White Pepper Substitutes, List and Tips

White pepper is primarily used in different sauces to spice it up and for mouth-watering pepper flavor, which is modified. It has a mild pepper flavor that makes the recipe even more delicious. Ground white pepper is primarily used in Chinese, Thai, and Portuguese cuisine. It is not common in American dishes unless you appreciate its ability to disappear in the sauces or whatever dish you are using it in. But what if you run out of white pepper? Do you know who the smart people are? The ones who find alternatives of substitutes in their kitchens.

Did you not know that your kitchen has also got substitutes that you can use to replace white pepper? You can use: 

  • Black pepper
  • Ground ginger  
  • Green pepper
  • Pink pepper and
  • Ground mustard 
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne powder.

We will let you know about the usage of these white pepper substitutes. But first, let’s know a bit more about the white pepper. 

White Pepper: what is it, its usages, and more

White pepper is basically made from the berries of the pepper plant, namely Piper nigrum. This plant is the source of both black and white pepper.

But these pepper siblings do not share the same test and flavor. White pepper is generally milder than its black counterpart and has a less complex test. Even the quintessential aroma that comes from black pepper does not come from white pepper.

  • How is it made?

As it is stated earlier that black and white pepper are derived from the same plant, the process is different for both, though. First, white pepper is made from ripe pepper fruits, whereas black pepper is made from dried unripe pepper berries. Then, they are dipped in water and soaked for almost 10 to 15 days.

This process leads them to fermentation, and the skin of pepper berries generally slips off. This fermentation takes away some of the hot elements from the pepper itself. It also takes away some oils from the berries that cause the strong aroma of black pepper. And thus how the manufacturers make white pepper. 

  • Which dishes are prepared with white pepper?

White peppercorns are not used much in dishes that are essentially American. But yes, you can use them in foods that require soft coloring. For example, some people use it in macaroni salad instead of black pepper to avoid the black specs from it. Also, ground white pepper is used in different sauces since it can dissolve in sauces.

A lot of French dishes are prepared with these, though. Even the presence of white pepper in Chinese and Thai dishes is predominant. 

Well, if you do not like a heat kick in your mouth, white pepper can save you there. Because of its mild flavor, many people who do not love a large spice scale love to use it. 

  • How to store white pepper?

White pepper is available in the market in both ground and berry form. You might choose whatever pleases you or serves your purpose. Now storing or keeping them is something that you should take care of. The only rule to keep the spice properly is to store it in a cool and dry place.

Be it the berry form or the ground form, the fundamental way to keep them will be the same. What comes to your mind first when I say cool and dry place? Yeah, a pantry would be an ideal spot to keep it safe. But a kitchen cabinet or drawer would do the job perfectly.

  • Shelf life of white pepper

Many kitchen enthusiasts ask this question several times. Now, if you plan to store the whole peppercorns in a supreme condition, they stay in a proper format long. These usually stay intact for three to four years. But in case you are stocking ground pepper, they generally stay intact for a short period.

In an average calculation, the ground pepper stays well for up to two years. Well, pepper does not spoil. It just decreases its heat proportion. And over time, it loses its effective flavor while being used in dishes.

Medicinal value of white pepper

Pepper has essentially been introduced as both a spice and a medication like many other eastern spices. Technically black pepper or long pepper was preferable. But both can be used in different medications. Pepper was believed to cure many health conditions such as insomnia, constipation, toothache, sunburn, etc.

Well, in today’s world, pepper is mostly restricted in the kitchen. But we can not deny its health benefits. So let us have a look at what this spice has to offer for our health.

  1. Helps in Digestion

White pepper is an inevitable part of our daily diet. It helps in our digestion. The heat of the pepper stimulates the taste buds. And the stomach thereby is compelled to release hydrochloric acid, and the digestion process is easier.

Additionally, the white pepper has fiber that helps in the peristaltic movement and gastric acid secretion. Hence, it eases the bowel movement inside our stomach and keeps us healthy.

     2. Ulcer prevention

Capsaicin is an active component of pepper. Therefore, the ingestion of it may improve the digestion system. In addition, this component has an antioxidant property. The antioxidant property helps to prevent stomach ulcers. Even it provides a remedy to bellyaches as well.

     3. Cancer aid

According to the American Association of Cancer Research, the heat component of pepper, namely Capsaicin, can cure cancer. But yeah, consumption of lots of pepper can technically harm your body. But yeh, the component actually fights to prevent the dispersion of cancer cells in the body. Even in the treatment of prostate cancer, the aid has marked its stunning presence. However, more discussions and research is going on this topic.

     4. Rich in minerals

White pepper is rich in its nutrient chamber as well. It consists of vitamins A, C, and K. apart from that, it also has a good amount of iron and manganese. Therefore, it is considered to be a good source of minerals and vitamins.

     5. Others

White pepper has its multifaceted usefulness in case of the health benefits. It can control the blood sugar level. Therefore, diabetes patients can consume it comfortably. It also provides a remedy to headaches, arthritis, and other age problems. White pepper is also beneficial to hair and skin. Even it helps to keep our hearts healthy and pump blood properly.

White Pepper Substitutes

Now we have come to the crux of our topic. If you suddenly run out of white pepper and you can’t find some in your local grocery store, what are you going to do?

The best option here is to use an alternative spice in your kitchen instead of white pepper. So, let’s look at which items can replace white pepper effectively or, in other words – white pepper substitutes:

  • Black pepper

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Black pepper is the sibling of white pepper because the source plant from which white pepper is obtained is a source for black pepper.

