white pepper substitute

Top 6 Substitutes For White Pepper For A Flavorful and Aromatic Meals

While not very common in American cuisine, white pepper is part of East Asian and European dishes of all kinds. Because it is not an everyday spice, in some cases, it can be hard to get, but your dish will still need the kick and flavor it brings.

Some of these options are great for flavor and can make your recipe even better. 

What Is White Pepper?

White peppercorns come from the same plant as the black counterparts, but instead of being dried, these are soaked. After undergoing soaking, the outermost layer of the pepper falls off, leaving only the inner white one. 

White pepper is a bit less spicy and less complex, which makes it more moldable for plenty of dishes.

Some recipes that include white pepper are congee, marinades, stews, soups, potatoes, and more. 

Finding good white pepper can be a bit difficult, as some manufacturers process it more and even add sulfur to make the color brighter. A good tip is to always look for white pepper that is creamy and not bright white. 

Like black pepper, white pepper is a healthy ingredient that promotes and aids in digestion. It also contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Finally, it can also help lower inflammation and protects your cells against oxidative damage.

What Can I Replace White Pepper With?

Since this ingredient isn’t as popular, you may want to know about these white pepper substitutes to use in all your recipes:

Best For Cooking Chicken, and Steak

#1. Black Pepper

Since they are very similar, black pepper can be a great substitute for white pepper. In this case, the flavor will be sharper and spicier, so be careful with how much you use. Black pepper is a good seasoning for every meal you cook, including chicken and steak.

As a fun fact, black pepper also contains more compounds that give you medicinal effects, like aiding in digestion, lowering inflammation, and being an antibacterial. Since black pepper is dark, make sure you use it in dishes where changing the color doesn’t matter. 

#2. Green Pepper

This type of peppercorn is another family member of the same tree, but this one remains green because it is picked before it is mature enough. 

It may be hard to find dry or fresh green pepper, as most places sell it pickled. The flavor will then be a bit spicy but mostly tart, so your recipe could change a little.

For a more similar taste, you can mix ½ teaspoon of green pepper with ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Since these peppercorns are smaller, you can add them to things like soups, dressings, and marinades for chicken and steak.

#3. Ground Mustard

When you want to get the spice and kick of white pepper, then using ground mustard can come in handy. This spice has a pale yellow color and a sharp, but mild heat level, so it resembles white pepper.

If you also need to emulsify a sauce or dressing, then using ground mustard will work perfectly. 

Use this ingredient when cooking pork, chicken, and steak, and when making cheese sauces or dips. You can start by adding half of the amount the recipe indicates, and then adding as you go, as ground mustard can taste stronger to some people.

See More: Mustard Shelf Life

Best For Soups, Chinese Cooking, and Congee

#4. Ground Ginger

Like ground mustard, this spice has a very pale color, which makes it suitable for white sauces, soups, and marinades. Ground ginger is spicy and highly aromatic, making it a great addition when you prepare Chinese recipes, congee, or certain soups and sauces.

If you are using acidic ingredients, then ground ginger is the right choice, as it mixes well with these flavors.

To start with, use ⅓ of what the recipe indicates, but add more if you like the flavor. Keep in mind that ground ginger also comes with a strong aroma, so if you don’t want it to alter your dish, you may want another choice.

See More: Ginger Alternatives

#5. Ground Cumin

Even though this is a very different spice, ground cumin is a good way to get a tart, spicy, and aromatic flavor altogether. You can start by using about ½ teaspoon of ground cumin for every one teaspoon of white pepper, but consider adding more after you taste it.

This spice is relatively easy to find and goes well in meat dishes, stews, congee, soups, and some thicker sauces. 

You can also add cumin to your list of spices because, like pepper, it promotes digestion, prevents oxidative damage, and can act as an antibacterial in your food. Some people dislike the smell and flavor of cumin, so make sure to taste it first before using it.

See More: Cumin Substitutes

#6. Pink Pepper

Unlike the rest of the pepper in this list, pink peppercorns are the fruit of a South American tree. They are a relative of cashews, and such can cause an allergic reaction if someone has a peanut allergy. 

The flavor is mild, slightly sweet, and spicy, so it can be used when preparing things like soups, dips, sauces, and congee. 

You can replace white pepper for the same amount of pink pepper, and you can use them in light dishes without altering the final color. However, pink pepper is still a bit hard to find, as it doesn’t grow anywhere. You can try a Latin American food market or a specialty store.


Why is white pepper so expensive?

White pepper tends to be more expensive than black pepper because it involves more production steps. Black pepper is cheaper to manufacture and sell, so many prefer it to white pepper. This is also why white pepper may be harder to find at times.

Is white pepper or black pepper better for you?

Both types of peppercorns have the same health properties. Black and white pepper promote digestion, reduce inflammation, and protect the body against oxidation and foreign agents. However, black pepper contains a higher amount of compounds than white pepper, so it is stronger.

Is white pepper good for high blood pressure?

Yes, white pepper can be a good and natural way to combat high blood pressure. This food contains flavonoids, vitamin C, and vitamin A, all of which can help lower blood pressure. You can add this food to your diet, but it doesn’t replace your medication.


White pepper is often considered a luxurious ingredient that can be used in making many dishes. However, not everyone can afford to buy and it can be hard to find it most times. Instead, try any of these 6 substitutes to create spice and aroma that completes your dishes.

white pepper alternative

*Image by depositphotos.com/AndreySt

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