Why You Might Not Be Able To Taste Paprika, According To Reddit

Paprika is one of those seasonings that is so vibrant in color, many people imagine its taste is going to be equal to its striking red-orange appearance. Unless you are among those who can't taste paprika and have no idea what flavor it is supposed to impart upon your taste buds. According to Reddit, not being able to taste paprika is a real thing. The thread asks, like some people who think cilantro tastes like soap, if some people have a gene that makes them unable to detect any flavor in paprika. But why?

Per the spice experts at the McCormick Science Institute, paprika has a range when it comes to taste. Its flavors can run from mild to sweet to downright spicy. Derived from grinding up dried red bell peppers, paprika is used in a variety of dishes — from goulash to potato salad to deviled eggs. 

So why are Redditors wondering if it really has a taste? One wrote, "Even having bought brand new containers of it and licking a spoon of it, I tasted absolutely nothing from the sweet paprika and only slight notes of smoke from smoky paprika ... Do people really taste paprika as a spice or is this some weird racket to sell dyed cornstarch as a spice?" Others are wondering the same thing — so, what gives, paprika?

Two possible reasons

According to the Reddit community there are two possible reasons you might not be able to taste paprika. The first is you are not "toasting" your paprika to release the aroma and taste. As one Redditor explained, "This is pretty much for any pepper. Capsaicin is fat-soluble so it needs to be dispersed into oil." Fine Cooking echoes this sentiment, noting spices, in general, "taste better" when you toast them. 

But toasters beware, you do not want to scorch your paprika. As, one Reddit community member warned, "Do NOT scorch it. That's how you get annoying bitterness into a dish that you can't get out."

The other reason you might not be able to taste your paprika is it has lost its flavor while sitting too long on the shelf of your spice cabinet. Ground spices "lose potency over time and not flavor food as intended," according to Still Tasty. Your paprika can last anywhere from three to four years in your spice cabinet; however, the only way to know for sure is to rub a little in your hand and taste it. The site notes, if there is no real taste or smell, it's probably time to get a new container.