The process of making black pepper is much different from that of white pepper, though. And the name says it all about black pepper. Unlike white pepper, it is black or dark brown.

Black pepper is made from the unripe berries of the pepper plant. First, the berries are cooked in warm water. Then these drupes are taken into the sunlight or in a machine to be dried.

At this point, the heat ruptures the cell walls of the berries. And the browning or darkening of the skin starts. The skin also shrinks and turns into a thin black layer. After drying well, the berries are sold in the market. And this is what we call black pepper. 

Unlike white pepper, black pepper is much stronger in taste and flavor. It has a pungent smell that kicks out in the dish. Even if you consider the heat of black pepper, it is much stronger than its white counterpart. This can be an excellent alternative to white pepper in darker dishes.

However, you do not want to spoil the color of a pale dish with the black specs of black pepper, do you? So instead, try to add black pepper to about half of the measured amount of white pepper in any dish. And if you need more heat, you might increase the amount of pepper used gradually.

  • Ground Ginger

white pepper substitutes

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This gift from southeastern Asia can be your ultimate savior when you run out of white pepper. Ginger has always been famous in the oriental world for its medicinal usage.

Ginger is a great source of different nutrients and vitamins. Also, it is used to prevent common colds, coughs, and fever. So you can easily understand why this root is so popular?

Now, this rhizome root is broadly used as a spice in many cuisines. Since ginger has some heat elements, it can add a hint of spice to any dish. Even sometimes, people use raw ginger directly into the dishes to add extra flavor.  

You might use raw ginger paste instead of white pepper. Since the spice level of ginger is intermediate, it can balance the taste of the dish well. 

You might use ground ginger as well. Ground ginger is a common spice and can be found in any grocery store that you go to. The color of the ground is somewhere similar to white pepper. So it dissolves in the pale dishes and sauces well. Additionally, it adds an extra flavor and aroma to the plate. So you can give it a go comfortably. 

  • Green pepper

white pepper substitutes

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Green pepper is much like a cousin to the black and white pepper. It is obtained from the pepper plants and is selected much before their maturity. So naturally, these are made from the unripe fruits of the pepper plants. 

The green pepper is generally found in a pickled form on the market. But yes, some manufacturers have introduced dried green pepper and have introduced ground green pepper to the market.

The ground green pepper is a fantastic alternative for white pepper. Since the green color is not very dark, it can dissolve in all dishes. Additionally, the fresh aroma and flavorful kick to the dish helps to make it mouthwatering. 

Sometimes, black pepper can not give a dish its perfection because of the visual presentation. There, green pepper can work well since it does not leave much color-changing stuff within a dish.

  • Pink pepper

If you think that pink pepper is another color variation of the pepper nigrum family, I should break your misconception. It is not. Pink pepper is not connected to the source of black, green, and white pepper. 

Pink peppercorns are obtained from a South American plant called the Peruvian pepper tree. The berries of this plant look similar to the berries of the pepper plant. But well, they are not the same.

You can consider pink peppercorn as a substitute for white pepper. It has a mild peppery flavor that stands out in a dish if added. Also, the soft pink color makes the dish more delicious. So it can be an ideal adoption for the pale dishes. Since the spice hit is almost the same in both the white pepper and the pink pepper, you might give it a go.

One problem can stand as an obstacle, though. Since the pink peppercorn is derived from the cashew family plants, some people might have allergies. Make sure you or any family member does not have allergies to nuts or plants that grow nuts.

  • Ground Mustard

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Mustard is made from the seeds of the mustard plant. It is a popular spice worldwide. Mustard is a source of various minerals too. It contains magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Since the food source of potassium is not a huge list, mustard in daily diet can help there. 

Ground mustard can replace white pepper undoubtedly. It has a soft yellow color which can add a light yellow shade to the food you are using it in.

The taste of ground mustard is somewhere between sweet and spicy. The hotness in mustard provides a sharp taste to the dish along with a luscious aroma.

  • Paprika

white pepper substitutes - paprika

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If you are looking for a scaled-up spice level in the platter, you might consider paprika. 

Since white pepper has a very mild spicy taste, it can not go with every other dish you name. Food that requires a little more hotness will not suit white pepper. And there, you might replace it with paprika. Remember one thing, since paprika is red in color, it will leave a crimson red hue to the dish. 

  • Cayenne powder

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If you want to step up in the spice factor, you might choose Cayenne powder. This is derived from a type of Capsicum annuum. These are moderately hot in the spice factor. And are generally long and have a bright red color. The skin of these chilies is crooked, and they hang down from the plant instead of standing straight. 

The fruits from the plants are collected and dried well. And after drying, the chilies are ground and sold in the market. 

Note that these chilies are much hotter than white pepper. So using a spoon full of them might spice up the dish much more. Moreover, it might leave a red color in the dish. So, using it wisely and in a sufficient quantity (according to the food) will play the card here.


  • Why are white pepper and black pepper different? White pepper and black pepper are derived from the same plant. The difference is that white pepper is made from fully ripe berries whereas, black pepper is made from unripe berries. Even making it is so different that white pepper is milder in taste, and that intense aroma of black pepper is not there.
  • Why is white pepper so expensive? The making process of white pepper is a detailed and long one. It takes time to be prepared. So the cost is relatively high.
  • Can white pepper spoil? In simple words, the answer will be no. It does not spoil over time. But yeah, the strength and flavor might decrease over time. 

Final thoughts 

So, what will you do now if you see you are running out of white pepper? First, use the white pepper substitutes mentioned above to avoid any complications. Second, make sure you know the ingredients well. Third, use in an appropriate quantity, and see the magic happening.

Good luck.

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