Sauces and Condiments

The Perfect Garlicky Smoked Paprika Aioli

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Last updated on November 11th, 2022 at 11:39 am

Aioli is a smashing together of the words garlic and oil in Catalan, Provençal and Italian. Though traditionally only garlic is added for flavor, in some cases the mixture can also contain other ingredients. And in our case today, we’ll make a simple, basic, and yet still delicious smoked paprika aioli.

This is my go-to quick dip recipe to throw together in a pinch when I want a condiment to go with the meal I am making. It’s fast, easy, and simple in a way that lets you adjust everything to your own tastes.

Fries dipped in smoked paprika aioli, served with a burger

This recipe is quite similar to my spicy chipotle crema. This one, however, is not spicy at all. It does still have some of the same smoky pepper notes that really bring some flavor to the table.

So, let’s get into what aioli is and how we’ll simplify things for ourselves to make this a quick condiment.

What Is Aioli?

Aioli is an emulsion of olive oil, garlic, salt, and usually egg that is essentially very similar to mayonnaise. An emulsion is just a fancy way of saying that one liquid is suspended in another. It first originates in the Mediterranean region and there are a whole lot of variations of this condiment.

This creamy emulsion of garlic and oil is used as a sauce or for dipping. It’s also great to use as a spread on sandwiches. A true traditional aioli would only have garlic. So some people say that most things we call aioli are just flavored mayonnaise. Which I guess is kinda true, but aioli sounds fancier and has kind of been taken over to mean something new now.

A spoonful of simple quick dip aioli

It is really all about the flavor, though. Consequently, I have no reservations about keeping ‘true’ to traditional aioli and will be adding other ingredients with wanton abandon. I know, I’m a rebel.

So, you can make aioli from scratch using olive oil and egg yolk to make a homemade base with which you can flavor things. But it can be a bit tricky to get the emulsion just right. And when I am whipping together a quick dipping sauce, I don’t want to be worried about getting things just right so it doesn’t break.

But I cheat by using store-bought mayo to make my aioli dip. It’s just too convenient in most cases.

And the best part? You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen creating it!

Ingredients for Smoked Paprika Aioli

All you need are some basic ingredients: mayonnaise, garlic, lime juice, and kosher salt. You’ll also need to have some smoked paprika on hand – the star of this show.

First, let me tell you what makes smoked paprika so special. If you’ve never used it before, you’re in for a real treat.

You can buy smoked paprika at most grocery stores, but some don’t carry it or only have it in very small containers. If you like the flavor of smoked paprika, I suggest buying a larger container of it. My recommendation is this McCormick Culinary Smoked Paprika that I have purchased twice now already since discovering it a year or so ago.

From blackened seasoning to tortilla soup to roasted chicken and more, I use smoked paprika a whole lot to add flavor to dishes. And no, I don’t have a smoked paprika problem. I can stop any time I want.

Ingredients laid out for making homemade smoked paprika aioli

For the smoked paprika aioli, we’re going to use premade mayonnaise. However, you can make your own mayonnaise if you’d prefer. It’s not a super long process, but it can be complicated to get the emulsion just right. I have done it a few times before, and I think eventually I will add it as a recipe here on the site.

But for now, I use premade mayo. It’s too convenient.

Then make sure you use some fresh-squeezed lime juice and fresh garlic cloves to get the best possible results out of this aioli recipe.

Steps to Make Smoked Paprika Aioli

Making smoked paprika aioli isn’t difficult at all. This is one of the best parts of the recipe – there’s not really that much to it.

Start by measuring out all of the ingredients into the bowl or container of a food processor or small blender. I typically love to use a small container of my NutriBullet because it is easy to make and store within that same jar. Smaller is better because, unless you are multiplying this recipe a few times, it doesn’t take up much space. A smaller container will help it blend together better.

Garlic, salt, smoked paprika, and lime juice on top of mayo to make aioli

Now pulse everything together until it becomes smooth. Don’t just let it sit and run too long because it will start to heat things up as it blends. If things are getting stuck or not blending 100%, you may want to shake or stir together the ingredients and then try pulsing again.

If you don’t have access to a food processor, you can simply whisk the ingredients together. But for the garlic, try grating it with a zester. It will turn the garlic into kind of a paste that will whisk together much better than even minced garlic.

And that’s it, it’s ready to serve!

Ways to Use Smoked Paprika Aioli

The smoked paprika aioli is a very versatile condiment. It is great on anything fried or baked. And, if you want to get really fancy, you can substitute it for regular aioli for dipping fries into.

In addition to being tasty, aioli is very versatile. It works well as a dip, spread, and dressing. If you have smoked paprika on hand, it also makes for a great topping or dip for chips.

Juicy bacon cheeseburger with a paprika aioli spread
A saucy burger just dripping with this delicious aioli

There are tons of ways to use your aioli. Try any of the following ideas:

  • Dipping sauce for fish, seafood, and fries
  • As a sandwich spread
  • Topping for burgers
  • As a dip for chips and crackers
  • Topping for roasted vegetables
  • Added sauce for tacos
  • As a salad dressing

The most common use case for smoked paprika aioli is as a dipping sauce for fries or as a sandwich spread instead of mayo. Basically, think of places where you might use mayonnaise and could want a different pop of flavor instead and try substituting aioli.

Tips to Store Aioli After Making It

If you manage to have any leftover aioli, I’d be a little surprised. But maybe you made a large batch and wanted some leftovers for later use. In that case, you’ll have to store it so that it will keep well.

Here are my three main tips for storing your aioli:

  • Keep it in the fridge (and don’t keep it out of the fridge for very long)
  • Store it in an airtight container
  • Cover the surface with plastic wrap before closing the container

When storing it in the fridge, it can stay fresh for up to two weeks.

Burger, fries, and aioli dipping sauce

Plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the aioli will help prevent the surface from drying out. It also limits the contact it will have with oxygen, which is usually the enemy of keeping things from going bad.

However, aioli can have a tendency to separate – especially if you have made the mayonnaise from scratch. If this happens after storing it, just whisk or blend it up again and it should be back to normal.

Use this recipe to make quick and easy garlic and smoked paprika aioli. This will definitely become a family favorite for any occasion. So, get blending and make your own homemade smoked paprika aioli today!

How did yours turn out?

I’d love to hear when you try out this smoked paprika aioli! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.

Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.

Perfect Garlicky Smoked Paprika Aioli

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: SauceDifficulty: Easy


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Aioli with the power of garlic, lime, and smoked paprika to use as a spread or dip with its creamy, smoky flavor


  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Add all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor
  • Slowly pulse everything together until fully blended
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve


  • To make it without a food processor or blender, grate the garlic with a zester and whisk all ingredients together

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