This post may contain affiliate links which means I will get a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure for details.

Need a substitute for white pepper? Keep reading to discover the best white pepper alternatives!

A commonly unknown fact is that there is a wide selection of spices that come in many different forms, and today we are going to highlight my favorite substitutes for white pepper.

Whilst black pepper is probably the most common pepper found in kitchens across the country, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from that will add a wide range of flavors to your dishes.

Substitute For White Pepper

Because we are so accustomed to seeing regular table salt and ground black pepper in restaurants and on our dining room table, it’s not surprising when someone begins to learn that there is an entire world of flavor just waiting to be discovered.

With that said, if you’re a white pepper advocate and have suddenly run out, have no fear as here are some alternatives for you to try.

What Is White Pepper?

What is the difference between white pepper and black pepper?

White pepper has a mild flavor and is commonly used in cooking. Black pepper has a stronger taste and is often added to dishes at the last minute.

Both types of pepper come from the same plant, Piper nigrum. The difference comes down to the way they are processed. White pepper is dried and then ground into powder. Black pepper is left whole and then cracked or crushed before being ground.

White peppercorns are often used in light-colored dishes and are the perfect addition to a pale dish.

So what are some alternatives to white pepper? Let’s take a look.

Black Pepper & Black Peppercorns

As everybody knows black pepper, it seemed obvious to start here first! Black peppercorns are actually berries that grow on the peppers’ stems.

They are picked while still green and unripe, which gives them their pungent aroma and slightly bitter flavor.

When these berries ripen, they turn red and become black.

The best way to use black pepper is to grind it fresh just before using it. This ensures that all the oils and flavors stay intact. If you buy pre-ground black pepper, make sure it is freshly ground.

And make sure not to overseason your food as it tends to overpower the other tastes that are present in the dish.

Ground Ginger

Ginger is another great alternative to white pepper. Both spices can be used interchangeably in recipes. Like black pepper, ginger is also available in both powdered and grated forms and has a place color that will not show up in any recipe.

It’s also super healthy and is well known to help decrease nausea and drive down inflammation.

You’ll typically use ginger in Eastern Asian dishes such as Chinese cuisine, and they are a popular feature of healthy smoothies. It also smells delightful and has a wonderful tangy taste.

Mustard Powder

Mustard Powder

Mustard powder is an excellent substitute for white pepper. It adds a nice kick to dishes without overpowering them. You can even sprinkle it on top of foods like chicken or fish.

A lot of restaurants will use this instead of white pepper because it looks more appetizing as it leaves a subtle yellow color that can add some brightness to a dish.

It’s always best to start on the conservative end of things, just in case you add too much and overpower the dish. Then feel free to be more liberal if you so desire.

Pink Peppercorns

Pink peppercorns are a type of berry that grows on pepper plants. These are harvested after the berries have turned pink and are ready to pick. As with black pepper, they are usually sold already ground and ready to use.

However, unlike black pepper, they do not contain any oil and thus tend to be sweeter tasting.

They are mostly used in desserts and beverages but can be sprinkled on salads or vegetables to give a sweet pop of flavor. They also taste great with fish along with recipes that use vinegar or wine.

It’s no surprise that pink peppercorns are a great substitute for white pepper!

Green Peppercorns

Green peppercorns are a very different variety than the ones we’ve talked about so far. These are actually the seeds of the fruit itself, rather than the berries. They are harvested when the fruits are fully ripe and green.

Their flavor is similar to black pepper, but they are less spicy and are generally used in savory dishes. They’re most commonly found in Indian cuisine but are gaining popularity around the world.

Whilst they will stand out more than white pepper, they are slightly less visible than black pepper.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a hot chilli pepper from the Capsicum family. The pods are dried and then ground into a fine powder.

It contains capsaicin, which is responsible for its heat, and because of this, cayenne pepper is also a common ingredient in many hot sauces such as Franks RedHot and Texas Pete.

This spice is widely used in Mexican and South American cooking and is one of the key ingredients in salsa verde. It can also be added to stews, soups, and curries.

But don’t be afraid to use the sauce on a burger if you want something closer to home.


Paprika is another member of the capsicum family and is made from peppers that grow in Spain. This spice comes in various colors including red, orange, brown, and black, and is used in a number of dishes all across the world.

The main difference between paprika and other types of peppers is that it does not include any salt. Instead, it includes a blend of herbs and spices such as garlic, oregano, cumin, and thyme. Paprika is also used to season and color rice, stews, and soups.

Final Thoughts: Substitute For White Pepper

There are many different varieties of peppers available today, all with their own unique flavors. So finding a strong substitute for white pepper isn’t that challenging.

The good news is that there is a spice for every dish, and if you like the look of some of these spices, I hope you’ll try experimenting with them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does White Pepper Ever Spoil?

No white pepper will not spoil. However, you should note that white pepper does lose its aroma over time, due to exposure to oxygen. The best way to tell if your white pepper is still fresh, take a small amount on your hand, smell it and taste it, and see if it retains its flavor.

Your turn! Did you find a good substitute for white pepper from our list?

For more frequently asked questions, visit our index of food-related questions and answers. Here are a few suggestions for you:

Leave a Reply

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