BBQ smokiness we all love and want more often in our dishes. The best thing about using smoked paprika is that it does not require a lot of heat.

Luckily, too much smoked paprika in a dish does not require a lot of work to fix it. Because of its mild flavor and spice level. What’s more, adding too much smoked paprika doesn’t mean you have to discard the entire dish. And the best part? It’s completely fixable, and the dish will be back to normal in no time!


There are a number of factors that can neutralize your dish. These factors can be used for any kind of dish- sweet or spicy. 

To be more specific, the flavor of the dish depends on the type of smoked paprika you have overused. The two popular kinds are-

  • Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • Hot Smoked Paprika

Depending on the usage of these two paprikas you can proceed to any of the suitable methods. Let’s dive in-

Method 1: Save Your Hot Dish

If you were too heavy-handed with hot smoked paprika, this method is for you. Especially if you didn’t know the correct amount of smoked paprika required in your recipe.

There are multiple options you can opt for depending on the dish and the flavor you want in them. Here’s what you can do to change the game of your dish-

Add Potato To Soak The Excess Spice

This is one of the common ways to neutralize your dish. Potatoes are the best absorbers of spice in any given dish. Adding potatoes will also reduce the intensity of the spice level.

Potatoes reduce the smoky flavor you wanted to avoid. Though they might increase the serving of your dish more than what you intended.

Add Meat To Decrease The Intensity

Another quick way to counteract your smoked paprika is by adding more protein. Smoked paprika in a beef stew or chicken dish brings out the best of flavors. However, adding excess smoked paprika might destroy the flavor you wanted, making it too rich and smoky.

In this case, add more pieces of beef/chicken/fish. This will decrease the intensity of spice to a certain level. And soon you’ll find the smokiness in your dish gone.

Add Dairy To Mask The Paprika Flavor

Yes! You can use any sort of dairy product in your dish to mask the smokiness and the spice intensity. There are recipes that require smoked paprika and any dairy product. For instance, the brilliant recipe Hungarian chicken paprikash requires pairing dairy and smoked paprika.                        


The most common dairy ingredients are sour cream and whole milk. Adding any of these ingredients means you can neutralize your dish and coat the smoky flavor. 

Let’s say, you’ve used more than ¼ cup of paprika in your dish. In order to counteract the flavor, you can add less than ½ cup of any dairy product. This will decrease the spice intensity of the dish. Bringing you back just the right flavor.

Add Acid To Reduce The Intensity

This is the chance for you to become a little creative with your dish. Twist the recipe and get both the jobs done- decrease the flavor plus add a little tartness to your dish.

The most common acids that complement the paprika and other spices in a dish are lemon/lime juice or vinegar. Vinegar doesn’t change the flavor much but reduces the smokiness. Vinegar also reduces the bitterness caused by too much Spanish paprika. However, half a teaspoon of lemon juice adds a tartness to the spice making the flavor a perfect combo!

Add Cumin Powder For Warmer Flavor

Cumin powder is known for its ability to add a warm flavor to your dish. This spice will decrease not only the intensity of smoked paprika but all other spices in your recipe. This creates a warmer flavor of your dish just how it does for decreasing the flavor of smoked meat.

So adding cumin powder can save your dish by decreasing the flavor of smoked paprika. There are a lot of cumin powders out there for you to choose from. But we’ve found these powders to be the best for this case-

  1. McCormick Ground Cumin

  2. Badia Spices inc Spice, Cumin Seed Ground

  3. Starwest Botanicals Organic Ground Cumin Seed Powder

Here’s a quick comparison of the methods to save your dish from too much paprika. This will help you choose the right one-

MethodAdding PotatoAdding meatAdding dairyAdding acidAdding cumin powder
OutcomeThe intensity of paprika will decrease.Reduces the bitterness of the dishMakes the dish creamy and decreases the flavorIncreases the tartness of the dishMakes the dish more neutral in flavor.
Duration required to neutralize paprika [approx]30 mins10 mins10 mins15 minsLess than 10 mins

Method 2: Save Your Sweet Dish

Of course, you can make wonderful sweet dishes with smoked paprika. Especially using sweet smoked paprika. And by sweet, we mean savory dishes that have a sweet element to them.

