Skip to Content

The 4 Best Substitutes for White Pepper

If you are a fan of spicy food, you will be happy to know that there is one pepper out there with a unique flavor – the White Pepper.

However, if you decide to try it, beware – these peppers are extremely hot and should not be eaten on their own or even in large amounts.

White peppers have a very intense and tasty flavor, and there is no wonder why they are used in so many different dishes.

However, if you can’t find white peppers or don’t want to find them, you might consider a substitute.

To begin with, it should be noted that most White pepper substitutes taste completely different from their original one – this means that knowing what White pepper tastes like would be a plus.

Keep on reading for the top 4 alternatives for White pepper.

What is White Pepper?

what is white pepper

White pepper is a common spice made from the seeds of a plant called peppercorns.

Peppercorns are harvested when fully matured, which means their outer shell has dried.

When this happens, the shell opens up, and the seed within is exposed to the air – it begins to ferment.

After maturing for several days, the seed is soaked and washed to remove its outer layer.

This washing process also helps to release the seed’s distinctive, spicy odor.

The final step in this process is removing the seed itself, typically by breaking it with a press or milling machine.

What remains is white pepper, which looks like brown peppercorns but lacks the seed’s outer layer.

White pepper has a more intense, acidic flavor than regular black peppercorn and is commonly used in French cuisine to add spice to salad dressings and sauces.

It is often found in ‘Eau de Vie (water of life), an alcoholic drink that uses white pepper as one of its ingredients.

White pepper is also added to some dishes to appear more visually appealing, such as salads or chicken wrapped in dough.

There are many different types of white pepper available today, all with varying degrees of spiciness and sharpness on the tongue.

The 4 Best Substitutes for White Pepper

If you’ve run out of white pepper in your kitchen, don’t panic.

Here are four alternatives you can use to replace it in any dish.

1 – Black Pepper

black pepper

Black pepper is regularly used as both a seasoning and an ingredient.

It’s the most common substitute for white pepper.

Black pepper tends to be spicy, but it does not take over the rest of your dish like some other spices can.

It’s important to note that black pepper should only be used as a substitution if you do not mind its pungent, spicy flavor.

The taste of black pepper is undeniably stronger than white pepper, and if you add too much, it may become overpowering.

2 – Red Pepper Flakes or Powder

red pepper flakes or powder

Red pepper flakes and powder are a great substitute for white pepper because they can be used in sweet and savory dishes.

While red pepper isn’t as spicy as white pepper, it does have a bit of bite to it, so you should use it sparingly until you get the right amount.

If you don’t want to buy or use some, making your own is easy.

All you have to do is take dried red pepper flakes and powder them in a food processor until they become a fine consistency, almost like flour.

3 – Green Peppercorns

green peppercorns

Green peppercorns are the unripe seed of the pepper plant and are most often used in French cooking.

Green peppercorns have a lengthier shelf life than either black or white pepper and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two years.

The main downside is that they can be very expensive, so they’re not great if you want to use them daily.

However, the good news is that their taste and strength are comparable to white pepper, making them a relatively low-effort substitution.

If you can’t find green peppercorns, look for fresh or brined ones in your local grocery store.

4 – Pink Peppercorns

pink peppercorns

Pink peppercorns are from the Baies rose plant and are similar to black pepper.

They’re not spicy, just slightly tangy, so they’re great for adding a unique flavor to salads or vegetables without making them too spicy.

Like other berries, pink peppercorns take on the flavors of other ingredients very quickly, which means that you should buy them in small quantities and store them in the freezer to prevent their flavor from degrading.

These berries are perfect for adding a little bit of zest to boring dishes.


White pepper is a common ingredient in many dishes, but if you’re out of it, then don’t panic.

Each of these five alternatives has a comparable flavor to white pepper.

They shouldn’t be used in large quantities, though, so go easy until you find the right amount.

Once you have chosen your substitute for white pepper, you can enjoy cooking or baking with it to your heart’s content.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 4 Best Substitutes for White Pepper

The 4 Best Substitutes for White Pepper
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Black Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes or Powder
  • Green Peppercorns
  • Pink Peppercorns


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