From Peppers to Powder: How to Make Paprika at Home


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Are you looking to spice up your cooking game? Look no further than your very own garden, or local farmer’s market, for some fresh paprika peppers! Before you go dicing and sautéing these beauties, have you considered dehydrating paprika peppers for even more intense flavor and preservation?

Let’s make paprika powder from dehydrated paprika peppers. Not only will you be able to enjoy the rich, smoky taste of paprika all year round, but you’ll also be reducing food waste and saving some cash in the process. So let’s get ready to turn up the heat and add some sizzle to our meals with this easy and fun dehydrating project!

Choosing the Right Paprika Peppers

You might be surprised to learn that there are actually several different types of paprika peppers, each with their own unique flavor profile. The most common types include sweet paprika, hot paprika, and smoked paprika, with varying levels of spiciness and smokiness. I like to grow my own peppers so I can choose what variety to grow for making my paprika powder.

Red and green paprika peppers growing on a pepper plant.
Growing paprika peppers to make dehydrated paprika powder

Sweet Paprika Peppers

If you’re looking for a mild, sweet flavor, then the classic sweet paprika is the way to go. It’s great for adding a pop of color and flavor to dishes like deviled eggs or roasted potatoes, without overwhelming the other ingredients. A variety of sweet paprika peppers to try would be the Alma Paprika Pepper.

Hot Paprika Peppers

For those who like a bit of heat, hot paprika is the choice for you. It has a moderate to high level of spiciness, making it perfect for adding some kick to chili, stews, or even a simple marinade for chicken or fish.

Smoking Paprika Peppers

And if you’re really into that smoky flavor, then smoked paprika is the one to try. It’s made by smoking the peppers before they’re dried and ground into powder, giving it a rich, complex taste that pairs well with grilled meats, roasted veggies, or even as a seasoning for popcorn!

Overall, the best type of paprika pepper for making paprika powder really depends on your personal taste preferences and the dish you’re planning to use it in. However, I recommend using a combination of sweet and smoked paprika for a well-rounded, versatile seasoning that can be used in a variety of dishes.

In my garden I grow Leutschauer Paprika Peppers. They are a medium-hot variety of paprika pepper. They have great flavor, uniform shape, and thin walls which makes them terrific for smoking, drying, and grinding to a delicious spicy powder.

Five red Leutschauer Paprika Peppers sitting on a counter
Leutschauer Paprika Peppers

Dehydrating the paprika peppers

Now that you’ve chosen your paprika peppers, it’s time to dehydrate them. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think! All you need are some basic tools like a dehydrator or an oven.

When handling hot peppers, wear gloves to protect your hands from the peppers’ oils and be careful not to touch your eyes.

Hands wearing blue gloves holding a paprika pepper that has the stem and core removed. Prepping the peppers for dehydrating.
Remove core, stem, and seeds before slicing paprika peppers for dehydrating.

Using a Dehydrator

If you’re using a dehydrator, simply slice the peppers in half and remove the stems, core and seeds. The smaller you slice up the peppers the quicker they will dehydrate. Place them skin side down on the dehydrator trays in a single layer, making sure they don’t overlap. Set the dehydrator to around 130°F (54°C) and let them dry for 12-16 hours, or until they’re completely dry and brittle.

Slices of peppers sitting on a dehydrator tray
Slice the paprika peppers into small pieces before dehydrating.

Using an Oven

If you don’t have a dehydrator, no problem! You can also use your oven. Preheat your oven to 170°F (77°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out the sliced peppers on the sheet, making sure they’re not touching. Place the sheet in the oven and leave the door slightly ajar to allow for air circulation. Check on them every 30 minutes or so and rotate the sheet if needed. Depending on the size of the peppers, they should be fully dehydrated in 6-12 hours.

Check Peppers for dryness

Whichever method you choose, it’s important to check the peppers for dryness and to prevent mold from forming. To check for dryness, simply take a pepper slice and try to bend it. If it snaps easily, then it’s dry enough. If it’s still pliable, it needs more time. Pieces should feel dry and crisp and have no sign of moisture inside when broken open. To prevent mold, make sure the peppers are completely dry before storing them and keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Dehydrating paprika peppers may take some time, but the end result is worth it. Not only will you have delicious, concentrated flavor for all your dishes, but you’ll also be able to enjoy your homegrown or locally sourced peppers year-round.

Grinding the Dehydrated Paprika Peppers

Now that you have your dehydrated paprika peppers, it’s time to turn them into paprika powder. To do this, you’ll need a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Both tools work well, but a spice grinder will give you a more consistent, fine texture.

Grind Peppers Outside or in a Well-Ventilated Area

One important thing to note when grinding your paprika peppers into a powder is that the process can release fine particles into the air. This can be irritating to your nose, throat, and eyes, so it’s important to grind your peppers outside or in a well-ventilated area.

If you have a porch or outdoor space, that can be a great place to set up your grinder or mortar and pestle. If you don’t have access to an outdoor space, try to work near an open window or turn on a fan to help circulate the air. You can also wear a mask to protect your lungs and a pair of goggles to protect your eyes.

Grinding Paprika Peppers

To use a spice grinder, simply add the dried paprika pepper slices to the grinder and pulse until you achieve a fine powder. Be sure to work in small batches to avoid overloading the grinder and to achieve a consistent texture. If you’re using a mortar and pestle, grind the dried pepper slices in small batches until you achieve your desired consistency. This method takes a bit more time and effort, but it can be a fun and satisfying way to make your own paprika powder.

When grinding your paprika peppers, it’s important to aim for a fine, consistent texture. This will ensure that the flavor is evenly distributed throughout your dishes and that the powder doesn’t clump together. To achieve this, make sure your peppers are completely dry before grinding and work in small batches to avoid overloading your tool. You can also add a small amount of salt or sugar to the grinder or mortar and pestle to help prevent clumping.

Paprika powder in a pile on a white dish. Paprika powder in a glass spice jar.
Dehydrated Paprika Powder

Storing Paprika Powder

Once you have ground your paprika peppers into a fine powder, you’ll want to store it properly to maintain its flavor and color. Paprika powder can lose its flavor and potency over time, so it’s important to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This will help prevent oxidation and moisture buildup, which can cause the powder to lose its flavor and color.

A glass jar with a tight-fitting lid is a great option for storing your paprika powder. Make sure the jar is completely clean and dry before adding the powder, and store it in a pantry or cupboard away from direct sunlight and heat sources. You can also label the jar with the date you made the powder, so you can keep track of its freshness.

Make Some Paprika Powder

Making paprika powder from dehydrated paprika peppers is a fun and rewarding process that can add a delicious, smoky flavor to your cooking and preserving. By using a dehydrator or oven to dry the peppers, and a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind them into a fine powder, you can create a flavorful spice that will elevate your dishes to the next level.

By making your own paprika powder, you have full control over the flavor and quality of the spice. Plus, it’s a great way to use up an abundance of fresh paprika peppers and preserve them for later use.

Grab some fresh paprika peppers, fire up your dehydrator or oven, and get grinding!

Interested in growing your own peppers? Find out how below:

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