What Is White Pepper

White Pepper 101: What It Is and How to Use It

Are you tired of the same old black pepper taste in your dishes?

Are you looking for a way to spice up your meals without overwhelming your taste buds? Look no further than white pepper!

White pepper is a less common spice than its black counterpart, but it packs a unique flavor profile that can elevate your dishes to the next level. White pepper is processed differently from the same peppercorn plant as black pepper, resulting in a milder, earthy taste with a subtle heat that lingers in the mouth.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of white pepper, exploring what it is, where it comes from, and how to use it in your cooking.

We’ll also discuss the benefits of incorporating white pepper into your diet and provide helpful tips and recipes to get you started.

Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a novice in the kitchen, you’ll find plenty of helpful information to help you master this versatile spice.

What is White Pepper?

White Pepper

White pepper has a milder flavor than black pepper but with a fraction of the heat. It is widely used in Asian cuisines, as well as in Traditional Chinese Medicine, for its culinary and medicinal properties.

It clears up phlegm, reduces joint pain and stiffness, and helps regulate blood pressure. White pepper has anti-inflammatory properties that also make it suitable for the heart.

It is also known for its ability to promote better circulation and reduce incidences of cardiovascular diseases.

White pepper is used widely in different Asian cuisines, mainly Chinese and Vietnamese food. It’s traditionally used to flavor hot and sour soup, foods requiring marinades, and even spicier stir-fries.

Ground white pepper adds flavor to soups, sauces, and potato dishes without leaving behind black flecks like black pepper or Sichuan peppercorns.

Though white pepper has been used as a traditional medicine for many years, there is no conclusive evidence that it can treat upset stomachs or diarrhea, as some belief.

How Is White Pepper Different From Black Pepper?

Black Pepper
Black Pepper

White pepper is a popular spice used in many dishes, but it is often confused with its similar-looking counterpart, black pepper.

Though they come from the same plant, they have distinct differences in flavor. White pepper has a milder taste compared to black pepper.

It is less spicy and more earthy than its counterpart, making it an excellent option for recipes that require more subtle notes of spice.

On the other hand, the skin of white pepper is markedly less complex when compared to black pepper due to the absence of certain chemical compounds during the maturation process. The lack of these compounds removes some of the sharpness associated with black peppers.

The debate between white and black pepper can continue for days; however, in terms of taste and flavor, one cannot truly classify one as better; it all depends on individual preference.

Nevertheless, having both varieties of peppers on hand offers greater flexibility for use in different dishes.

The Benefits Of White Pepper For Health

Adding white pepper to your diet can be beneficial for one’s health. White pepper helps improve prostate health when consumed regularly and has also been discovered to assist in keeping the digestive system healthy.

On top of this, studies have found that white pepper is a valuable pain killer and reliever, particularly in skin bruising or swelling cases.

Here are some health benefits of white pepper:

  • It may help improve digestion by increasing stomach acid secretion and promoting gut motility.
  • It contains antioxidants that can help protect against cell damage and inflammation.
  • It may have antibacterial properties and can be used to prevent food spoilage and foodborne illness.
  • Contains essential minerals such as calcium, potassium, and iron that are important for maintaining good health
  • It may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It can be used as a natural pain reliever due to its ability to stimulate the production of endorphins in the brain.

In terms of how it is used, white pepper adds a crisp, peppery flavor to food while maintaining the Umami element intact.

It goes best with grilled and sautéed meats and general seasoning for sauces and soups. One should use white pepper sparingly, as a pinch provides enough kick for any dish.

Additionally, it is excellent in egg dishes as an alternative to freshly ground black pepper – all you need is half a teaspoon, lightly grounded for best results.

Not only does it enhance appetizing flavors for meals, but it provides the added nutrition benefits stated earlier.

How To Use White Pepper In Cooking


An essential factor is a color when selecting which peppercorns you’ll use for your recipes.

White pepper is a type of peppercorn that has been processed differently. Specifically, it is dried until the green berries turn brown, resulting in a milder flavor with less heat than other varieties, such as black pepper.

This makes white pepper well suited for certain dishes whose delicate flavor won’t overshadow other ingredients.

When using white pepper, there are several methods to consider. You’ll want to use either a mortar and pestle or a pepper grinder for grinding purposes.

