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The 5 Best Substitutes for Szechuan Peppercorns

Are you a fan of Szechuan cuisine? Then you’re probably no stranger to Szechuan peppercorns.

These tiny, reddish-brown seeds are native to southwestern China and have a uniquely numbing and tingling flavor essential to many Szechuan dishes.

However, Szechuan peppercorns can be difficult to find outside of Asia, and they are often prohibitively expensive.

If you’re looking for a substitute for Szechuan peppercorns, several options are available.

In this article, we’ll look at five of the best substitutes for Szechuan peppercorns.

What is Szechuan Peppercorn?

what is szechuan peppercorn

Szechuan peppercorn is a type of spice that originates from the Sichuan province in China.

The spice is made from the dried berries of the Zanthoxylum piperitum plant, and it has a distinctly sharp and tangy flavor.

Szechuan peppercorn is commonly used in Chinese cuisine, and it is one of the key ingredients in the popular dish known as mapo tofu.

In recent years, spice has gained popularity outside of China, and it is now widely available in supermarkets and specialty stores.

Szechuan peppercorn can be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes, and it is an essential ingredient in many Asian-inspired recipes.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Szechuan Peppercorns

If you can’t find Szechuan peppercorns, don’t worry.

There are plenty of substitutes that will give your dish the same flavor profile.

Here are the five best substitutes for Szechuan peppercorns:

1 – Grains of Paradise

grains of paradise

Grains of paradise are the seeds of a plant in the ginger family, native to Africa.

The tiny, brown seeds have a spicy, peppery flavor often used in cooking.

In addition to their culinary uses, grains of paradise have a long history of traditional medicinal use.

In folk medicine, they were used to treat various ailments, including indigestion and colds.

Today, they are sometimes still used for these purposes and flavoring food and beverages.

Grains of paradise are relatively easy to grow, and they make an attractive addition to any garden.

With their intriguing flavor and fascinating history, they are sure to add spice to your life in more ways than one.

2 – Tasmanian Pepper

tasmanian pepper

The Tasmanian pepper is a shrub that is native to Australia.

The plant has dark green leaves and small, white flowers.

The fruit of the Tasmanian pepper is black and resembles a peppercorn.

The Tasmanian pepper is used as a spice, and the oil from the fruit is used in aromatherapy.

The Tasmanian pepper is also known for its medicinal properties.

The oil from the fruit is used to treat arthritis and muscle pain.

The Tasmanian pepper is also used to make tea that is said to help treat colds and flu.

3 – Tellicherry Peppercorns

tellicherry peppercorns

Tellicherry peppercorns are a type of black pepper grown in India’s Malabar region.

The peppers are named after the city of Tellicherry, which was once an important trading center for spices.

The peppercorns are harvested when they are fully ripe, and they are then sun-dried to preserve their flavor.

Tellicherry peppercorns have a bold, distinct flavor that is perfect for adding a touch of heat to dishes.

They can be used in both sweet and savory recipes, and they are a great way to add some extra flavor to your cooking.

4 – Black Pepper and Coriander Seeds

black pepper and coriander seeds

Who would have thought that such tiny little seeds could pack such a flavorful punch? Black pepper and coriander seeds are two of the most commonly used spices in Indian cooking, and for a good reason.

These spices have a distinct and powerful flavor that can elevate a dish.

While they are often used together in recipes, black pepper and coriander seeds can also be used separately to add extra flavor.

Black pepper is usually added at the beginning of cooking to allow its flavor time to develop.

In contrast, coriander seeds are usually added towards the end of cooking so that their flavor remains fresh and bright.

5 – Lemon Pepper Seasoning

lemon pepper seasoning

Lemon pepper seasoning is a versatile and flavorful addition to many recipes.

The zesty flavor of lemon pairs well with the heat of black pepper, making it a perfect seasoning for chicken, fish, and vegetables.

Lemon pepper can also add flavor to soups, stews, and pasta dishes.

If you’re looking for a unique way to spice up your cooking, try using lemon pepper seasoning.

You’ll be surprised at how much flavor it can add to your food.


Szechuan peppercorns have a unique flavor that can add a touch of spice to any dish.

Unfortunately, they can be difficult to find and are often quite expensive.

Fortunately, there are several substitutes that can be used in their place.

With a little experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect substitute for Szechuan peppercorns.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Szechuan Peppercorns

The 5 Best Substitutes for Szechuan Peppercorns
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Grains of Paradise
  • Tasmanian Pepper
  • Tellicherry Peppercorns
  • Black Pepper and Coriander Seeds
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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