But too many doses of sweet smoked paprika might not give you the flavor you were looking for. This results in a trace of pungency and smokiness that is not generally preferred in sweet dishes.

You can add any one of the factors to counter the smokiness in your dish caused by the smoked paprika. However, before you do, keep in mind the kind of flavor profile you want to go for. 

So, what can you do to save your sweet dish?

Add Dairy To Counteract The Bitterness

Like any hot dishes, dairy products can also save the sweet dishes with too much smoked paprika.

If you want to coat the smokiness and the bitterness, add any dairy product. Make sure the product complements your other dish ingredients as well. We don’t want your sweet dish to alter its taste. Sour cream and whole milk is still our favorite choice to add. 

However, you can experiment with any dish by adding a little butter. Dairy products are an excellent way to reduce the paprika flavor and enhance the flavor of the dish. However, too much milk can be controlled by adding flour.

Add Sugar For Increasing The Sweetness

Sugar and paprika have been the oldest of friends. They have created dishes that have marveled us with their delicious flavor. One of these amazing dishes is the chili. So, if the chili is too tomatoey, the combination of sugar and paprika counteracts that. 

However, there could be a chance of the chili having too much paprika. In that case, adding sugar to a dish can decrease the spice and smoky level.

Another infamous duo is the honey and paprika combo. Adding honey to any of the dishes can counteract the smokiness and add a little sweetness. If you don’t want to add honey, you can also use agave nectar for the purpose.

Add Vegetables To Absorb The Spices

Yes! You read that correctly. Some vegetables can absorb the spice and add sweetness to your dish. This will help decrease the effect of excess paprika in your meal.

Vegetables such as corn and carrot can save your dish. All you need to do is chop some carrots/corn and put them in the cooking pot. You’ll definitely see the change. However, you should keep in mind the recipe and flavor profile of the dish.

Here’s a quick comparison of all the methods. This will help you choose the right method for saving your dish-

MethodAdding DairyAdding SugarAdding Vegetables
OutcomeThe dish will become creamier and sweeterThe bitterness of the dish will decreaseThe intensity of the flavor of paprika will decrease
Duration required to neutralize paprika [approx]10 mins10 mins30 mins

Now that you’re equipped to save your dish. Look at how you can make sure you don’t overpower your dish again!


Even if smoked paprika is not the hottest of spices, it requires some careful handling. So the following are some things you must keep in your mind while dealing with paprika-

  • Make sure you cook in low heat because paprika burns too quickly.
  • Add small amounts of the factors until you get your desired flavor.
  • Do not put sour cream in anything hot.


What’s the difference between paprika and smoked paprika?

The basic difference between paprika and smoked paprika is the composition. Paprika is ground from regular pepper. On the other hand, smoked paprika is ground from burnt pepper. The pepper is first burnt in oak fire and then ground into fine particles.

Is smoked paprika healthy?

Surprisingly yes! Smoked paprika is enriched with vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants. These essential nutrients improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Paprika also provides eye health benefits and prevents any sort of inflammation.

How to store smoked paprika?

Very simple because smoked paprika does not require much. All you need to do is keep the paprika in a tightly sealed container. Store the container away from direct sunlight and heat. The ideal storage space for smoked paprika is a cupboard or a drawer. Smoked paprika loses its effect in a timespan of 6-8 months.

Signing Off

Now that your dish is fixed, you can go back to your guests and host a wonderful dinner party. Smoked paprika is now one of the most popular spices to add to your dishes. However, do keep in mind the rules to adding the perfect amount of paprika.

Let us know, which of our methods has helped you save your dish with too much smoked paprika in the comment section below!

Till then, sprinkle happiness!

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