If using whole peppercorns for pickling or soup stocks, crushing them provides the best result. Alternatively, some cooks prefer to grind them up and then strain them out later if desired.

No matter your chosen method, white pepper can provide a unique flavor enhancer to many dishes.

So why bother to go through the effort of searching for white peppercorns?

The answer is that they are often called for in recipes and have an advantage over their black counterparts since they can be better suited to many dishes like light-colored sauces and creamy soups where their color won’t stand out.

Here are a few savory dishes that feature white pepper as a main ingredient:

Creamy White Pepper Gravy

Creamy White Pepper Gravy

A classic comfort food, this gravy is made with a roux, chicken or vegetable broth, heavy cream, and white pepper. It’s perfect for serving over biscuits, mashed potatoes, or roasted meats.

White Pepper Crab

White Pepper Crab

A popular dish in Southeast Asian cuisine, white pepper crab is made by stir-frying fresh crab in a wok with garlic, ginger, scallions, and white pepper. The result is a spicy and aromatic seafood dish that will impress.

White Pepper Steak

White Pepper Steak

A hearty and flavorful dish perfect for meat lovers, white pepper steak is made by seasoning beef with white pepper, garlic, and soy sauce before stir-frying it with vegetables and serving it over rice or noodles.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with White Pepper

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with White Pepper

This creamy soup is made by blending roasted cauliflower with heavy cream and chicken broth, then seasoning it with white pepper and nutmeg for a warm, comforting dish perfect for a chilly day.

These are just a few examples of how white pepper can be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes.

Whether cooking classic comfort food or experimenting with new flavors and cuisines, white pepper is a spice that will elevate your cooking game.

Storing And Using White Pepper

Proper storage is essential if you want to get the most out of your white pepper.

To store white pepper properly, keep your whole peppercorns in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.

Whole peppercorns can stay fresh for up to one year, while ground pepper will lose its flavor after about three months. Additionally, remember that the taste of white pepper fades considerably faster than black pepper.

An airtight sealed container is key to maintaining freshness for ground and whole black peppercorn forms for up to over a year.

To use white pepper, it is best to grind it as close as possible to when you will be using it. This way, you can maintain the natural taste and ensure it is as flavorful as possible.

Peppercorns should be kept in a dark and cool area to remain intact while still staying punchy and delicious when used in recipes or dishes.

When used correctly, white pepper can add fantastic flavor to any dish or recipe, regardless of its form. With its powerful aroma and piquant taste, this luxurious spice should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen pantry!

Where to Buy White Pepper?

White pepper is readily available in most grocery stores and supermarkets that carry spices. It can be found in the spice aisle alongside other common spices like black pepper, cumin, and paprika.

Fermented White Pepper From Burlap & Barrel

Our savory, funky Fermented White Peppercorns are highly prized in Indonesia but rarely found in the US. They add a deep umami flavor and funk to everything they touch. 

They're grown on a family farm on the island of Bangka by a farmer named Pak Sugiri and his son, Ilham.

The peppercorns are picked fresh and fermented according to traditional methods. 

Grind over steak to mimic the flavor of dry aging, over veggies for heat and depth, or in traditional Cantonese and Southeast Asian dishes that call for white pepper.

Check Price
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White Pepper Substitutes

If you don’t have white pepper on hand or simply don’t care for its flavor, a few substitutes can be used in its place.

Here are some common substitutes for white pepper:

Black Pepper

Black pepper is a good substitute for white pepper in most recipes. While black pepper has a more robust flavor than white pepper, it can be used in a similar quantity to achieve an equivalent heat level.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a good substitute for white pepper in spicy dishes. It has a similar heat level and can be used in small amounts to add a kick of spice.


Paprika is a milder substitute for white pepper that can add a hint of smokiness and sweetness to a dish. It can be used more than white pepper to achieve a similar flavor.

Ground Mustard

Ground mustard is a good substitute for white pepper in creamy or savory dishes. It has a similar heat level and can add a slightly tangy flavor to a dish.


Fresh or ground ginger can be used as a substitute for white pepper in Asian-inspired dishes. It adds a warm, spicy flavor and can be used in larger quantities than white pepper to achieve a similar heat level.

When substituting white pepper with another spice, remember that the flavor and heat level may differ slightly.

Experimenting with small amounts and adjusting the seasoning to taste is always best.

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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