Paprika vs Kashmiri Chili Powder the Differences Explained

Kashmiri chili powder and paprika both impart taste, color, and heat to Indian foods. Today, I still struggle to tell the two spices apart due to their color. You may be wondering whether there is a substantial difference between paprika and Kashmiri chili powder.

Paprika is a mild-flavored spice sprinkled over dishes as a colorful garnish. It’s made by grounding bell peppers and red peppers. Some Paprika types are hot and spicy, while others are sweet and mild. Kashmiri chili powder is a vibrant, red spice made by grounding sun-dried red peppers.

Read on to learn the differences between paprika and Kashmiri chili powder. I will highlight their ingredients, how they’re made, and how to use them.

Are Kashmiri Chili Powder and Paprika the Same?

Kashmiri chili powder and paprika are not the same. Paprika is made from grounded sun-dried bell peppers and red peppers. On the other hand, Kashmiri is made from grounded red peppers and is slightly hotter than paprika, but not as hot as chili powder.

The table below summarizes the differences between Kashmiri chili powder and paprika.

Check it out:

FeaturesKashmiri Chili PowderPaprika
HeatMildVery mild and doesn’t make dish hot
Scoville Heat Units2000590
ColorBright redOrange-red
Taste/FlavorSweetTaste varies from mild, sweet, to hot depending on the ingredient
IngredientsSun-dried red peppersBell peppers and red peppers. It can also include cayenne peppers, Aleppo peppers, and sweet peppers. 

Paprika: What Is It, and How Is It Made?

paprika chili powder 1

Paprika is a spice traditionally made by grounding bell peppers (Capsicum Annuum) and red peppers. It’s also made from chili peppers in the Longum group, but those used to make Paprika are milder and have less flesh.

Although it’s most commonly a product of bell peppers, Paprika can also be made from dried cayenne peppers, Aleppo peppers, and sweet peppers, among others. This red spice varies in heat levels, color, and taste depending on the type of peppers used to make it.

Paprika is native to Central Mexico. It moved to the rest of the world in the 16th century to feature prominently in Hungarian cuisine, where it is a staple spice to this day.

Types of Paprika

Paprika is divided into three categories depending on its ingredients. The three categories also vary depending on where they are produced. These are the three types of Paprika:

  • Regular Paprika. This is the most common paprika type that you’ll find in most grocery stores. It’s made from peppers from Hungary, South America, and California. It has a mild flavor without intense sweetness or heat, making it an ideal garnish to spice deviled eggs, potato salads, and hummus, among other dishes.
  • Spanish Paprika. This paprika is made from peppers dried over oak fires to infuse it with a smoky flavor. It comes in three spice levels: mild, mildly spicy, and spicy. Some Spanish paprikas are instead dried in the sun or in kilns, so they don’t have the characteristic smoky smell.
  • Hungarian Paprika. Hungarian paprika is the national spice of Hungary, but it is also used worldwide. It comes in eight varieties that have varying flavors and heat levels.

Check out this YouTube video to learn how to make Paprika powder at home.

Paprika Powder Recipe - Homemade Paprika Powder - One Ingredient Recipe

How To Use Paprika

Paprika adds distinctive color to what is often a sea of muted dishes. You can use it as a seasoning in the following:

  • Spice blends and rubs
  • Sauces
  • Stews 
  • Marinades
  • Paella
  • Chicken paprikash

Can I Store Paprika in the Freezer?

Seeing as it has so many great uses, you’re probably feeling inclined to keep an abundance of paprika on hand! Luckily, the spice is easy to store. 

You can store paprika in the freezer. The spice is best stored in an airtight container in a cool and dark space, either in the refrigerator or a spice drawer. Storing paprika in the freezer keeps it free of bugs.

Kashmiri Chili: What Is It, and How Is It Made?

Kashmiri Chili Powder 1

Kashmiri chili is a red pepper that’s grown in Kashmir, India. It is used primarily for its flavor and color rather than its heat. It’s an essential ingredient used as a powder or dried in the Indian subcontinent.

Kashmiri chili is a welcome addition to dishes that need a burst of flavor and color. Its powder form (Kashmiri chili powder) is made by grinding sun-dried red peppers. Kashmiri red peppers are long and slender, boasting a unique balance of sweetness and heat.

Kashmiri chili powder differs from what you likely know as chili powder. Kashmiri chilies are milder than red chili, providing the spice with a milder heat level.

How To Use Kashmiri Chili Powder

Kashmiri chili is a favorite of most fans of Indian cuisine; in fact, it’s a standard ingredient in tandoori chicken. It adds a mildly spicy taste similar to that of tomato sauces and a burst of flavor and color when used in macaroni and cheese.

Ways You Can Use Kashmiri Chili Powder

Here are a few ways you can utilize Kashmiri chili powder:

  • Mix the powder with granulated honey and sea salt for a spicy and sweet pork rub.
  • Add it to garlic-lime marinade for tasty chicken and fish.
  • Sprinkle Kashmiri chili powder over cashews before roasting them.
  • Add it to anything that absorbs color, like onions and oils.
  • Mix it with vinegar for mouth-watering radishes or onions.

If you’re looking for some of this unique spice, check out this Rani Kashmiri Chili Powder on It’s sure to add a striking color and mild flavor to any dish!

Is Kashmiri Chili Powder Hot?

Of the chili powders on the market, Kashmiri chili powder is considered mild. However, you wouldn’t describe Kashmiri chili powder as “heatless.”

Kashmiri chili powder is mildly hot. Dishes made with the spice have small amounts of chili heat but are nowhere near as spicy as those made with traditional chili powder.


Kashmiri chili powder isn’t the same as Paprika. Though strikingly similar in color, they differ in flavor. Paprika isn’t as hot as Kashmiri powder, and it doesn’t add noticeable heat to dishes. Scoring up to 2000 SV on the Scoville Heat Scale, Kashmiri powder is slightly spicy but not as hot as chili powder, which comes to 30,000 SV.

You can use both spices to add a classic red color and taste to soups, curries, and stews.


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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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