10 Best Black Pepper Substitutes

At one point in history, black pepper was held in such high esteem that it was more expensive than gold. The price was mainly due to its rarity because they found it challenging to push it from the places where it was grown to get to  Europe.

The rarity brought about the search for black pepper substitutes, which is sometimes called the king of spices fueled the Columbus voyages to the new world. Today, the herb is no longer as rare or expensive as it once was, but it still retains its popularity.

Black pepper can be found in most spice racks in America and on many of our dinner tables, where it resides alongside salt.

What Are Black Peppers?

Black Peppers are unripe berries that are obtained from the Piper Nigrum plant. They are packed with an intense, spicy, and sharp aroma. They also contain heat and give an earthy flavor. Most of the dishes are incomplete without black pepper. 

Black pepper is a staple in most kitchens, as it’s used in many recipes! However, if you ran out of black pepper and have only just noticed, or you have a black pepper allergy or don’t like the stuff, you need an alternative for black pepper.

Here, we’ve shared the best black pepper substitutes. Some you have in your home right now! such as white peppercorns, Green peppercorns, Coriander seed, Sichuan peppercorns, Cayenne pepper, Paprika, Grains of paradise, All spice, Capers, Ground mustard seed.

Best Black Pepper Substitutes

1. White Peppercorn

White peppercorns are an excellent black pepper substitutes. It comes from the same vine as black pepper but is soaked in water after the harvest to remove the outer skin.
They’re particularly well-suited for chicken, fish, salads, and cold dishes where black pepper might be overpowering.

They make an excellent alternative to black pepper and can be used whole or ground to form a powder and added in many recipes that call for black pepper.

They are outstanding in light-colored recipes, like creamy soups and sauces where you don’t want specks of black in the dish.

These peppercorns have a slightly milder flavor than black pepper. They’re also smoother in texture which many find appealing. However, white peppercorns can be expensive and challenging to find in stores.

White peppercorns can add a subtle depth of flavor, enhancing the dish’s overall taste. But when used as a black pepper substitute, it’s best to start with a little and adjust to achieve your desired flavor.

2. Green Peppercorns

Green peppercorns is also an excellent black pepper substitute. And it’s another of the pepper brothers since green pepper comes from unripe berries of the same plant.

Green peppercorns are fruitier, fresher, spicy, and has a floral, bright aroma. It’s not as spicy as black pepper, but the two can be used as a substitute when needed.

The difference is that the peppercorns are harvested at different growth stages. The green peppercorns are harvested before they ripen and are preserved, while the black ones are left on the vine until they mature and are dried.

Green peppercorns are often sold in brine, giving them a longer shelf life. When purchased in a dried form, they are highly perishable and must be used quickly.

Green peppercorns in brine may be used instead of black peppercorns for cooking steak or in sauces, and they are also mainly used to enhance the flavor of poultry and fruits; they are generally used in Thai cuisine.

Green peppercorn is spicy and fresh in taste and comes with a bright aroma. Green pepper is also less pungent than black pepper. Green pepper tends to be tarter than the black variety.

Three tablespoons of green peppercorns are equivalent to 1 oz of black peppercorns. Dried green peppercorns may be ground and used as a 1:1 substitute for black pepper.

3. Coriander Seed

This spice is mainly used in Indian cuisines. It doesn’t belong to the peppercorn family, but still resembles the black pepper flavor. Coriander seeds are much similar to black peppercorns. They also offer a great alternative to black pepper.

If you use ground coriander seeds as a substitute for black pepper, the dish will be slightly sweeter and spicier. You can use it whole, ground, or crushed in the same way you use black pepper in a recipe.

Coriander seeds offer a great alternative to black pepper. These seeds add a citrusy flavor with a hint of spiciness and sweetness. Ground coriander seeds are perfect in meat recipes.

 If you use ground coriander seeds as a black pepper substitutes, the dish will be slightly sweeter and spicier. Organic Facts suggest grinding the seeds and shaking the white powder on pizzas, pasta, or vegetables.

