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Enhance Flavor: 4 BEST Substitutes for White Peppers

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

White pepper is a popular spice known for its distinct flavor and mild heat.

However, if you don’t have white pepper on hand or prefer an alternative, there are several substitutes that can provide similar characteristics.

In this guide, we will explore the top 4 substitutes for white pepper, comparing their key characteristics and providing suggestions on proper ratios to achieve the desired results in your recipes.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Black PepperPungent with a strong, earthy flavorUse an equal amount of black pepper as a substitute
Red Pepper Flakes/PowderSpicy with a distinct heatUse sparingly due to spiciness
Green PeppercornsMild heat with a fresh and fruity flavorUse an equal amount of green peppercorns as a substitute
Pink PeppercornsMild heat with a sweet and floral flavorUse an equal amount of pink peppercorns as a substitute

Now let’s dive into each substitute in more detail:

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.

  • Key Characteristics: Black pepper is a common pantry staple with a pungent and strong flavor. While it has a different taste profile compared to white pepper, it can provide a similar level of heat and earthiness to your dishes.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of black pepper as a substitute for white pepper. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preferences and recipe requirements.

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.

  • Key Characteristics: Green peppercorns have a milder heat compared to white pepper. They offer a fresh and fruity flavor with a hint of spiciness, making them an excellent substitute.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of green peppercorns as a substitute for white pepper. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preferences and recipe requirements.

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.

  • Key Characteristics: Pink peppercorns provide a mild heat with a sweet and floral flavor. While they don’t resemble the taste of white pepper exactly, they can add a unique touch to your dishes.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of pink peppercorns as a substitute for white pepper. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preferences and recipe requirements.


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.

The 4 Best Substitutes for White Pepper

Searching for alternatives to white pepper? Your quest ends here! Discover the four best substitutes that seamlessly replace white pepper, ensuring your dishes maintain their intended flavors.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


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


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for white pepper
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