12 Best Black Pepper Substitutes

Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices. So, you can find it at any of the grocery stores and on almost every dining table.

Most of the time, this spicy condiment is widely known for its sharp flavors. In addition to that, it is also well known for its aroma. Hence, many recipes call for black pepper!

However, what if you’re cooking something special and realize that you don’t have black pepper at home? Well, we have got some alternatives for you.

If you want to know more about them, read on!

Best Black Pepper Substitutes

As mentioned above, a lot of recipes call for black pepper. So, if you don’t have it, your dish may not taste as amazing as it should.

However, you can easily avoid this issue by opting for any of the following substitutes instead of black pepper.

1. White peppercorns

White peppercorns

White and black peppercorns are small dry berries from the same pepper plant known as piper nigrum. The difference between the two types of pepper is related to the time when the people harvest and process them.

Black pepper is extracted from berries that are harvested before they are ripe. Then, people cook and dry these berries due to which they become black. Conversely, white pepper comes from fully ripened berries.

The taste of white pepper is almost the same as that of black pepper, just a little milder in flavor. If you use white pepper you obtain the same flavor as that of black pepper without the heat and the dark color.

So if you’re going to make a creamy soup and don’t want to compromise on its appearance by adding some black powder to it, you can always go for the white pepper.

2. Green pepper

This type of pepper, just like the black one, comes from unripe berries. They are treated in a way that helps retain the green color by using substances like sulfur dioxide.

Green pepper is spicy and fresh in taste and comes with a bright aroma. They are also less pungent than black pepper.

Used mostly to enhance the flavor of poultry, fruits, they are generally used in Thai cuisine. They tend to be more tart than the black variety. 

3. Pink pepper

Pink Pepper

Pink peppers are obtained from the fruits of the Peruvian pepper tree, Schinus Molle. They are members of the cashew family. It is the dried fruit of the paper tree, mentioned above, and is native to South America.

They come from a different plant but still taste similar to black pepper. However, they are a little milder than that. Moreover, they also have a sweet-resinous aroma.

Many people prefer the fruitiness of these pink peppercorns to the raw, strong bite of the black pepper. They also use it in a variety of recipes like risotto, meats, wines, and bakeries. 

4. Papaya seeds


These beautiful jewels hidden inside the papaya are a natural alternative to black pepper! Many people toss the seeds of the papaya but after reading this you’ll likely not do that again.

The way you can replace black pepper with papaya seeds is simple. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Slice your papaya into two halves and scoop out the seeds. 
  • Then, leave the seeds to dry or put them inside a towel and rub it inside the cloth.
  • Finally, spread the seeds then, on a baking tray and set the temperature such that they break apart when crushed.

Once done, you can substitute them for black pepper!

5. Capers


Capers are green peppercorns obtained from the Capparis shrub that grows mostly in the Mediterranean. Brined or dried, caper adds a lot of taste to the food you add them to.

In addition to that, they also enhance the texture of the food items like fish dishes, pasta, stews, etc. These green little buds add a piquant sour and salty flavor to almost every recipe.

Hence, most people use them as condiments and dressings. So, if you don’t mind a bit of a sour taste, you can use them in place of black pepper too.

6. Sichuan peppercorns

This is a spice that is commonly used in the Sichuan cuisine of China. It has a very tingling and numbing effect due to the presence of hydroxy-alpha substances in it.

This type of peppercorn has a bold flavor and is also a little pungent. So, if you specifically require a black pepper substitute that can add a unique twist to your dish, then go for this!

7. Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds belong to the parsley family.

They are typically black in whole and ground forms while cooking. Also, most people use them in Latin-American dishes because it adds spice and a touch of citrus flavor to it.

Although they do not belong to the peppercorn family, they do offer a great alternative to black pepper. Note that if you use ground coriander seeds your dish is going to taste both sweet and spicy. 

8. Medium chili powder or paprika

Smoked Paprika

Also called paprika, this product is made from red peppers. It is available in either Hungarian or Spanish type. You can choose any depending on the availability.

Paprika lies more on the spicier side when it comes to taste. It also adds a red touch to any dish. Moreover, it also comes in a variety of styles like hot, smoked, sweet.

Note that paprika has several health benefits as well. For instance, it delivers vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B6.

Just sprinkle paprika on your dish when you want to add color, heat, smokiness, and spice to it. As for its usage, you can use it with meats, seafood, and other snacks for extra spiciness.

9. Ground ginger

Ground Ginger

Thai cuisine often consists of ground ginger. It is also one of the most essential ingredients in various dishes of Indian and Chinese cuisine.

Thankfully, it has a very similar flavor to that of white pepper. Hence, it tastes very sweet, peppery, and a little floral with a touch of citrus. Therefore, you can use it as a substitute for black pepper.

Ground ginger goes perfectly with a lot of dishes like gingerbread, pumpkin pie, spice cookies, and, to your surprise, even ice cream!

10. Cayenne pepper

Cayenne Pepper

The word cayenne has been derived from the Tupi word for pepper which is cayenne. You will often find this pepper in the Caribbean, Creole, and Cajun cuisine dishes.

Cayenne peppers are closely related to jalapeno and other peppers. They are also used to make traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines. Moreover, they help with circulatory problems!

These peppers offer a spicy taste with a lot of heat. Hence, use it in a small amount. Also, you can use Cayenne pepper in either powdered form or as a whole while cooking. 

11. Allspice


Allspice is made up of dried berries obtained from a plant called Pimenta dioica which belongs to the Myrtle family. It is a staple of the Caribbean and Middle Eastern cuisines.

You might think, from the name, that it is a mixture, but allspice is a single spice that’s made up of dried berries obtained from allspice trees. They resemble peppercorns. Hence, they offer a similar appearance.

As for the flavor, this spice combines the flavors of cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg. Thus, offer a unique combination of flavors to your dish as well.

When it comes to usage, you can use this to flavor desserts, beverages like mulled wine, side dishes, etc.

12. Ground mustard

Mustard Powder

Ground mustard, also known as mustard flour or powdered mustard, is a perfect substitute for black pepper. People make it by grinding mustard seeds and then, sifting out the seed coat to get proper ground mustard.

The flavor of ground mustard gets developed when it is soaked in liquid. You’ll also find that it brings out a pungent smell. You can use ground mustard to dress salads ot to add an acidic component to cut through sauces. 

Related Questions 

Can you replace black pepper with white pepper?

Yes! You can replace black pepper with white pepper.

Both come from dried berries which are obtained from the same pepper plant. Fresh grounded black pepper is described as hot, floral, and pungent while white pepper is less pungent.

If your recipe requires a small amount of pepper, then you can replace black pepper with a white one. However, if it requires a huge amount, you should stick to the pepper that the recipe calls for. 

What is a substitution for peppercorns?

A good substitute for peppercorns is papaya seeds. They have the same texture and a similar pungent smell. In addition to that, you can also use allspice, cayenne pepper, or chili powder. 

What does black pepper do in a recipe?

Black pepper adds flavor and spice to the dishes it is added to. You can add black pepper to any dish before removing it from the heat to ensure a good flavor.

Can you substitute black pepper for pink pepper?

Yes, you can substitute black peppers in place of pink ones.

They both taste very similar even though they are obtained from two different plants. Thus, you can substitute them in equal proportions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like