White Pepper Substitute – White pepper is a spice created from berries from the pepper plant, piper nigrum, a perennial flowering vine.

You got that right, they’re a fruit. Once the berries are dried they are called peppercorns.

The more common black peppercorn and the lesser known red and green peppercorns are also from the same plant.

The pepper plant is indigenous to the Malabar coast of India, known today as Kerala.

In India and Southeast Asia, this tropical plant grows up to 30 feet tall and is cultivated. Vietnam is the world’s largest cultivator of pepper vines today. Even though white, black, green & red peppercorns come from the same plant, they are all harvested differently.

Green peppercorns are first to be harvested, early in the season during the month of January. Next to be harvested are the red peppercorns several months later, in the months of March and April.

Lastly the white and black peppercorns are harvested in the middle of the season, both at the same time but both processed differently.

When the berries get picked to become white peppercorns they go through a process called retting.

It gets soaked in water for a week, during that time the outer shell softens and decomposes. This is where they get their white color. White pepper is common in East Asian and European cooking.

What Does White Pepper Taste Like

What Does White Pepper Taste Like
What Does White Pepper Taste Like

The taste of white pepper varies. Some say white pepper has a lighter taste than black pepper. Others say otherwise. However one thing for sure is that white pepper is said to taste earthy.

How Do You Store White Pepper

You will want to store your ground pepper or peppercorn away from light and heat.

It needs to be kept in a cool, dry place.

The pantry is a great spot, but a cabinet or drawer in the kitchen will also do.

What Is The Shelf Life Of White Pepper

If stored in prime conditions whole peppercorns can store up to 3 to 4 years at best quality as long as there is no best by date.

However, ground pepper will keep fresh for up to two years. Peppercorns will never spoil, they just lose their potency over time.

You will know when it’s time to throw it out by crushing it.

Give it a taste, has it lost its kick? Give it a whiff, does it seem the aroma isn’t there? If you’ve answered yes to any of those two questions then it may be time to pick up a new supply of white peppercorns

Nutritional Info: What Goes Into A Serving Of White Pepper?

White Pepper Nutritional Info
White Pepper Nutritional Info

Serving Size 100 g

  • Amount Per Serving 296 Calories

% Daily Value *

  • Total Fat 2.1g 3 %
  •  Saturated Fat 0.6g 3 %
  • Sodium 5mg 0 %
  • Total Carbohydrate 69g 25 %
  •  Dietary Fiber 26g 93 %
  • Protein 10g 20 %
  • Vitamin D 0.00mcg 0 %
  • Calcium 265.00mg 20 %
  • Iron 14.31mg 80 %
  • Potassium 73mg 2 %

List Of Substitutes For White Pepper

List Of White Pepper Substitutes
List Of White Pepper Substitutes

Black Peppercorn

Black peppercorns originate from the same plant as white peppercorns, the Piper nigrum plant.

Unlike the white peppercorn that gets soaked so the skin is easy to come off, once the berries from the Piper nigrum plant get picked to be black peppercorn it holds its outer skin until they are dried. Black peppercorns have a variety of compounds that are not present in white peppercorns, resulting in a stronger fragrance and more heat.

Black Peppercorn is a great White Pepper Substitute.

Obviously, in a pale dish, you would not get the advantage of a spice that does not stand out.

You may want to reserve it for darker dishes if you find the presence of black pepper unappealing.

Start with about half the amount of black pepper that your recipe needs for white pepper because of the difference in heat and pungency.

If appropriate, add more to your taste.

Green Peppercorn

Green peppercorns are selected long before they mature. They come from the Piper nigrum plant, much like their counterparts both black and white peppercorns.

They are typically pickled, but you can still find them dried so that they can be grounded and used like white peppercorns. In some of the dishes which require white peppercorns, the pickled version may also work.

Although pickled or dried green peppercorns can out stand more than white peppercorns,  they are not as visible as black peppercorns will be.

You may use them in dishes where black peppercorns will render an unattractive presentation as a white peppercorn replacement. 

Green Peppercorn, just like black peppercorn are great White Pepper Substitute.

When using green peppercorns as a replacement you may need to use more of them, since they have a milder taste than white peppercorns.  If using green peppercorn use a 1.5:1 ratio.

Pink Peppercorn

Unlike true peppercorns that come from South East Asia, pink peppercorns are actually the fruit of a South American tree.

It is commonly referred to as the Peruvian Peppertree, a member of the family of Anacardiaceae native to Peru and Chile.Piper nigrum berries, which are true peppercorns, have a similar look.

They also have a light flavor that is similar to that of peppercorns, in addition to the fact that they look like true peppercorns. Pink peppercorns make a great replacement for white peppercorns due to their mild peppery flavor.

Also the fact that they have a light color makes a good match for pale dishes. If using pink peppercorn use a1:1 ratio.