4. Sichuan Peppercorns

Sichuan peppercorns are the black pepper substitutes. The peppercorns are derived from the dried berries of the prickly ash tree, native to China’s Sichuan province. Sichuan pepper can be recognized by its sharp, intense, bold aroma and spicy kick.

Sichuan peppercorns are a reasonable substitute for black peppercorns as they have a unique aroma and a lemony-tangy flavor. Aside from adding heat to your dishes, these peppercorns give your sauces a mouthwatering tart flavor.

It’s not hot like black peppercorns or chilli peppers. This spice’s distinctive characteristic is the numbness it induces on your tongue when you bite into it. Hot on the heels of that, you’ll experience an irresistible tingling sensation.

Like other peppercorns and seeds, Sichuan peppercorns are great as a rub for meats and are added to soups, hotpots, and stir-fry dishes.

5. Cayenne Pepper

A type of chilli pepper, cayenne pepper comes from the dried, ground fruits of the capsicum annuum plant. Many find this spice interchangeable in flavor and texture with black pepper. Cayenne pepper is related to jalapenos and other peppers.

This pepper is also used to make traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines. It offers a spicy taste and lots of heat. You can use either powdered form or whole in cooking. It’s better to use a small amount initially.

Cayenne pepper is also an excellent black peppercorn substitute that you can use in a recipe. These peppers offer a spicy taste with a lot of heat.

Hence, use it in small amounts. Also, you can use Cayenne pepper in either powdered form or as a whole while cooking. 

6. Paprika

Paprika is available in either Hungarian or Spanish type. You can choose any depending on availability. Paprika is made from red peppers, so that you may expect a spicier taste than black pepper. Paprika contains enough heat to replace black peppercorns.

Using paprika as a black pepper substitutes can add some red color to the recipe. But paprika will also alter the color, offering a pink hint and a fruity, aromatic vibe, and it also adds a red touch to any dish. Moreover, it also comes in various styles like hot, smoked, and sweet.

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

7. Grains of Paradise

It is a west African spice. This spice is a member of the ginger family and has a solid pepper-like flavor with citrus and cardamom notes.

The seeds can add a sweet, buttery, and almost fruit-like flavor to a dish. Grains of Paradise has a taste that is very similar to black pepper and can be an obvious substitute.

8. Allspice

Allspice is a staple in the Caribbean and middle eastern cuisines. You might think, from the name, that it is a mixture, but allspice is a single spice made up of dried berries obtained from allspice trees. They resemble peppercorns.

As for the flavor, this spice combines the flavors of cinnamon touches, pepper tones, and nutmeg undertones. Hence, they have the same appearance. Thus, offer an excellent combination of flavors to your dish.

This spice can be used in sweet or savory dishes and is commonly found in desserts, chilli, soups, meat dishes, sauces, curries, and even certain types of liqueurs

9. Ground Mustard Seed

Ground Mustard is a perfect black pepper subtitutes that you can use in your dish. Black mustard seeds are tiny seeds used most popularly in Indian cuisine. This spice is hot and spicy, making it a worthy substitute for black pepper. 

People make it by grinding mustard seeds and then sifting out the seed coat to get good ground mustard. It brings a spicy taste that tingles the tongue and a tart, acidic aroma and a bitter hint.

The flavor of ground mustard increases when it is soaked in a liquid, and also you can use ground mustard in recipes and salad dressing.

10. Capers

Capers are basically green peppercorns that are obtained from a shrub named Capparis in the Mediterranean. It enhances the texture and adds a tart, piquant vibe to dishes such as fish dishes, pasta, stews, etc. You can find both dried or brined capers in the market.

Brined ones come with a sour taste. Hence, most people use them as condiments and dressings. So, if you don’t mind a bit of bad taste in your recipe, you can use it as a black pepper substitutes in your dish.


If you’re looking for a black pepper substitutes entirely, use one of the alternatives here for similar results.

All these substitutes have at least one similarity with black pepper, and they have a distinct feature that makes them a great replacement. However, if one did not work for you, the other would definitely work.

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