Peppercorns come in three different colors, white, black and green. All of these peppercorns come from the same vine but are harvested at different times. Green peppercorns are harvested the youngest, and have the mildest flavor of the three. Black peppercorns are picked later to give them time to mature and develop a stronger flavor. White peppercorns are actually black peppercorns which have been soaked to remove the outer casing, which gives them an intense, slightly fermented flavor. Black peppercorns are the most commonly used due to their strong, but not overpowering flavor.
Substitute for Black Pepper
The most similar substitute for black peppercorns would be ground black pepper. To use ground black pepper in place of peppercorns, simply use ¼ teaspoon ground pepper for every teaspoon, or about 8 whole peppercorns, called for in the recipe.
If you’re looking for a substitute for black pepper entirely, use one of the alternatives here for similar results.
- Papaya seeds (great to use for those with a pepper allergy)
- Green peppercorns
- White Peppercorns
- Pink Peppercorns
- Brined Green Peppercorns
- Chili Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
Common Peppercorn Substitution Questions
Can I Replace Black Pepper With White Pepper?
Yes! Although white pepper has a stronger, sometimes fermented taste, it works well in place of black peppercorns.
Are Black Pepper and Black Peppercorn the Same?
Yes! Black pepper is just ground black peppercorns.
What Can You Use to Substitute Peppercorns?
If you’re looking for a good peppercorn substitute, try using papaya seeds. The seeds have a similar texture to peppercorns and a similar pungent flavor. You can also use chili powder, allspice or cayenne pepper to achieve a similar heat and flavor to peppercorns.
Is Peppercorn and Allspice the Same?
No, although allspice looks very similar to peppercorns, they actually come from different plants from different places in the world.