Also an amazing White Pepper Substitute.

Ground Ginger

Believe it or not, ground ginger is a good White Pepper Substitute.

Ground ginger has a pale color in appearance. It would be translucent in any recipe. Ground ginger is a nice alternative to white pepper if you’re making white, fluffy sauces and soups. 

It is mildly spicy, just enough to add touch to a recipe. 

In Thai cuisine, ground ginger is often used because of the surplus of supply and the special notes of flavor. 

Fresh ginger also smells great and can offer spice to any dish immediately. In grocery stores, you can find readily available ground ginger.

Ground Mustard

Although the color is mild yellow, compared with black peppercorns, it is best in white sauces. Ground mustard has a sharp flavor that offers dishes with a slightly hot taste.

While it leaves a spicy taste on the palate, it is still mild, mimicking the white pepper flavor notes.

Ground mustard, apart from the taste, is a natural emulsifier that ties oil and egg together. The flavor is somewhat mild in the raw form, suitable for use with ingredients like meat , cheese, and butter.

Ground mustard has an aromatic refreshing scent.   

Add a pinch of ground mustard spice to a recipe as a replacement for white pepper. To obtain the perfect taste, add more.

Interesting facts about White Pepper 

White Pepper Facts
White Pepper Facts

Did you know that pepper was once considered to be the most important commodity on Earth one could have? Truth, there was once a time when pepper was actually more expensive than gold.  Just imagine selling some pepper corn and having enough money to pay off your mortgage. Pepper was once such a staple that how much pepper you had in the house would decide your family status. What is perhaps more shocking is that it was a form of currency that was so useful. 

Health Benefits Of White Pepper

There are many health benefits when using  white pepper given it is used correctly in the right portions. The active ingredient in weight loss medications contain capsaicin which aids by burning off body fat. This ingredient is also in white pepper. To boost digestion, add a splash of this spice to your meal.

Aids in Cancer

Research has shown Capsaicin in white pepper can destroy and counteract cancerous cells, according to  the American Association of Cancer Research. In the treatment of prostate cancer, it has been found to be extremely helpful; however, more research on this subject is still being done.

Prevent Ulcers

Ingestion of capsaicin in white pepper improves digestion. It has antioxidant properties that makes a great remedy for stomach ulcer prevention and bellyaches.

Aids in Digestion

A distinctive feature of white pepper is that it activates the taste buds to give a signal to the digestive system by stimulating the body to secrete hydrochloric acid, which is necessary for food digestion. White pepper has fiber that increases peristaltic movement and secretion of gastric acid, which promotes digestive health by easing bowel movement and reduces digestive disorders such as colon cancer. Therefore, it is a fundamental part of the daily diet that we eat.

Controls Sugar Levels

While white pepper is beneficial in developing the body’s metabolism and also helps the digestion process, it has been found to be effective in controlling blood sugar. When cosumming a glass of milk each day with a mixture white pepper, fenugreek seeds powder and turmeric it will help lower your blood sugar levels. It’s beneficial for the majority of diabetics.

Rich Source of Minerals

It contains vitamins A, C, and K, along with flavonoids. It also contains a significant amount of manganese, iron and dietary fibers and therefore it provides the body with a good supply of minerals.

Here are some other benefits:

  • Aids in pain relief, arthritis, and headaches
  • Cures cough and toothaches
  • Prevents flatulence
  • Controls blood pressure
  • Promotes heart health
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Beneficial to eyes, skin & hair – improves eyesight, cures cataract, prevent skin cancer, cures vitiligo, removes wrinkles, exfoliates, removes unwanted hair, cures dandruff & revitalizes hair

Why Is White Pepper So Expensive

As stated previously, the procedure to make white peppercorns compared to its counterparts takes more steps and has a longer process to make.

What Is White Pepper Good For

In dishes that need a peppery bite but where you do not want black flecks, white pepper is also used, such as in white sauces and potato dishes. Ground white pepper is used to add flavor to soups, marinades for meat and poultry, and spicier stir-fries in Chinese cuisine. It is distinct from black pepper,

Can White Pepper Go Bad

Ground white pepper generally stays at best quality for about 3 to 4 years when stored properly.

It does not have an expiration date, but the flavor can lose potency over time and no longer flavor food as intended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is white pepper so expensive?

White peppercorns have a longer process to make compared to its counterparts.

What is white pepper good for?

White sauces and potato dishes where you want a peppery bite but not the black flecks from black pepper

Can white pepper go bad?

It does not have an expiration date, but the flavor can lose potency over time and no longer flavor food as intended.

Bottom Line

In conclusion it won’t be hard for you to find a substitute for white pepper. There are a number of alternatives that will be easy to find at your local grocery store such as black, green, and pink peppercorns, ground ginger or ground mustard.

Check out other spice substitutes here