Smoked Paprika Aioli

By Ann Fulton

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This 5-ingredient sauce is made bright and light through the addition of Greek yogurt and lime juice, while two simple spices add singular, smoky flavor. You won’t believe how easy and versatile it is!


My first introduction to paprika came as a young girl while helping my mom make deviled eggs. She always topped half of the eggs with an olive slice, the balance received a dusting of paprika.  

Though paprika’s deep red color makes it a pretty garnish, I often thought of the spice as low on flavor…until I discovered smoked paprika.  

Most of the paprika sold in grocery stores is simply labeled “paprika” and likely came from Hungary, or possibly California or South America. This paprika tends to be neither hot nor particularly sweet and works well as a garnish for deviled eggs, macaroni salad, and mashed potato casseroles – or wherever you want a hint of color. When used as an ingredient within a soup recipe, for example, a mere half teaspoon or so of this garnet powder can be difficult to discern.

When specifically labeled as “Hungarian sweet paprika” the spice will likely be richer and fruitier than the basic variety. Expect flavor similar to a red bell pepper and without heat. It’s a great all-around paprika and will add a bit more dimension than the regular stuff. When a recipe calls for paprika without specifying which kind, using Hungarian sweet paprika or a basic grocery store variety is a safe bet.

When it comes to “smoked paprika, a little bit goes a long way towards adding noticeable flavor to a recipe, but too much can easily overwhelm. Smoked paprika heralds from Spain, and the peppers that go into it are typically smoked (often over oak, as is done in the La Vera region where much of the country’s paprika is produced). By contrast, the peppers used to make Hungarian paprika are usually dried in the sun.  When either version is labeled as “hot, it’s because spicier varieties of pepper, and sometimes the seeds, are used.  

The intriguing flavor of smoked paprika is a building block in Spanish cuisine, from paella to chorizo.  In the recipe below, judicious use of it helps to create a condiment that I absolutely adore. To enhance its smokey profile and round out the flavor without overpowering, I combine the smoked paprika with an equal amount of ground cumin.

This 5-ingredient sauce is made bright and light through the addition of Greek yogurt and lime juice, while two simple spices add singular, smoky flavor. You won’t believe how easy and versatile it is!

The speedy condiment adds flavor to a wide variety of foods, and the pretty color provides visual appeal.

What to serve with Smoked Paprika Aioli?

We love to use the aioli as a dip for sweet potato fries, and you may also enjoy it with roasted mushrooms, baked chicken, fish, or as a spread on sandwiches and burgers.

Or add a dab to a hard boiled egg or a slice of Spanish Tortilla (pictured below).

Alternatively, serve alongside some grilled chorizo (or another sausage of choice) that has been cut into bite-size pieces for an easy appetizer.

The aioli is truly a great way to perk up basic meats, vegetables, and grains. When a container of leftover aioli is in our fridge, we always seem to find new and delicious ways to use it!

Make this traditional Spanish dish in your own kitchen with a few basic ingredients and enjoy it as a light meal, a satisfying snack, or a filling addition to a Spanish-themed charcuterie board.

A dollop of smoked paprika aioli offers a complementary flavor boost to a slice of Spanish Tortilla. For a fun appetizer, cut the tortilla into bite-size squares, stick a toothpick in them, and serve with the aioli for dipping. 

Packed with flavor and so satisfying – I could make a meal out of these sweet potatoes. The easy aioli puts them over the top!

Spicy Sweet Potatoes are especially divine when paired with the Smoked Paprika Aioli.

I’d love to know if you try this recipe. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @fountainavenuekitchen on Instagram and Facebook. Your feedback is always appreciated.

 Smoked Paprika Aioli
Yield: ¾ cup
  • ½ cup (104 grams) mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¾ teaspoon each smoked paprika and ground cumin
  • Scant ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lime juice, smoked paprika, cumin, and salt. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  2. The taste of this sauce will improve as it sits and the flavors meld. If possible, prepare it several hours or a day in advance. It will, however, still be good if enjoyed right away.
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    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Larry, I don’t list nutritional breakdowns next to each recipe because the numbers can change significantly depending on brands people buy and how exact the measuring is. In saying that, if you email me separately, I will have our dietitian Emily provide you with her best estimations on the nutrients you would like to know about.

  1. Ann Post author

    I’m sorry this didn’t work out. Did you happen to use just the 3/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika, measured accurately?

  2. Mary Lou Keller

    YUMMY!! I have always thought same thing about paprika Ann. Quite interesting note about the smoked paprika, thanks for the lesson! I happen to have smoked paprika in my pantry. Perfect!

    Aioli is always something I have been curious about, and what exactly is it?

    I think I will have to try this recipe soon!

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Mary Lou,
      Aioli is basically mayonnaise that has been seasoned with garlic. It originated in Provence, France where garlic was pounded into a paste with a mortar and pestle and then whisked into the traditional mayo ingredients of egg yolk, lemon juice, etc. “Modern” versions often season the base with herbs, spices, etc. If you try, I hope you enjoy!

      1. Mary Lou Keller

        Wow, thanks for the lesson. I always thought it seemed a lot like mayonnaise, but wasn’t sure what the difference was.